Backups are essential to running Proxmox VE in the home lab or production to avoid data loss. Proxmox Backup Server is a free solution to back up and recover Proxmox VE VMs and containers.
Table of contents
- What is Proxmox Backup Server?
- Proxmox Backup Server installation step-by-step instructions
- Logging into the Proxmox Backup client interface
- Adding a datastore for storing backups
- Add the Proxmox Backup Server instance to your Proxmox VE server
- Creating a backup job
- Restoring a Proxmox virtual machine from backup
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Proxmox Backup Server as a Comprehensive Solution for Backup and Restore
What is Proxmox Backup Server?
Proxmox Backup Server (PBS) is a free solution based on the Debian operating system from Proxmox for backing up Proxmox VE virtual machines and container instances. It provides secure Proxmox Backup Server storage and data management features. Using PBS helps protect your critical data from accidental deletion, corruption, ransomware, or other unforeseen events.
Since many commercial enterprise backup solution products don’t protect Proxmox, it is great to see that Proxmox has a backup server to protect your Proxmox VE virtual machine workloads. Also, you can run it on your own hardware and select your hardware based on your own resource usage. So, the specific CPU, memory, disk, and hardware platform you choose may vary according to your strategy and needs.
Proxmox Backup Server features
Note the following features:
- Efficient Data Backup and Recovery: It provides reliable and quick backup and restoration of virtual machines, containers, and physical hosts. PBS also features Incremental backups. With incremental backups, only the changes changes made since the last backup are stored.
- Incremental Backup Support: Only backs up data that has changed since the last backup, to reduce backup time and storage requirements.
- Data Deduplication: Reduces the storage space required for backups by only storing unique data blocks.
- Data Backup Encryption: uses encryption during transfer and at rest.
- Web user Interface: Using a web browser, you can manage backups, restore data, and configure settings.
- Compression Options: Supports data compression to further reduce the storage space needed for backups.
- Snapshot Functionality: Allows for creating snapshots of data, enabling point-in-time recoveries.
- ZFS Support: Integrates with ZFS (Zettabyte File System) for efficient storage management and high data integrity.
- Flexible Storage Options: Supports various storage backends, including local directories, NFS targets, and SMB/CIFS.
- Replication: You can replicate your backup data to remote sites. This helps to create a 3-2-1 disaster recovery model.
- Role-Based Access Control: Allows granular control over user access and permissions.
- Backup Scheduling: Automates the backup process through customizable scheduling.
- Email Notification System: Sends automated email notifications regarding backup jobs and system status.
- API for Automation: Provides a REST API for easy integration with other systems and automation of backup tasks.
- Support for Multiple Clients: Compatible with various clients, including Proxmox VE, Linux, and others.
- Backup Retention Policies: Customizable retention policies to maintain a balance between storage space and backup availability.
- Bandwidth Throttling: Manages network load by controlling the bandwidth used for backup operations.
- Plugin System for Extensibility: Supports plugins for extending functionality and integrating with other systems.
- Backup Verification: Includes features to verify the integrity of backups, ensuring recoverability.
- Proxmox VE Integration: Seamlessly integrates with Proxmox Virtual Environment for centralized management of virtualized infrastructure and backups.
Proxmox Backup Server installation step-by-step instructions
Like installing Proxmox VE virtualization server, installing PBS is extremely easy and looks very much like installing Proxmox VE. Let’s install PBS and configure backups of Proxmox virtual machines.
First, you will need to download the PBS release ISO image from Proxmox here: Proxmox Backup Server.
Once you have the ISO file, “burn” the software to a USB flash drive or upload it to your Proxmox VE host if you are hosting your backup server as a virtual machine.
Below is a screenshot of the Proxmox Backup Server virtual machines booting from the ISO installation.
Accept the end user license agreement (EULA).
Select the installation drive.
Set your country, time zone, and keyboard layout language.
Create an administrative password and email address.
Enter the FQDN and IP address configuration.
Review the summary screen.
Below is a screenshot of the Proxmox Backup Server running on Proxmox VE.
Booting the Proxmox Backup Server after installation.
After the Proxmox Backup Server boots, you will see the default text splash screen directing you to open a browser to start managing the server. Note the port 8007, which is different from the Proxmox VE port 8006 for accessing the GUI. This is the command line interface (CLI) from the console.
Logging into the Proxmox Backup client interface
Next, let’s navigate to the web UI and log in to the web UI for the Proxmox Backup Server.
Below, we see the overview of the PBS tool.
Adding a datastore for storing backups
Next, let’s add a datastore for storing Proxmox backups. After logging into the Proxmox Backup Server, click the Add Datastore option under Datastore.
This will launch the Add Datastore dialog box. Name the new datastore and then enter the backing path. You don’t have to create the backing path location as the process will do this for you. Click Add. This will add the backup storage location to local storage on your Proxmox Backup Server.
Now, we see the datastore displaying in our Proxmox Backup Server.
Add the Proxmox Backup Server instance to your Proxmox VE server
On our Proxmox VE host, the Proxmox Backup Server is viewed as Storage. So, we first need to add it as storage to our Proxmox VE host.
Navigate to Datacenter > Storage > Add > Proxmox Backup Server.
This will launch the Add: Proxmox Backup Server dialog box. Here we enter the following information:
You may wonder where we get the fingerprint.
Navigate back to your Proxmox Backup Server and click on the Dashboard > Show Fingerprint button.
Here, we can copy the fingerprint.
Now, we can paste in the fingerprint.
After adding the fingerprint and clicking the Add button, we see the Proxmox Backup Server listed.
Creating a backup job
Now that we have the Proxmox Backup Server added as storage to our Proxmox VE host, let’s create a backup job.
You might think we would do this from the Proxmox Backup Server side. However, we create the Proxmox backup job from the Proxmox VE host. Proxmox Backup Server offers advanced features like snapshot mode and customizable backup retention policies.
Navigate to Datacenter > Backup > Add.
On the general tab, we can set all the main backup option selection for our Proxmox backup job. This includes:
- Source nodes from which to backup
- Storage that we want to target for the backup
- Schedule when your backup job will runReading the previous sentence, it becomes evident that determining the storage and backup schedule are crucial aspects when setting up a Proxmox backup server.
- Selection mode (which VMs)
- Notification mode
- Send email options
- Send email to for configuring an email address
- Backup mode – snapshot, suspend, stop
On the retention screen, you can configure all things retention and archive related, including:
- Keep all backups
- Keep last
- Keep daily
- Keep monthly
- Keep hourly
- Keep yearly
You can also configure the Note template.
After creating the backup job.
We can choose to run the backup job now:
Confirm you want to run the backup now.
You will also note, that you can navigate to the Proxmox VE host virtual machine and select Backup and you will have the option to backup your VM from here. Make sure you choose your PBS storage location.
After you run the backup, you can see the vzdump backups details for the VM by selecting your PBS storage location.
Restoring a Proxmox virtual machine from backup
After selecting your PBS backup location, you can select one of the restore points and select Restore
You can select to start the VM and also perform a Live restore.
Confirm you want to restore the VM.
The task will progress and should finish successfully. The speed will depend on the network bandwidth you have between your Proxmox VE host and your Proxmox Backup Server.
Granular file restore
You can also click the File Restore button to restore individual files from the backups.
Frequently Asked Questions
Proxmox Backup Server improves data security with features like backup encryption and secure data transfer protocols. This means your backups are protected from unauthorized access and potential threats.
Yes, it can handle backups for both virtual machines and physical hosts. However, it seems this functionality as documented from Proxmox is more on the roadmap for better integration and functionality. It is mentioned you can use the Proxmox Backup Server client to back up a physical host. Check the thread here: PBS: How to back up physical servers?
These save time and storage space. By only backing up data that has changed since the last backup, the load on the network and storage is reduced.
Proxmox Backup Server allows you to automate backup jobs through its scheduling feature. This automation ensures regular backups without manual intervention, making backup management more efficient.
You can configure ZFS pools and RAID configurations for internal storage. You can also configure external storage solutions like NFS and SMB/CIFS.
In the web interface, you can configure backups, settings, and restore data. In the interface you can configure network traffic settings, user access, and 2FA.
It includes features for managing network load, such as bandwidth throttling. This ensures that backup operations do not overwhelm the network, maintaining optimal performance.
Configuring user permissions involves assigning roles and access rights based on user responsibilities and requirements. This ensures that users have appropriate access to backup functions while maintaining data security.
With features like the file restore button and snapshot mode, it enables quick and efficient data restoration. These capabilities are crucial for minimizing downtime in case of data loss.
Proxmox Backup Server as a Comprehensive Solution for Backup and Restore
Proxmox Backup Server is a solution that provides Proxmox administrators what they need to protect critical data. It is also great for those with home lab environments to protect VMs and containers they don’t want to lose or configurations that are hard to reproduce. As shown, the solution is not hard to install. It is easy to set up backup jobs, and you can quickly restore your backups in the Proxmox VE environment.