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How do I Backup a Virtual Machine?

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  • Written By: Troy Holmes
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 25 September 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A virtual machine is a single computer that has multiple configurations. This type of computer requires a special backup procedure to ensure data is recoverable. The best way to backup a virtual machine is use standard backup software that copies the data files to an external backup device. This software should run automatically on a periodic interval and provide sufficient protection against hardware failure and data corruption.

The primary reason to backup a virtual machine is allow recovery of data when the computer system fails. This backup process enables systems to be restored after a catastrophic system failure. There are many strategies and process that should be considered with any organization's backup plan. The plan should include the necessary steps and procedures required to recover a computer system after a failure.

Computer systems can be scheduled to back themselves up at various intervals. Typically, this happens daily, weekly, or monthly. When an engineer plans to backup a virtual machine, he must first determine which type of backup schedule to use.

There are several backup software programs available designed specifically to backup a virtual machine. These programs are typically loaded onto a backup server that includes hard disks and backup tapes. The program will execute the backup scripts on a predefined time schedule and extract the data to an external device.

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It is important to backup critical business files on a daily basis. This will ensure important data is recoverable if the computer crashes. A daily backup can be easily automated through backup software programs.

The operating system (OS) is the heart of a computer system. This underlying software changes fairly infrequently, which makes it unnecessary to backup on a daily basis. Most OS vendors consider a weekly or monthly backup of the operating system sufficient.

Backup management techniques also include specific processes to manage the backup media devices. It is important to keep this backup media in a safe external location. Once the backup is complete, the software engineer should store this data in a external safe. This will ensure information can be recovered in the event of fire or catastrophic events within the computer facility.

Another important step to backup a virtual machine is proper media labeling procedures. This policy defines how backup media will be labeled for a company. Most polices include specific formats and reuse procedures that determine how long tapes should be archived.

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