Hyper-V Replication: Why Native Hyper-V Replica Doesn’t Replace Backups

Hyper-V Replication is Microsoft’s native replication solution that comes as part of the company’s Hyper-V virtualization platform.

Its purpose is to enable replication of Virtual Machines (VMs) to secondary sites to maintain data availability in case of disasters. 

In this article, we’ll start by exploring what Hyper-V Replication is, as well as what makes it different from Hyper-V backups and clustering.

We’ll then make the case for why Hyper-V Replicas on their own fall short for a robust disaster recovery. Backups of VMs are a critical necessity to the data protection of a business.

Let’s jump straight in.

What Is Hyper-V Replication?

Hyper-V Replication is a free tool offered as part of Microsoft Server products since 2012.

The Hyper-V initial replication method enables rapid disaster recovery in unexpected situations. It does this by creating an image or ‘replica’ of the primary virtual machine and moving data from the primary server to a secondary server at regular or short intervals.

The secondary target replica server can either be on the same site or on other sites. 

Hyper-V Replica vs Backup: What’s the Difference?

Before we get to the core differences, let’s first define replication and backup.

Replication involves copying and distributing data to various locations as a means of maintaining data availability. It can also be used to enhance performance by keeping data stored in more than one location.

Because replication is a continuous process, it requires more storage capacity than backups. It also replicates your virtual machines in near real-time, compared to data backups that use disk-to-disk or tape data transferring.

On the other hand, a backup is a copy of the data that’s archived to protect against system failure or accidental and attack-induced data loss. A data backup can also be used to restore data to a specific point in time to reverse any changes that happened to the system after that point, which also comes in handy when companies need to respond to subpoenas. 

Data backups are encrypted, and data copying is carried out periodically based on a predefined interval (typically daily, weekly or monthly). Users can either store the backup copies using on-premises storage or in the cloud. 

Now that you have a better understanding of what replication and back mean, let’s talk about what makes them different and why replicas can’t replace backups. 

The difference in retention and recovery points

Hyper-V Replica allows you to maintain multiple recovery points and each represents a complete VM. Each point is captured every hour and this interval is unalterable.

This results in a massive amount of storage space being consumed quickly, while only representing a short period of the VM. For large amounts of data, this becomes untenable.

Whereas retention policies lasting years are not uncommon, offering a longer history for your virtual machine.

Hyper-V Replica only maintains one copy

As data is replicated, the new data is merged directly into the target VM. Since Hyper-V Replica maintains only one copy of a VM on the target server, risk is introduced.  

A different degree of data protection

Unlike replicas, Hyper-V backups provide data protection by encrypting your backups and storing data in a read-only state, making it a better solution for recovering from more significant disasters like ransomware attacks.

For that reason, a Hyper-V replica isn’t enough to protect your data from disasters and malicious attacks. 

How Probax DRaaS powered by Veeam simplifies the DR process

Veaam enables you to manage backup and replication using the same console, providing more flexible RPOs (Recovery Point Objectives) to get your critical business operations and processes back online efficiently.

You only need a single license to create replicas and backups, so you won’t incur any additional costs.

Eliminate the complexity and get protected with Second Colony DRaaS

Using a Hyper-V replica in your disaster recovery strategy is one of the best, cost-efficient ways to ensure the availability of your data.

Probax’s Veeam-powered Disaster Recovery as a Service accelerates recovery times of Hyper-V VMs and eliminates complexity to ensure client applications are running 24/7.

You need DRaaS in your MSP toolkit

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