Backing up Hyper-V with Windows Server Backup

People are always asking me for simple (and cheap) ways to backup Hyper-V virtual machines.  Hyper-V provides VSS support that allows you to take a “zero downtime” backup of a virtual machine running Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2008, however you need a backup program to take advantage of this.

Well, late last year we published a KB article that explained how to enable Windows Server Backup to use the VSS capabilities of Hyper-V.  You can read about how to do it here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/958662

Two key things to call out here:

  • If a virtual machine is not running Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2008 it will be put into a saved state to be backed up, so there will be down time for these virtual machines.
  • The steps outlined in the KB article enable Windows Server Backup to call into our VSS provider when backing up a volume.  It does not allow you to specifically select virtual machines to backup (you would need to purchase enterprise backup software for that kind of functionality).  What this allows you to do is to backup your entire system and ensure that virtual machines are backed up correctly as part of that.

Cheers,
Ben