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ameyer
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Proxy to compensate for underpowered backup server

Post by ameyer » Oct 02, 2012 7:11 pm

I work for an MSP that resells Veeam to our clients for backup and a lot of our clients have ESX hosts that have a lot of spare processing and memory capacity. For a few different reasons, we still deploy physical backup servers with local storage. From my initial experience, it helps to give these physical servers plenty of processing and memory capacity to make the Veeam backup jobs run as efficiently as possible - especially when there are concurrent jobs being processed.

As an alternative, would it be possible to cut costs on the physical backup server by using a proxy in the virtual environment that is given plenty of virtual CPU and memory resources?
If I understand correctly, the proxy is where all of the processing/compression/dedupe takes place - correct?

As an example, lets say I use a Core i3 processor and 4GB of memory (maybe one of those HP MicroServers if you're familiar) for my backup server and pack it full of cheap harddrives for storage. Without a proxy, this server would not be efficient at processing multiple concurrent backup jobs. As a fix, could I create a proxy VM on my ESX host that has 4 vCPU and 16GB of memory and force all Veeam jobs to use that proxy for the backup jobs?


Hope my question makes sense. I'd just like to get away from having to recommend a beefy physical server when the ESX hosts have plenty of CPU and memory capacity available.


Thanks!
Andrew

dellock6
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Re: Proxy to compensate for underpowered backup server

Post by dellock6 » Oct 02, 2012 7:54 pm 1 person likes this post

I Andrew, your question does make perfect sense, and this is the most common design I usually do. In usual companies, there are many off-work hours where the virtual evironment has a really low load on both CPU and storage. We always thought this was a great time to do backups because of the load on the storage, but it brings in another advantage: CPUs (and modern ones on ESXi server are really powerful) have plenty of CPU cycles you can re-use to run Veeam Proxies on them without impacting production VMs. Yes proxy is responsible for the tasks you listed, while the repository accept the data coming out of the proxy and saves them in the storage it has (local disks or an attached san...), so it's more cpu hungry than memory for example.

And even on environment operating 24H, you can anyway find times during the whole day when there is lower load on it and run backups there. It does not need to be during the night...

Luca.
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ameyer
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Re: Proxy to compensate for underpowered backup server

Post by ameyer » Oct 03, 2012 3:43 am

Great, thanks for the reply Luca. Always nice to have a plan validated with real world experiences.

Is there a certain type of server that you like to select as the proxy? Or do you provision out a server to be dedicated as a proxy? In environments we manage, the virtual domain controllers are only domain controllers and that's it - no file/print shares, applications, etc. So they seem like perfect candidates to be a proxy - but is there any negative impact to installing the proxy service on a DC?

Most of our clients do have Datacenter - so rolling out another VM as a dedicated proxy wouldn't be the end of the world...

Also, I've run into the issue of trying to backup vCenter as a VM with Veeam (snapshot timeout issue). Is there a similar issue when a proxy attempts to backup itself?


Andrew

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Re: Proxy to compensate for underpowered backup server

Post by dellock6 » Oct 03, 2012 6:52 am

Personally, If I can (licenses issues usually) I always create dedicated virtual proxies, even if Veeam can run on every kind of servers (also, in the last version they lowered the process priority so it does not interfere with other services). There are some advantages on doing so imho:
- small footprint: you can use windows Core editions and have systems with as low as 10G vmdk
- disposable: you do not even need to backup them, simply convert the first one in a template and redeploy when needed
- backup: virtual proxy usually runs jobs with hotadd mode, but it cannot use hotadd in itself, it failover to network mode. So if you have proxy on a large VM like for example an Exchange server (ok, it's an extreme example) the whole VM will be saved in network mode

Reusing existing DCs is a good stuff nonetheless, if they are dedicated machines they are usually small and with little I/O,so failing over to network mode is not a big problem.

Luca.
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chrisdearden
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Re: Proxy to compensate for underpowered backup server

Post by chrisdearden » Oct 03, 2012 6:58 am

Its worth noting that not only do proxies fail over to network mode , they disable CBT on themselves , so either make them small or as Luca said, dont back them up :)
The microserver will make a good repository to hold the backups on , while the hotadd proxies do the heavy lifting.

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