So let’s say I have a SBS 2008 that is running in a HyperV server.  It’s a child inside the parent.  And I’m looking for the most officially supported backup and restore solution on the face of the planet? One that if I called Microsoft support they would do their best to ensure that I could get myself back to where I was?  What would that be exactly?

The answer is, ensuring that you used the native SBS 2008 backup and park it out to a vhd drive.

Why is this the most supported?  Because that’s the official backup solution that you can see in the SBS 2008 documentation and thus the Engineers will be the most trained and well equiped to guide you in a restore using that method. 

Now what about backing up the parent and having it VSS aware so that the Parent backs up the child?  Will the support folks at Microsoft refuse to help?  The answer is no, but the reality is that they can only do best effort support in this scenerio.  We are after all virtualizing a domain controller.  As long as we stay with one domain controller, we actually have a better chance of having no issues.  It’s when there are multiple domain controllers that tombstone values and what not come into play.  At the end of the day the best code to restore an active directory information is the system state backup that is made as part of the sbs backup process. 

This same “best support effort” holds true when you use third party backup solutions.  Microsoft can’t hold your hand if you are using another product that they don’t know how it works.  If your only backup is a third party backup program, you’ll need to go through them, not Microsoft for your support. 

Backup and Restore Considerations for Virtualized Domain Controllers:


2 Responses to What’s the best more supported virtualization backup?

  1. Rufguy says:

    Great post.

    Been meaning to post the below in the SBS forums but I’ll do it here first as your post got me thinking again. 😀

    I’ve been pondering the best way to do this for months and think I’ve come up with a way that satisfies all the issues, isn’t expensive to implement, and is consistent with the advice you provide above.

    I’m using the built in SBS backup to backup to a VHD (on usb hard drive) that is attached to the VM. Running a properly licensed R2 server as the host so I could hot attach or remove if I wanted to cycle the backup drives but I don’t think this is necessary as my plan also backs up offsite.

    I then use the built in backup on the host to backup the host to a esata drive. To back up the VMs using VSS, you need this registry mod: Doing this to USB drives was REALLY slow so added an esata drive. Could have done this on an internal drive but didn’t have room in case and could also take this external drive offsite.

    Finally, backup to Amazon’s S3 service using Jungle Disk. Jungle Disk server is around $5 per month and I only pay per GB for what’s being stored at S3. And what is stored is configurable. Jungle Disk is great due to it’s deduplication feature so it’s only sending what it needs to.

    The above deals with bare-metal, accounts for the DC, and also has offsite for the very large emergency.

  2. Dean says:

    You didn’t mention the real reason that backing up within the VM is the correct way to go. The reason is that backing up in the VM properly takes care of things like SQL and Exchange log files. If you only back up the VM as a vhd, those log files ( and possibly other things ) never get reset and will just keep building up. So you need to treat a VM the same as you would any regular server.