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scottyyyc
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v5 Backup to External HDD, best practices

Post by scottyyyc »

Hi everyone,

I've been trialing v4 for a little while, but never put it into full production since v5 was just around the corner. I'm now purchasing v5, and want to make sure I'm not way off base. I have a fairly simple setup (10 VMs running on 3 ESXi servers w/ vSphere 4, all running from an EQL SAN).

I'm tired of tape, so I plan to back up to a series of external network hard drives (single drive QNAP NASes), let's call them drives A, B, and C. Drive A always stays hooked up and on-site, which Veeam backs up to nightly (reverse incremental). Once every 2 weeks, I have Veeam run a post-job script that basically just robocopies the contents of backup drive A to drive B or C, depending on rotation, with the /MIR switch. The robocopy happens on the weekend, only once every 2 weeks, so speed basically isn't an issue. I like the idea of reverse incremental backup, always keeping the main .vbk fully up to date.

Can you foresee any major issues with this? My theory is in a disaster scenario, all I have is drive B or C (offsite), so I should be able to install Veeam on spare computer (even the demo), fire up the external backup, and be able to recover files and VM's fairly rapidly (even to free ESXi, if need be). Any other 'best practices' that I should be aware of with v5? I know there was lots of questions here in the forums regarding backing up to external HDD...

Also, are there any known [reliability] issues with keeping a very long retention period? Since the incrementals are so small, I thought I "might as well" keep a fairly lengthy retention period (30+ days).

rowdy
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Re: v5 Backup to External HDD, best practices

Post by rowdy »

You can also use extract.exe to restore a VM.
Please see page 97 of the v5 manual for more information about this.

Basically, it's just a very small (both Windows and Linux versions) program that you can store on your HDD. It even has a command-prompt wizard-like interface, so ít's very easy to use.
You can begin recovery without needing to install Veeam first.

As for keeping many incrementals: You do need all forward incrementals when doing a restore. The chance of something being wrong with any one file is always there. But that chance is also present when you have a very large VBK file and the HDD has a bad sector. Same goes for tapes. This is the same as with other backup programs and solutions. I do hope version 6 will also include 'normal' differential backups. You'll only need two files then (a large one and a much smaller one) to restore to any moment in time. But the inclusion of forward incrementals already made our work much easier :)

But anyway, I always make sure I have more than one backup. The most recent backup always goes to two places (two HDDs) and I have a seperate archive at home with older backups. So, there's always something that will restore :)

scottyyyc
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Re: v5 Backup to External HDD, best practices

Post by scottyyyc »

One final question then regarding reverse incremental backup files/chains.

Since the main .VBK file is always kept up to date with the most current backup information, would recovery work if you only had the single .VBK file (suppose the incremental .VRB files are corrupted to deleted). Bottom line, if you don't have the entire reverse incremental chain in place, would recovery still succeed with the single .VBK file??

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Re: v5 Backup to External HDD, best practices

Post by Gostev »

Absolutely! This is the biggest benefit of reversed incremental backup approach: your last backup is always full recovery file! So, just put this single latest VBK and extract.exe on external HDD or on tape, and you will be able to recover the data from it even in 25 years from now, no matter what.

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Re: v5 Backup to External HDD, best practices

Post by Frosty »

scottyyyc, I run a very similar scenario to yours (3 x ESXi hosts, about 15 VMs currently, 1.5TB of data backed up nightly). At the moment I have a physical host (soon to be a VM) which receives the Veeam backups. So if I need to restore, I have all my latest backups online and available at a moment's notice. I also have an aversion to tape, so am using USB HDDs. I use 2 drives each night and I mirror the data from the physical backup server to the USB HDDs and take that offsite. So if the building burns down I have multiple backups from the past week stored offsite. I also take an end-of-month and store that offsite, so I have JAN, FEB, MAR, etc that I can go back to if needed. I've used portable USB HDDs to store offsite backups for years now, probably since 2002-2003.

The only issue I've noticed is that once in a while a drive will completely fail (they do get hammered every night!) and I just replace it with a new one, plus the first time I ever tried to do a restore in my DR site I discovered that I only had USB1 capability in the server I was using to restore the data, so I had to go buy a USB2 card for it (and a gigabit ethernet card too!). With USB3 now becoming mainstream, this make backups to all kinds of portable HDD devices a viable option.

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Re: v5 Backup to External HDD, best practices

Post by albertwt »

wow this is great, so all we need to do is to copy the .VBK and the latest .VRB files along with extract.exe into the tape drive or removable drive for complete VM restore ?
do i need to install and configure the VBR 5 first before recovering it again ?
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ctchang
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Re: v5 Backup to External HDD, best practices

Post by ctchang »

See my post in http://www.veeam.com/forums/viewtopic.p ... 224#p21224 which I think it's related to this post as well.

Hope this helps.

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Re: v5 Backup to External HDD, best practices

Post by Vitaliy S. »

albertwt wrote:wow this is great, so all we need to do is to copy the .VBK and the latest .VRB files along with extract.exe into the tape drive or removable drive for complete VM restore ?
That's correct.
albertwt wrote:do i need to install and configure the VBR 5 first before recovering it again ?
Extract.exe is a standalone utility, which doesn't require VBR server to be presented at all.

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Re: v5 Backup to External HDD, best practices

Post by Gostev »

Just one minor comment, please note that extract.exe supports recovery from full backup file only (VBK), so there is no point to also copy VRB or VIB with it.

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