For those who have been following my blog for some time know that I’m a big fan of PHD Virtual Backup or at least used to be. I’ve been following PHD since it’s early days. Unfortunately the company has grown to fast and the superb support has disappeared. Doesn’t matter how great the product is if support doesn’t work, especially when it comes to backup. So I reached out on Twitter and got a tip about Alike Backup for XenServer.
I’ve been running Alike Backup side by side with PHD Virtual Backup and have now decided to go with Alike. The best part, it’s FREE for single host server. That’s perfect for me since I have one XenServer and one Hyper-V server.
The setup is straight forward, the difference is that Alike Backup runs inside a OS and PHD Virtual Backup is an appliance.
First specify the Data Store Location and the credentials.
Then enter your host server settings.
You can also define email notification. This is the setup that works with Gmail.
And the report looks like this, great compression rate.
Then head into schedule jobs and create your backup jobs. A great thing with Alike is the possibility to run Q-Hybrid Backup. Q-Hybrid backups leverage only guest VSS snapshots on all Windows operating systems. Q-Hybrid backups never require any additional space in the XenServer SR to perform, so even systems that are low on space can be fully protected.
So instead of using XenServer Snapshots like PHD you’ve got another option here. If Q-Hybrid backup is not available (the VM is down) it will fall-back to normal hypervisor snapshot.
The biggest problem I see at the Citrix Support forum is this error : “Snapshot chain too long”. This is caused by PHD Virtual Backup and it’s a pain to fix. A great thing with Alike Backup is that you can run a Maintenance Job called Leaf Coalesce which fixes this and also reclaims space on the XenServer storage repositories. This job can be run as part of your normal backup or as a maintenance job.
The overall impression of this backup software and support is very good. The error messages in the System Activity below is caused by “Snapshot chain too long” and has been resolved in my lab.
I like that you can buy Alike Backup directly from their web site if you want their product with support. What I don’t like is that Alike is licensed per hypervisor and not per XenServer Pool like PHD Virtual Backup.