Physical Server Backup and P2V with Vembu

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There is still many use cases for various organizations to use physical servers in their environments. There may be hardware devices or other applications that require physical hardware to interface with. Performance of other applications may be so bleeding edge that it can only run on true physical hardware. Whatever, the case, you business-critical physical servers need to be backed up along with your virtual environments. You may also have the path to move forward with P2V of a longstanding physical server. How can you easily go about getting the server P2V’ed in any number of different formats? In our post today, we will highlight the physical server backup features found in Vembu BDR Suite along with P2V capabilities that are some of the best around.

Physical Server Backup and P2V with Vembu

Vembu BDR Suite, currently at version 4.0.2 provides some really great features and capabilities not only in the realm of your virtual environments, but also the physical servers you have in your data center as well. Vembu features really great technology that allows you to easily migrate data between any number of formats and technologies, instantly. It is some of the best I have seen in a backup solution.

Part of this capability is made possible by what Vembu calls the VembuHIVE file system. With VembuHIVE, the formatting between various hypervisors is done instantly for each backup that is taken. This can be backups of virtual environments or physical Windows Servers.

Physical Server Backup with Vembu

The physical server backup provided by Vembu is easily done all from within the Vembu BDR Suite console. Let’s walk through the process to configure a backup of a physical Windows Server with Vembu BDR Suite.

Here we are using the latest Vembu BDR Suite 4.0.2 in the lab. Choose Backup > Microsoft Windows.

Choose-Backup-and-Microsoft-Windows Physical Server Backup and P2V with Vembu
Choose Backup and Microsoft Windows

Next, you are asked to populate the name of the Windows Server for Vembu to make its connection as well as connection credentials. If you don’t already have the credentials populated, you can click Add Credentials to do that.

If you notice in the screen below, the prerequisites hyperlink. If you click this, you will be taken to a very thorough Vembu KB on the requirements for Vembu to connect to your server to push the VIS agent (Vembu agent for backing up physical Windows Servers). The link here is:

Enter-the-Windows-Server-name-and-credentials-for-backup-of-the-physical-server Physical Server Backup and P2V with Vembu
Enter the Windows Server name and credentials for backup of the physical server

Confirm you wan to proceed with the agent installation on your remote Windows Server.

Confirm-to-install-the-Vembu-agent-for-backing-up-the-Windows-Server Physical Server Backup and P2V with Vembu
Confirm to install the Vembu agent for backing up the Windows Server

The server is now added to the Vembu BDR Suite console. Click the Backup Now button to launch the backup wizard for creating a new backup job.

Beginning-the-process-to-backup-the-Windows-Server Physical Server Backup and P2V with Vembu
Beginning the process to backup the Windows Server

Vembu requires that its Vembu ImageBackup Driver is installed on your Windows Server host. Simply click the Install Drivers to initiate the driver install.

Installing-the-VembuImageBackup-Driver-on-the-Windows-Server Physical Server Backup and P2V with Vembu
Installing the VembuImageBackup Driver on the Windows Server

This does require the server to be rebooted. If you click OK the server will be rebooted in the process.

Confirm-the-image-drive-installation-and-the-reboot-of-the-server Physical Server Backup and P2V with Vembu
Confirm the image drive installation and the reboot of the server

After the driver is installed, you can click the Backup Now button again and you will begin the backup wizard. Choose the drives you want to backup. When backing up the Windows OS, you will need to backup the small System Reserved partition along with the OS partition.

Choose-the-drives-you-want-to-backup-with-Vembu-Microsoft-Windows-backup Physical Server Backup and P2V with Vembu
Choose the drives you want to backup with Vembu Microsoft Windows backup

Vembu will assign a drive letter to the system reserved partition for backup purposes.

Assign-drive-letters-to-the-unlettered-volumes-for-backup Physical Server Backup and P2V with Vembu
Assign drive letters to the unlettered volumes for backup

Drive letter is now assigned and ready to move forward.

Drive-letters-assigned-ready-to-backup Physical Server Backup and P2V with Vembu
Drive letters assigned ready to backup

Choose your guest processing settings. This allows you to have application aware processing enabled for the backup job. This ensures applications like SQL Server are backed up in a consistent state.

Choose-guest-processing-settings-for-application-aware-backups Physical Server Backup and P2V with Vembu
Choose guest processing settings for application aware backups

Setting the schedule for the job. You can also specify additional full backups.

Schedule-the-physical-Windows-Server-backup Physical Server Backup and P2V with Vembu
Schedule the physical Windows Server backup

The Settings screen allows you to configure options for Retention, backup storage, and Encryption.

Configure-retention-storage-and-encryption Physical Server Backup and P2V with Vembu
Configure retention storage and encryption

Review your settings and Save the Backup. You can also place a check next to the Run this job immediately after saving.

Name-the-backup-job-and-save-the-settings Physical Server Backup and P2V with Vembu
Name the backup job and save the settings

Click OK to proceed with the backup job creation.

Confirm-the-backup-job-settings-and-creation Physical Server Backup and P2V with Vembu
Confirm the backup job settings and creation

The backup job kicks off and begins copying data.

Vembu-backup-jobs-of-the-physical-server-begins-copying-data Physical Server Backup and P2V with Vembu
Vembu backup job of the physical server begins copying data

After only a few short minutes, the backup job is complete.

Backup-job-completes-successfully Physical Server Backup and P2V with Vembu
Backup job completes successfully

Physical Server P2V with Vembu

Now that we have a good backup of the server with Vembu, let’s look at the options for P2V we get. Choose the Recovery menu. The win19test machine is my physical Windows Server. Note the Restore and Mount options. You get these same options for any Vembu backup you have saved.

Recovery-options-for-the-physical-server-including-restore-and-mount Physical Server Backup and P2V with Vembu
Recovery options for the physical server including restore and mount

The options for Restore include:

  • Quick VM Recovery
  • Disk/Partition Recovery
  • File Level Recovery
  • Disk Management Mount
  • Download

Vembu provides some of most flexible and easy to work with options for recovery among its competitors.

Restore-options-available-for-the-physical-Windows-Server-using-Vembu Physical Server Backup and P2V with Vembu
Restore options available for the physical Windows Server using Vembu

Alternatively, when it comes to P2V options, the Mount option provides a great way to have your backup of a physical Windows Server instantly converted to the format you need. Click Yes to mount your backup.

Choosing-to-mount-the-recovery-data-in-the-Vembu-virtual-drive Physical Server Backup and P2V with Vembu
Choosing to mount the recovery data in the Vembu virtual drive

When you click Yes, Vembu instantly exposes your backup as the following virtual image types:

  • IMG
  • VHD
  • VHDX
  • VMDK
Vembu-instantly-exposes-the-backup-in-many-different-formats-for-your-use Physical Server Backup and P2V with Vembu
Vembu instantly exposes the backup in many different formats for your use

As an example, if I click into the VMDK folder, I see VMDKs for each backup run that has ran contained in the mounted backup. I can literally copy this to my virtual storage and create a VM to mount as the VM I want to use as the P2V copy.

An-example-of-the-physical-server-drives-automatically-P2Ved-to-VMDK-disks Physical Server Backup and P2V with Vembu
An example of the physical server drives automatically P2V’ed to VMDK disks

Wrapping Up

Physical Server Backup and P2V with Vembu is super easy. While the it requires an agent, the administration and installation of this is made easy as it can be done from the Vembu BDR Console.

Vembu has one of the slickest and easiest conversions of backups into different formats that I have seen. There is no time for conversion. The converted backups are always instantly available as the different file types for use with different hypervisors. Be sure to check out Vembu BDR Suite and the fully-featured trial version that will let you play around with the cool backup and conversion features in your lab.