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A few questions before setting up home server! - Page 3

post #21 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by tycoonbob View Post

I am not a Windows fanboy. I work in a Windows world, so that's where most of knowledge is, and I have never ever ever have said that Windows is the best thing ever and that Linux, FreeNAS, or anything open source is crap. I even things out by offering a Windows alternative to what most people around here suggest, and giving a full solution. If you take my comments as condescending, I apologize because they are never meant to be that way. I think Linux is great, and I love OpenSUSE and SLES and use them when I can, but working in a Windows world I can't use Linux all the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plan9 View Post

Fair enough. Sorry for the tone of my posts. I know it's not an excuse, but I've been sleeping really badly this week so I'm more irritable than usual redface.gif


It's good to see you two playing nice.You both are knowledgable in your respective enviorments,and your insight is well regarded here on OCN,IMHO so... thumb.gifthumb.gif
 
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post #22 of 37
@Plan9,@tycoonbob

With VMs, is there no way to literally freeze a VM (similar to a suspend mode, but with no shutdown) in its tracks, back it up, then unfreeze it afterwards? How do these products which offer "live bare metal backup" and VM backups actually work?
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post #23 of 37
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Originally Posted by parityboy View Post

@Plan9,@tycoonbob

With VMs, is there no way to literally freeze a VM (similar to a suspend mode, but with no shutdown) in its tracks, back it up, then unfreeze it afterwards? How do these products which offer "live bare metal backup" and VM backups actually work?

I know with Hyper-V, there is 4 different VM states. Powered on, powered off, saved, paused. You can pause or save a virtual machine in a given state. When you pause or save a virtual machine, it stays in its current state for as long as you want. Although pausing a virtual machine does not free up the memory that is allocated to that virtual machine, it frees up main processor resources. Saving a virtual machine frees up memory and main processor resources so that they can be used by other virtual machines or by the virtualization server.

One of the best new features of Hyper-V 3.0 in Server 2012, is the Hyper-V Replica server. It literally makes a replica of the VM on a different physical host, with an easy failover, but that is not the same kind of backup.
post #24 of 37
@tycoonbob

So conceivably, the OP could write a script that would pause the target VM using the Hyper-V API, copy it to somewhere else and then un-pause it?
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post #25 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by parityboy View Post

@tycoonbob

So conceivably, the OP could write a script that would pause the target VM using the Hyper-V API, copy it to somewhere else and then un-pause it?

Technically, I believe you could but you would have to save the VM, not pause. Basically you could script it out with batch or PoSH to save the VM, copy the VHD to another location, and resume the VM. There will be down time with that, so in some cases it may make more sense to just shut down the VM (which would allow for finishing up Windows Updates or something). The great thing about Hyper-V 3 in Server 2012, is that to import a VM you no longer have to export it.

Scenario, your Hypervisor is running Server 2008R2 with Hyper-V 2.0. You accidentally delete a VM from the Hyper-V Management Console (wrong one maybe?). No big deal you say, since the config XML file and the VHD is still there. Well, even though it's all there, you can't import that. You have to create a new VM and attach the VHD. In Server 2012 and Hyper-V 3, if you have the XML and VHD (even if it wasn't exported) you could import that VM back into the Hyper-V Management Console.

So for the simplest of backup solutions with Hyper-V, you create a batch (or PoSH) script that would shutdown (or save) your VM, use robocopy (or xcopy if you really wanted) to copy the VHD and the config XML file to a network share, and the power on (or resume) the VM. Run that as a Scheduled Task. Yeah, stopping a server for a backup is not ideal, but for a home (or test/dev) environment, it may be a possible solution.

Another solution would be to use Windows Server Backup from the parent partition (host server), which uses VSS to make a backup of the VM.
Another solution would be to use Veeams Free backup utility, Veeam Backup Free Edition. The free edition works just like the full edition except that the free edition does not allow you to schedule backups, or do more than one at a time. It's like one off backups.
Another solution would be to run Windows System Center 2012 Data Protection Manager, which has a 180 trial. Yeah it would be a pain to reinstall it twice a year, but it would be a great solution that you wouldn't have to pay for.

NOTE: SNAPSHOTS ARE NOT BACKUPS.

If uptime is crucial, then treat the VM as a physical box and back it up the same way you backup your physical servers.
post #26 of 37
***. That's my second double post this weekend!
post #27 of 37
@tycoonbob

So is there no way to do a live backup? If not, then it would make more sense to back up from inside the VM rather than from the host, and back up any data and config files to an external iSCSI target (or other destination).

The only other way I can think of is to build a NUS based around ZFS (iSCSI, NFS and CIFS) and use ZFS' live snapshot capability to take a snapshot of the volume holding the VMs and copy that out to another destination.
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post #28 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by parityboy View Post

@tycoonbob

So is there no way to do a live backup? If not, then it would make more sense to back up from inside the VM rather than from the host, and back up any data and config files to an external iSCSI target (or other destination).

The only other way I can think of is to build a NUS based around ZFS (iSCSI, NFS and CIFS) and use ZFS' live snapshot capability to take a snapshot of the volume holding the VMs and copy that out to another destination.

Even with ZFSs snapshot ability, I don't know how well that will work with running VHDs. It's worth testing, but I wouldn't trust it, personally.

But a few of the options I listed above would do live backups, such as the Windows Server Backup (which uses VSS). Most paid options will do live backups too (Symantec BackupExec, Microsoft DPM, Veeam Backup, etc).
post #29 of 37
I use live ZFS snapshots with VirtualBox and that works fine (you can't save the running memory, but everything else is saved. However not saving the running memory is just like if there was a power failure, so that doesn't bother me. I just need to keep the data safe in case of hardware failure / I bodge a software update / or the VM gets hacked). I know VBox isn't enterprise grade gear, but at the time it was the only option available for FreeBSD and to it's credit VBox is more than adequate for home servers.

For production use, I also use live snapshots with OpenVZ containers, and that works fine too. That's a feature within the Virtualisation suite I'm using though, rather than a file system snapshot. And it's also using containers rather than full virtualisation - though if you're running the same guest OSs as the host then containers are probably a better solution to full virtualisation anyway.

And while we're on the topic of containers, I know you can use ZFS snapshots to back up both FreeBSD Jails and Solaris Containers (I've done the latter, my next build will be doing the former).

If you want live memory snapshots, then an entirely different process has to be employed. Basically what happens is the memory is snapshotted, but then as the memory is saved by whatever virtualisation solution you've opted for, the VM is also in use (effectively a race condition - for those that know programming jargon). So the snapshot then needs incremental updates with the changes to individual memory addresses that have happened while the snapshot was being written to (This is also how live "teleportation" of virtual machines from different physical hardware with no shared storage medium happens). The draw back of this is it needs to be enabled by the virtualisation suite and many of them wouldn't include such tools in any bar their expensive enterprise licences.

Personally I think memory back ups are a little pointless unless you're planning on having real time VM failovers - and if you're having that, then you're already looking at enterprise hardware prices anyway.
Edited by Plan9 - 3/10/13 at 4:51am
post #30 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by juryan View Post


Intended use:

- File Server to replace a small 2-bay synology nas that I've been using with my HTPC.
- Testing and developing web applications using vm's.
- pfsense router

Why use VMs for developing web applications? Just wondering what benefit the VM gives you?

Personally I would just run a bare metal install of FreeBSD with ZFS. Run a development jail which you can zfs clone to new jails if you need more than one environment.
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