Backup of Xen Guest VMs from WITHIN GUEST?

Discussion in 'Virtualization' started by ruggieroav, Jul 2, 2012.

  1. ruggieroav

    ruggieroav MDL Novice

    Mar 7, 2012
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    Hi,

    I own several Windows VPS machines, some running Server 2003 and 2008. They all run under XEN HVM. I have access to a control panel via SolusVM, but I am not allowed to load an ISO, or mount a recovery image. So, all my backup efforts HAD to be with a program that would allow me to start the restore process in WINDOWS and reboot to finish, in the case of the system drive or other locked volume.

    With my previous XEN provider, I had NO control panel access, but I was able to work with a tech and use Acronis True Image Echo Server 9.x to restore a Server 2003 VM during a migration to another data center. Now, under my latest provider, both Acronis TrueImage as well as a product called R-Drive Image FAILS during the initial restore/reboot process, and just hangs there. I don't want to use the newest Acronis software anymore, because it has become bloated.

    I have resorted to using RDrive Image for backing up my DATA partitions only for now, and if I must do a rebuild, I'll need to recover the system first via the Xen template, re-do my users, install my apps, and restore my data partition. However, my ideal disaster recovery scenario would be:

    - RELOAD BASE WINDOWS TEMPLATE
    - INSTALL MY IMAGING SOFTWARE WITHIN THE OS.
    - LAUNCH THE IMAGING SOFTWARE, CHOOSE THE SYSTEM DRIVE.
    - OF COURSE, I WOULD BE NOTIFIED THAT THIS DRIVE IS LOCKED, SO...
    - REBOOT INTO RECOVERY MODE, AND THE SYSTEM DRIVE IS RESTORED.

    Are there any free or inexpensive imaging tools that CAN start the restore process from Windows, and are compatible with Xen/SolusVM?

    Thanks!
     
  2. ruggieroav

    ruggieroav MDL Novice

    Mar 7, 2012
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    Thanks Sebus,

    Yes, I've looked at Drive Snapshot but never really tried it; You are saying that if I partition my drive first, and restore the previous system to a partition OTHER than the currently-running 'C: drive', will Snapshot allow me to set the active partition BEFORE rebooting? And, what will happen to the previously-marked active partition?

    BTW, there are many Xen/KVM/HVM Windows providers who DON'T allow own-ISO, but have awesome service otherwise. Meanwhile, my provider told me he'd mount just about any ISO for me; I just haven't broached the question about sending him recovery/boot CDs. In theory it should be fine, and smaller to manage than whole OS CDs/DVDs. And, if I do change providers for one reason or another I don't really want the ability to load my own ISO to be the deal-breaker.
     
  3. sebus

    sebus MDL Guru

    Jul 23, 2008
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    Easy of use (for recovery at least should be a deal breaker IMHO)

    I would prefer to have 2 separate disks, not just partitions, ofcourse you can set any one to be active & it will boot if it has proper loader & OS on it

    Also recovery is really when you can NOT boot into your main OS....

    Access to server OS in a form of a bootable WinPE iso is really a must if anything goes wrong (as things do)

    sebus
     
  4. IceBlackIce

    IceBlackIce MDL Novice

    Jul 29, 2009
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    Do you have those several servers in the same network and communicating with each other?
    Do you have access to the "bios" boot menu?
    You could add a pxe server service to one of the other servers to try to load a Winpe and load somekind of imaging or backup recovery, if not making active disks or partitions should be the way to go.
     
  5. sebus

    sebus MDL Guru

    Jul 23, 2008
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    But at the same time provider SHOULD be able to provide (no pun intended) a proper VM backup, so you should NOT need to do it yourself!

    sebus
     
  6. ruggieroav

    ruggieroav MDL Novice

    Mar 7, 2012
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    Hi all,

    Remember, these are VPS containers, not dedicated, and I pay anywhere from $70-$350 per year depending on the VPS. With a dedicated machine, I would assume I would have ISO-mounting available, and perhaps (for a premium) KVM over IP.

    I have backup abilities for the VPS machines I own that use OpenVZ, but AFAIK with any Xen/SolusVM provider I have used, I never had a way to backup at the container level. The major ones I have used DO afford me access to a VNC console with "pseudo" BIOS access, and the ability to boot into a CD (assuming one is mounted). Also, under Windows 2008 I have been able to run STARTUP REPAIR, etc.

    I did write to my current Xen provider, and found they will actually load any ISO for me, even if I can't browse and upload them myself. I simply need to provide them a link, and they'll add it or mount it.

    But, relating to my original question (and I know it's taking the topic off in a new direction), if anyone knows some mid-range-priced Windows Xen providers that offer backup from within SolusVM, I'd be glad to hear about it. Even so, having my own backup would be an excellent safeguard, since I have even seen RAID-5 and RAID-6 based SANS fail, and container-based backups to sometimes be unreliable.