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Planning the live backup of an Oracle Linux VM in Hyper-V

Learn what can go wrong with a live virtual machine backup if you're running Oracle Linux VMs under Hyper-V, and how to keep the process as smooth as possible.

What could go wrong with live virtual machine backup when running an Oracle Linux VM under Hyper-V?

Microsoft's live backup feature can copy a Hyper-V virtual machine (VM) to storage without having to be taken offline or disrupted. Windows Server 2012 R2 can support live VM backups with Oracle Linux 6.5 virtual machines, but it is important to meet the requirements for backup operations and check several potential issues.

In terms of requirements for a live backup, be sure the latest Integration Services version is installed and the backup option is checked on the Integration Services tab of the VM's properties dialog. You'll need to install the latest services if not. With the guest VM running, be sure there is plenty of storage available for the shadow copy process to finish. Inadequate space will prevent shadow copy features from running. It may be necessary to install Hyper-V Backup Essentials for Linux to support Oracle Linux 6.4 and later.

Internet Small Computer System Interface (iSCSI) can be a problem for live backup operations. For example, a guest VM requires an associated SCSI controller, but pass-through disks based on iSCSI devices or direct-attached storage devices can cause the live backup to fail without any warnings. Always be sure to test the live backup process to verify backups are created and stored in expected locations.

Finally, keep in mind that even though live backup is designed to capture VMs without first quiesceing them, live backups performed on VMs with open files might cause captured virtual hard-disk (VHD) files to be checked for file system consistency during the restore process. This doesn't necessarily indicate a backup failure, but will add considerable time to the restoration process. Test the restore files to ensure the VHDs are valid.

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This was first published in July 2014

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