Availability for the Always-On Enterprise
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k00laid
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Cisco Unified Communications VMs Support

Post by k00laid » Feb 29, 2012 4:22 pm

We run a good bit of the Cisco Unified Communications platform inside of VMware here and one of the things expressly forbidden by Cisco is using Image Based backup utilities with the systems, going so far as expressly naming Veeam. As long as they say it is unsupported we can't extend Veeam to backing them up, any chance you guys can work with Cisco and get your product supported?

Here's a link to the documentation:
http://docwiki.cisco.com/wiki/Unified_C ... 8.6.281.29

tsightler
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Re: Cisco Unified Communications VMs Support

Post by tsightler » Feb 29, 2012 4:58 pm

So I think you should reach out to Cisco on this, there's nothing specifically that Veeam needs to do.

Cisco would first need to support snapshots. This is unlikely since, the primary reason they do not support snapshots is the time sensitive nature of their application and the impact that snapshots can have on the underlying system performance. This is more critical for voice/video situations than for most general purpose servers.

Also, Cisco would ideally need to improve their database replication to automatically recognize systems that were restored from snapshot and resync them. Right now this requires manual intervention.

Technically, you could use Veeam today, but you have to power off the VM. If you look under "Copy Virtual Machine" section it specifically states that copying a VM is supported as a backup option as long as you power off the VM (and they also note the caveat of manual intervention being required to fix database sync). So, if you power off the VM, and then back it up with Veeam, you should be OK, since basically all that Veeam does is make a copy. What they specifically do not allow is snapshots of a running VM due to the potential service impact (there's no service impact to snapshotting a VM that is powered off), so when they refer to Veeam specifically I'm sure that's what they are referring to as they support no snapshot based backups of running VMs because they do not support VMware snapshots at all.

chrisdearden
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Re: Cisco Unified Communications VMs Support

Post by chrisdearden » Feb 29, 2012 9:04 pm

What tom said :) I deployed a bit of US on UCS a while ago and it was hugely prescriptive about what you could and couldn't do at the time. I'm sure they will relax them a little bit, though as I understand it, an offline backup of the VM is the only supported method for maintaining availability outside the HA features built into the UC applications themselves.

bbricker
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Re: Cisco Unified Communications VMs Support

Post by bbricker » Jun 14, 2013 3:49 pm

Sorry to bring an old thread from the dead but wanted to add to this. Now that Cisco has relaxed their rules on running their UC vm's on non-Cisco servers, I am thinking of moving them off my 2 UCS servers that are running ESXi Free and put them on my larger Dell vmware cluster. This means I could also back them up with Veeam.

Is anyone out doing this with success? I don't care if it makes the UC apps unavailable temporarily while it snapshots since it will be happening late at night, I just want to make sure it doesn't do any "damage" so to speak. Even if I had to restore one of the UC vm's and something wasn't DB consistent, I would still have my regular/traditional Cisco backups that run out of each app nightly.

Dima P.
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Re: Cisco Unified Communications VMs Support

Post by Dima P. » Jun 17, 2013 1:00 pm

Hello,

That is correct - Cisco unveiled the possibility to set up the UC on the VM sometime ago - and a short look across the Web does not bring any mentioning of the serious issues that may arise during set up/migrations or evaluation of such set up.

For the detailed explanation of the setup best practices - Cisco or VMware community is the best place to find the answers. Anyhow if you have existing UC servers well-functioning - you may set in VMware a couple of test ones and see how they would behave. In case of success - complete the migration with eliminating the old UC servers.

Please do not hesitate to update this post with the results of your testing,
Cheers!

bbricker
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Re: Cisco Unified Communications VMs Support

Post by bbricker » Jun 24, 2013 1:40 pm

Thanks for the reply but I am interested in other Veeam users who are doing this and their experience.

k00laid
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Re: Cisco Unified Communications VMs Support

Post by k00laid » Jul 02, 2013 4:50 pm

Sad
bbricker wrote:Thanks for the reply but I am interested in other Veeam users who are doing this and their experience.
Sadly this looks like it still isn't supported. I was at Cisco Live last week and specifically asked one of the product engineers about it, it has something to do with the way the database stays open. His recommendation regarding using Veeam to help support a disaster recovery plan was to shut all the components down on a weekend and hit them with a Veeam job and then continue to run DRS. If you have a backup job with the latest version of whatever UC components you've got with current DRS backups he said expected recovery time for my environment (4 components x2 for HA) would be about 1.5 hours.

Here's the latest Docwiki showing it is still a no no.
http://docwiki.cisco.com/wiki/Unified_C ... ckup_Tools

v.Eremin
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Re: Cisco Unified Communications VMs Support

Post by v.Eremin » Jul 03, 2013 9:15 am

As far as I know, the major problem of backing up/replicating VMs that run Cisco specific application is related to the sensitive nature of such applications. In other words, the traffic going between Cisco VMs is supposed to stay real-time and the usage of backup application leads to certain traffic drops. Therefore, it’s always recommended to backup these VMs in shutdown state.

However, assuming that there is a time interval when you’re ok with shutting down these VMs, you might as well back them up in power on state.

Thanks.

tsightler
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Re: Cisco Unified Communications VMs Support

Post by tsightler » Jul 03, 2013 2:36 pm

Actually, the time sensitive nature isn't so much of a problem if they are clustered, as they are in most deployments. The real problem is that there is no supported method to restore these systems once you back them up. I believe this is because of the replication used between the nodes to keep them in sync. If I suddenly restore one of the nodes to a prior point in time the other node is not aware of this and the databases will begin to diverge. It's similar to the problem with DSN rollback on AD. Effectively, the databases assume that once you committed and acknowledged a certain transaction, you will not suddenly be transported back in time an no longer have that transaction.

I suspect that you would always be able to restore the Veeam image and then restore the DRS backup, since this process takes care of that issue. I've always thought that an option for simple 2 node deployments would be to backup only the publisher/primary node with Veeam. That way, after a disaster, you could simple restore the publisher node VM but you'd have no subscriber nodes. This would be enough to get you back working very quickly, and then you can always manually redeploy a new subscriber node later. Probably doesn't work for larger deployments when many subscriber nodes are required to support the client base, but in those cases it's unlikely you'd ever loose the entire environment anyway. Unfortunately I no longer admin such an environment so I've never been able to test any of this.

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Re: Cisco Unified Communications VMs Support

Post by jarein » Jul 05, 2014 12:48 pm

Hi all,

I see that many guys are interested in this subject. I've tryed to use veeam to backup a CUCM VM on UCS, with Cisco license on ESX 5.1, instead of using the esx embedded VM copy. The final issue, even with a VM shutdown, was that Veeam was providing an ESX license issue. As we were using the Cisco delivered license as usual, as Cisco integrator, we are supposing that Cisco was modifying the licensing content, and die prevent the use of expected services for the backup to work.

Our target in the lab was to check if with the supported method (VM shutdown and copy/export), Veeam could help to speed up the process.


It would be interested to know if Veeam could progress or talk with Cisco in order to have a common business to fullfill here. I'm suspecting Cisco to try to bring the UC customers to have the full UCS Datacenter design, with Nexus, Storage, and so on.

dwerts1
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[MERGED] : CUCM VM Backup

Post by dwerts1 » Oct 06, 2015 8:52 pm

I see there is a thread a little over a year old on this topic. Wondering if anything has changed as to the backup procedure for these Cisco VMs or if anyone has any scripts etc that work

v.Eremin
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Re: Cisco Unified Communications VMs Support

Post by v.Eremin » Oct 07, 2015 9:17 am

Nothing has changed in terms of specific integration with the said solution. So, the answers provided above should still be valid. Thanks.

Manny15
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Re: Cisco Unified Communications VMs Support

Post by Manny15 » May 26, 2017 6:08 pm

Would be nice if Veeam could restore the backup image, then also restore the DRS backup...

bilalzaidi
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Re: Cisco Unified Communications VMs Support

Post by bilalzaidi » Apr 12, 2018 9:32 am

so this thread is too old now :)

k00laid
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Re: Cisco Unified Communications VMs Support

Post by k00laid » Apr 16, 2018 12:44 pm

Yep, essentially the problem isn't Veeam, it's Cisco that prohibits any 3rd party from backing up their systems while live. FWIW the work around I use keeping a manual Veeam backup job with all my Voice VMs in it and after I complete any systems maintenance on them I shut them all down and take a backup which can be shipped anywhere. I then also have a little Linux VM I use to be the repository of DRS backups that can then be shipped to the same places. Our DR work flow for this is to restore the VMs from Veeam backup and then layer the latest DRS onto it. As all the VMs are there in backups this can even be done in a SureBackup lab for testing of either DR or to dry run Cisco patches on the system.

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