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dilberty
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Backup strategy for Small Business

Post by dilberty » Dec 09, 2010 12:59 am

Hey guys,

We're a small business running a single ESXi Server (4.0) with 2 VMs (SBS 2003/Domain Controller+App Server). The host has Direct Attached Storage, no SANs in use. Estimated size of both VMs together, uncompressed, is about 150GB.
Like most business, one of the most important features we expect from a backup solution is to minimize downtime in the event of a failure / data loss. Unfortunately, Backup Exec has recently let us down and we started seeking for alternatives. We heard about Veeam's backup solution and it sounds very promising.
I'd like to get some opinions on which backup strategy to use, so I'd be grateful if you can help me with a few questions:

1. Should I install the Veeam Backup Server as a 3rd VM on the ESXi host? I understand the advantage of using this method is performance but I'm not sure it makes much sense - if the ESXi host fails how would I restore from backup? Best case, I have replicated the backup to another storage but then I need to reinstall Veeam Backup Server, restore the database, etc. I'm assuming the alternative option is to use a dedicated desktop in network mode. Which is preferable? Or is there another option I'm missing?

2. How should I offload the data for keeping offsite backups? Currently (with Backup Exec) we use file synchronization software to sync the backups to removable 500GB USB drives, which are taken offsite in rotation cycles.

3. I noticed Veeam Backup does not support encryption. This is an important requirement since we wouldn't want the data to be accessible from the offsite USB drives, should they be lost/stolen. Is there any simple solution for this?

Thanks in advance,

Danny

Alexey D.

Re: Backup strategy for Small Business

Post by Alexey D. » Dec 09, 2010 1:26 pm

Hello Dan,

1) Even if you loose your B&R installation, it is possible to import VBK files to a new one. Or, you can use extract.exe utility to unpack your VMs even without installing a new copy of B&R. So, I would recommend you to have B&R running in a VM and using virtual appliance mode for better performance (rather than having a physical server and running with network mode).

2) Rsync is the utility which can help you with offsite backups. Please refer to this topic for more information: off-site backup ideas

3) Adding encryption is on our roadmap. As for now, please refer to Offsite Encryption for some workarounds

Hope this helps!

dilberty
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Re: Backup strategy for Small Business

Post by dilberty » Dec 09, 2010 1:50 pm

Thanks Alexey. Let me just make sure I understand correctly:
You're suggestion is to install another VM on my ESXi server (will Windows XP/7 suffice?) and then install Veeam Backup server on that VM. What should be the backup destination? A virtual disk on that same host (i.e. same datastore) or a network share?

Also, what method of backup would you suggest in our scenario - reversed incremental or synthetic full?

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Re: Backup strategy for Small Business

Post by Gostev » Dec 09, 2010 2:21 pm

For ease of recovery, network share is way better destination than virtual disk disk sitting inside VMFS.
As for backup mode, please review sticky FAQ - there is a document comparing pros and cons of each backup mode.

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Re: Backup strategy for Small Business

Post by dilberty » Dec 09, 2010 2:36 pm

Thanks guys. So if I go with virtual appliance mode as to your recommendation, perhaps I can save the extra VM by installing the Veeam Backup server on one of my existing VMs? Or is it not possible for Veeam to "backup itself" (i.e. run on the same machine which it is backing up).

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Re: Backup strategy for Small Business

Post by Gostev » Dec 09, 2010 2:59 pm

That's correct, it is not possible for Veeam Backup VM to backup itself in Virtual Appliance mode. Thanks!

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Re: Backup strategy for Small Business

Post by dilberty » Dec 09, 2010 5:21 pm

Thanks again. Performance wise, is there any added value to the 64bit edition of Veeam Backup Server? (assuming I'm using only 2GB of memory).

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Re: Backup strategy for Small Business

Post by Gostev » Dec 09, 2010 8:46 pm

Not really (this is covered in FAQ btw).

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Re: Backup strategy for Small Business

Post by dilberty » Dec 09, 2010 9:13 pm

Ok. I just noticed the free ESXi comment on the FAQ and I forgot to mention - we're running free ESXi. What exactly do you guys mean by "not supported" - will the software not function or is it just not "officially" supported?

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Re: Backup strategy for Small Business

Post by Gostev » Dec 09, 2010 9:25 pm

The software will not function with free ESXi (whether it is source, or target). VMware blocks ability to create snapshot through API on free ESXi hosts, and some other API calls as well. Minimum required license level is VMware Essentials (USD 500), which will give you 6 sockets license allowing to deploy up to 3 ESX(i) hosts with up to 2 physical CPU sockets each. Thanks!

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Re: Backup strategy for Small Business

Post by dilberty » Dec 13, 2010 11:18 am

What edition of Windows would you recommend installing as the additional backup VM?

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Re: Backup strategy for Small Business

Post by Vitaliy S. » Dec 13, 2010 11:45 am

Dan, you can use any Windows Server platform (2008/2003) for a backup machine.

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Re: Backup strategy for Small Business

Post by dilberty » Dec 13, 2010 12:53 pm

Will Windows 7 also work? (Server is much more expensive and seems like a waste of money for a dedicated backup machine).

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Re: Backup strategy for Small Business

Post by Vitaliy S. » Dec 13, 2010 1:01 pm

Yes, any operating system mentioned in the Release Notes document would work.

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Re: Backup strategy for Small Business

Post by Gostev » Dec 13, 2010 1:23 pm

Windows XP SP3 :) cheapest, fast, robust. Although Windows 2008/7 have better network stack and iSCSI initiator (if you are planning to use one).

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