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Michael_6835
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New User Questions

Post by Michael_6835 » Feb 08, 2010 3:46 pm

Hello All:

I just started using Veeam B&R and had a few questions pertaining to the product that I didn't see while perusing through older posts.

First some, specifics about my environment:
2 HP proliant DL380 G6 servers running ESX 4.0 U1
HP MSA2312i san
Windows 2008 Server (Veeam B&R server) connected to san via ms iSCSI initiator.
Environment is 100% virtual, except for the Veeam backup box. The environment currently has 4 servers right now, but we plan on ramping up this year to about 12-15 additional servers. Flavors of exchange, citrix, sql as well.

I've been able to backup up VMs using vStorage API SAN mode with good success. I have also restored a VM as well.

My questions:

1. VSS vs. VM tools quiescence: I've read through the the posts on these topics and still need some things clarified. I have no problems using the vm tools option, however the one time I tried to use the VSS option, it failed. I should note, that I was using that option to back up the SQL server, which is also the server that is hosting the Veeam database. If I used this to backup my virtual domain controller (also file server) would that affect my backups with Backup Exec. I currently use BE 12 for full/incrementals using the archive bit.

1a. The VSS option has it's own menu, while you have to go into the advanced menu to turn off the VMware option. Is that the proper way? What happens if you forget to disable the Vmware tools option in the advanced menu, but you still select the VSS option. Does the backup console look at the two options and choose VSS with vmtools as the fall back? It's not totally clear as the console allows you to choose both.


2. Full Backup/Incremental option - I'm a bit confused on the option. Obviously the first time you create the backup job for a VM, it will create a Full backup as it doesn't exist. It's the incremental part that I am not as familiar with. After that job has completed, I can view the job's history in the jobs view. If I right click the job, I have two options, start the job and perform full backup. If I select start the job, is that kicking off an "incremental backup"? I notice when I do that it shows 2 restore points after on the backup itself. when I browse to the folder location of the backup I now see a .vrb file. Is this the incremental? If so, when does it merge this into the original full, am I choosing that option in the advanced options section? I tried selecting "full backp" thinking that this would perform a synthetic full, but it just took another full.

I have some more, buy I'll break it up into other posts.

thanks

withanh
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Re: New User Questions

Post by withanh » Feb 08, 2010 3:55 pm

I can answer #2 for you, it does a synthetic full/reverse incremental every time. So you are right that the .vrb is the incremental, but the .vbk is now a full. It took me a bit to wrap my head around the reverse incremental concept, but it's actually pretty elegant. You ALWAYS have a current full backup because *most* full restores will be from your most current backup. So why have to add all the incrementals together to make a current full when you need the restore - that would take too long, so the reverse incremental keeps the full current, then only rolls back if you need to restore from a previous date. It works pretty slick!

The full backup option is if you need to create an additional full backup. Veeam will only do one full backup initially and every backup after that is a reverse incremental unless you specify that you need a full done. The reason is some places need a weekly full backup for compliance reasons so they gave us that option.

I'll leave #1 & #1a to someone who understands the quiescence better than I do. I'm honestly a little fuzzy on how exactly that part works, other than I have mine configured pretty much the same way yours is, with both VSS and the VMware quiescence set.

h
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Michael_6835
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Re: New User Questions

Post by Michael_6835 » Feb 08, 2010 4:15 pm

withanh ,

thanks for the explanation, One other question pertaining to the full backups. Once you take another "full backup" doese the backup console now look to that as the new baseline from which the incrementals will be rolled into, thus meaning you can delete the first full backup?

Also if you do have to restore and lets say i have 4 restore points, 3.vrbs and 1.vbk.

What's happening in the background? Does it restore the full first, then each vrb? Is it doing that on the vmfs datastore or is it doing this process on the console prior to copying the files back to vm lun?



Thanks

withanh
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Re: New User Questions

Post by withanh » Feb 08, 2010 4:23 pm

I think it rolls that through depending on your retention. Say you leave the retention by default to 14 days. On first run, it creates a full backup, then subsequent runs it creates reverse incrementals (as you now know). But let's say that next Wednesday you get a wild hair and manually tell it to do a full. There would then be multiple fulls rotating through until the original full rotates out through the retention. Don't manually delete, it will drop out naturally through the scheduled rotation.

One reason for the subsequent fulls would be if you have compliance reasons, another could be your backup configuration changed or maybe you retired a machine and need to drop it from the backups to recover the space. If you never did a subsequent full, then that machine would always stay in the last synthetic full that was taken while it was still alive. If you want to drop it from your backups totally then you need to do another full so when the retention rolls through this then becomes the base for the reverse incrementals.

At least, that's how I understand it. I know others will probably chime in, especially if my view is skewed, which if you ask my wife it certainly is skewed. LoL

h
For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert - Arthur C Clarke's Fourth Law

Vitaliy S.
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Re: New User Questions

Post by Vitaliy S. » Feb 08, 2010 6:18 pm

Hello Michael,

Let me try to answer your first question, the job failed, because VSS module tried to freeze Veeam database. This Veeam DB is used to process Veeam Backup queries while job is running. So when you've freezed the DB, all the backup queries simply timed out and the job failed. If you want to backup Veeam DB, you just need to backup Veeam SQL configuration database. In this case you will be able to attach it to another disaster recovery SQL server if needed.

Also note that we do really recommend using Veeam VSS for transactional consistent backups of VMs containing DCs, Exchange Servers e.t.c.
Your BE backups shouldn't be affected while using Veeam VSS.

As for both options (Veeam VSS and VMware tools quiescence) enabled at the same time, the VSS module will only be used for processing backed up and replicated VMs. However, if you use both VSS and VMware tools quiescence options and select the "Continue backup even if Veeam VSS quiescence fails" option for backup jobs or the "Continue replication even if Veeam VSS quiescence fails" option for replication jobs, all your VMs will be processed with VSS first, and in case of VSS failure (e.g., Linux VMs), VMs will be processed with the VMware tools quiescence option enabled.

This can be very useful when you have both Windows- and Linux-based VMs in one job, so all VMs will be processed in a transactionally consistent way using VSS or VMware tools quiescence option.

For more information please have a look at our FAQ section.

Thank you!

Michael_6835
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Re: New User Questions

Post by Michael_6835 » Feb 08, 2010 6:48 pm

Vitaliy,

thanks for the clarification, if I understand you correctly, It seems that the best option is to possibly setup a separate job for each of these special needs vms and run with VSS option enabled and VMtools option. This way you are guaranteed to get a backup.

I'll try using the VSS option for my DC/file server vm tonight, then i'll run a backup exec incremental job to see what happens with the data.


Also in this case, if i wanted to backup SQL, my only recourse would be to us the vmtools version? I am running backups of the databases through sql maintenance plan in studio manager. So the thought process would be in a worst case situation, I could restore the entire VM, then manually restore or attach the databases back. And if needed replay the transactions to get to a specific point in time.
thanks

Vitaliy S.
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Re: New User Questions

Post by Vitaliy S. » Feb 08, 2010 8:33 pm

Michael,

Actually, you should really consider using Veeam VSS instead of VMware tools quiescence for all VSS-aware applications. I believe it's worth troubleshooting if something goes wrong with VSS (fails for some reason) rather than have corrupted backups of SQL server or any other highly-transactional application.

For your SQL server we do reccomend you to use Veeam VSS, in this case you won't need to run backups through SQL maintenance plan in studio manager. However you won't be able to use VSS as well as VMware Tools quiescence to backup SQL server with Veeam DB, because both technologies will freeze SQL server and it will not be able to respond for backup queries. You can save Veeam DB by simply detaching and saving MDF/LDF files.

Thank you!

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