Discussions specific to tape backups
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dcampregher
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Tape Devices in a Virtual Machine Tape Server

Post by dcampregher » Feb 14, 2017 6:32 pm 1 person likes this post

Hello,

Is possible to configure the FC/SAS/SCSI/iSCSI Tape Devices ( Medium Changers and Drives ) in a Virtual Machine to do a Tape Server ? Or i need to have a physical server running Windows ?

If yes, how can i configure this environment in the ESXi ( Pass Trough, Direct Path etc ... ) ?

Mike Resseler
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Re: Tape Devices in a Virtual Machine Tape Server

Post by Mike Resseler » Feb 14, 2017 7:29 pm

Hi Diogo,

Can you look at this KB to see if it fits your case? https://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/micro ... Id=1016407

dcampregher
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Re: Tape Devices in a Virtual Machine Tape Server

Post by dcampregher » Feb 14, 2017 7:37 pm

So, the User Guide show this on the Tape Requirements:

LTO3 or later tape libraries (including VTL) and standalone drives are supported. Tape device must be directly attached to the backup server, to a tape server via SAS, FC or iSCSI interface. Note that VMware does not support connecting tape libraries to ESX(i) for VM pass-through.

What the VMware KB do is the "pass-through" configuration and this is not supported. I don't understand if is supported or not.

Mike Resseler
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Re: Tape Devices in a Virtual Machine Tape Server

Post by Mike Resseler » Feb 14, 2017 7:41 pm

It might be something that needs to be fixed in the documentation which used to be not supported but changed. Let me check with the teams and probably Dima will come back to you asap with the final answer

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Re: Tape Devices in a Virtual Machine Tape Server

Post by kmouline » Feb 17, 2017 11:05 am

Hello Diogo,

Any update about that, I need to have confirmation if this conf is supported on a production environment or not, please also advise about VEEAM link regarding supported tape/library architectures.

In my case I need to know if a library attached to an ESXi 6 hosts by SAS can be used by a Virtual VEEAM backup Server.

Thank you,

Dhammer
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Re: Tape Devices in a Virtual Machine Tape Server

Post by Dhammer » Feb 17, 2017 7:33 pm

We are on ESXi 5.5 and running two Dell TL1000 libraries via a virtual Veeam tape server and passthrough. It just worked. Hope it helps.

v.eremin
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Re: Tape Devices in a Virtual Machine Tape Server

Post by v.eremin » Feb 19, 2017 2:37 pm

This configuration is not supported.

This does not mean the setup won't work. However, should you have issues with it, our support team or VMware one will be unlikely to help.

So, I'd recommend either attaching tape library to Windows-based physical server or exposing the device to VM via ISCSI.

Thanks.

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Re: Tape Devices in a Virtual Machine Tape Server

Post by mike.r » Feb 20, 2017 2:49 pm

Just to understand it right:
Connecting a tape library via SAS to a VMware Host and installing a Veeam tape server, as a virtual machine on the same host is not allowed by VMware ?
Where did you read that ?

v.eremin
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Re: Tape Devices in a Virtual Machine Tape Server

Post by v.eremin » Feb 20, 2017 7:11 pm


Dhammer
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Re: Tape Devices in a Virtual Machine Tape Server

Post by Dhammer » Feb 21, 2017 9:37 pm

They are not saying it is not supported. They are saying that specifically they, VMWare, do not support it. See bullets1 & 2 and you may want to note the last one.

It's working for us using a Dell host and Dell 6Gbps SAS HBA adapter. We are also using Dell libraries.

Work with your hardware vendor and Veeam if possible.

From the KB:
•VMware does not provide support for backup tape drives and tape library devices or their functionality on ESXi/ESX hosts.
•The functionality of the tape library and the backup software in conjunction with VMware ESXi/ESX is partner-supported.
•VMware assumes that the third-party vendor has completed necessary validation to support this configuration in a production environment.
•VMware does not maintain a hardware compatibility guide that includes tested tape devices.
•Devices and configurations that worked on earlier releases of ESXi/ESX may not work with later ESXi releases.

v.eremin
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Re: Tape Devices in a Virtual Machine Tape Server

Post by v.eremin » Feb 22, 2017 11:23 am

They are saying that specifically they, VMWare, do not support it.
In other words, if tape device exposed via pass-through fails, it will be a software vendor that should address this problem guaranteeing stability.

That's why we've said that such scenario is not supported, as no additional code has been implemented from our side to guarantee tape pass-through reliability.

Nevertheless, it still doesn't mean that this configuration might work perfectly well in your case.

Thanks.

Matt@Work
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[MERGED] Here's a stupid idea, or is it?

Post by Matt@Work » Apr 16, 2017 9:08 pm

Chatting to a colleague and throwing stupid idea's around. One of which was we have an ESXi host with an FC adapter that connects to our storage network and can also see a tape drive thats connected to a separate physical server.

If we mapped the tape drive to the ESXi host, is it possible to 'present' that to a new VM which would be a Veeam management server? Would it work, would performance be rubbish, am I barking up the wrong tree?

I put my back out yesterday, so I'm sat in the house just Reddit browsing and something another user said made me wonder the above.

Cheers

Matt

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Re: Tape Devices in a Virtual Machine Tape Server

Post by P.Tide » Apr 17, 2017 9:34 am

Hi,

It's not stupid at all and might even work fine, however it is not officially supported neither by Veeam nor by VMware, please check this thread for details.

Thank you.

Matt@Work
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Re: Tape Devices in a Virtual Machine Tape Server

Post by Matt@Work » Apr 17, 2017 11:46 am

OK thanks. I'm not risking running in an unsupported environment when its mission critical for us.

v.eremin
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Re: Tape Devices in a Virtual Machine Tape Server

Post by v.eremin » Apr 17, 2017 11:57 am

If I were you, I'd rather connect a device to any Windows-based physical server existing in your environment and leverage it as tape server.

Should you encounter any issue, it would much easier to investigate it with support help, rather than on your own.

Thanks.

Matt@Work
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Re: Tape Devices in a Virtual Machine Tape Server

Post by Matt@Work » Apr 17, 2017 4:03 pm

Thats what we do now, I'l keep it that way.

v.eremin
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Re: Tape Devices in a Virtual Machine Tape Server

Post by v.eremin » Apr 17, 2017 4:36 pm

Good to know. This way not only will you stay compliant with both VMware and Veeam, but also get a through support in case you need it. Thanks.

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Re: Tape Devices in a Virtual Machine Tape Server

Post by VladV » Dec 06, 2017 2:20 pm

I'm sorry to dig up an old thread but would like to point out something. At least from my point of view...

Because I'm in the process of purchasing a tape library I've started planing for deployment. One thing I noticed was the KB mention in this topic which states that VMWare does not support Tape drives/libraries connected to ESXi 5 and up.

I am planning to add a SAS HBA card and dedicate it to an existing VM by using DirectPath I/O. This way, the card bypasses VMWare and is connected directly to the OS. After that, it shouldn't matter what you connect to the HBA from VMWare's perspective as it almost completely bypasses the hypervisor.

Is my thinking wrong? Are there other factors using this configuration that may affect stability or performance? I mean, I have been using this config to attach JBODs to Windows Storage Spaces for a long time now without any issues.

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Re: Tape Devices in a Virtual Machine Tape Server

Post by francs » Dec 13, 2017 12:29 pm

I've learned this the hard way, after spending hours trying to make tape work through a VM.
Don't waste your time.
There's a reason it is not supported.
Even if you do get the OS and Veeam to see and use the library and tape devices you still end up with strange intermittent errors.
It's also not a Veeam/Windows only problem. I've had problems getting tape to work properly with TSM in a VM on ESX and even TSM on virtualized IBM Power servers.

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Re: Tape Devices in a Virtual Machine Tape Server

Post by Dima P. » Dec 13, 2017 2:17 pm

Thanks francs. I completely agree - it's better to stick with supported configuration, as otherwise you may end up with an issue which we cannot fix as it’s related to third party components.

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Re: Tape Devices in a Virtual Machine Tape Server

Post by infused » Dec 19, 2017 11:08 pm

Just use AWS VTL. It's so damm good. http://www.tecfused.com/2017/07/veeam-a ... ary-guide/
http://www.infused.co.nz - My Blog.

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Re: Tape Devices in a Virtual Machine Tape Server

Post by Anders » Dec 20, 2017 12:38 pm

Just want to add that I've used both FC Attached Tape and SAS attached tape in virtual machines based on vmware 5.5 and 6.0 without any issues.

The trick is to attach the entire HBA Card to the virtual machine (thereby limiting the VM from vMotion etc) - But performance and stability is super. Filling up 2 LTO7 tapes at max speed (600 MB/s) is possible.

Its not optimal, but if you NEED the tape server to be virtual, its a working solution. The solutions I've been involved in, have been to provide easy faalback to the old backup solution to restore old files from tape, by moving the HBA to the old backup server (that was virtualized and put on the same host)

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[MERGED] Tape LIbrary lto-8 for iscsi connection

Post by fll » Nov 27, 2018 9:19 am

Hello, can you recommend a Tape Library lto-8 iscsi to connect it to a virtualized Tape Server?

Thank you.

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Re: Tape Devices in a Virtual Machine Tape Server

Post by Dima P. » Nov 27, 2018 12:53 pm

Hello fll.

Any LTO device will work with Veeam B&R and iSCSI connection should work without any issues. Just keep in mind that we do not officially support tape devices directly attached to ESXi and connected to a virtual machine via iSCSI passthrough.

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