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Daveyd
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Backing up Windows Pagefile

Post by Daveyd » Jun 13, 2011 2:14 pm

We have quite a few VMs that have 16-32GB of allocated RAM and use quite a large pagefile. I normally move the pagefile from the OS drive to the Data drive. I realize you can exlude disks form being backed up but I cannot exclude the drive that the pagefile is on because it contains important data. I assume there is no native way in Veeam to exlude the pagefile from being backed up? That would be a nice feature :)

If I were to move the pagefile to a separate vmdk and excluse it from being backed up from Veeam, what are the drawbacks of doing so from a VM perspective? If I would lose the drive that the page file is on, wouldn't the VM go belly up? How about from a vmotioning perspecive? Maybe this is more of a VMware question?

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Re: Backing up Windows Pagefile

Post by Vitaliy S. » Jun 13, 2011 3:25 pm

Dave, actually I've seen many customers doing that (excluding disks with swap files) and no one reported about VM boot problems, so you should be fine with this approach.

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Re: Backing up Windows Pagefile

Post by Daveyd » Jun 13, 2011 5:09 pm

Vitaliy S. wrote:Dave, actually I've seen many customers doing that (excluding disks with swap files) and no one reported about VM boot problems, so you should be fine with this approach.
Thanks for the info. Do the customers see a backup performanceincrease when they separate the Windows pagefile to an excluded disk? If the allocated RAM to the VM is high enough, will the page file even get hit or have any changed blocks associated with it in reference to backing it up with Veeam? In other words, is there a backup perfromace hit when backing up the Windows page file?

We also use SRM/RecoverPoint so I will need to get my ducks in a row before I move the Windows pagefile to another vmdk.

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Re: Backing up Windows Pagefile

Post by Bunce » Jun 14, 2011 6:17 am

We've noticed a slight reduction is storage space used, but no noticeable time reduction. A few points to note:
  • If wanting to exclude the page file on multiple VM's, you'll need to ensure they all use the same SCSI ID, then select all disks except that SCSI ID in the job properties dialog (its actally an 'Inclusion' feature - not an exclusion).
  • When first booting a recovered VM backed up using the above process, you'll get a Windows Dialog (In Windows 2008) stating that it has created a new page file on the system disk (since it it can't find the excluded disk). Works OK, but you'll need to ensure you have a bit of space on the system drive for this. Not sure what happens in Server 2003 but assume something similar will appear

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Re: Backing up Windows Pagefile

Post by Vitaliy S. » Jun 14, 2011 9:47 am

Daveyd wrote:Do the customers see a backup performance increase when they separate the Windows pagefile to an excluded disk?
Definitely, especially on the incremental job runs, as less VM changed blocks you need to transmit the less time your job will take.
Daveyd wrote:In other words, is there a backup perfromace hit when backing up the Windows page file?
Windows page file can cause many changed blocks on the virtual disk. Even simple block relocation will mark them as changed.

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Re: Backing up Windows Pagefile

Post by Daveyd » Sep 23, 2011 7:39 pm

Just bringing this up again...

I was just curious as to how many people out there put their Windows page file on a separate vmdk and exclude that vmdk Veeam backups?

We have several VMs that range from 8-32GB of RAM and their page files are pretty big. I think we could save space on our OS and Data drives as well as save sapce on our backup destination (Exagrid) by moving them to separate drives.

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Re: Backing up Windows Pagefile

Post by Gostev » Sep 24, 2011 7:04 pm

Hi Dave, I know for sure that many people do go through the trouble of doing this for WAN backups and replication, as it does provide noticeable effect. This is why in v6 we have added ability to exclude disk blocks backing swap file from processing automatically. We do not want you to worry about reconfiguring virtual disks and swap location for every single VM. Thanks.

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Re: Backing up Windows Pagefile

Post by MB-NS » Sep 25, 2011 12:31 pm

Gostev wrote:Hi Dave, I know for sure that many people do go through the trouble of doing this for WAN backups and replication, as it does provide noticeable effect. This is why in v6 we have added ability to exclude blocks backing swap file from processing automatically. We do not want you to worry about reconfiguring virtual disks and swap location for every single VM. Thanks.
That's great news ! Is this feature confirmed in v6 RTM ?

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Re: Backing up Windows Pagefile

Post by Gostev » Sep 25, 2011 12:49 pm

Nothing is confirmed for RTM until said RTM happens ;)
Always a chance that some feature may get dropped.
But all features including this one are looking good so far.

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Re: Backing up Windows Pagefile

Post by Daveyd » Sep 26, 2011 12:53 pm

Awesome news! Let's hope that excluding the page file functionality makes to to RTM. It would save me a lot of headaches as well as save me over 100GB of data when doing full backups

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Re: Backing up Windows Pagefile

Post by willrodbard » Oct 03, 2011 8:54 am

Daveyd,
Just a little side note, until V6 arrives.
To simplify the exclusion of disks the way we do it is to:
1: add a new disk to windows (we call it the X:) and size it to be just the right amount, usually between 1.5->2x the size of RAM
2: When provisioning the disk in VMware we assign it a SCSI bus node value of 3:0 or above, that way make it really easy to exclude the page file disk for all VMs are we never place any disks on a VM with scsi bus 3 or above apart from the page files disks.
3: When running the replication job for the 1st time we did it to a local usb drive and we included the page file disk, then on subsequent replication over the WAN jobs we exclude the page file disk, this way the page file disk is there for when we failover the VM but doesn't need to be replicated daily
hth

Will.

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Re: Backing up Windows Pagefile

Post by Michael_6835 » Nov 07, 2011 9:47 pm

willrodbard wrote:Daveyd,
Just a little side note, until V6 arrives.
To simplify the exclusion of disks the way we do it is to:
1: add a new disk to windows (we call it the X:) and size it to be just the right amount, usually between 1.5->2x the size of RAM
2: When provisioning the disk in VMware we assign it a SCSI bus node value of 3:0 or above, that way make it really easy to exclude the page file disk for all VMs are we never place any disks on a VM with scsi bus 3 or above apart from the page files disks.
3: When running the replication job for the 1st time we did it to a local usb drive and we included the page file disk, then on subsequent replication over the WAN jobs we exclude the page file disk, this way the page file disk is there for when we failover the VM but doesn't need to be replicated daily
hth

Will.
Will
question on this, if you remove it from the incrementals, does that not remove it from the full (synthetic) or am I not understanding it correctly. Have you tested firing on up ?

Just curious, currently waiting for v6 to dive into the replication side of things. Trying to understand how to reduce the amount of data needed to replicate.

Thanks
Mike

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Re: Backing up Windows Pagefile

Post by Vitaliy S. » Nov 08, 2011 8:41 am

Mike,

If you exclude any disk from a source VM this disk will also be removed from a replica one. As to the backup jobs then every new synthetic full consists of only actual data blocks.

Thanks!

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