altaro

I’m happy to announce that Altaro is now a sponsor of this site and as I normally do with new sponsors I always like to give a little introductory post containing background on the company and the products they provide.  Altaro was founded in 2009 and have been making a stand in the VM backup space ever since.  Altaro’s early focus was within the Microsoft space, providing backup and restore operations on the Hyper-V platform with their product Altaro Hyper-V Backup.  Everything changed in September of 2015 when their product was renamed to Altaro VM Backup and support for VMware vSphere was added into the solution.

I had a chance to check out early builds of the VMware vSphere support within Altaro VM Backup as a member of their beta.  Timing and business prevented me from ever blogging about the product but going back through my rough notes and searching deep within my (limited)  memory I can say there are a few things that really stood out for me…

Installation

Installation of Altaro VM Backup was a breeze!  I utilized the free 1000 CPU hours that we get as vExperts from Ravello Systems to set this up – basically all that is needed is a few clicks and Windows machine to install the software.  It’s your basic Next Next done type of wizard driven install.    It should be noted that once everything is fully setup and configured, the Altaro Management Console can be installed on a remote machine as well, connecting to your main server over the network – meaning there is no need to RDP into the Altaro VM Backup console all the time – a simply connection from your laptop would suffice.

Configuration

As far as configuration of Altaro VM Backup it can’t get much easier than this!   Altaro’s configuration can be applied to two basic questions that we ask ourselves when we are considering backup; What are we going to backup?  Where are we going to put it?  The first question is answered by simply pointing Altaro to your vCenter server (or individual ESXi/Hyper-V hosts) and providing credentials – from there Altaro will connect to the vSphere API’s and bring back and inventory of your environment.  The second question, Where to put it?, is just a matter of selecting your backup storage.  This can be either a network location (via UNC path) or a physical drive attached to the Altaro Management Console.  additionally Altaro VM Backup provides customers with a means to ship copies of your backups offsite as well.  This can be done either by rotating external USB drives, Network Paths (UNC) or to another instance of an Altaro server running at the secondary location.

Backup and whatnot…

Once you have some source VMs and target storage setup Altaro acts as you would expect, allowing you to set up scheduled backup jobs to run every hour/night/week, etc – or take one-off backups as well.  One nice feature was the ability to simply just drag and drop a VM onto your storage and have it create the job for you automagically!    There are a few other bullet points below that really helped sell Altaro to me

  • VSS support- meaning we can fully quiesce virtual machines to ensure consistent backups
  • Item Level restore support – meaning we can restore individual emails from Exchange, individual files from VMs, etc.
  • Full support for Microsoft Cluster Shared Volumes
  • Compression and Encryption
  • Ability to back up VMs to multiple locations
  • Individualized retention policies applied on a Per-VM basis.
  • Sandbox Restores – allowing you to test for backup integrity and restoreability of your backup files.

With all of these features packed into their first release supporting vSphere I can only hope to see more from Altaro!  Let me reiterate though, the main selling point of the software for me was not a certain feature or support for any platform – it’s the UI!  A clean, crisp, easy to use user interface should be of highly importance for any product which hits the market – a poorly designed on can make or break a customers reaction to your product!  Altaro has done a great job with theirs – their drag and drop functionality is awesome, and everything is easy to find – a very intuitive design!   See for yourself below!  Not to mention that I went from install to backup in less than 10 minutes, without the need to use any documentation!

altarodashboard

So with all that Welcome to Altaro to the mwpreston.net family and you should expect to see me go into this software a bit deeper in the future – In the meantime if you want to try out Altaro for yourself you can do so for free – you can go either the 30 day trial route or simply use the product for free for 2 VMs FOREVER!   Needless to say if you are in the market for some backup don’t forget about Altaro!