Category Archive: Virtualization

Rethinking Backup with Veeam

I am a worry wart when it comes to backing up data. For my critical systems, I never trust a single backup method, but rather I implement several different strategies for backup and disaster recovery. For the past two years, one of those methods has been using Veeam Backup and Recovery.

Traditionally, Veeam has been a product to backup virtual machines (VMs) hosted on either Hyper-V or VMware hosts. They specialized in backing up the entire VM to disk quickly and easily using encryption and/or deduplication. Daily backups are incremental, as they only backup the bits of virtual disks that actually changed since the last backup. This makes incremental backups very quick, and requires very little disk space compared to comparable solutions. The product also made it very easy to restore an entire VM to any host running the same hypervisor platform.
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Export a Running Virtual Machine Using PowerShell

Exporting a Hyper-V VM (virtual machine) creates a full copy of that VM. This can be used as an easy way to create an ad-hoc backup or an archive. An export can also contain all of the existing checkpoints that exist, so it is a really helpful tool during deployments, migrations, and upgrades. Read the rest of this entry »

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Getting Better Performance for Your Virtual Machines

As a seasoned virtualization expert (mostly with Hyper-V environments), I totally agree with the concept of building your VMs (virtual machines) and virtualization hosts to meet a particular need.

Often, I talk to SQL DBAs (database administrators) or Exchange administrators who swear that these platforms can NEVER be virtualized. This line of thinking is so wrong that Microsoft itself has bet their business around it (e.g., Office 365,, etc.).

The most important piece of advice I give to virtualization newcomers is to treat a VM like you would a physical server. If a physical Exchange server needs 16GBs of memory and 4 CPUs, then building a VM with only a single virtual processor and 2GB of memory is going to result in a bad user experience, obviously.

HDD (hard disk drive) performance is always a concern with VMs. If you are creating a VM to run a disk intensive SQL server, then you will certainly care about your disk performance. With the more recent versions of Hyper-V, there is little noticeable performance reduction when choosing dynamically expanding VHD (virtual hard disk) vs. using a fixed size VHD. The big downside is that you now have to monitor and manage your storage on the host since your VMs can quickly consume physical space.

If extra disk performance is really needed, there is an option of using a pass-through disk. Pass-through disks will use an unused volume on the physical Hyper-V host as if that volume were its own. With pass-through disks you’ll get true hardware-level performance. The downside is that your VM is now tied to this physical storage making it difficult (or impossible) to migrate to a different host… so plan accordingly.



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