What You Need to Know About Unitrends Instant Recovery (Part 2)

In part 1 of this mini-series, we reviewed what you need to know about Unitrends VMware Instant Recovery. In part 2, we’ll look into Unitrends Hyper-V Instant Recovery and highlight the important things to know.

To recap the base feature, Instant Recovery enables you to recover a failed or corrupted virtual machine, or physical Windows server, and access its full data set in just a minute or two. This means production data is accessible and users can continue working very quickly after an unexpected server failure.  In addition, faster recovery means less downtime and more productivity for the business.

Similar to VMware Instant Recovery, Hyper-V Instant Recovery is the process of creating a VM shell on a target Hyper-V host, exposing a datastore to that same host from the Unitrends appliance, and connecting the backed up virtual disks to this newly created VM so it can be powered on. The recovered VM runs from the host memory and CPU, while the VM disks reside on the Unitrends appliance.  Then in a real recovery scenario, Hyper-V Storage Live Migration migrates VHD and VHDX disks from Unitrends to the production Hyper-V storage target.

But before Hyper-V Instant Recovery can be used in a recovery scenario, please review these requirements and considerations:

  • You must have a successful host-level backup or backup copy of the VM
  • Recovery must be from local backups or backup copies
  • The Windows server agent and recovery appliance must be running version 8.0 or later
  • The restoration target must be Windows/Hyper-V server 2012 or later
  • For Generation 2 virtual machines, the restore target must be Windows/
  • Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 or higher
  • The target server must be added to the Unitrends appliance from which you are performing the instant recovery
  • To create a clustered VM with instant recovery, you must select a cluster as the target Hyper-V server. If you select an individual member node, the resulting VM is not clustered
  • When creating a clustered VM with instant recovery, you must select the network switch common to all nodes in the cluster. If you do not select this switch, the new VM will lose network connectivity if it fails over to another cluster node

Please note, in a recovery scenario Unitrends does not create clones, so the restored virtual machine will be configured with the latest hardware version that is supported by the target Hyper-V host. Also, when recovering a VM whose disks originally came from multiple storage paths, the recovered VM will locate all disks in the same target storage path.  Be sure there is sufficient space in the target location!

It is critical to be aware that a recovered Hyper-V VM is created with the same name as the original VM and no suffix. Due to Hyper-V limitations, it is not possible to rename the VM during the recovery, and the original VM is overwritten by the recovery operation if it resides on the recovery target. In short, use a different target host than the original if the original VM is meant to be retained.

Similar to its VMware counterpart, Hyper-V Instant Recovery supports both an Audit Mode and Instant Recovery Mode. However, unlike VMware Instant Recovery, there are no special licensing scenarios for Hyper-V administrators, so all Hyper-V administrators are capable of leveraging this dynamic feature.   Audit mode allows for testing and validation and Instant Recovery mode allows for a live production restore.  After the initial recovery is complete in Instant Recovery Mode, the VM will be available for production use.  But keep in mind, the following step is the live storage migration, so don’t tear down the Instant Recovery object in Unitrends until the Hyper-V Storage Live Migration is complete.

In addition, Hyper-V and VMware administrators alike, share the ability to automate recoveries and perform recovery assurance testing, simply by leveraging this instant recovery process and specifically, Audit Mode.   The ability to leverage Hyper-V replication between multiple sites is also an integrated feature of this solution.   More details on this feature can be found here.

As any server administrator knows, fast and flexible recovery is the key to a good backup and recovery solution. Unitrends Instant recovery for VMware and Hyper-V provide just that for any virtual machine administrator.  However, let’s not forget our physical Windows servers, which in many cases, still run the most critical business applications.  Fortunately, Unitrends has an instant recovery feature for those servers too.  In Part 3, the final blog in this series, I’ll provide additional detail on Windows Instant Recovery, outlining the requirements and any special considerations administrators should know.


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