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That's the rules we've lived by all these years as IT Pros. We can either choose a path using incremental backup that gives us quick backup times, or a path using full backups that gives us easy restores. Good morning, good afternoon or good evening, wherever you're joining us from in the world today. Today I'd like to welcome to you to this Backup Academy session where we're going to talk about backup strategies for Hyper-V.
For those of you that don't know me, I've spent the better part of the past 15 years working with Windows Server and the associated technologies that support and sustain Windows Server. Over the past couple of years, the technology that has been forefront in our mind is the technologies associated with virtualization, and in the Microsoft world that means Hyper-V.
Today we're going to focus in on one specific area of Hyper-V, and that area is backup strategies. Before we actually talk about backup strategies, it's probably important that we actually introduce you to the architecture of Hyper-V. If you understand the architecture of Hyper-V, we can clearly get an understanding of how principles like backup and recovery operations might take place based on the architecture that's existing. So let's begin here. The hardware is the base layer of the architectural diagram that we'll work with when it comes to Hyper-V.
On top of the hardware, we're going to find the actual hypervisor itself. In the Microsoft world the hypervisor is called Hyper-V. On top of the hypervisor, which will manage all of the interactions between virtual machines and hardware, on top of that hypervisor, we're going to find virtual machines.
In the Hyper-V world, there are actually two different types of virtual machines. The virtual machine that's going to house the virtualization stack is called the parent VM, or parent virtual machine. Generally, that parent VM is going to have the virtualization stack as well as its own set of proprietary drivers that allow it to interact with the hypervisor, which will then in turn interact with the hardware on the virtual machine's behalf.
There is only one parent virtual machine on any physical Hyper-V host. Now, as we create additional virtual machines, they're going to be given the title of child virtual machine. Now, notice that each child virtual machine has its own set of proprietary drivers to interact with the hypervisor, but does not have a virtualization stack.
The child VMs are going to rely on the parent virtual machine for virtualization stack offerings and will maintain their own set of proprietary drivers to interact with the hypervisor. This architecture has a name, and the name is called microkernalized. In a microkernalized architecture, each of the child VMs can be effectively isolated from the parent, because they have their own set of proprietary drivers. We like this in that it adds a degree of flexibility and a degree of additional security that I think is going to serve Microsoft and Hyper-V very well in the future.
You know, we talked about architecture, but we didn't actually talk about the virtual machines themselves. It's probably a great idea that we stop and discuss what's in a virtual machine in Hyper-V. You're all familiar with the concept of a virtual hard disk, or a VHD file. Microsoft is changing the game yet again as we move to Hyper-V version 3.
In fact, there are several additional components to a virtual machine. When we look at a VM, there's also a settings file. We're going to call what is binary file in vbk config. That file is going to contain all of the settings associated with the virtual machine. I also what is binary file in vbk have snapshots. This is an AVHD file.
Those what is binary file in vbk are going to be point in time snapshots of the virtual machine that we're going to move forward or back in time, apply those snapshots and get an operational capacity out of that virtual machine. And, last but not least, we also have a set of binary files associated with each virtual machine.
As you can see, a virtual machine is much more than just the VHD file. Now I what is binary file in vbk, you're probably thinking to yourself, the VHD file is the one that contains the operating systems, the applications, the files, the settings. Yeah, that's absolutely true, but without the configuration files, any associated snapshots of the binary files, the VHD files effectively are of no use to us. So, when we talk Hyper-V virtual machines, and especially as we start thinking about this idea of backing up virtual machines, hopefully you see from the architectural perspective and from the contents of a Hyper-V virtual machine perspective that the backup of a VM is very different from what we would do in a physical environment.
The extra hypervisor layer and the architecture, the differentiation between parent and child virtual machines, and then the additional functional components of each virtual machine in that hypervisor environment mean that we are looking at a very different process in backing up virtual machines than when we backed up physical ones.
Now Microsoft very clearly understood that the process for backing up virtual machines would be significantly different from the process of backing up physical ones, and they went back and started looking at ways that we could make this process standardized and simplified.
And what they what is binary file in vbk up with was actually really kind of a nice little stroke of genius. I don't know if you remember, but way back inwhich is the better part of nine years ago, there was a neat little service that came out with Windows Server called the volume shadow copy service.
Initially, that volume shadow copy service was designed to be used to provide you with access to previous versions what is binary file in vbk files, make recoverability accessible to the users in the environment.
Now that VSS process has changed and evolved a little bit, and we now use that same VSS process to manage backup of virtual machines. Now, the what is binary file in vbk the process works is really quite simple.
Microsoft uses something called the volume shadow copy service, they use something called a VSS writer, and we use the actual virtual machines themselves. Now that volume shadow copy service will take a request, and the request is sent from something called a VSS requestor.
Microsoft doesn't write the requestor. Instead, they write an SDK with some sample code, and they say, you write the requester.
That VSS requester will make a request to the volume shadow copy service saying, I would like to take an image of a running virtual machine. The key is it's a running virtual machine. We don't have to stop them to what is binary file in vbk this image. It's specifically designed to write images of virtual machines running in Hyper-V.
That process of making an image of a running virtual machine through the VSS process dramatically improves our ability to do backup and restorations in Hyper-V. Now, before you think to yourself, so really all I have to do is write my own VSS requester, wait, that's not necessarily the case.
Actually there's much, much more. So I've got my image. I used the VSS process. We're going to introduce you to some software based technologies that have been put in play that will allow what is binary file in vbk to effectively backup and recover your virtual machine environments. I'm also going to throw in some interesting additional topics here that I think you'll want to know about because they are nice innovative changes in the industry.
We're going to talk about change block tracking. Change block tracking is incredibly important when we start talking about ways to reduce the time necessary to make backups.
This is really kind of cool, because by using something like change block tracking, I can now fit backups well within the available backup windows that I have. We're going to talk about the most popular backup strategy on the planet, called forward incremental.
We're going to then introduce you to what I think is one of the coolest innovations in software-based backup, called increment injection. We're going to talk about something called synthetics.
And then finally, we'll end this segment with a discussion of something called reverse incremental backup. We'll kind of roll all of those pieces together and see what kind of amazing things we can do. First, let's talk about change block tracking. Do you recognize this slide? Remember, this is our architectural diagram of Hyper-V. Remember our microkernalized design. Earlier in this discussion, I told you that there was one parent virtual machine per Hyper-V physical what is binary file in vbk.
Because that is the case and because each of those child virtual machines are sharing a virtualization stack with that parent VM, when you use something called change block tracking, you can actually install a driver in the Hyper-V host that will monitor all of the child virtual machines and the parent that are running on that host.
What does that actually mean? Well, what it means is I now have a mechanism in place to monitor virtual machines that I have backed up or that I'm going to back up, and I can dramatically reduce the time it takes to make those backups because I can monitor what's already changes.
So change block tracking is a neat feature. Let's go into some more detail, and I'll show you how it works. So here we have a virtual machine. You can see the data represented by all the ones and zeroes.
I've got a change block tracking mechanism, and that change block tracking mechanism is simply going to monitor that virtual machine for changes. What is binary file in vbk, when a change comes along, and here's some new data, the change block tracking driver is going to note those changes and save them what is binary file in vbk something called a CTP file.
Now that CTP file is going to what is binary file in vbk those changes until we decide we're going to make our next backup. Now the cool this is, without change block tracking, I would have to go back and parse that whole virtual machine start to finish, find the blocks that have changed, and then write those change blocks out to my incremental backup file.
With change block tracking, I already know the blocks that have changed, because I've been monitoring it all along. What is binary file in vbk got them listed in the CTP file. At this point, all I need to do is take those change blocks and write the change blocks to my incremental backup, in this case a. Now, I'm ready to go. No parsing all of the data and no comparisons. I already did that with what is binary file in vbk tracking what is binary file in vbk in the CTP. This dramatically reduced the size of window necessary to complete an incremental backup.
Since we're on the topic of incremental backup, what is binary file in vbk go here. I've been doing backups now for almost two decades. I've seen backups run in all kinds of environments in all kinds of methods, but one thing has not changed; the strategies that we use for backups, specifically, this one, incremental backup, have been around for a long, long time.
What is binary file in vbk think they've been around for a long, long time because they made good sense. And I still think that today sometimes they make good sense as well. If we were going in using backup tools, and we were going to back up a Hyper-V virtual machine, we would start with a strategy that was an incremental strategy.