By Crystal / Last Updated April 24, 2022

What is hot backup and cold backup

Hot backup is performed while the system is running or powered on, and users have access to the virtual machines. During the hot backup process, the changed data has been generated continuously.

Hot backup protects the data of virtual machine almost simultaneously, so the biggest advantage of hot backup is that it reduces the shutdown time so as to ensure business continuity. It allows you to restore to a certain point quickly at any time.

However, the disadvantage of hot backup is that data is more likely to be corrupted during backup which create an unrecoverable situation. And it may take up a lot of storage which affects virtual machine performance.

Cold backup occurs in a shutdown or offline state, where virtual machine database is not available. When performing cold backup, there is no new data is produced, which greatly ensures data consistency and security for recovery.

For its disadvantages, you can only restore VM to a single time point and recovery time takes longer.

A table to illustrate the differences between hot backup and cold backup:

Backup type

Hot backup

Cold backup

Business continuity



State of system

Dynamic state

Static state




Backup speed



Recovery time



Maintenance Cost



How to choose hot backup vs cold backup

There are pros and cons of both hot and cold backups, so it’s crucial to choose a suitable backup type for data protection and business development.

If you need to run virtual machines all day long without any downtime or business interruption, hot backup is more recommended. Hot backup guarantees business continuity and can quickly and flexibly restore to the previous point in time.

If your business has break time, you can choose cold backup VM data before you start or after you finish your work, and try to avoid peak periods. This can protect yout virtual machine comprehensively and effectively prevent data from accidental disaster.

hot backup vs cold backup

How to perform reliable hot or cold backup for VM

For VMware backup, there are various backup solutions such as clone VM, copy VM files, export VM to OVF template or using VMware Converter.

For backing up Hyper-V, Windows Server Backup and Hyper-V manager are both accessible.

The majority of these backup methods are cold backups. If you want to back up VM while running, you have to worry about data inconsistency. So, in order to solve this, a professional software is more useful to achieve data consistency while performing hot backup.

For example, it’s recommended you to utilize a professional backup software AOMEI Cyber Backup to achieve hot backup or cold backup as you need. It keeps data consistency for virtual machines without powering off and also allows you to restore VM to different host fast and securely.

Reliable data consistency: It allows to perform crash consistent backups even though the system is running and provides the most reliable infrastructure to protect your data - both your data is in transit or at rest.
Fast Recovery: Instantly recover entire VMs, files and objects from duplicated backups with one click.
Automatically Running: When the backup task is set, it will be automatically executed according to your setting.
Centralized management of multiple VMs: Easy to access to the central console to manage multiple virtual machine tasks at the same time.

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Easier steps to create reliable hot backup for VMs

1. Access to AOMEI Cyber Backup and add devices as ESXi or Hyper-V.

2. Click Task >> Backup Task >> Create New Task to start creating the reliable task.

3. Enter backup Task Name, and select VMs and location. It's conveneint to store VM files to network or local place securely.

backup target

4. Select full/incremental/full Backup Method and its Backup Type as daily/weekly/monthly.

schedule backup

5. Select retention policy for each backup that will delete unwated backup files to save storage.

backup cleanup

6. Click Restore to achieve fast recovery to original or new destination easily. All processs are based on several clicks to backup or restore virtual machine.

restore virtual machine

Within several minutes, you can create a reliable backup task that safeguards virtual machine data automatically and keep business continuity all the time. The professional backup software makes hot backup become convenient and simple.


In this article, I have introduced what is hot backup and cold backup. Whether hot or cold backup, they have their own advantages and disadvantages. If you pursue less downtime, hot backup can meet your needs. If you prefer more stable backups and no more expensive costs, cold backup is good for you.

For enterprise-level backup needs, choosing a professional backup software is necessary in order to keep business continuity and avoid unexpected losses.