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bhwong
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Recommendation for Proxy Server

Post by bhwong » May 31, 2012 6:28 am

I have an unused Dell Server (PowerEdge 2900) which I intend to redeploy as a proxy server for Veeam and use it's local storage for the backup repository. It has the following spec:

- 8 cores CPU x 1.8 Ghz
- 24GB RAM
- 10 x 500GB harddisk
- 4 x 1GB ethernet ports

What is the pros and cons if I set it up as physical vs virtualize server mainly for Veeam backup purpose?

Option 1 (Virtualized)
- Format 10 drives as RAID10 for installing ESXi (2.5TG)
- Setup a VM running Windows 7 with 20GB RAM, 100GB Boot drive, 2TG data drive for storing backup files
- Team up 2 NICs as VM Network + Management Network
- Team up 2 NICs as iSCSI Network to retrieve backup data from SAN storage directly

Option 2 (Physical)
- Format 2 drives as RAID1 for installing Windows 7 (500GB)
- Format 8 drives as RAID5 for storing backup files (3.5TG)
- Is it possible to do NIC teaming for the network ports to increase bandwidth in Windows 7? This is easily done in ESXi. And how should I connect this server to the network? 2 NICs into VM Network and 2 NICs into the iSCSI Network?

Vitaliy S.
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Re: Recommendation for Proxy Server

Post by Vitaliy S. » May 31, 2012 11:47 am

Physical proxy makes sense if you're going to use direct SAN mode to retrieve VM data, in all other cases I would suggest to use virtual proxy and Hot Add backup mode, however using this Dell Server as a backup repository is definitely a good idea.

bhwong
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Re: Recommendation for Proxy Server

Post by bhwong » Jun 01, 2012 1:13 am

Some told me that the server with the highest workload is the Proxy Server and suggest to create it as physical. It will also help to reduce the high data bandwidth it required so that the VMs will not be affected by it if it was to run as a VM on the same host.

However, you told me that in my case, this server is better off to use as backup repository due to it's huge storage? Some also told me that it doesn't require a direct SAN access as it will be handled by the Veeam B&R server. Is this true?

Some other even suggest that I should also run Veeam B&R server on this same server as well. What do you think?

The advantage of running Veeam B&R server as VM is that it works with vmware to control how data is access from SAN. If I am to install Veeam B&R on this physical server, I will have to manually configure iSCSI connection to my SAN which from my previous experience, has potential risk and some unknown as I'm not so familiar with this setup. In this setup of using Windows over ESXi connectivity, my concern will be:

1. Windows does not support NIC teaming, thus my bandwidth to iSCSI SAN will be restricted to 1 connection?
2. How does Windows read the VMs file for backing up since it does not read VMFS volume?
3. Unlike VMFS, NTFS does not support simulaneous connection to a shared iSCSI SAN Volume this will lead to corruption. True?
4. My SAN volume does not support read-only access to some connections (Windows) while having write access to other connection (ESXi). Allowing Windows to have write access to my SAN volumes worried me!

rbrambley
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Re: Recommendation for Proxy Server

Post by rbrambley » Jun 01, 2012 3:39 am 2 people like this post

bhwong wrote:Some told me that the server with the highest workload is the Proxy Server and suggest to create it as physical. It will also help to reduce the high data bandwidth it required so that the VMs will not be affected by it if it was to run as a VM on the same host.
yes, this is usually true. The proxy is always the "muscle" of a job.

Bandwidth is not usually a concern. Proxies need 2 to 4 cpus and if a VM this is what will steal resources from your production VMs - see my suggestion below to use proxy in your production storage and cluster.
However, you told me that in my case, this server is better off to use as backup repository due to it's huge storage?
yes
Some also told me that it doesn't require a direct SAN access as it will be handled by the Veeam B&R server. Is this true?
The proxy server is what actually needs to access the datastores where the VMs are - once again, that is the muscle of the job.

The Veeams server is the "brains". That's where you config a job and set the schedule, look at the history. The brains tell the muscle what to do and when to do it, and then keep track of what was done

Now, what gets confusing is that when you install Veeam that one server is actually all 3 - brains / muscle /repository. But you can then make other systems part of your infrastructure with the v6 distributed architecture.
Some other even suggest that I should also run Veeam B&R server on this same server as well. What do you think?
For you, I think this may be best. You should install Server 2008 R2 64 bit on the 2900, configure the Raid 1 and Raid 5 drives like you described for Win 7 and then install Veeam. Afterwards, configure a new repository as a folder on the Raid 5 partition. Don't use the default repos from the install.

Not sure why you wanted to use Win 7, but if you have to then it's OK, but Server OS usually makes things easier to do server things.
The advantage of running Veeam B&R server as VM is that it works with vmware to control how data is access from SAN. If I am to install Veeam B&R on this physical server, I will have to manually configure iSCSI connection to my SAN which from my previous experience, has potential risk and some unknown as I'm not so familiar with this setup. In this setup of using Windows over ESXi connectivity, my concern will be:

1. Windows does not support NIC teaming, thus my bandwidth to iSCSI SAN will be restricted to 1 connection?
2. How does Windows read the VMs file for backing up since it does not read VMFS volume?
3. Unlike VMFS, NTFS does not support simulaneous connection to a shared iSCSI SAN Volume this will lead to corruption. True?
4. My SAN volume does not support read-only access to some connections (Windows) while having write access to other connection (ESXi). Allowing Windows to have write access to my SAN volumes worried me!
Windows supports NIC teaming. You do this with the driver utilities of your NICs
Windows reads VMFS via the VADP API that VMware created to read files on VMFS. Veeam uses the VADP API
No corruption from multi client iSCSI. Otherwise windows clustering wouldn't work, for example.
Not sure why this still worries you (and others) - This has been a standard config since VCB. Veeam is perfectly safe.

So, if your ESX hosts are using iSCSI to the storage then you will need to configure iSCSI from the 2900 to all the datastores just like your hosts. This is the best setup for Veeam for you (you will be using a single physical Veeam server that is all 3 - brains, proxy, and repos), but if you don't want to do this you have other options:

1 - use a VM running in your production cluster and on a production ESX datastore as a proxy. This will let you use Virtual Appliance mode and vSphere hot add. Veeam brains and repos still on the 2900. This is next best option and the only distributed model for you.
2. Use network mode from the 2900 (default proxy installed already). Veeam as a single physical server with all 3 roles on the 2900.

The other good reason to make the 2900 a physical Veeam server and repository is for restores. You have your backups and Veeam outside of ESX so if your storage fails you can actually run your backups from the 2900 until you fix things (this is instant VM recovery and vPower!)

It's not a good design to make the 2900 another ESXi host with local VMFS. Veeam will end up using network mode to go access the VMs on the production storage anyways, and your backup files will be burried inside a VMDK in a VMFS volume. If you lose the host or the VMFS you will have trouble getting to your Veeam backups too.

bhwong
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Re: Recommendation for Proxy Server

Post by bhwong » Jun 01, 2012 9:30 am

Not sure why you wanted to use Win 7, but if you have to then it's OK, but Server OS usually makes things easier to do server things.
Is there any advantage to install Veeam on Windows Server over Windows 7? The reason why I wanted to use Win 7 over Server 2008 R2 is to save on the expensive Microsoft Window license fee. Windows 7 is so much cheaper than Windows Server!

This is also the reason why I prefer to use a single powerful physical server with just 1 windows license rather than many virtual machines using multiple expensive windows licenses! These Windows license fees is enough for me to purchase a powerful server! Hardware these days are so much cheaper than software licenses...

Thus, while the distributed architecture of Veeam is great, but I hope to be able to deploy with just Linux Servers. FYI, Acronis backup has an Linux-based appliance to save additional cost for customers. Will be great if Veeam also provide this option too!
Not sure why this still worries you (and others) - This has been a standard config since VCB. Veeam is perfectly safe.
Whenever I map an iSCSI volume into Windows, Windows will prompt me to initialize and format the VMFS volume into NTFS. That's what worried me!

For optimal performance, Rick Vanover was suggesting installing Veeam B&R Server as VM and have the Proxy Server as physical: "I like having the veeam console a virtual machine, and a physical proxy for LAN-free backups (FC) and offloading the CPU burden of backups from the vSphere cluster."

http://www.veeam.com/blog/lang/en/direc ... mment-9300

btw is vPower executed from Veeam B&R Server or Proxy Server?

Gostev
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Re: Recommendation for Proxy Server

Post by Gostev » Jun 01, 2012 10:18 am

Windows Vista and Windows 7 is not ideal as a backup proxy, as they are limited around hot add processing mode (this is documented in the know issues section of the release notes), and have one other potential issue we are currently investigating. Generally, I recommend any server OS. If you are really looking to save, Windows XP might be a better alternative.

Although, we always recommend using existing Windows servers as your backup proxies, and we have added one nice enhancement to 6.1 release to facilitate this by ensuring that the backup process does not affect other applications and processes running on the same VM, and only kicks when there are "spare" CPU cycles available.

rbrambley
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Re: Recommendation for Proxy Server

Post by rbrambley » Jun 01, 2012 11:55 am

bhwong wrote: Is there any advantage to install Veeam on Windows Server over Windows 7? The reason why I wanted to use Win 7 over Server 2008 R2 is to save on the expensive Microsoft Window license fee. Windows 7 is so much cheaper than Windows Server!

This is also the reason why I prefer to use a single powerful physical server with just 1 windows license rather than many virtual machines using multiple expensive windows licenses! These Windows license fees is enough for me to purchase a powerful server! Hardware these days are so much cheaper than software licenses...
OK, if cost is your deciding factor then Veeam definitely supports Win 7, but Win 7 is designed to be a desktop OS. In fact, I think you have to use at least Win 7 enterprise 64 bit to use all 24 Gb of RAM on your 2900, but double check me. You probably should strip sown the install of all the desktop stuff that gets installed too. Put some $ on your time to do all that. This is your backup server we are talking about here. Your company DR is not worth it?
Thus, while the distributed architecture of Veeam is great, but I hope to be able to deploy with just Linux Servers. FYI, Acronis backup has an Linux-based appliance to save additional cost for customers. Will be great if Veeam also provide this option too!
True, but they probably want you to use a server OS too. Do they want you to license each appliance? I'm not familiar.
Whenever I map an iSCSI volume into Windows, Windows will prompt me to initialize and format the VMFS volume into NTFS. That's what worried me!
Only if you go into disk manager and click on them - don't do that! That is the one thing that could go wrong, and that is human error. Don't let anyone access your Veeam server with admin permissions on the desktop.
For optimal performance, Rick Vanover was suggesting installing Veeam B&R Server as VM and have the Proxy Server as physical: "I like having the veeam console a virtual machine, and a physical proxy for LAN-free backups (FC) and offloading the CPU burden of backups from the vSphere cluster."
what i recommended is a physical proxy - remember when you intall Veeam you auto create the first proxy and repos. Your challenge is how your proxy will get to the VMs it needs to back up. Therefore your best option is fully physical with the windows OS having direct iSCSI access to the VM datatsores. Also, Rick is talking about a Veeam proxy with a fibre channel SAN (FC) above.

What you started with - 2900 as an ESX host with local storage - puts the Veeam VMs (brains and proxy) on different storage
then your VMs you want to backup. How will Veeam get to those VMs on your production cluster? Your only choice is via your network. I think you are trying to follow what Rick is doing but not thinking about your architecture?

If you do exactly what Rick suggests, then where are you going to save your Veeam backups? Best place is back on the 2900 where you have the storage. So, you are really making the 2900 a proxy and a repos, and then you have a VM on the prod storage running Veeam? That VM doesn't do the backups, your proxy (2900) does. Might as well put all 3 Veeam roles on the 2900.

Lastly, if you lose your production SAN and ESX environment you will need to build another Veeam server to use the backups you have on the 2900. That is the final reason to put all 3 roles on your 2900. In a disaster you already have everything you need ready to go.
btw is vPower executed from Veeam B&R Server or Proxy Server?
vPower is configurable, but with the 2900 design you have more than enough dedicated resources and you are not "stealing" from your production VI. Your vPower jobs will be great with that config.

bhwong
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Re: Recommendation for Proxy Server

Post by bhwong » Jun 04, 2012 6:15 am

Thanks Gostev and rbrambley for your recommendation and explanation! I will implement all on 2900 using Windows Storage Server 2008R2 Essential. :)

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