Why Backup Using Saved State with Integration Services


As of generation Microsoft Server 2012 there is the option to back up your virtual machines using the GUI wizard. The strange thing though is that when I selected the VM (in this case PC02, see image below) the Hyper-V server insisted on (Backup Using Saved State). Now for what I was sure – Server 2003 and above (my case) that have the latest Integration Services installed things like snapshotting and backup ‘should’ work on a running machine. I mean, hello, MS is swanking around its Linux OS support based on these Integration Services, and further on Server 2003 supports VSS out of the box. So what was the problem?

After searching useless blogs and comments I came upon a document called ‘Protecting Hyper-V Virtual Machines’, featuring DPM 2012 SP1: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh757970.aspx

Guess what? There you find the list of all conditions that are preventing the backup in online state:

  • The Backup (Volume Snapshot) Integration Service is disabled or not installed.
  • A virtual machine has one or more dynamic disks.
  • A virtual machine has one or more volumes that are based on non-NTFS file systems.
  • In a cluster configuration, the virtual machine Cluster Resource Group is offline.
  • A virtual machine is not in a running state.
  • A Shadow Storage assignment of a volume inside the virtual machine is explicitly set to a different volume other than itself.

Pay attention especially to number 2. No dynamic discs are supported. Nuts. So if you want to back up a running machine it has to have a fixed disk. So long thin provisioning.