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The purpose of a backup is to recover from unexpected problems that are not covered by snapshots, such as physical storage failure or entire server failure. For a comparison of the different usage scenarios of backups and snapshots, please refer to my previous article.
Proxmox on-demand backups
To manually back up a VM on demand in Proxmox VE, follow these steps:
- Log in to the Proxmox web-based management interface.
- Select the specific VM, click the Backup option, and then click the Backup Now button.
- Make sure you select a remote storage in the Storage field and leave the backup mode as Snapshot, since it provides the lowest possible downtime for your VM. You can also enable the Protected checkbox to prevent backups from being removed. Once done, click the Backup button.
Give it some time to finish the backup. You can view the backup status in the task viewer, as shown in the screenshot below:
- Now click the dropdown list to select the remote storage, as shown in the screenshot:
Restore a Proxmox backup
To restore a VM from backup, follow the procedure below:
- Select a particular backup, and click the Restore button.
- The Overwrite Restore dialog box is displayed:
- During the restore, you can override the VM settings, such as VM name, memory, and CPU cores.
- If you want to restore the backup to a new VM without overwriting the original one, click the remote storage (nfs-backups, in our case), click the Backups container, select a particular backup, and click Restore.
- In this way, you will see a completely different option to restore the backup to a new VM without affecting the original one.
Scheduled Proxmox backup jobs
The on-demand backup option is fine, but when you have a lot of VMs running in multiple hosts (nodes), you need a better approach. Proxmox allows you to schedule backup jobs where you can back up selected or all VMs on all nodes. To schedule a backup job, follow these steps:
- Click the Datacenter node on the top, select the Backup option, and then click the Add button. The Some guests are not covered by any backup job message on the backup page gives you a hint that certain VMs and containers are not covered by any backup schedule. You can click the Show button to view such guests.
- Now configure the settings for the backup job, as shown in the screenshot:
- For Node, select a particular node or all cluster nodes.
- For Storage, select the remote storage where you want to store your backups.
- For Schedule, configure the preferred backup schedule.
- For Selection mode, select All to back up all VMs. Alternatively, you could include or exclude the selected VMs.
- Enter an email address to receive email notifications about backup failure.
- For compression, select the desired compression level. The default is ZSTD, which is fast and sufficient.
- For Backup mode, select Snapshot mode since it offers the least amount of downtime for VMs. The suspend and stop backup modes cause VM downtime during backup.
- You can configure backup retention on the Retention tab:
- To experiment with various backup schedules and pruning options, you can check out the prune simulator.
- To restore a backup, click the backup storage, select a particular backup, and click the Restore button, as discussed in the on-demand backup section.
You just learned how to work with the backup feature in Proxmox VE.
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For more advanced backup and restore features, you can use the Proxmox backup server. This is another popular open-source enterprise backup solution that enables you to restore physical hosts as well.