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Whitepaper: VMware and VSS - Application Backup and Recovery

Veeam Software has a number of virtualization applications, including their own backup solution.  And now, Veeam's product manager has done a technical analysis of various methods of implementing VSS in VMware backup products.  Check out this 11-page whitepaper from Veeam titled VMware and VSS: Application Backup and Recovery. 

Veeam asks,  "what good is a VSS-aware backup if it doesn’t provide a fully functional recovery?"

They write: 

More and more organizations are choosing VMware Infrastructure to virtualize their mission‐critical applications (Active Directory, Exchange, SharePoint, SQL Server) to create a flexible, easily administered virtual infrastructure.
 
Virtual machines (VMs) and any applications they contain must be protected against failure. Typically, in the virtual world, this is done by performing an image‐level backup of the whole machine (for instance, using VMware Consolidated Backup). This method results in what is known as a crash‐consistent image. Restoring a crash‐consistent image is essentially equivalent to rebooting a server after a hard reset. For operating systems, this has not been an issue, since they can easily handle this type of activity. For database applications as well as for applications featuring replication, however, such a restore will often result in lost data, data corruption, or application failure.

...

To facilitate a correct application backup, application vendors provide various means for creating a consistent backup of the application and database data. One example is Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS). Using VSS along with an image‐level backup of virtual machines (VM) running supported applications allows you to create a transactionally consistent backup image. With such a backup image, you can successfully recover both the VM, and any supported application installed on the VM.
 
Of course, the only purpose of a backup is recovery.  And in the case of VSS integrated backup and restore, it is critical to properly initialize the application, instructing it to perform the restore procedure from the shadow copy instead of performing a regular start up. Otherwise the application will not restore properly. In other words, an improperly restored transactionally consistent backup image is no more valuable than the restoration of a crash‐consistent image, with both scenarios potentially resulting in data loss or application failure.
  
This white paper provides guidance on how to easily test and verify whether your current backup approach is able to correctly hndle the backup and restore of mission‐critical Windows applications. We strongly encourage all organizations to verify their backup approach using this simple test to ensure that the solution youhave chosen is able to back up and correctly restore all your VMs  hosting mission‐critical Windows applications.

You can download and read Veeam's whitepaper, here.

Published Monday, August 11, 2008 8:22 PM by David Marshall
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