Why you Should Back Up Hyper-V to the Cloud

If data in your Hyper-V system is worth backing up, it’s worth copying and storing off-site. Too many things can go wrong to a data center that can damage both the servers and backups – if those backups are stored in the same location. If they’re also located somewhere else, however, you can survive just about any disaster.

In fact, having a copy of the data off-site is just one step in what is called the 3-2-1 rule of backups. Keep at least three copies of your data on at least two different storage types and keep at least one of those copies off-site.

Keeping three copies is easy enough to understand, so let’s talk about having them on two different storage types. The way to do this is to either store a copy on local storage and another with a cloud provider, or to store a copy with different cloud providers. You can also do both of these things, creating a local copy and two cloud copies stored with different providers. The idea is to not allow a single type of outage – such as an outage of your cloud provider – take out all your backups.

Most backup products have the ability to create a local backup before copying it elsewhere. The advantage of having a local backup is that it makes for a much faster recovery. But as mentioned previously, having only that copy is problematic. Therefore, we need to copy the data to at least one other location – two would be even better.

In the old days, we would accomplish this by simply copying the tape and handing it to an off-site storage vendor. That practice hasn’t been considered a best practice for a long time due to the incompatibility of tape and the typical backup process. The modern-day equivalent is to electronically copy it to another location. This could be another data center that you manage, or a cloud provider. This second copy needs to be in a place that is highly available and is capable of supplying the data at a high rate of speed for a large restore.

One challenge with storing copies of all backups at a cloud vendor is that the type of storage they use to provide high-availability and high-bandwidth often costs more than the alternatives, such as infrequent access storage or cold storage. But you can have the best of both worlds by keeping the recent copies on the highly available, high-bandwidth, costly storage, and keeping older copies on less expensive cold storage.

If you combine these three methods, you have a very strong system. First, create a local backup used for operational recoveries and large recoveries. Keep enough local storage to keep a week’s worth of backups. Second, replicate each backup to a cloud provider that can provide the data with high-bandwidth for a disaster that takes out your entire data center. Finally, replicate some of those backups to an even less expensive cold storage cloud provider for longer-term storage. (For reasons outside of the scope of this article, though, you should not store your backups in the cloud forever. That is what archive software is for.)

StorageSwiss Take

It is possible to back up your Hyper-V system using modern technology and still follow the old 3-2-1 rule of backups. Rules of thumb like this are just as valuable – if not more valuable – as they were back when we were making tapes. Cloud providers fail, storage arrays fail, and fires and terrorism still exist. The 3-2-1 rule still applies. It’s just how we apply that rule that is different.


NAKIVO develops a fast, reliable, and affordable solution for protecting virtualized data. With NAKIVO Backup & Replication, you can safeguard backups with Backup Copy jobs, which provide a simple and powerful way to create and maintain copies of your backups. You can schedule backup copies, send backups offsite and to Amazon or Azure clouds, choose to copy all backups or fine tune what, when, and how backups get copied. Backup Copy jobs provide a powerful way to protect your backups and ensure that they are safe regardless of what happens to the production environment or primary backups.

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W. Curtis Preston (aka Mr. Backup) is an expert in backup & recovery systems; a space he has been working in since 1993. He has written three books on the subject, Backup & Recovery, Using SANs and NAS, and Unix Backup & Recovery. Mr. Preston is a writer and has spoken at hundreds of seminars and conferences around the world. Preston’s mission is to arm today’s IT managers with truly unbiased information about today’s storage industry and its products.

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