There usually isn’t anything overly complicated about backing up a physical datacenter. While it’s true that some applications require special consideration, the backup process itself is usually very straightforward. After all, backups have been a common practice for decades. Even so, backups take on a new level of complexity when they are performed in a virtual datacenter. This inherent complexity requires much more planning in order to ensure that virtual servers (and the data residing on them) are recoverable.
Host Level Backups
In a Microsoft Hyper-V environment there are two main options for backing up your servers. The first option is to perform a host level backup. A host level backup is a backup that is made within the parent partition. This type of backup backs up the host operating system and all of the virtual machines that reside on the host.
There are two main benefits to host level backups. The first benefit is simplicity. A host level backup makes it easy to backup all of your virtual machines without having to worry about backing up each virtual machine individually. The second benefit to performing a host level backup is that depending upon which backup application you are using, you may be able to decrease your licensing costs by performing a host level backup. Some (but not all) backup applications are licensed according to the number of agents that you use. A host level backup typically requires only a single agent, rather than requiring a backup agent to be installed to every virtual machine. For backup applications that are licensed on a per agent basis, this approach could result in significant cost savings.