Hyper-V Replica As an Alternative to Backup

by Mark Campbell on September 25, 2014

Replicate

In the last post in this series we discussed new features in the latest version of Hyper-V replica.  There are a number of powerful new features that are now available.  So does this mean Hyper-V replica can be used as an alternative to backup?

In a word, no.  Hyper-V replica is not the same as backup.  Backup has at least one fully independent recovery point.  This means that there is always a copy of the protected data – a physical or logical failure that occurs during backup or replication by definition can’t corrupt the backup.

There are additional drawbacks to using Hyper-V replica versus Unitrends:

  • Hyper-V replica has a double write I/O penalty for each protected virtual machine.
  • Hyper-V replica has file and item granular restore limitations.
  • Hyper-V replica has a 24 restore point limitation with limited scheduling flexibility.
  • Hyper-V replica doesn’t do restore point compression and deduplication.
  • Hyper-V replica has no WAN optimization.
    • No multi-threading
    • No WAN throttling at the Hyper-V replica level
    • Hyper-V replica journaling chews up WAN bandwidth versus source-level deduplication used in replication
  • Hyper-V replica has no retention.
  • The RPO (Recovery Point Objective) and RTO (Recovery Time Objective) is fixed across the Hyper-V VM due to a lack of deep virtualization (the ability to handle both the VM and files and applications within the VM as granular objects of backup.

In the next post, we’ll explore the advantages of using Hyper-V replica in concert with backup.

Got an opinion concerning Hyper-V replica, backup, or anything else with respect to data protection?

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One of the best things about the recently introduced Free Unitrends Backup Capacity Tool is that it gives you visibility into file level detail in your backup storage environment.  Essentially you get a point in time snapshot of all your files to help calculate backup sizing requirements.  Plus you get incredible granular level file reports across your data center so that you can make realistic estimates of backup sizes, retentions, and more. The Backup Capacity Tool is distributed as a virtual server appliance and is available in both VMware™ and Hyper-V™ formats. Installation is as simple as importing the server appliance files into your hypervisor (ESX/VM Workstation/VM Server for VMware, Hyper-V for Microsoft), setting the network properties for the Backup Capacity Tool virtual machine, adding credentials for the assets to be scanned, and then adding those assets to the Backup Capacity Tool via its web GUI. The Backup Capacity tool connects to most types of storage hardware, as well as general systems of record, to generate a comprehensive, detailed map of your storage environment. It includes services to discover storage configurations, monitor system performance and events, and calculate end-user usage and allocation values. There’s a video that guides you through the installation process on the lower right of the web page at http://www.unitrends.com/products/download/backup-capacity Once you’ve deployed the tool, you can generate both summary and detailed reports.  The example here shows a screen shot of a summary report that gives you a sense of how powerful this tool can be. This report is useful for telling you what types of files impact your backups.  One of the pie charts shows the breakdown of file type categories discovered on a storage device selected in the Navigation Menu. The other pie chart shows the percentage of duplicate files found on that storage. Below the pie charts is a list of high-level file type categories, showing each one’s total size used and their percentage of the total used space. You can easily drill down to see file access activity as shown in the screen shot here.

This screen report shows file creation activity over time as a graphic chart and as month-by-month tabular data, so you can double-check and see new files that may need to be included or excluded from backup jobs. These are just a couple of examples of what you can do with this free tool.  I’ll be highlighting more in future blogs and responding to any comments or questions you might have about using the tools.

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