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StephenDolphin
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+2TB sizes (again)

Post by StephenDolphin » Apr 08, 2011 8:50 am

I'm using veeam to back up a whole bunch of VMs on a site (about 40), it's running in appliance mode and I'm currently having issues with my storage: using iomega storcentres as backup targets the backups fail mid-operation because they can no longer see the NAS (even though they can).

I'm experimenting with different backup sources, previously I was using a simple folder shared via CIFS and writing straight to that (which works about 40% of the time and then errors like above about 60% of the time), but the huge advantage here is that I can expose all of the nas via one CIFS share, so 5.3TB.

If I want to go iSCSI, which I think would be better, the NAS box doesn't support LUNs > 2TB (so if I vmdk or raw map it I'm limited to <2TB); if I want to use NFS, which lots of people do, I'll be limited to a vmdk of <2TB again. This sort of behaviour isn't a massive issue normally, but 7 of the machines I'm backing up are 1TB file servers, which means that the entire backup will not fit onto a single 2TB disk of any description (current CIFS backup folder size is about 3.5-4TB).

Has anyone else experienced a requirement to backup such large machines using veeam and if so, is my only option to stick with CIFS?

Thanks.

Steve

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Re: +2TB sizes (again)

Post by Gostev » Apr 08, 2011 10:05 am

Well, I think it is not normal that your CIFS share is so unreliable. Sounds like your NAS is having some issues. Did you check if NAS vendor may be has newer firmware? But, even if CIFS would work reliably, it is still not ideal as transactional NTFS is not supported on shared folders. iSCSI via guest initiator would be truly ideal...

Are you sure your NAS does not support more LUNs larger than 2TB, because this is a very strange limitation? Or may be you are thinking about connecting this iSCSI storage to your ESX, creating max size VMDK on this datastore, connecting this disk to Veeam Backup VM, and backing up there (thus the 2TB limitation)? If yes, it is not a good idea at all to backup to VMFS to start with. Instead, just use in-guest Windows Software iSCSI Initiator on your backup server to mount raw LUN from NAS, and format this volume with NTFS. This can give you up to 16TB volume for your backups (NTFS limitation). And if your backup server dies, you will always be able to simply mount this LUN to any other Windows box, and get your backup files out easily (unlike when backing up to VMFS).

Another possible option would be mount NFS share to any Linux server as regular NFS share, and Veeam Backup supports Linux targets natively.

Hope this helps.

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Re: +2TB sizes (again)

Post by nboch » Apr 08, 2011 1:17 pm

Hi,

if your NAS is a Windows server, the 2Tb limit might be caused by the disk type.
MBR disks are limited to 2Tb, where GPT are limited to something like 9Zb (consider it's not limited).

You have to convert your disk in GUID Partition Table, do you ?

Nicolas.

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Re: +2TB sizes (again)

Post by tsightler » Apr 08, 2011 7:56 pm

Gostev wrote:Instead, just use in-guest Windows Software iSCSI Initiator on your backup server to mount raw LUN from NAS, and format this volume with NTFS. This can give you up to 16TB volume for your backups (NTFS limitation). And if your backup server dies, you will always be able to simply mount this LUN to any other Windows box, and get your backup files out easily (unlike when backing up to VMFS).
This is almost certainly the best option. We do this with tremendous success at some of our remote sites. While we generally backup to Linux targets, at some of the remote sites we also keep local backups on old SAN's that otherwise would have been decommissioned. We configure these old SAN's as a single big iSCSI volume and present it to the local Veeam server (which itself is a VM with the iSCSI initiator). We keep a cloned image of this local VM on the local disks of one of the ESX hosts, so, in the event of a failure of the primary SAN, we can simply power up the Veeam VM on the local disk, import the more recent backups, and instant restore all the VM's, then get to work fixing the local SAN while business continues on.

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Re: +2TB sizes (again)

Post by StephenDolphin » Apr 11, 2011 8:37 am

Thanks All,

The NAS box is an Iomega StorCenter Pro NAS ix4-200r - upgraded to the latest firmware already.

I have logged a support call with Iomega because I think for some reason it's not allowing access to a >2TB iSCSI LUN, if I make a 1TB LUN it's fine, but if I go to 2TB it simply stops being seen by the iSCSI initiator, so that's either an error or a deliberate limitation of the hardware, which would be silly, but is still possible!

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Re: +2TB sizes (again)

Post by jgremillion » Apr 11, 2011 1:31 pm

I do the same. All of my target LUNs that hold Veeam Backups are GPT partitions so I can get bigger volumes.

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Re: +2TB sizes (again)

Post by Oletho » Apr 12, 2011 4:24 am

I am a little surprised that guest initiator is recommended.

Always thought that storage access is handled most effective through the host stack? The few tests I made also showed that.

And using vmdk extents or Windows stripe sets is no big thing.

I am having performance trouble with Veeam and a Qnap NAS myself, never thought of trying guest iSCSI in that scenario. Will test that when possible.

Ole Thomsen

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Re: +2TB sizes (again)

Post by StephenDolphin » Apr 27, 2011 2:03 pm

iomega have confirmed that +2TB is not allowed, deliberate limitation, so don't buy the ix4-200r if you've got large backup files! http://blog.stephendolphin.co.uk/projec ... m-backups/

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Re: +2TB sizes (again)

Post by digitlman » Apr 27, 2011 2:07 pm

I believe iscsi is limited to 2TB LUNs as well.

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Re: +2TB sizes (again)

Post by StephenDolphin » Apr 27, 2011 2:10 pm

digitlman wrote:I believe iscsi is limited to 2TB LUNs as well.
No, it's not :D

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Re: +2TB sizes (again)

Post by StephenDolphin » Apr 27, 2011 2:15 pm

StephenDolphin wrote: No, it's not :D
Sorry, to be more helpful: the limit in Windows is 16TB, obviously the format of the disk might limit it to 2TB if you use MBR but the fact is that the iSCSI initiator can see up to 16TB certainly, maybe more.

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Re: +2TB sizes (again)

Post by tsightler » Apr 27, 2011 2:15 pm

While I agree that this is a pretty lame limitation, you could work around it by presenting multiple 2TB LUN's to your Windows host and spanning the volumes.

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Re: +2TB sizes (again)

Post by StephenDolphin » Apr 27, 2011 2:19 pm

Well, maybe multiple 1TB luns because at the moment even the 2TB isn't showing in the initiator, but maybe you're right... interesting...

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Re: +2TB sizes (again)

Post by tsightler » Apr 27, 2011 2:30 pm

I think with Windows 2008 you can have up to 32 volumes in a single stripe set, I would think it would be the same for spanned volumes as well so even at 1TB you could use the entire drive. I know it's not pretty, but at least you could use the device and it would probably work fine.

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Re: +2TB sizes (again)

Post by TaylorB » Apr 28, 2011 7:13 pm

You might consider splitting your backup into two smaller jobs going to two smaller volumes.

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