XenServer Backups

We have seen Citrix XenServer becoming more and more popular as an enterprise level virtualization platform lately.  The question often comes up, “What is the recommended way to do backups of our XenServer environment?”   With virtualization platforms like VMware that have been around for several years now there are plenty of vendor based and 3rd party tools like VCB, Vizioncore vRanger Pro and Veeam to help you with backups.  XenServer and Hyper-V are relatively new to the game and don’t have as many options (yet).  After doing some research and talking with our Citrix resources I figured I’d put together some of the highlights of XenServer backups and a few links.

          Backup Agents:  Treat your VM’s like you would any physical server.  Install your backup agents such as Backup Exec, NetBackup or whatever it is you use and then backup normally.

          Storage Level Snapshots:  Leverage this technology whenever possible to provide point-in-time backups of your VM’s.

          3rd Party Vendors:  Check out 3rd party tools such as InMage DR-Scout to help re-evaluate your backup strategies.  http://www.inmage.net/dr-scout.html

For more technical/detailed instructions on backing up XenServer check out this great link from the XenSource.com site:  http://docs.xensource.com/XenServer/4.0.1/installation/apbs04.html

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6 Responses to “XenServer Backups”

  1. Tribble Says:

    Another very promising option is a solution I stumbled on called Nimbus (currently a code name). It is able to take system level snapshots of the virtual machines, de-duplicate, compress and encrypt them, and store them on or offsite. They even claim to be working on vaulting to various cloud storage vendors, which would enable very low cost off-site DR protection. Its still in early Beta, but the product works well enough for me to use, and its a Free beta:
    http://www.quorumsoft.com/beta/signup.php

    Its worth noting that it only appears to work with Citrix’s XenServer, and needs a relatively new version at that (5 or 5.5 I think)

  2. Jared Says:

    Thanks for the informaiton, do you know any solution that will do data deduplication on XenServer?

  3. Tribble Says:

    Just an update to my previous post, QuorumSoft’s project “Nimbus” has been released as “Alike”.
    I’ve been running this for a while now and it works like a champ. It has a scheduling system, its agentless and the de-duplication is impressive. The downside is that they don’t have off-site storage, but their support rep. assured me that was coming in the next few months. The upside is they offer a free version that covers a single XenServer.

    All in all, this is a pretty strong offering for the XenServer community.

  4. Sanjay Says:

    XenServer 5.5 now has a snapshot capability, and VirtualIQ Pro is able to enhance that feature in a number of ways. From a single button, a “Live” full backup of a VM can be made to a remote NFS/CIFS or a “Local” FTP/SSH Host. As a scheduled task, a live backup can be made of a VM & as a Scheduled “Action Group” task, a number of VM`s can be backed up under one task.
    One major advantage of VirtualIQ Pro that unlike a native Xen Snapshot, these are one step processes, not Snapshot, and then export as in XenCenter. Also, the backup file can be renamed as a .XVA, and imported in the case of a Host failure. Also, as long as the backup is successful, the snapshot is deleted from XenCenter.

    Could this be any good for you, provides a lot more for XenServer than anything else i know

  5. Sanjay Says:

    the company forgot to add is called ToutVirtual and the solution for backup is called VirtualIQ Pro

  6. Brian Says:

    I truly enjoyed reading through this write-up.Thanks.

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