The Challenges of RHV Backup

There are few backup technologies available to users of Red Hat Virtualization, largely because the market is so small compared to that of VMware and Hyper-V. Of course, companies using the platform still need a reliable, secure way to back up their environments. There are options for companies looking to back up their Red Hat Virtualization environment, but many are insufficient. Let’s take a look.

Export Storage Domain

This approach requires admins to use the snapshot-based backup that comes with RHV 3.5.1 or newer versions (this version allows snapshot removal while the virtual machine is still running). After creating the snapshot, you’ll have to clone the VM and export it. The cloning is required because RHV environments do not allow direct export of snapshots. However, they do allow the hypervisor to implement the backup process. Third-party solutions could also ask RHV to export the data and metadata in a VM, grab the files, and place them in a safe storage location.

However, this method comes with several drawbacks. Cloning requires additional storage space, storage setup, and extends the time for backup activities. Also, there can only be one active export storage domain in each data center, meaning users will have to handle several export storage domains. Lastly, admins will have to clone and export the entire VM, even if they want to back up only specific drives.

Disk Attachment Using a Proxy VM

With a proxy VM (dedicated VM), admins can ask RHV Manager to attach a snapshot disk and dump the data as if it were local. As such, there is no need for an expert storage domain and users can easily exclude drives they don’t need; however, they would need to install one proxy VM per cluster to enable their backup solution to attach drives.

It should be noted that this approach can become challenging, especially when running multiple backups at the same time. The proxy VM’s OS needs to first detect the device and admins must implement additional configuration steps to prevent LVMs from scanning volumes. Furthermore, operations need to run to completion on the RHV side.


Quickly recover your cloud or virtualized infrastructure
with one-click workload recovery from TrilioVault

Using Disk Image Transfer API

A new API was introduced in RHV 4.2 that allows the direct export of single snapshots of disks. This makes it possible to execute incremental backup of RHV environments since third-party backup solutions can ask the RHV Manager to export single snapshot difference (increments) via the RHV Manager API.

With this option, there is no need for a proxy VM or export storage domain. This greatly simplifies setup activities and the ability to directly access the single snapshots enables you to export backup data incrementally. However, you should note that the data being exported is stored in QCOW2 format, thus enabling manual merger of increments during restore operations.

You should also consider the transfer path (via the RHV Manager) to make adequate provision for bandwidth coverage. A proxy VM allows data to be read directly since the disk is treated as local while export storage domains allow third-party solutions to obtain data directly from the dedicated hypervisors in the cluster. Using the disk image transfer API lengthens data transfer paths since the backups pass from the hypervisors to the manager before getting to the third-party backup solution. This impacts latency and transfer rates during the backup process as well as scalability.

Seamless Backup of RHV Environments

RHV users who are looking for an efficient, stress-free way to back up their RHV workloads can also access native data protection. Trilio has an RHV backup solution that is agentless and captures point-in-time snapshots of your RHV environment. TrilioVault helps RHV users create, store, and efficiently manage point-in-time backups for their environments while facilitating speed of recovery — a crucial element in today’s data protection continuum.

By design, TrilioVault is non-disruptive during deployment and operation. It can be integrated into existing virtualization lifecycle management for automated deployment via Ansible.

Learn more about Trilio data protection for RHV.