Can I backup a running VM?

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by pjdevries, Aug 22, 2007.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. pjdevries

    pjdevries Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2007
    Posts:
    10
    I am using True Image Home 10. Does anyone know if it possible to backup a partition with one or more running VMware virtual machines? I guess the anser to that question is yes :D but obviously the question behind the question is, if the VM will be in perfect shape after it has been restored.
     
  2. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2003
    Posts:
    17,048
    It will probably be in the condition it was when you first turned it on. Or at least in the condition that stuff was last saved to the disk files.

    Intuitively I'd say it's a bad idea. Close them down first. THen image. Reduce the risk of something going wrong.

    Pete
     
  3. pjdevries

    pjdevries Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2007
    Posts:
    10
    I think it will be in the condition that stuff was last saved to the disk files. And of course you're right in pointing out that shutting down the VM is probably the safest approach. Suspending the VM would probably serve it's purpose equally well. I keep my machine powered on 24 hours per day though and backup's are made at night. I'm definitly going to forget to suspend or power down a VM every now and then and according to Murphy that's the day I'll have a disk crash. So I'm still curious if it's safe to backup a running VM.

    The point is that True Image is capable of backing up a running system. So the big question is, if one or more running VM's are treated the same by True Image as any other piece of software running on the system being backed up. A concern might be the issue of open files and data in RAM. I don't know how True Image handles that on a regular system, but I can imagine it may be a little different for running VM's.

    Maybe it's neccessary for True Image to run on the system being backed up itself. In that case the only solution is to run True Image in the VM itself and not on the host. Drawback of that approach is that I have to install True Image in each and every individual VM and in case of a recovery procedure, I have to re-create each VM and restore it's backup manually.

    I hope an Acronis technician can give a definite answer to the question.
     
  4. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2006
    Posts:
    6,483
    Location:
    California
    I would think it would be risky to backup a running VM's hard disk file and expect it to be "stable" when it's restored.

    When TI backs up a "real" computer it can "lock" the drive and carry out the process. TI has no idea what is going on in the VM. It will just "lock" the VM's hard drive on the physical drive and save it in its current state.

    When TI restores the VM's hard drive, the previously running VM's state will not be restored (it's not like it was suspended). You'll have to restart the VM OS and to it it would look like the "plug was pulled" while it was running. This may not cause a problem or it might, just as on a real computer.
     
  5. pjdevries

    pjdevries Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2007
    Posts:
    10
    The way you describe it, sounds quite resonable and I guess you're right. So the best approach would be to at least suspend all running VM's before creating the backup. I'll try to figure out if that can be done with a 'Pre command' in the 'Backup creation options', so I can't accidently forget it.

    Thanks for the help Peter2150 and MudCrab.
     
  6. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    Posts:
    25,885
    Hello pjdevries,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    Please notice that MudCrab is correct. The VM backed up this way after restore will be in essentially same state as if you forcibly terminated it via task manager.

    If you have any further questions concerning Acronis software, please feel free to submit a request for technical support or post any of them on this forum. We will certainly try to help you in resolving any issues.

    Thank you.
    --
    Marat Setdikov
     
  7. pjdevries

    pjdevries Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2007
    Posts:
    10
    Thanks for your feedback as well Marat.

    I found that there is a command line utility vmrun.exe with which you can do all kind of nifty things with virtuial machines like starting, stopping, suspending and and resetting them. It's even possible to run a script in the guest os, so with a little effort one can probably even shutdown the guest os nicely. This could be used as a 'Pre Command' before starting the backup.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.