The Virtual Disaster Recovery feature lets you create a working mirror of your computer and run it in a virtual environment. The mirror can be kept up-to-date automatically through the continuous restore feature.
The feature is currently available on Windows devices. A Linux version is in beta. Please contact your service provider to add the Virtual Disaster Recovery to your service package (if it isn't included yet).
You can perform virtual disaster recovery to a variety of targets. Here is a full list:
- VMware VMDK (local)
- VMware ESX (on a remote server)
- Hyper-V (local)
- Local VHD files (local, no Hyper-V installation required)
- Microsoft Azure Cloud
- Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)
It is highly recommended to use an isolated network for tests. Performing virtual disaster recovery to a production environment can result in conflicts (for example, there can be 2 machines with the same IP addresses). Such conflicts lead to errors and data loss.
Virtual disaster recovery requirements
The virtual disaster recovery process can be limited to a single system (computer) or can involve several different systems:
- Source system – the system that is going to be recovered using the virtual disaster recovery feature
- Host system – the system that the recovery software is installed on
- Target system – the system where recovery is performed to
Two or even three of the systems can coincide. For example, the host system coincides with the target system when the recovery is performed to a local directory.
Before you initiate virtual disaster recovery, please consider carefully how many systems will be involved and make sure they are properly configured for recovery.
Performing virtual disaster recovery
Virtual disaster recovery can be performed using either of these tools:
- The Backup Manager – lets you recover data from one device.
- The Recovery Console – lets you recover data from multiple devices simultaneously.
Both of the tools support one-time restores and continuous restores. In the Backup Manager, continuous restores are possible while a device is in the restore-only mode.
Virtual disaster recovery settings
Virtual disaster recovery is customizable. Your choice of settings varies depending on the recovery target you select.
- Common settings (all targets)
- VMware ESX settings
- VMware VMDK settings
- Hyper-V settings
- Local VHD file settings
- Amazon Cloud settings
- Azure Cloud settings
When the virtual disaster process is completed, a virtual machine is created or updated. In most cases no user interference is needed. The only exception is the case when the recovered system contains the MS Exchange or MS SQL data source and the recovery is performed using an older version of the recovery software (prior to 15.11). In that case the virtual machine must be rebooted once or twice (depending on the presence of MS Active Directory). Please see the following section for details.
Completing MS Exchange and MS SQL recovery
In versions prior to 15.11 (released on November 2015) it is necessary to start the virtual machine to complete the recovery of MS Exchange and MS SQL (if these data sources are included into your recovery selection).
However, if MS Active Directory is detected, there must be an additional system restart in version 15.10 and earlier.
In the newer versions of the Backup Manager and Recovery Console no post-recovery steps are necessary.
Starting virtual machines after recovery
There is a setting you can use to have virtual machines in the Azure cloud and Amazon cloud started automatically after each virtual disaster recovery session. Here is how to enable it:
- Open the config.ini file.
- Add the
- Save the changes you have made.
0 (don't start)
Continuous Restore mode for virtual disaster recovery
You can perform virtual disaster recovery on request (as described in the Performing Recovery section) or set it to the Continuous Restore mode.
Enabling the Continuous Restore mode
The Continuous Restore mode is the predefined option in the Recovery Console. So the following instructions are for the Backup Manager.
- Set the Backup Manager to the restore-only mode (if it isn't installed in the restore-only mode). You will see a notification ribbon right below the horizontal menu.
- In the horizontal menu, click Continuous restore, and then select Virtual disaster recovery.
- Select the Enable continuous restore checkbox.
- Configure your recovery preferences (they are the same as for one-time virtual disaster recovery).
- Click Restore.
To disable continuous virtual disaster recovery, go back to Continuous restore > Virtual disaster recovery and unselect the Enable continuos restore checkbox.
Using virtual machines in-between restore sessions
The target virtual machine isn't supposed to be in use while the Continuous Restore mode is active. If the Backup Manager (or the Recovery Console) detects that the virtual machine was started in-between restore sessions, further restores get blocked and a warning message appears. This is done to prevent possible data loss.
Unblocking the Continous Restore
There are several ways to unblock the Continuous Restore process.
- Click the Unblock button in the warning message.
- In the Backup Manager, go to Continuous restore > Virtual disaster recovery and then click Restore. This will initiate a quick delta restore that will overwrite the changes at the target location (if any).
- In the Recovery Console, right-click the device and choose Unblock from the context menu.
After this is done, the continuous restore process will be fully functional again.
If the virtual machine may contain changes that you want to keep, please make a copy of it before you unblock the Continuous Restore mode.
Disabling virtual machine checks
The recovery software checks if the virtual machine has been in use before each virtual disaster recovery session. If you are sure no important data is added to the virtual machine, you can disable these checks and have the previous version overwritten without warning messages. This is possible starting from version 15.7 (released in July 2015).
- Open config.ini.
- Save the changes.
The setting applies to all backup devices installed on the current computer (there is one device for Backup Manager users or multiple devices if you are a system administrator running the Recovery Console).