How Virtual Servers Work and How to Backup and Restore Them Safely

A virtual servers are modern way of hosting websites and applications so that they can be more easily managed. Such a server is essentially a sophisticated piece of software that emulates hardware. Since software can be moved from one storage device to another across the world, managing and backing up critical applications and data becomes much easier.

How Virtual Servers Work and How to Backup and Restore Them Safely

How virtual servers work:

A hypervisor is a special software the mimics all the hardware including the CPU, memory, storage device, network and other resources. An operating system sees it as real hardware and therefore even end users using applications on the virtual machine do not see any difference. By installing a server operating system in a virtual machine, you can run a website with fewer problems.

This benefits you because:

  • The virtual server can be turned off and on very easily
  • You can easily switch between such servers
  • They can be backed up and replicated with minimal effort
  • If one virtual server goes down, the backup can be used instead

Virtual servers help you create seamless applications with greater up time. In order to take advantage of their best features, you need to know how to back them up securely and then restore them as soon as they are needed.

Backing up:

The two most important virtual machine applications available today are VMware and Hyper-V. Both these hypervisors come with features that allow you to back up the virtual machine to multiple locations. There are multiple ways to create backups for your virtual servers:

  • by using live back up software on the guest operating system
  • using standard file backup software and manually saving conifer files in another location
  • Using features like Volume Shadow Copy service on Hyper-V

If you are running critical business software or consumer facing applications that cannot face downtime, using the live backup software is the best way. For instance, Hyper-V provides a live migration service that allows you to move your virtual servers without turning it off.

Restoring virtual servers:

If you are using a good hypervisor, hosted on reliable cloud service providers, then the task of restoring data will be as simple as backing them up.

Again, you have a few different options:

  • Use live virtual machine transfer features like live migration
  • Close your virtual machine and copy the backed up version, then update your configuration files

When operating virtual servers as your primary means of hosting websites and applications, you need to make sure that your cloud provider has the required expertise and hardware to handle it. Fortunately, most cloud companies have fail proof mechanisms specifically to make sure that virtual machines can be managed more conveniently with load balancing.

Most cloud companies automate the whole process of backing up and restoring virtual servers since it is such a common process. Once you sign up with their service, you can view the status of various servers that you have hosted with them from a common dashboard. This portal also provides you with options to manage the servers with single clicks.

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