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snakes
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microsoft iscsi initiator

Post by snakes »

im currenlty running all veeam 6 backup jobs in network mode since i dont trust the microsoft iscsi intitiator. this is based on rumors on several forums
that the ms initiator has screwed up some luns or initialized them making them unusable. I know veeam B&R v5 disabled the automount feature of the MS iscsi Initiator, but from my point of view it
seems to be a big risk start using the initiator. Our veeam backup sevrer is running 2003 server x64 and i am wondering if
aanyone can clear the air here regaring this issue. is the later 2008 version of the initiator maybe more usable and proper?
And are there maybe other initiators available more suited for this job?

dellock6
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Re: microsoft iscsi initiator

Post by dellock6 »

Hi,
I never had any problem using ms iscsi initiator with Veeam 5 and 6, on both windows 2003 or 2008/R2. Veeam disables the automount correctly and no lun has never been initiated by the underlying OS.
If you feel uncomfortable with ms, you can mitigate the issue by modyfing the ACL on the iscsi storage and force read-only access to Veeam proxies, they do not need write access while doing backups. You will need write mode on restore if you use direct san access though.
There are some alternatives also to ms iscsi, I've used in the past starwind iscsi initiator and it works fine.
Luca Dell'Oca
Principal EMEA Cloud Architect @ Veeam Software

@dellock6
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Gostev
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Re: microsoft iscsi initiator

Post by Gostev »

I estimate that at least one third of those 35'000 B&R customers are doing direct SAN backups through Microsoft Software iSCSI initiator. There are definitely no issues with that, although this topic does come up quite regularly because of those rumors. Even though actual initiator has nothing to deal with those rumors - they are caused automount behavior of earlier version of Windows resignaturing those volumes automatically, or inexperienced users doing this manually.

chimera
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Re: microsoft iscsi initiator

Post by chimera »

I quite disagree with the above, although still run direct SAN based backups via iSCSI...

I have a client with Win2k8/Veeam and VMWare farm with 10GbE iSCSI initiator to EqualLogic SAN. We recently did a firmware upgrade on the SAN - so "for safety sake" scheduled a complete outage, powered off the VM's then VMware hosts - forgot to turn off the Veeam server (again, its MS iSCSI connected to SAN), upgraded the SAN firmware, powered it all back up - one LUN showing a Windows signature on it as "Win95 FAT16 LBA" partition - MAJOR stress out - its the main LUN that stores their Oracle platform and as Murphy's law had it, it happened to be the one volume that Veeam backups had failed on for the past 6 weeks (long story - not due to Veeam, but shortage of local disk space, so temp setup to a NAS box, etc anyways it hadn't been working)

So 2 hours later after being on the phone to EqualLogic support, they suggested a support call to VMWare to recover the partition. Couple hours after that and major escalations through VMWare, their top tech's connected up and hexdump'd the partition table to check it then ran partedUtil to recreate the partition table with the correct information and get it back to VMFS. Voila, fixed (and one MASSIVE sigh of relief) Neither EqualLogic engineers nor VMWare engineers could explain how the partition got a signature written to it - but being that the Veeam server is the ONLY Windows server connected to that SAN, some "Microsoft Special" happened on that box.

Interestingly, the one thing I noted when initially troubleshooting the issue myself, was that in Computer Management of the Veeam box, that the VMFS partitions all showed as "Primary Partition" (normal) - except the failed LUN showed as "Primary, Active Partition". I checked the status of the automount feature in Windows, it was already set to disabled. I still have NO idea how that VMFS partition became (Windows) Active. I still use direct SAN backups, however if I ever need to perform a complete outage I disconnect ALL MS iSCSI connections on the Veeam server first. I have read some articles as well that say after some Windows updates, automount has become enabled again - I can't confirm this personally myself, but I seriously would tread with extreme caution when doing backups this way.

I really wish EqualLogic would provide the ability to permit a read-only LUN from specific initiator IP's. That would allow me to use this technology with a great deal more confidence!

Cheers

tfloor
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Re: microsoft iscsi initiator

Post by tfloor »

For me:

I really wish EMC VNX would provide the ability to permit a read-only LUN from specific initiator IP's
I have no problems seen with veeam and SAN access so far, also have experience with the iscsi initiator for windows, without problems.

snakes
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Re: microsoft iscsi initiator

Post by snakes »

I agree. With the possibility of presenting a read-only lun(equallogic) to only one initiator, then this thread would have been nonexisting. But chimeras post is terrifying to read and I am not sure i dare to use the direct san solution.

Anyway, thx for all help.

chimera
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Re: microsoft iscsi initiator

Post by chimera »

Another reason to be careful with Windows updates on the Veeam server when SAN attached... this one for SP1...

http://blogs.technet.com/b/joscon/archi ... f0a12.aspx

Disconnect your iSCSI sessions FIRST!!! :D

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