Lisa Campbell wrote in a recent blog post about a number of great reasons you should consider upgrading to Hyper-V Server 2012 R2. I’m in complete agreement with her, and I thought I would take you on a bit of a deep dive into one particular where MSFT has focused resources and is offering a huge improvement over past functionality – Linux Integration Services.

If you want a full look at all the improvements in LIS in HS 2012 R2, check out MSFT Ben Armstrong’s virtualization blog. But the really cool feature I want to highlight for you today is Live Virtual Machine Backup.

In past releases, when a Linux guest VM running on Hyper-V was being backed up, the integration services would suspend or pause the Linux guest, creating performance, availability, and sometimes data or file system corruption problems. As you may know, Unitrends’ virtual backup appliance (Unitrends Enterprise Backup™) runs as a Linux guest on Hyper-V hosts. So we have run into the scenario where our users accidentally kicked off backups of their UEB guest running on Hyper-V. Our Support team just loves when this happens (tongue firmly in cheek). As you can probably imagine, this causes all sorts of havoc on our running backup system.

Well now MSFT in HS 2012 R2 has closed this loophole in functionality. In their new release, they’ve included a file system snapshot driver which allows Hyper-V APIs to initiate consistent file system snapshots without interruption to normal processing.

Since there is no VSS (Volume Shadow-Copy Service) available in Linux, the integration with file system snapshot doesn’t extend to Linux-based applications in the same way VSS does on Windows applications. But still, this is a huge improvement for users who need to run Linux guests on their Hyper-V hosts (especially those of us who use UEB!).

And in case you haven’t heard, we’ve increased our freemium product offering to allow you to protect up to eight VM’s forever. If you haven’t already, it’s time to give it a try!