When it comes to virtual machines and their uses, many are familiar with the moniker crash consistent. This process is the one that creates as snapshot that restores the virtual machine to exactly where it was before it lost power, or went down for any other reason. However, this feature doesn’t protect as well as some other options because running applications will lose the stored data from that session. Finding a true VM restore that will access all the data that you need is more expensive and harder to come by. They refer to this type of restore as one that is application-consistent.
Most end users simply aren’t familiar enough with the processes and ideas that govern backups and their necessities. This is why many are upset when they find out that their VM restore won’t actually give them back the data they most desperately need, whether that is from SharePoint, SQL, or even Active Directory. Finding a solution or software that will back up the application data is paramount when it comes to this sort of restoration.
The snapshot that an application-consistent backup will get commits all data in and out prior to making the snapshot. This includes all disk transactions, and any file that is open or in database format. Data integrity will be much higher, but once again, this service will come at a greater cost.
The actual process that is completed to perform a VM restore couldn’t be simpler. Most companies’ offerings don’t even need any command line processes. It is all wrapped in a nice GUI that allows you to pick what you want to restore from. You can set up this process to happen automatically as well if you are at home when the restoration needs to take place. Some administrators love this extra feature, and some don’t like the idea and want to oversee something like that with a more hands on approach.
You are able to store your backups either locally or on an off-site solution. The off-site solution will obviously cost more money but will also allow a greater degree of security given that a major power failure on site would render your backups just as bad as your main running virtual machine. The options are virtually endless, and the more research you put in at the front end, the more likely you are to have a good experience when you do need to restore from a backup.