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br_sc
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Shut down VM before backup

Post by br_sc »

Hi,

two quick questions:
- Is it possible to shut down a running VM with "Backup & Replication" before the backup starts and restart it after the backup finishes?
- Is it possible to run a user defined command before a backup job starts?

Vitaliy S.
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Re: Shut down VM before backup

Post by Vitaliy S. »

Hello Michael,

It's not possible withing the UI, though I believe you can achieve that with custom scripting. You may use pre-freeze and post-thaw scripts to trigger a custom action before and after snapshot creation procedure. Should more infromation be needed, please have a look at the links below:

http://www.veeam.com/forums/viewtopic.p ... =prefreeze
http://www.veeam.com/forums/viewtopic.p ... eze#p20746

Out of curiosity, could you tell me why do you want to shutdown a VM while running backup/replication job?

br_sc
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Re: Shut down VM before backup

Post by br_sc »

Hello Vitaliy,

thanks for your quick answer.
Using the pre-freeze script is not my prefered option. I would prefer if the backup software itself would shut down the VM (and verify that it is really shut down) and restart it afterwards. Scripts tend to be error prone and have to be custom made. I am right now working with such a script based backup system and sometimes it's sheer horror ;-) But Veeam isn't the only VMware backup app that doesn' have this feature bulti-in. So far I haven't found any.
To answer your question:
I have critical VMs for whom i simply don't trust ANY VSS providers to properly quiesce the system. I have just seen too much errors relating to VSS providers. Shutting down the VM is the most secure way to get a clean backup and if the system doesn't have to be up 24/7 this is the way to go (just my opinion). I also have a VM (an anti-spam "appliance") which doesn't support online backup (as stated by the manufacturer). I know 99,9% of the time hot backups are not a problem, but my goal is still 100%.

Best regards, Michael

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Re: Shut down VM before backup

Post by Gostev »

If that helps, SureBackup is actually designed to give you confidence that 100% of your hot backups are good.

br_sc
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Re: Shut down VM before backup

Post by br_sc »

I am aware of that, but that still doesn't help me if the vendor of my anti-spam appliance doesn't support hot backups.

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Re: Shut down VM before backup

Post by tsightler »

br_sc wrote:Hello Vitaliy,
thanks for your quick answer.
Using the pre-freeze script is not my prefered option. I would prefer if the backup software itself would shut down the VM (and verify that it is really shut down) and restart it afterwards. Scripts tend to be error prone and have to be custom made. I am right now working with such a script based backup system and sometimes it's sheer horror ;-) But Veeam isn't the only VMware backup app that doesn' have this feature bulti-in. So far I haven't found any.
Well, if you really don't want to script, I still think you could accomplish your task in a reasonably reliable manner without any scripting. If I were attempting to do this without a script at all I would use Scheduled Tasks in vCenter to schedule the shutdown and startup of the VM's in question, and schedule Veeam to start the backup within that window. For example, it's quite easy to have vCenter shut down the host at 9:55PM, have Veeam kick off the backup at 10PM, and then have vCenter power the host back on at 10:05PM.

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Re: Shut down VM before backup

Post by osnwt »

Vitaliy S. wrote:Out of curiosity, could you tell me why do you want to shutdown a VM while running backup/replication job?
Well, that's old thread, but I registered just to give an answer.

Actually, one of cases where powered-off VM required for backup is when a machine uses VT-d passthrough for some of host devices, say, SCSI controller or some other device. While not being typical for datacenters, it is quite possible case. VMware does not support creating snapshots for such running VM at all, and Veeam fails to backup it. At the same time, when VM is powered down, it works great. So to ensure lowest possible VM downtime and ability to backup such VM, the backup solution MUST shutdown such VM first, backup it, and then power it back on. Using a downtime window is not an option since full backup of many VMs may take hours, and all the time this VM shall be powered off.

PS. And please fix your board registration system. I use email from *.info domain which is privately hosted. Still, the board did not allow me to register using my real email. I registered a public one, and failed again. Finally I had to use my old never used email just to register. While I understand the public emails policy, I still don't understand what's the difference between .net and .info domains regarding board registration.

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Re: Shut down VM before backup

Post by Vitaliy S. »

Hi Oleg, thanks for the feedback and thanks for re-using the existing thread.

As a possible way of backing up these VMs you can use PowerCLI and PowerShell scripts that would shut down the VM, start the backup job and then power it on back. There are some existing topics showing how to do it.

Let me see what I can do with a board registration policy. Thanks!

osnwt
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Re: Shut down VM before backup

Post by osnwt »

Sure, it's possible. But to minimize the downtime such special VM must be the only one to be backed up by the job. I treat this like a workaround rather than a solution. And, honestly, I don't see any cons to implement a down/up option before backing up some particular VM (one of many in a job). Just a suggestion.

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Re: Shut down VM before backup

Post by veremin »

But to minimize the downtime such special VM must be the only one to be backed up by the job.

Not necessarily, since you could move a corresponding to the top of backup priority list and write a script that will power-off the given VM first, then, wait till the snapshot is taken, and, finally, power this VM up. Otherwise, you can put the vCenter scheduled task approach into use, as has been suggested previously in this thread.

Thanks.

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Re: Shut down VM before backup

Post by osnwt »

Sorry, but it does not work for VMs with VT-d passthrough devices. It goes this way:

1. Power off such VM - ok.
2. Veeam makes snapshot - ok.
3. Veeam starts to making a backup - ok.
4. VM is powered ON - ok.
5. Veeam finishes the VM and tries to remove the snapshort - FAIL, it cannot remove the snapshot.

It seems that any snapshot operations for VMs with passthrough devices are prohibited. So even if we can fool it and create a snapshot of powered off machine, it cannot be removed if VM was started after that.

So the only way is to power off this machine during full backup session, and this requires a separate job for it or long downtime. Anyway, all "solutions" above seem to be workarounds only. And I still do not understand why a VM stop/start (or generic scripting like call a batch file before and after every VM backup) cannot be integrated directly into Veeam.

veremin
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Re: Shut down VM before backup

Post by veremin »

Then, instead of checking the state of helper snapshot (whether it has been created or not), you can check the backup state of a particular VM (whether it has been backed up already or not). This operation doesn't require separating VMs into several jobs, as, I believe, it should be possible to check the backup state via PS snap-in.

Also, these forums are thoroughly monitored for potential features/improvements and, thus, you can consider your post as a feature request.

So, thank your for your feedback.

osnwt
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Re: Shut down VM before backup

Post by osnwt »

Actually, this was the goal of my post - to show that in some (maybe rare, but still real) cases the ability to stop/start a VM or run external scripts is necessary.

Thanks!

veremin
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Re: Shut down VM before backup

Post by veremin »

Your voice is counted.

If you need any assistance with scripting process, feel free to ask your question here or create an additional discussion at corresponding subforum (PowerShell); and I will take a look at it, once I'm in the office (tomorrow).

Thanks.

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[MERGED] Poweroff VMs before backup.

Post by janr »

Hello everyone,

Is it possible with Veeam 7 to shut down a VM, and power it up after the backup?

I'm trying to back up a couple of biztalk servers with their SQL server. Our biztalk specialist preffers that they are shut down during backup.

Regards,

janr

veremin
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Re: Poweroff VMs before backup.

Post by veremin »

You can use VMware Tools Quiescence in conjunction with pre-freeze/post-thaw scripts in order to stop particular VM and power it up after the snapshot is made. Thanks.

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Re: Shut down VM before backup

Post by Gostev »

You cannot really shut down and power up VM with those... well, technically you can shut down VM with the pre-freeze script, but obviously with the OS not running, the post-thaw script will not be triggered by VMware Tools to perform VM power up.

However, you can certainly stop/start services and applications, such as databases. This is what exactly what these scripts were designed for.

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Re: Shut down VM before backup

Post by Vitaliy S. »

True, as an alternative to post-thaw script usage, post backup job script can be used to power the VM up once the backup job is complete.

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Re: Shut down VM before backup

Post by Gostev »

But only when the entire job completes (not just a specific VM), which can result in extended down time. I don't really see any good reasons to shut down the entire VM anyway.

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