Hornetsecurity released the new VM Backup v9 (formerly Altaro VM Backup) providing the ransomware protection for your backups leveraging immutable Cloud Storage.
VM Backup v9 allows the administrators to add an extra layer of security protecting backup data stored offsite on the supported cloud storage against deletion, overwriting and modification.
Wasabi and Amazon S3 are currently the supported cloud storage solutions you can use to protect your backups making them immutable.
Immutability is the condition where backups cannot be altered in any way and it is generally configured at the software level and backups are protected for an amount of time defined through a retention policy.
VM Backup support both VMware and Hyper-V environments and it is a valid solution to protect your data backup against ransomware attacks or unauthorized accesses.
What's new in VM Backup v9
The new version provides the following new features:
Protection against ransomware
Leveraging Immutable Cloud Storage, backups are now protected against ransomware attacks, deletion, and modification enforcing the security level. The new version currently supports Amazon S3 and Wasabi. Support for immutable Azure storage will be available in the next update.
- VM Backup v9 can now manage large infrastructures due to a redesigned backup repository that provides a robust long-term storage and a more efficient use of disk space.
- In the offsite repository data retention can now run in parallel with other operations.
VM Backup 9 key features
To protect your business, VM Backup provides all the features required to modern solutions to ensure data integrity and availability.
- Protection against ransomware - the new feature provided in version 9 to protect your backups against deletion or modification.
- Augmented Inline Deduplication - allow to reduce storage requirements for backups.
- WAN-Optimized Replication - allows the administrators to switch the production to replicated VMs offsite with a minimal time by reducing services disruption.
- Continuous Data Protection (CDP) - the Recovery Point Objective (RPO) can be adjusted up to 5 minutes limiting the data loss in case of a disaster.
- Multiple offsite backup locations - ideal tool for Disaster Recovery purposes allowing the administrators to store backups offsite and in a cloud environment. Microsoft Azure, Amazon S3, Wasabi are the natively supported cloud storage options. Offsite copies are also protected with the 256-bit AES encryption.
- Full control – you can manage your Hyper-V and VMware hosts from a single console through an easy and intuitive GUI.
- GFS Backups - Grandfather-Father-Son archiving model can be used to organize separate backup cycles.
- Restore - different options are available to restore your backup data, such as Restore VM as Clone, Restore Virtual Disk, File Granular Restore, and Exchange Item Level Restore.
- VSS Settings - allows to backup supported applications in application-aware mode.
- Drivers Exclusion - to skip selected disks from backup.
- Encryption - used to increase security for backups.
- Sandbox & Verification - backups can be tested and verified to ensure their recoverability.
VM Backup v9 provides protection for the following environments:
- Microsoft Hyper-V - Azure Stack HCI, Windows Server 2008 R2, 2012, 2012 R2, 2016, 2019, 2022, Microsoft Hyper-V Server (Core). VMs can be backed up and restored on/to ReFS and NTFS partitions.
- VMware vSphere - VMware vSphere 5.5, 6.0, 6.5, 6.7, 7.0 & 8.0. Free VMware ESXi and ESXi 5.0, 5.1 are not supported.
VM Backup can be installed on the following OSs:
- Azure Stack HCI, Windows Server 2008 R2, 2012, 2012 R2, 2016, 2019, 2022, Microsoft Hyper-V Server (Core).
Hosts must be in the same LAN and at the same physical site. If you plan to have multiple physical sites, you must deploy a VM Backup instance to each site.
Check out the System Requirements page for additional info.
VM Backup editions
VM Backup v9 comes in three editions:
- Standard – you can backup up to 5 VMs per host with limited features.
- Unlimited – an unlimited number of VMs per host can be backed up and Exchange item restore, Deduplication and Boot from Backup capabilities are supported. The Unlimited edition supports also Microsoft Hyper-V Clusters and vCenter.
- Unlimited Plus – all the Unlimited features are available with the addition of the Cloud Management Console and the Cloud Backup to Azure features as well as Continuous Data Protection (CDP) and WAN-Optimized Replication.
VM Backup is also available as Free edition and allows the backup of 2 VMs per host.
Two types of licensing are currently available:
- rice based on VMs to protect and not tied to any host. Provides the Unlimited Plus edition.
- of the number of sockets installed. Standard, Unlimited and Unlimited Plus are the editions available with this type of license.
The upgrade to VM Backup v9 can be done in two ways depending on the version installed in your system.
If you have version 8 installed, a direct upgrade from v8 to v9 is supported and all settings will be retained.
Before proceeding with the upgrade, make sure to meet the requirements:
- You must run at least VM Backup v8.21.x and .NET 4.8 is required.
- If your license uses the Support & Maintenance Agreement, you must upgrade your license key since v9 requires a new format.
- A new set of firewall ports must be opened if you use Offsite Backup Server and Replication.
- A fresh set of onsite/offsite backups (replication included) will be required.
- Backup taken by v8 will not be deleted automatically.
Version 5, 6 or 7
If your system is running VM Backup version 5, 6 or 7, a direct upgrade is not supported and you need to perform a fresh installation.
Upgrade VM Backup to v9
Before proceeding with the upgrade, you can take a snapshot of your current VM Backup Server to quickly restore the server in case something goes wrong during the install procedure.
Download the VM Backup upgrade file from Hornetsecurity website and run the installer.
Make sure .NET Framework 4.8 is already installed in the server otherwise you will receive the following message:
Install .NET Framework 4.8
In case the application is not installed, download the .NET Framework 4.8 and run the installer. Click Install.
The installation takes only few seconds.
When the .NET Framework 4.8 installation has been completed, click Finish to close the window.
Click Restart Now to complete the installation. The Server reboots.
Install VM Backup
The installation is pretty quick and requires only few seconds. Run the VM Backup installation wizard.
Accept the EULA and click Install.
The software is being installed in the system.
When the installation has been completed, click Launch to run the application.
Enter the credentials and click Connect.
Register the Server to CMC
When main Dashboard is displayed, click Connect to Control Panel to register the VM Backup Server to the CMC.
Now using your preferred browser, access the URL https://eu.manage.altaro.com then enter your credentials to login the CMC. Click Sign In.
Select VM Backup application.
When the CMC opens, the system detects there is an installation in progress. Copy the generated access key.
Paste the access key to the on-prem VM Backup Server and click Next.
When the connection has been established, click Register to complete the server registration to CMC.
The VM Backup installation has been linked to the CMC. Click Close.
From the CMC console you can now start managing the installation.
The CMC's Dashboard.
Configure the VM Backup Server
When the on-prem Server is connected to the CMC, you can proceed with the configuration.
The VM Backup configuration requires three steps to protect your environment:
- Add Hypervisor.
- Configure Backup Locations and Offsite Locations.
- Configure Backups.
Step1. Add Hypervisor
From the Quick Setup, click Hyper-V / VMware Host. In the example VMware vSphere will be the environment to protect.
Select VMware vCenter Server and click Next.
Enter the vCenter Server parameters and click Test Connection.
When the connection is established successfully, click Next.
Setup is now completed. Click Finish.
The configured hosts.
Step 2. Configure the Backup Location
It includes the configuration of the repository to store backups. Select the Backup Location type (in the example a CIFS share is selected) and click Next.
Enter the path to the share and the correct Share Credentials to connect then click Test Connection.
When the connection is established, click Finish to save the configuration.
The created backup repository.
Create an Offsite Location
To comply the 3-2-1 backup rule, click the Add Offsite Location button to create an external repository.
Select the desired Offsite Location (Wasabi in the example) and click Next. Note the two available options to store immutable backups.
Enter the Wasabi Account Credentials and specify the Bucket Name to use.
To make backups immutable, set the Enable Immutable backups for Wasabi switch to On and specify the retention in days. If you want to have immutable backups, make sure the chosen bucket has been configured with Object Locking option. Click Test Connection to test if the bucket is reachable then click Finish.
The create Offsite Location.
Assign VM to Backup Location
To configure the Backup Job, you need first to assign VMs to protect to the desired Backup Location.
Select the required VMs and drag and drop to the appropriate Backup Location and click Save Changes.
Step 3. Create a Backup Job
Last step is the creation of the Backup. Select the VMs to backup (make sure the Backup Location has been already defined) and click Take backup to execute the backup immediately.
Selected VMs are being processed.
Based on the VMs size, after few minutes the backup complets successfully.
Backups can also be scheduled by click the dedicated icon or in the Backup Settings section.
Select the VMs to protect and drag and drop to the desired Backup Schedule. Click Save Changes.
Click the pencil icon to customize the Backup Schedule configuration.
From Backup Location section, select VMs to backup offsite and drag and drop selected VMs to the previously create Offsite Location.
Select VMs are assigned to the specified Offsite Location. Click Save Changes.
Offsite copies require a Master Password for VMs configured with encryption. Enter the password and click Save.
You are now prompted to enter the credential for the authentication. Click Proceed when done.
Now access the Offsite Copies section, select VMs to store offsite and click Take Offline Copies. If you have a large amount of data to copy over WAN and the available bandwidth is slow, you can perform the Seed to Disk operation by storing the full backup to Disk and send the disk to the provider if this service is supported.
Offsite Copies are being processed.
Based on the VMs size, after some minute the backup completes successfully.
Checking the Wasabi bucket, we can see the stored backups.
VM Backup provides different options to restore backup data:
- Restore VM as Clone - a VM can be restored from the backup to a new location with a new name. Because the source VM is not deleted, make sure the NIC card is not connected to avoid IP conflicts.
- Restore Virtual Disk - a virtual disk can be restored directly from the backup.
- File Granular Restore - files and folders can be restored directly from the backup without restoring the entire VM.
- Exchange Item Level Restore - individual items from the Exchange Databases inside the VM can be restored granularly.
- Boot From Backup - a VM can be booted directly from the backup providing a reduced RTO.
Restore a VM
Go to Restore section and select the desired restore option. In the example the Restore VM as Clone is selected.
Select the repository where the VM backup to recover is stored and click Next.
Select the VM to restore and click Next.
Specify where the VM should be restored. Click Restore to proceed.
The restore progress can be monitored from the Dashboard.
Selected VM has been restored successfully.
From the Dashboard you can have a global overview of your VM Backup infrastructure.
The overview of your backup environment can also be verified also from the CMC.
Apply the license
Although the trial is valid for 30 days, you need the license to keep protecting your environment.
Go to License section and select hosts to license. Click Assign License to.
If you already have the license key available, click the link Click to add license.
Paste the received license key and click Add License.
When the correct license has been applied, the License Manager displays the license status.
Hornetsecurity VM Backup v9 is a complete backup solution that provides several features useful to safely protect your environment.
The new capability to make offsite backups immutable enforces the security for the business data and provides a strong protection against ransomware.
Hornetsecurity VM Backup v9 is available to download as 30-day trial for testing purposes.