VEB vs VB&R for a single server Hyper-V setup

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VEB vs VB&R for a single server Hyper-V setup

Veeam Logoby ilovecats » Wed Sep 09, 2015 8:50 pm

A very small business has a single server set up in the following topology:

C:\ Drive (small 128GB SSD): Running Windows Server 2012R2 with nothing but Hyper-V role (serving as the Hyper-V host).

D:\ Drive (1TB SSD Raid1 Array): Storing nothing but Hyper-V virtual disk VHDX files. This includes 3 fixed virtual disks for 3 x guest VM (1 x Server 2012 R2 VM running as domain controller, 1 x Server 2012R2 VM running as file server/SQL server/misc application server, 1 x Windows 10 VM as a virtual workstation), and a couple of dynamic virtual disks that houses all the company files. So overall, just 5 vhdx files (plus Hyper-V configuration and smart paging files) on D:\. Total usage of D:\ is just around 400GB (grows very slowly).

E:\ Drive (2TB HDD): Used as a backup drive only.

There is also an external USB HDD for offsite backup (a mirror of the E:\ drive).

As you can see, the setup is very small. The amount of data is also relatively small.

What we're currently doing to backup:

1. Running VB&R free edition on the Hyper-V host and VEEAMZIP the guest VM's to the backup E:\ drive. Resulting backup is quite small after compression and speed is very fast thanks to a 6-core modern CPU, use of SSD's and of course the small amount of data.

2. Running Cobian backup inside the guest file server VM and automatically backup the company files (incremental). In other words, instead of backing up the virtual disk VHDX that contains the company files, the individual files are backed on file level to the backup drive via Cobian.

3. Maintain a monthly Clonezilla image of the C:\ drive (Hyper-V host), which apparently almost never has meaningful changes.

What we were originally considering:

Upgrading to VB&R standard edition and have it automatically back up all guest VM's along with the VHDX virtual disks that contain the company data. No need for Cobian inside the guest VM any more.

What we just realized after learning about the existence of Veeam End Point:

Can we just use VEB on the Hyper-V host and back up the entire C:\ and D:\ to E:\ daily? No more individual VM backups. Less software configuration. Backup the entire thing even including the host (no more need for Clonezilla). Saves the money for VB&R as well.

My key concern is the reliability of restoration when disaster strikes. Data files recovery should be easy: just retrieve the data VHDX from the backup. But what about the Hyper-V guest VM VHDX along with their configuration and smart paging files? Can these be backed up perfectly (application state consistent) via VEB powered by VSS? Let's say one day our entire D:\drive array is gone. If we restore it from the VEB backup, can every guest VM be expected to just run (of course set back one day)?

Your opinions and advice will be greatly appreciated!
ilovecats
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Re: VEB vs VB&R for a single server Hyper-V setup

Veeam Logoby PTide » Thu Sep 10, 2015 3:42 pm

Hi,

Can we just use VEB on the Hyper-V host and back up the entire C:\ and D:\ to E:\ daily?
You can do that, but personally I would not - imagine the duration of such backup + single VM restore procedure complexity.

Can these be backed up perfectly (application state consistent) via VEB powered by VSS?
Yes, they will be OK. However, I'd suggest you to back up VMs one by one, because

1. There is no CBT in Endpoint, so it tracks VM files' "modified date" that constantly changes when VM running, therefore any single bit changed inside guest OS will make Endpoint to perform full read which is a relatively long-lasting process

2. Restore complexity and backup duration mentioned above

Here is another way of doing that:

- you can install VEB inside every single VM and point jobs to a shared folder (separate drive) on your host. By this you're going to collect all your transaction-consistent VEB backups in one place.
- make a backup of that shared folder when needed with VEB installed on Hyper-V, place resulting file onto some offsite storage for archiving purpose
- use VEB to backup your hyper-v host excluding drives with VMs' data
- in case of VM failure use VBR full managed mode to restore your VM from backups stored on your shared folder.

As a sidenote - I believe it goes without saying that a licensed VBR server can make your challenge to look like fun :wink:
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[MERGED] Can VBR and Endpoint coexist?

Veeam Logoby snadam » Fri Sep 25, 2015 4:30 pm

I've been using VBR with vSphere for years but have no experience with Hyper-V. I just built my first Hyper-V host and will be installing VBR soon. I'd like to create a backup of the host suitable for bare metal recovery. Would it be alright to install Veeam Endpoint on the server along with VBR? I would use Endpoint to create bootable media (an SD card) and an ad-hoc backup to e-SATA disk. Veeam Backup and Replication will be used as it normally is to backup the host and guests to iSCSI NAS on a regular basis.
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Re: Can VBR and Endpoint coexist?

Veeam Logoby PTide » Fri Sep 25, 2015 4:39 pm

Hi,

Yes, they can coexist, however the better solution would be to have a backup of VBR config.
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Re: Can VBR and Endpoint coexist?

Veeam Logoby snadam » Fri Oct 02, 2015 2:32 pm

PTide wrote:Hi,
Yes, they can coexist, however the better solution would be to have a backup of VBR config.


Thanks for the prompt response PTide, I appreciate it. I always take daily VBR config backups but I'm not sure I understand how that will help me with a bare metal restore; please elaborate. I've used VBR config backups to recover the Veeam jobs and state after a server rebuild before but that was running VBR on a guest, hosted on vSphere. In my situation I'm trying to find a method of backup that will speed recovery after a catastrophic crash of the Hyper-V host machine. In the scenario I proposed I'd use VEB only to create a backup of the host OS, not the guest machines.
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Re: Can VBR and Endpoint coexist?

Veeam Logoby mkaec » Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:11 pm 1 person likes this post

PTide wrote:Yes, they can coexist, however the better solution would be to have a backup of VBR config.

I disagree. If the host is lost, it can take at least a few hours to manually rebuild it. Just downloading and installing Windows updates takes time. The network needs to be configured. Hotfixes may need to be installed. That's not difficult work, but it can be time consuming.

I was once at a Veeam sales presentation and asked the presenter what do Veeam customers do to protect the Windows hosts. He said "We always recommend having an N+1 configuration." I don't understand the culture within Veeam of treating Hyper-V hosts as expendable.

To ilovecats, I think using VEB to back up the host is an excellent idea. Just be sure to exclude the VM files. In your case, it looks like you can exclude the entire D: and E: volumes.
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Re: VEB vs VB&R for a single server Hyper-V setup

Veeam Logoby PTide » Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:40 pm

I disagree. If the host is lost, it can take at least a few hours to manually rebuild it.
My replica does not imply that having a VBR config backup excludes having whole-host backups, sorry for being unclear. Since the OP had assumed that the whole host would be backed up with Endpoint anyway, I recommended to have a copy of VBR config as well as host full backup in case something in VBR is messed up while the host is OK. In such case that would be more convenient to restore VBR only.
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Re: VEB vs VB&R for a single server Hyper-V setup

Veeam Logoby snadam » Fri Oct 02, 2015 5:19 pm

Thank you all for the input and clarification.
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Re: VEB vs VB&R for a single server Hyper-V setup

Veeam Logoby Vitaliy S. » Fri Oct 02, 2015 5:31 pm

Actually the better solution is to have a full image of the backup server backed up, so I agree with mkaec. Would be useful when the entire server is lost.
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