There are many backup tools on the market, some focused on physical server backup, some on virtual machine protection, and some on cloud workload backup. In this article, we'll look at one that covers all those workloads – Iperius Backup.

Installation ^

There's a single download for this Windows backup program, although there are many different versions of it. You can enable a 21-day trial of the full product. After that, if you don't pay for one of the commercial versions, it'll revert back to the basic free version.

Main console

Main console

There are Desktop versions (1 and 3 PCs, XP to 10), Essential (for single server backup, 2003–2019), Advanced VM (both Hyper-V and VMware; see below), Advanced DB (SQL Server, MySQL, MariaDB, Oracle, PostgreSQL), Advanced TAPE (DAT and LTO 1–7), Advanced Exchange (Exchange 2016–2019 and Exchange Online), and Full, which combines all features in a single product. The full version is $299 and there are discounts if you purchase licenses for multiple servers.

Iperius can back up to external USB drives, NAS drives, network drives (SMB and FTP), tape drives, and cloud destinations (Google Drive, Amazon S3, Azure Storage, OneDrive, and Dropbox). Backed up data can be protected with 256-bit AES encryption.

I installed the trial on one node in my four-node Windows Server 2016 S2D Hyper-V cluster and enabled the trial of the full version. Installation was a standard next–next–next affair.

Configuration ^

I found Iperius easy to use. Configuration settings were easy to get to and simple to set, including picking the language for the UI. It's clear this is a product made in Europe (Italy), not in the US where it's often English only.

General settings

General settings

I then created my first backup job with a wizard that stepped me through picking the VMs to back up.

Picking VMs to protect

Picking VMs to protect

I had to select a backup storage location, options for the job, email notification for job status, and the schedule to determine the frequency of the backups.

Setting a backup schedule

Setting a backup schedule

This was very straightforward, but I'd like to see additional notification beyond email. For instance, web hooks and maybe even an API would be good options so that you could set Iperius to let you know the status of your backup jobs in Slack or your IT service desk software.

One of the options was to use a zip utility to compress the backups. I enabled this option, which saved about 50% disk space compared to the full size of my four production VMs.

For Hyper-V, Iperius isn't cluster-aware. I could add individual hosts and see their VMs but not the overall cluster. On the VMware side, the story is more comprehensive. Supported versions include ESXi 4.x, 5.x, and 6.x, along with ESXi free. It supports both incremental and differential backup (CBT/VDDK) and connects to vCenter for backup or restore. Iperius also supports replication of VMs between datastores and between hosts with no agent required.

Restore ^

Backup is useless if you can't restore your data. Because Iperius protects data in its native format (VHD/VHDX for Hyper-V and VMDK for VMware, for example), you can easily mount a drive and extract a file or a folder, for either Hyper-V or VMware. Note that this type of restore can be done on any virtual disk (not necessarily from an Iperius backup) and can be done with any Iperius installation, including the free version.

For whole VMs, the restores can be done to any host. On the Exchange side, backups are done to PST files. These have challenges in larger environments, and this is not a preferred way to backup large numbers of mailboxes.

New features in version 7.0 ^

The main new feature in version 7.0 are incremental and differential Hyper-V backups for Windows 10, Server 2016 and Server 2019. You can maintain multiple restore points and perform automatic restores on different hosts. Iperius also supports VMware ESXi incremental replication of virtual machines from host to host (without the need for vCenter).

In addition, you can clone disks and make bare metal restore of an image backup using the Iperius recovery media remotely. The latest release also improved the performance.

Conclusion ^

Iperius Backup is a capable Windows backup product with good coverage of different workloads and backup destinations; however, there is some work involved in making Hyper-V clusters easily protected. It's incredibly cost effective, with a single full license at only $299.

Iperius also has several other products that integrate with the backup tool to extend its reach, such as Remote Desktop (for remote management and control, including clients for Android and iOS as well as PC), Iperius Storage for online cloud backup storage, and Console for managing multiple backup installations (or other software – it's a full package for Managed Service Providers [MSPs]).

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