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baseline
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vStorage API in Virtual Applicance mode and NFS

Post by baseline »

Hi,

We're thinking of moving to NFS since we're going to install a brand new FAS3040 with 10Gbs NIC's. I've read somewhere on this forum that NFS is not supported as a source for lan-free backups.
Does this hold true even if NFS is just the source but the target is actually an iSCSI lun?
Thanks in advance.

Cheers

Gostev
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Re: vStorage API in Virtual Applicance mode and NFS

Post by Gostev »

No, it is not true - there is a confusion.

NFS is not supported for "SAN" mode backups as it requires FC/iSCSI shared storage. Some people used to call such backups "LAN-free", because with previous versions of Veeam Backup "SAN" mode was the only backup mode which did not touch LAN.

But with Veeam Backup 4.0, we have introduced so-called "Virtual Appliance" mode, when backup data goes directly through ESX I/O stack instead of going through network stack. So technically this makes the backup "production LAN free" (only LAN affected is your ESX storage LAN with 10Gb NICs connected to FAS3040).

And as you can find from existing threads about NFS and Virtual Appliance mode, this gives a few times higher backup speed too comparing to previous Veeam Backup version and "Network" mode backups.

baseline
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Re: vStorage API in Virtual Applicance mode and NFS

Post by baseline »

Gostev wrote:No, it is not true - there is a confusion.

NFS is not supported for "SAN" mode backups as it requires FC/iSCSI shared storage. Some people used to call such backups "LAN-free", because with previous versions of Veeam Backup "SAN" mode was the only backup mode which did not touch LAN.

But with Veeam Backup 4.0, we have introduced so-called "Virtual Appliance" mode, when backup data goes directly through ESX I/O stack instead of going through network stack. So technically this makes the backup "production LAN free" (only LAN affected is your ESX storage LAN with 10Gb NICs connected to FAS3040).

And as you can find from existing threads about NFS and Virtual Appliance mode, this gives a few times higher backup speed too comparing to previous Veeam Backup version and "Network" mode backups.
Hi Gostev,

Thank you for the prompt reply.
So, to summarize: In Virtual Appliance mode, even using NFS I woul still benefit from the new vStorage API capabilities, that is, Veeam would use the ESX I/O stack for the backups?
Thanks again.

Cheers

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Re: vStorage API in Virtual Applicance mode and NFS

Post by Gostev »

Correct.

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Re: vStorage API in Virtual Applicance mode and NFS

Post by thad »

Gostev, Is the same true if your source is a DAS? Can you backup "production lan-free" using the io stack, with veeam in appliance mode?
Thanks in advance,
Thad

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Re: vStorage API in Virtual Applicance mode and NFS

Post by Gostev »

Thad, yes - true for any storage whatsoever.

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Re: vStorage API in Virtual Applicance mode and NFS

Post by schaffeb »

We tried using virtual appliance mode with our NFS datastores (Dell 1950 + MD100 + Ubuntu Server) and we had very mixed results. Keep in mind this could be due to the way our NFS server are configured:

-Speed was fantastic, in fact too fantastic. Virtual appliance backups could completely starve our datastore's bandwidth. This was back when we had cheapo 7200 rpm drives. We've now moved to 15k sas drives so I don't know if that would help.

-We were never able to completely get rid of the orphaned snapshots. This can obviously cause serious issues. These snapshots can be removed by using VMware's python script that they wrote to fix the same issue with their own backup tool (I can look up that KB if anyone cares). Since both products had this problem, I believe that there was a bug in the vStorage API, not sure if vSphere 4.1 resolves this.

We ended up sticking with vStorage network mode which works flawlessly. With the advent of changed block tracking, raw backup speed has really become a non-issue in our environment. We have terabyte VMs which backup in minutes with CTB. So for us, the potential problems with appliance mode weren't worth it. The only issue is the first backup which takes a while, but again, this was the case with 7200 rpm sata drives not 15k sas.

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Re: vStorage API in Virtual Applicance mode and NFS

Post by thad »

Good stuff. Thanks, G.

Thad

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Re: vStorage API in Virtual Applicance mode and NFS

Post by Gostev »

Ben, yes the whole SCSI hotadd backup concept is pretty new VMware feature, and it is not as polished on vStorage API side as network and SAN backups at this time. But please be sure to check out the Virtual Appliance mode again with version 4.1.2 (will be made available later this week). Indeed, based on support cases we also saw Virtual Appliance mode not handling backup server crashes or abnormal job terminations very well, resulting in orphaned snapshots issue. To fight this, we have put additional logic and workarounds in place to prevent issues with orphaned snapshot when job running in the Virtual Appliance mode terminates or fails unexpectedly, so right now this should work nicely. Please, let me know how do you find these improvements once you get a chance to test 4.1.2. Thanks!

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