With the Unitrends system, you can create a customized backup schedule (or set of schedules) to protect your virtual machines. For example, let’s look at an environment that has multiple Hyper-V VMs of various sizes, and with each running different applications, so their change rate varies. You may decide to use one of several schedule strategies, for example weekly full backups with incremental backups between the full backups, or perhaps a strategy known as “Incremental Forever”, in which you run one full backup and incremental backups to capture just the changes thereafter. You can put all of your VMs in one backup schedule, or you can group the VMs so that some are backed up in using one schedule strategy, and the others are backed up using a different schedule, and so on. In this way, you can customize the frequency of backups based on your environmental needs. To increase your number of recovery points, you run backups more frequently in one of your schedules. Alternatively, you may decide that for a VM that changes less frequently, daily or even weekly backups may be all that is required. Less frequent backups mean that you have fewer recovery points, but less resources are required to manage VSS snapshots, transmit backup data to the Unitrends system, etc.
As mentioned earlier, “Incremental Forever” is becoming a popular data protection strategy because you only need to create and transmit one full backup of the VM, then after that you can run incremental backups. The Unitrends system will then periodically create a new full backup based on the incremental backups that have been taken of your VMs, through a process called autosynthesis. When a new synthesized full backup is created, it will look the same in the UI as if you had run a Hyper-V full backup.
When restoring a VM, you can restore either the VM or restore files from a point-in-time by picking a day and time from the restore UI “wheel”. You can restore the full VM or restore files using a process known as File Level Recovery, or FLR. A full restore will allow you to restore the entire VM, which consists of one or more VHDs (or in Hyper-V 2012, VHDXs), or restore the VHDs to an alternate system. With FLR the VM data at that point-in-time is exposed as a network share or iSCSI target from which you can copy the required files.
In conclusion, the Unitrends system can provide Hyper-V virtual machine data protection using very simple yet powerful strategies. This is complemented with equally powerful methods to restore entire VMs as well as individual files, depending on your needs.