Pro's and Con's of using iSCSI targets for backups

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Pro's and Con's of using iSCSI targets for backups

Veeam Logoby DavidDarts » Tue Dec 15, 2015 11:33 pm

Hi All,

I am wondering what the Pro's and Con's are of using an iSCSI target for backups. I have a QNAP NAS which I would like to configure as an iSCSI target (from within Windows Server 2012 Standard) then I would like to backup all of my VMs to that target. My desire to use something other than a CIFS share (without the need for an additional Server) arises from issues that I described in http://forums.veeam.com/microsoft-hyper-v-f25/synthetic-full-backup-creation-fails-over-1mbps-fibre-link-t31677.html.

If an iSCSI target is not desirable, because of limitations that I am not aware of, are there other alternatives available which will not require me to purchase a full fledged (additional) Windows Server, or become a 'Linux Terminal Guru'?

Any help here will be greatly appreciated.

Kind Regards,

David
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Re: Pro's and Con's of using iSCSI targets for backups

Veeam Logoby marcinbojko » Wed Dec 16, 2015 6:46 am 4 people like this post

Hi David.
First of all - setting iSCSI both from Linux or WIndows is just an easy task. Maybe even little easier in WIndows (GUI) but under Linux console it is just 2 or 3 lines of commands.

Pros:
- stable (more stable than NFS/CIFS/SMB)
- if multipath is selected you can benefit from stacking network interfaces
- that is universal solution which isn't affected by CIFS/SAMBA limitations (locks, buffers size, aio, SMB protocol version and implementation)
- you can use filesystem of your choice (NTFS/REFS) or in Linux - ext3/4/Reiserfs/btrfs/xfs/zfs) - with all its perks

Cons
- depending on 'what is under the hood' ISCSI implementation on you NAS may be buggy or unstable
- it is recommended to separate storage traffic from regular network traffic (so different vlans at least, new network equipment recommended)
- mostly, your NAS requires you to choose: file or block iscsi version. Trick is, that some of it's features works ONLY with one of them (ODX in Synology for example)
- it is not so easy to reach and grab files from that volume. It is not impossible (mount read only on other workstation/server) but requires more work than quick mount SAMBA?CIFS folder.
- filesystem on filesystem sometimes is more vulnerable to damage
- there is a little overhead in using file mode in ISCSI (filesystem on filesystem)
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Re: Pro's and Con's of using iSCSI targets for backups

Veeam Logoby DavidDarts » Thu Dec 17, 2015 12:57 am

Thank you very much for the comprehensive response to my post. Your point about VLANs is an interesting one, and very well timed given that the organisation I work for is considering implementing additional VLANs.
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Re: Pro's and Con's of using iSCSI targets for backups

Veeam Logoby marcinbojko » Thu Dec 17, 2015 6:51 am

New VLANS (or network switches) will give you freedom in shaping storage traffic.
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