From:From: Windows Tips & Tricks UPDATE [mailto:Windows_TipsandTricks_UPDATE@email.windowsitpro.com]
Sent: Monday, June 29, 2009 1:39 PM
To: John A. Cook
Subject: Backing Up Hyper-V

Windows Tips & Tricks UPDATE [mailto:Windows_TipsandTricks_UPDATE@email.windowsitpro.com]
Sent: Monday, June 29, 2009 1:39 PM
To: John A. Cook
Subject: Backing Up Hyper-V

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Q. How can I check if the backup integration service is running in my guest OS in Hyper-V?

Q. How does a Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) snapshot backup of a Hyper-V server work with guest OSs?

Q. Should I back up at the Hyper-V host level or within my guest OSs?

Q. Should I install System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) on a physical box, or can I install it on a virtual machine (VM)?

Q. Why should I disable time synchronization services for a PDC Flexible Single-Master Operation (FSMO) virtual machine (VM)?

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Q. How can I check if the backup integration service is running in my guest OS in Hyper-V?

Q. How can I check if the backup integration service is running in my guest OS in Hyper-V?
John Savill
John Savill


A.A.
First you need to make sure that you’ve actually installed the integration services. Do this by connecting the guest OS and using device manager in the guest. You’ll see various VMBus devices, such as network and display, if the integration service is running. If you expand the System devices section we will see various Hyper-V integration services that should include the Hyper-V Volume Shadow Copy system device, as shown below. You can also look at running services using the net start command. You should see the Hyper-V Volume Shadow Copy Requestor service, also shown below. If you see these, then the VSS integration service is running and available.

First you need to make sure that you’ve actually installed the integration services. Do this by connecting the guest OS and using device manager in the guest. You’ll see various VMBus devices, such as network and display, if the integration service is running. If you expand the System devices section we will see various Hyper-V integration services that should include the Hyper-V Volume Shadow Copy system device, as shown below. You can also look at running services using the net start command. You should see the Hyper-V Volume Shadow Copy Requestor service, also shown below. If you see these, then the VSS integration service is running and available.

Click to expand.

Next, you need to make sure the integration service is enabled through the Hyper-V Management Microsoft Management Console snap-in. Select the settings of the VM and select Integration Services from the Management section. Make sure "Backup (volume snapshot)" is checked, as shown here.

Q. How does a Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) snapshot backup of a Hyper-V server work with guest OSs?

Q. How does a Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) snapshot backup of a Hyper-V server work with guest OSs?
John Savill
John Savill


A.A.
Hyper-V has a VSS writer that’s registered with the backup software on the server. When you perform a VSS backup on the Hyper-V server, something very cool happens in the guest OSs, assuming you have Hyper-V Integration Services installed and the backup service enabled.

    Hyper-V has a VSS writer that’s registered with the backup software on the server. When you perform a VSS backup on the Hyper-V server, something very cool happens in the guest OSs, assuming you have Hyper-V Integration Services installed and the backup service enabled.

    1. The backup software (the VSS requestor) on the Hyper-V server requests a VSS snapshot. The VSS requestor lists the VSS writers on the system to figure out what data the VSS writer can back up. The Hyper-V VSS writer, in conjunction with the VSS Coordination Service, forwards the VSS snapshot request to each guest OS via the backup integration service.
    2. The backup software (the VSS requestor) on the Hyper-V server requests a VSS snapshot. The VSS requestor lists the VSS writers on the system to figure out what data the VSS writer can back up. The Hyper-V VSS writer, in conjunction with the VSS Coordination Service, forwards the VSS snapshot request to each guest OS via the backup integration service.
    3. Each guest OS thinks it’s receiving a native VSS request. Each one proceeds to notify all VSS writers on the guest OS to prepare for a snapshot.
    4. Each guest OS thinks it’s receiving a native VSS request. Each one proceeds to notify all VSS writers on the guest OS to prepare for a snapshot.
    5. Each VSS writer in the guest OSs writes any information to disk that relates to its service, such as Microsoft Exchange or SQL Server. The guest OS VSS writers notify the VSS coordinator that they’re ready for a snapshot and tell it which data to back up. The part about which data to back up is ignored, however, because you’ll be backing up the entire Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) from the Hyper-V host.
    6. Each VSS writer in the guest OSs writes any information to disk that relates to its service, such as Microsoft Exchange or SQL Server. The guest OS VSS writers notify the VSS coordinator that they’re ready for a snapshot and tell it which data to back up. The part about which data to back up is ignored, however, because you’ll be backing up the entire Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) from the Hyper-V host.
    7. The backup integration service for each VM tells Hyper-V’s VSS writer it’s ready for a snapshot to be taken. The Hyper-V VSS writer notifies the backup application via the VSS coordinator that it is ready for a snapshot.
    8. The backup integration service for each VM tells Hyper-V’s VSS writer it’s ready for a snapshot to be taken. The Hyper-V VSS writer notifies the backup application via the VSS coordinator that it is ready for a snapshot.
    9. The backup software takes a VSS snapshot of the host file system that contains the virtual configuration files and the VHDs. All data on the VHDs is consistent because of the VSS request being passed into the VMs. Once the snapshot is taken, the VSS writer notifies the guests that the snapshot is complete and they continue their normal processing.

    As you can see, you can take backups from the Hyper-V host and still take full advantage of all the backup integrity provided by the VSS writers within the guest OSs to make sure the content on disk is complete.

    It’s very important that when you perform the backup, all disks that contain VM configuration files and VHDs are selected as part of the backup.

    You should note that only VHD content will be backed up using this method. If a VM has pass through or iSCSI storage storage connected through the guest OS iSCSI initiator, that content won’t be backed up through a backup at the Hyper-V server level through the Hyper-V VSS Writer.

    The scenario above describes an online backup, also known as child VM snapshot, where the guest OS meets the following requirements:

      The backup software takes a VSS snapshot of the host file system that contains the virtual configuration files and the VHDs. All data on the VHDs is consistent because of the VSS request being passed into the VMs. Once the snapshot is taken, the VSS writer notifies the guests that the snapshot is complete and they continue their normal processing.

As you can see, you can take backups from the Hyper-V host and still take full advantage of all the backup integrity provided by the VSS writers within the guest OSs to make sure the content on disk is complete.

It’s very important that when you perform the backup, all disks that contain VM configuration files and VHDs are selected as part of the backup.

You should note that only VHD content will be backed up using this method. If a VM has pass through or iSCSI storage storage connected through the guest OS iSCSI initiator, that content won’t be backed up through a backup at the Hyper-V server level through the Hyper-V VSS Writer.

The scenario above describes an online backup, also known as child VM snapshot, where the guest OS meets the following requirements:

  • Integration services is installed, with the backup integration service enabled
  • Integration services is installed, with the backup integration service enabled
  • It supports VSS
  • It supports VSS
  • It uses NTFS file systems with basic disks (not dynamic)

If you have guest OSs that use dynamic disks, use non-NTFS partitions, don’t have integration services installed, or don’t have the backup integration service enabled, or if you’re using an OS that isn’t supported, such as Windows 2000, then an offline backup will be taken of the VM. This backup is also known as a saved state backup, because VMs that can’t support an online backup are placed into a saved state during the VSS snapshot, so there’s a period of downtime for the VM during the backup. OSs that have to use saved state include Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows NT 4, and Linux OSs. Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, and later OSs all support the online backup method without any VM downtime.

It uses NTFS file systems with basic disks (not dynamic)

If you have guest OSs that use dynamic disks, use non-NTFS partitions, don’t have integration services installed, or don’t have the backup integration service enabled, or if you’re using an OS that isn’t supported, such as Windows 2000, then an offline backup will be taken of the VM. This backup is also known as a saved state backup, because VMs that can’t support an online backup are placed into a saved state during the VSS snapshot, so there’s a period of downtime for the VM during the backup. OSs that have to use saved state include Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows NT 4, and Linux OSs. Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, and later OSs all support the online backup method without any VM downtime.

Q. Should I back up at the Hyper-V host level or within my guest OSs?

Q. Should I back up at the Hyper-V host level or within my guest OSs?
John Savill
John Savill


A.A.
The answer to this question depends on the guest OS, the type of storage you are using and the availability of VSS writers for the workloads within the virtual machine (VM).

If you’re running guest OSs that support VSS, use NTFS on basic disks, exclusively use Virtual Hard Disks (VHDs) for storage, and have integration services installed, you can probably back up safely at the Hyper-V host level. You can use a Hyper-V VSS writer-aware backup application that will notify your VMs to prepare for a snapshot, ensuring the integrity of the backup. Remember to back up all volumes that have any data relating to the VM, including configuration locations, VHDs, and snapshots.

You should back up from within the guest OSs if you’re running guest OS that

    The answer to this question depends on the guest OS, the type of storage you are using and the availability of VSS writers for the workloads within the virtual machine (VM).

    If you’re running guest OSs that support VSS, use NTFS on basic disks, exclusively use Virtual Hard Disks (VHDs) for storage, and have integration services installed, you can probably back up safely at the Hyper-V host level. You can use a Hyper-V VSS writer-aware backup application that will notify your VMs to prepare for a snapshot, ensuring the integrity of the backup. Remember to back up all volumes that have any data relating to the VM, including configuration locations, VHDs, and snapshots.

    You should back up from within the guest OSs if you’re running guest OS that

    • Uses pass through storage.
    • Uses pass through storage.
    • Maps to iSCSI storage directly through the guest iSCSI initiator.
    • Maps to iSCSI storage directly through the guest iSCSI initiator.
    • Doesn’t use NTFS.
    • Doesn’t use NTFS.
    • Uses dynamic disks.
    • Uses dynamic disks.
    • Doesn’t have integration services installed or doesn’t support the backup integration service.

Doesn’t have integration services installed or doesn’t support the backup integration service.

Q. Should I install System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) on a physical box, or can I install it on a virtual machine (VM)?

Q. Should I install System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) on a physical box, or can I install it on a virtual machine (VM)?
John Savill
John Savill


A.A.
VMM is the preferred management platform for your virtual environment and the question often comes up if VMM should be installed on its own physical box, or if can it be a VM. VMM is support in both physical and virtual environments. The only condition is that if VMM is virtualized, you won’t be able to migrate it to another virtual host, because VMM manages migrations. VMM is the preferred management platform for your virtual environment and the question often comes up if VMM should be installed on its own physical box, or if can it be a VM. VMM is support in both physical and virtual environments. The only condition is that if VMM is virtualized, you won’t be able to migrate it to another virtual host, because VMM manages migrations.

Q. Why should I disable time synchronization services for a PDC Flexible Single-Master Operation (FSMO) virtual machine (VM)?

Q. Why should I disable time synchronization services for a PDC Flexible Single-Master Operation (FSMO) virtual machine (VM)?
John Savill
John Savill


A.A.
Virtualization is becoming more widespread and virtual environments offer a large number of services to improve the consistency and performance of the infrastructure. There are, however, certain instances where you should disable some services.

The PDC FSMO acts as the time source for the entire domain and should sync its time from an external Simple Network Time Protocol (SNTP) time source. You don’t want the virtual server hosting the PDC FSMO to use its own local time to overwrite the time that PDC FSMO gets from the external time source, so you need to disable any time synchronization services in the virtual environment.

In Hyper-V you do this via settings for the VM. Select Integration Services from the Management section. Uncheck the "Time synchronization" option and click OK.

In Hyper-V you do this via settings for the VM. Select Integration Services from the Management section. Uncheck the "Time synchronization" option and click OK.

Virtualization is becoming more widespread and virtual environments offer a large number of services to improve the consistency and performance of the infrastructure. There are, however, certain instances where you should disable some services.

The PDC FSMO acts as the time source for the entire domain and should sync its time from an external Simple Network Time Protocol (SNTP) time source. You don’t want the virtual server hosting the PDC FSMO to use its own local time to overwrite the time that PDC FSMO gets from the external time source, so you need to disable any time synchronization services in the virtual environment.

In Hyper-V you do this via settings for the VM. Select Integration Services from the Management section. Uncheck the "Time synchronization" option and click OK.

In Hyper-V you do this via settings for the VM. Select Integration Services from the Management section. Uncheck the "Time synchronization" option and click OK.

Click to expand.

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Dive Deep into Hyper-V Version 2 eLearning Series with John Savill—July 9, 2009, 11 a.m. EDT
Get the skills and tools you need to ensure that Hyper-V is deployed and maintained in the most optimal way.
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