Veeam Backup: Part One

This is part one of a multi-part post on our Veeam setup, we recently deployed Veeam and have been using in production for close to a week now. Below are some initial notes/thoughts on our Veeam setup. Our Environment/SetupWe have a complete virtu…

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This is part one of a multi-part post on our Veeam setup, we recently deployed Veeam and have been using in production for close to a week now. Below are some initial notes/thoughts on our Veeam setup. 

Our Environment/Setup
We have a complete virtualized environment running vSphere 4.1. We have (3) ESX 4.1 hosts connected to (2) Equallogic PS100 SANs. The SANs have around 4TBs total in their storage pool. We are running Veeam B&R on a physical 2008 host; we prefer to have our backup/restore solutions separated from the infrastructure that they are backing up. Our Veeam box is connected to around 7TB of DAS storage from an HP MSA60 (populated with 2TBx6 drives in RAID6). We are using SyncBackPro software (http://www.2brightsparks.com/syncback/sbpro.html) to copy our Veeam files to our offsite location every evening over our MPLS circuit. Our offsite location has around 24TB of storage onsite so we can archive 1+ years worth of backups.
See the below diagram:

Backupoverview

Veeam Setup
We have a very simple job setup, we only have (4) Veeam Jobs:

  • DWM (Daily/Weekly/Monthly): This is our main backup job for all our VMs, has a mix of Linux/Windows VMs. For Windows boxes, ensure you have VSS enabled and working, enable Application-aware processing and ensure you have valid credentials, once that is done things are pretty much setup on the Windows side (minus applications that are NOT VSS-aware, for those cases you will need to write some pre/post scripts via VMWare Tools to address your application-specific procedures to ensure it is in a “clean” state). Linux, due to its lack of VSS, needs a bit more configuration, mostly in the way of writing some pre/post scripts to handle various applications you may have. On future blog posts I will post some of the scripts/techniques we are using, one simple example would be for MySQL, a simple stop/start of the service would be a great way to achieve this, if you can afford the small downtime this creates.
  • Onetime: This job handles our VMs that don’t have frequently changing data and that we only run monthly.
  • VirtualCenter: This job backs up our VirtualCenter server. You need to locate the host your VC VM is running on and add that host to the Veeam console (not the VC server!) for a successful backup. The downside to this is that you will need to update this job anytime this VM changes hosts, you may want to tell DRS to leave this VM alone.
  • ProductionApp: This job backs up our primary business application every hour, so far we have noticed no performance issues with this frequency. I will write a future blog post about this job as this VM runs an IBM Informix database that has some unique requirements to get in a consistent state.

At this time we are using Network mode to backup our VMs, we currently have the capability to do SAN-level backups but chose not to due to the risks of VMFS corruption. Veeam by default disables automount in Windows but we are not comfortable with that being our only safety net, currently Equallogic does not support granting read-only permissions to a particular host, you can make the entire volume read only but this is of little use. Should automount become enabled via update or something else, there is possibility of damaging our VMFS volumes. We will wait until Equallogic adds this feature then give our Veeam host read-only to each volumes then make use of direct SAN backups. We currently have a RFE with Dell to add this feature but who knows when/if this will happen! Spoke with Dell this week who confirmed for me that this feature has been coded and scheduled to be released in next firmware update!

All our jobs are set to use Incremental mode with Synethic fulls on Saturday and one Full backup a month on 1st Saturday of the month.

The first initial backup for our environment (around 1.5TB) took approximately 18hours, 30minutes. Incrementals after that less than 2 hours!
Veeam compresses our initial backup of 1.5TB down to around 800GB which is almost half, quite impressed! Incrementals are usually around 50-200MB depending on quantity of data changed.

We are using BEST compression and WAN TARGET settings to achieve these results.

Our Data Center has an HP MSA60 with around 7TB of DAS storage, our offsite location has 24TB of storage on an HP MSA2012i.

Watch this blog for future posts on our Veeam setup.

Author: Travis Kensil

Director of IT. Husband and father. Michigan beachbum.

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