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rayciscon
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Need Replication Advice: Veeam at Source or at Destination

Post by rayciscon »

I'm a complete Veeam B&R newbie, and I'm looking for some advice on how to set up the architecture for our environment.

We're implementing Veeam B&R at our company to provide replication of VMware VMs across our WAN from remote sites with individual ESX or ESXi hosts with locally attached disk to our Corporate HQ with an ESX 4.0 cluster connected to a NetApp SAN using NFS volumes. Replication is for Disaster Recovery and backup purposes with select replicated VMs to be run at the HQ in the event of a hardware failure at the remote site.

Here's a precis of our environment as it pertains to the project:

HQ:

3 Host ESX Cluster connected via Fiber and NFS to a NetApp FAS3140 with multiple shelves of Tier 1 and Tier 3 disk.

Remote Location(s):

Single ESX Host with internal SATA disk - 3 to 12 VMs of varying sizes.

All testing I've done so far has been successful to varying degrees, but since we plan to roll this out to 10+ locations this year, including overseas locations, I want to get this implemented correctly.

Questions:

1) I'm currently successfully replicating VMs from three locations via a VM running Veeam B&R at the HQ. Is this the recommended method to do this or should I be doing this on a decentralized basis, i.e. a VM with Veeam B&R at each Remote Location replicating local data to the HQ? I'm concerned that having 10+ Remote Locations with 50+ VMs being replicated by a single VM at the HQ might be too much for that single VM to handle.

2) We plan on implementing Veeam B&R on a piecemeal basis, so I'm hoping to take advantage of the option to seed replicated VMs to a local hard disk. Are there any walk-throughs for this process?

3) If we end up installing Veeam B&R at each Remote Location, is it worth using the Management tool to wrap all of these together?

4) Licensing questions--Since we're going to be purchasing our B&R licenses on a piecemeal basis, how are the LIC files handled? Is there a way to combine LIC files?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Ray Ciscon
Senior Systems Engineer
MacLean-Fogg Company

Gostev
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Re: Need Replication Advice: Veeam at Source or at Destinati

Post by Gostev »

Hi Ray,

A few clarifications needed first please. What do you mean by "piecemeal basis"? Also, please confirm if your replication target is full ESX (and not ESXi).

Thanks!

rayciscon
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Re: Need Replication Advice: Veeam at Source or at Destinati

Post by rayciscon »

Gostev,

Thanks for the quick reply! Here's the information you requested:

1) By piecemeal, we mean that we're going to be installing implementing Veeam B&R at 10+ remote locations over the course of 2011. We'll be purchasing the Veeam licenses as we go along, so assuming that we have 12 locations, each with a Dell R710 w/2 processors for a total of 24 Veeam licenses, we'll be buying and installing Veeam one location at a time vs. purchasing and installing them all at once. I hope this make senses.

2) Currently our replication target at our HQ is three Dell R900's with vSphere 4.0 FULL ESX. I was planning on upgrading to ESX 4.1 using ESXi as recommended by VMware, but if you're telling me that ESX performs better, I'll continue to install the full version until there's no choice, i.e. VMware no longer offers a full ESX version as they plan to do in the future, or when Veeam tells me that there's no performance difference.

Thanks again,

Ray Ciscon

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Re: Need Replication Advice: Veeam at Source or at Destinati

Post by Gostev »

Yes, I recommend that you stick with full ESX for better replication performance before our next release that will have improved engine for ESXi targets.

Answering your original questions now:

1) With full ESX on target you have flexibility here. Generally speaking, one server in HQ should be sufficient for 50 VMs. However, by placing backup server in each remote location, you will additionally get network traffic compression. I would probably start with only one server (in HQ), and by the time you are there with your planned expansion, we should have new release out with significantly enhanced replication architecture anyway. I cannot provide details at this time (top secret), but I can say that making changes to leverage the enhanced architecture should be slighly easier from single-server setup. No big deal though, it will also be easy to just re-deploy whatever you have very quickly, since we are talking 50 VMs only.

2) Yes, this is documented in the User Guide. However, be aware that using seeding currently requires that Veeam Backup server is installed at source location. Also, seeding does not support thin disks (expands them to thick as they leave NTFS).

3) Absolutely, for that and also for centralized license management (see above).

4) You will always have single file. With single backup server, you install it on that server. With multiple backup servers, you install it on Enterprise Manager, which then pushes it to all backup servers, and tracks consolidated license usage.

Hope this helps!

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