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Veeam v7.0 – My favorites – Tape support 1

This week I supported a customer moving from Backup Exec 2012 to Veeam v7.0 for their backup to tape solution and because everybody was happy in the end, I decided write a little bit about the tape support.

We started with an upgrade from 6.5 to 7.0 R2 which I already described in this post. Then we simply disabled all Backup Exec services and we were ready to go.

Without any issues Veeam recognized the Fibre Channel attached Dell TL2000 tape library which was equipped with two drives. The native Dell (IBM) Windows drivers have already been installed and everything worked out of the box.VeeamTapeOptions

Then we performed a “Library Inventorying” to discover all available/free tape drives VeeamTapeInventoryingMediaPools

This process created two default pools, one for usable (free) tapes and one for medias which have been used by backup exec before. For those Veeam will display the following error “Unknown MTF writer”. I’m not sure if this was just caused by the write protection on the tapes, because Backup Exec actually also uses the Microsoft Tape Format.

Once discovered you can perform several operations on those tapeMediaOptions

One thing we missed was the option to schedule an inventory task to re-scan for new or removed tapes. A quick search revealed that this is currently only possible via PowerShell and thanks to the Veeam Community it didn’t take long to solve this problem

 

asnp VeeamPSSnapin

$Library = Get-VBRTapeLibrary –name “Name of the Library”

$Library | Start-VBRTapeInventory

 

Then we were ready to create our own media pools and jobs. For all of you looking for a way to implement a Grandfather-Father-Son (GFS) principle, you will need to prepare the media pools accordingly or you will need to leverage the “Backup Copy” feature in addition, because there is no option for GFS within the backup to tape job itself. However this isn’t a huge problem because you can simple create multiple pools, for example:

  • Weekly Pool – Up to 5 weeks write protection
  • Monthly Pool – Up to 12 months write protection
  • Yearly Pool – Up to 3 years write protection

According to these pool you can create multiple B2T jobs which can use a proper media pool.

An alternative would be to use the Backup Copy feature to “copy” your restore points to a second repository/location and to keep certain restore points according to the GFS principle. Those can be easily backed up via a “File to Tape” job. Note that a copy job cannot be used as source of a backup to tape job.

This customer really liked the “Reverse Incremental” backup method which in combination with the backup to tape turned out to be a good fit.

The reverse incremental method keeps just a single full backup file (*.vbk) which moves forward from day to day as long as you don’t perform an active full backup. ReverseInc

Source: veeam_backup_7_userguide_vmware.pdf

The plan was to use this backup method to keep at least 14 restore points on disk and to write just a single full backup file to tape once a week. The customer really liked this combination because they didn’t need to worry about the number of fulls on disk nor on tape.

But I can’t recommend this method for customers who want to keep a whole backup chain on disk simply because this isn’t supported in combination with the reverse incremental method (*.vrb files).B2T_MediaPoolSelect

If you enable the processing for incremental, which will also process *.vrb files you will end up with multiple full backups on tape. This how the backup repository looked likeFilesOnDisk

What happened was that for every *.vrb on disk a full backup *.vbk will be written to tape! So in this case you would end up with three full backups on tape.VRBtoVBKonTape

If you disable the incremental backup processing as depicted in in the screenshot above, Veeam will only copy the full backup file(s).

Now so far so good, but what for those of you who prefer the forward incremental method which is often used in a combination with synthetic fulls? ForwardInc

Source: veeam_backup_7_userguide_vmware.pdf

This will enable you to keep a complete backup chain on tape, because VBR supports to copy also the incremental files (*.vib) to tape. This is how the repository looked like

VIBonDisk

And so VBR copied the complete backup chain to tapeVIBonTape

But in my opinion this method has a little drawback, at least at the beginning. And please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong here.

Let’s way we also want to keep 14 restore points and we setup the job on Monday. In addition to that we would like to perform a synthetic full and the backup to tape every Saturday.

The following numbers should represent restore points not a date!ExampleForwInc1

In the first week Veeam will create a standard and a synthetic full backup which will be kept on disk until it is automatically deleted according to the backup retention policy. So two full backups will be backed up to tape in that week. This is because VBR will simply backup all restore points associated to a backup job to tape no matter how many full backups the backup chain contains. At least I wasn’t able to find a way to limit this in any way. Of course in the third week the number of full backups will be reduced to two on disk and to a single file which will be backed up to tape. ExampleForwInc2

 *The full backup 6* (previously 13) is already on tape and doesn’t need to be backup up again.

However now back to my customers where we created multiple media pools according to their needs as well as multiple B2T jobs.

B2TCreation2

As source for a backup to tape job you can add a bunch of backup jobs or even whole repositories. And of course in addition to the scheduling options or the selection of the media pool, you can also enable hardware compression and some automation options.B2TCreation4

Then we started the first B2T job and as I mentioned earlier, everything just worked.

B2T_RUN1

At this point I should mention that we had to replace the drivers at one point because we rarely had issues with drive locks. By installing the so called “non-exclusive” drivers we were able to easily fix hat.

We were kinda surprised how fast the job started to push data to tape. All of us were used to a delay for backup to tape jobs in other tools, but not with VBR v7.0 which started almost instantaneously.

But this wasn’t the end, we had two drives to use and we wanted to use those simultaneously to speed things up.

To be able to use two drives at the same time we had to use at least two jobs as well as two different media pools, because a single job will lock the target media pool when the backup has started.Tape0 Tape1

I mentioned it at the beginning of the post and I don’t want to neglect the possibility to also backup files to tape. We used this feature to backup Windows & Acronis bare metal backups/images to tape.

F2TCreation2

B2TCreation4 B2TCreation5 F2TCreation5

In the end all were happy to easily migrate to VBR v7.0 but there are some things we would like to see in future releases:

  • Statistic for tapes, like error counters
  • Refined scheduling to better support GFS usage. For example a weekly and monthly backup to tape job on the last weekend of the month, with different media pools, would backup the same data twice. Once on the weekly tapes and once on the monthly tapes but usually the last weekly media becomes the monthly tape.
  • Schedules for a library inventory within the GUI

But don’t get me wrong they managed to implement a really solid backup to tape support which is really easy to use and so I’m sure also other customers will be happy to get rid of their current backup to tape solution.


Veeam Backup & Replication v7.0 released – Inlcuding a quick upgrade walkthorugh

This week Veeam released version 7.0 of their whole software portfolio, of corurse including products like Veeam Back & Replication, Veeam ONE, etc.

Beside the new major enhancements like

  • Built-in WAN Acceleration (copy restore points including GFS)
  • Backup from Storage Snapshots with HP storage (StorVirtual & StoreServ)
  • Virtual Labs for replicated virtual machines
  • Virtual Lab for Hyper-V
  • Tape Support
  • Veeam Explorer for Microsoft SharePoint
  • Enhanced 1-Click Restore
  • Full vCloud Director support

Veeam also introduced about 75 more “minior” enhancements which in my opinion contain a sh** lot of useful options which further improve the product and its usability.

The complete list with “What’s New in v7” can be found HERE

So I already downloaded the new release and updated our lab to get my hands on the new software.

I’m using Windows Server 2012 as operating system so I mounted the software which now comes as ISO file and started the upgrade process.

Even if I haven’t had any issues so far with upgrading a Veeam environment, you may consider to take a backup of the Veeam Backup & Replication configuration as well as of both databases.

The first Step is to upgrade the “Backup Enterprise Manager”. Then you have to reboot the system so that the changes can take effect.  The next step is to upgrade Veeam Backup & Replication, which is pretty much the same when it comes to the upgrade process:

Setup1

Lic2 Components_to_Upgrade2 Requirements2Account2 DB2  DB3

Once the Upgrade is done, you need to reboot one more time. Afterwards when you launch the Backup & Replication console, it will recognize that it has been upgraded and it will prompt you to upgrade the transport agent(s) as well.

Components_Upgrade2

In the end the upgrade was easy and flawless as always, so no fancy or complex upgrade guide to upgrade your environment. More details can be found in the release notes.

Now I’m excited to play around with the new feature and you can expect some more post about them.

 

 

 

 


Dell EqualLogic – Host Integration Tools for Windows 9

The last two posts were about the integration of Dell’s EqualLogic arrays with VMware vSphere, but I don’t want to neglect the Windows & Hyper-V friends out there, because an EqualLogic is also an ideal backend storage for a Hyper-V environment or maybe you just want to use direct SAN access for your backup software.

To be able to connect your Windows hosts redundant to an EqualLogic SAN, you need at least two physical NICs connected to your iSCSI SAN/network.

NICs

You also need an account for support.equallogic.com where you can download the latest Dell EqualLogic Host Integration Tools.

Then you need to make sure the Windows feature “Multipath I/O” is installed. The Dell tools will provide their own module for the Device Specific Module (DSM) framework, which comes along with the Multipath I/O feature.

MultipathIO

Once this is done, you can install the HIT Software, what is pretty much just next next finish.

The HIT software will automatically configure the MPIO service properly and will in addition start the Microsoft iSCSI Initiator which will be used to connect to the EqualLogic SAN.

After that make sure the EqualLogic HCM service is running, in case it’s not you may need another reboot.

Services

 

CAUTION: In case you are going to connect a volume with a VMFS datastore to a backup server, make sure to disable the auto mount feature to prevent Windows from re-signaturing the volume. For example Veeam by default will disable auto mount as soon as the console/proxy role is installed.

Then you can launch the Microsoft iSCSI Initiator where you can add the EqualLogic SAN Group IP.

iSCSI1

Sorry for the Geman OS, but you should be able to recognize the corresponding tabs and buttons in you English OS.

iSCSI2

The iSCSI initiator will discover all volumes with appropriate access configurations. Maybe you need to hit the “connect” button to establish a connection to the volume(s).

If you haven’t already prepared the volume access, you should make sure to provide your application hosts with sufficient access rights. This can be done for example for the whole iSCSI network or just specific IQNs.EQL_access_list2

Then you can switch over to the “Dell EqualLogic MPIO” tab to take a look at the iSCSI sessions.

iSCSI3

As you can see, you end up with 4 paths in total for each individual volume.  The host is logged into all available iSCSI interfaces on two EqualLogic arrays (4 iSCSI target interfaces in total).

You can also check the discovered disk within the device manager. All volumes should be recognized as “EQLOGIC … Multi-Path Disk Device” DevMgr1

The properties tab of these devices will display the all available paths as well as the default MPIO policy (least queue depth).

MultiPathDiskDevice

To edit or review the multipathing configuration you can launch the Remote Setup Wizard or the Auto-Snapshot Manager.

RemoteSetupWizards

SnapshotManager

In case the EHCM service is not running, the MPIO console will tell you so. As you can see, here you can manage failover/path selection policies. By default (like on vSphere) the path selection is based on the least queue depth.

You can also use the ASM to take a look at the IOPS, throughput or multipath statistics.

SnapshotManager3

SnapshotManager2

But that’s by far not all the ASM provides on features. As the name states this tools supports you when you want to create application consistent snapshots, smart copies of virtual machine, etc. but this would be too much for this post.

For more detailed instructions for example Failover Clusters check out the “hit-user-guide.pdf” which comes with the installation of the HIT software.