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stevewalker
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Appliance mode drawbacks, potential to lose data

Post by stevewalker »

Hi all,

I've been struggling to figure out where would be the safest place to backup my VMs to.. I currently use Veeam to replicate my virtual machines to another ESXi server in another site (which works great). In addition to replication my Veeam B&R server is running in appliance mode with a 200GB E: drive that I am able to backup all of the other machines to (because the deduplication works so well). However at some point when I was playing with the initial configuration I must have somehow tried to get Veeam to back up itself, and this unknowlingly set all of its disks to non-persistent independent mode. Following a reboot I did this morning to apply a Microsoft patch I lost every single disk change since more than a month ago... All of my database jobs disappeared (because SQL Server was installed on the same VM) and therefore all of the remote replicas are orphaned.

It's not quite a complete disaster, I'm still testing the solution before we ship the replica target to the other side of a 10Mbit WAN circuit so I really want to get the best design in place before I go live.

Should I consider presenting a separate iSCSI volume to the virtual appliance so that the data is stored *outside* of VMware so that if this ever happens again I won't be in more serious trouble?

What concerns me a little more is that when there is a discrepancy between the files on the disk and the database (i.e. a bunch of correctly stored files is located on the replica target but Veeam doesn't know anything about it because the SQL database just got rolled back due to the independent disk issue explained above). In this case there doesn't seem to be anyway to import the remote replica, - creating the job again seems to force a complete resync and this would likely be too lengthy a process over the WAN).

What can I do to make my Veeam infrastructure more robust? All of your learned thoughts and advice will be much appreciated.

Steve

Gostev
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Re: Appliance mode drawbacks, potential to lose data

Post by Gostev »

Hi Steve, that is correct - you cannot use Veeam to backup itself in the Virtual Appliance mode, this is documented in the release notes. If you avoid doing this, you should be fine with the Virtual Appliance backup mode.

To make Veeam infrastructure more robust, I recommend you ensure that SQL server containing Veeam Backup configuration database is adequately protected. This is easy to do if you can use remote SQL Server to host Veeam database on. If you are using local SQL Express database, then your Veeam Backup VM needs to be backed with vStorage API Network mode job. Alternatively, you could backup the Veeam SQL database outside Veeam. There are some existing threads on this forum discussing all possible alternatives, with customers sharing their own approaches. You can review them and decide which one works best for you.

Thank you!

stevewalker
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Re: Appliance mode drawbacks, potential to lose data

Post by stevewalker »

Thanks Anton,

I'm kicking myself, I read the manual 20 times and understood that I shouldn't try to backup Veeam using itself, but somehow the machine just crept into the backup list and the rest is history..

I have now mounted a separate iSCSI volume onto the virtual machine for backups, and I can backup the SQL DB to this drive too. In this way, if ever the Veeam machine becomes damaged or a similar thing happens again with the independent disk setting then I will be able to reattach the iSCSI LUN back to the new machine. It is frustrating that the software does not stop you from pulling the trigger when the gun is pointing at its own head ;-)

Best regards,
Steve

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Re: Appliance mode drawbacks, potential to lose data

Post by Gostev »

stevewalker wrote:It is frustrating that the software does not stop you from pulling the trigger when the gun is pointing at its own head ;-)
100% agree, trust me I keep pushing developers to make them add automatic self-exclusion, so hopefully this feature makes it into v5.

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