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Recommendations for backup storage, backup target

Posted: Apr 03, 2014 7:36 pm
by Gostev
This topic is the continuation of the previous discussion, where some recommendations were no longer correct because they were made a few years ago, and the product architecture has changed significantly since then.

At this time, the best low end primary backup storage for Veeam is Windows or Linux server with internal or direct attached (JBOD) storage. Below, I am quoting a couple of weekly forum digest articles from earlier this year where I have discussed such backup targets in more details.


What is the best primary storage for Veeam backups? This is certainly in the top 10 questions I get from our partners who want to build the complete solution for their clients in the most optimal manner. Higher-end storage is usually easy - if you have big money to spend, you will get great results with most of the available options, be it serious deduplicating storage device or high-capacity SAN. But, what about lower end storage systems? Most people seem to think "since I need the cheapest storage for my backups, I will just buy the cheapest NAS", which is actually a bad choice! Those cheap NAS devices are neither reliable (top source of backup file corruptions due to questionable optimizations on top of shares), nor fast (usually too few spindles and dual 1Gb Ethernet connectivity at best), nor they are actually the cheapest option (comparing to another one you get with Veeam).

What if I told you that you can get a very reliable and fast backup storage without actually having to buy one? Thanks to B&R's architecture, you can do this. Take any decommissioned physical Windows or Linux server, stuff it with a bunch of hard drives - and you get the most economical, fast and reliable target for Veeam B&R you can possibly get at this price point. Sure, you can probably build even cheaper, or faster, or more reliable target - but the above route will always provide for the best possible combination of all three. And even if you run out of space for more hard drives within the enclosure, you can still grow capacity in a very cost effective manner by direct attaching JBOD, which are quite cheap.

So, what is it exactly that makes a physical server with internal (or direct attached) storage the best choice for storing backups? It's cheap, because in most cases you don't even have to buy one - any virtualization project leaves plenty of those behind (and if not, then you are doing something wrong). It's reliable, because we are talking plain vanilla operating system without any hacks or optimizations, and there is no file shares involved. And it is very fast, because all I/O intensive operations on backup files (such as transformation) are performed locally by data mover running right on the box, instead of over relatively slow Ethernet network. Finally, you can easily grow both capacity (by adding more JBODs) and scalability (by adding additional servers) of this storage platform along with your virtual infrastructure with minimal additional investments. The latter is actually why I tend not to limit this solution to SMB only, as I've seen quite a few of mid-size customers using this storage concept with great success.


Today, I wanted to share some of the most interesting feedback I have received in response to my article about best backup storage from 2 weeks ago.

First and foremost, Windows Server Storage Spaces was the popular feedback item, and I was very happy to see that because I’ve been promoting this feature quite heavily both externally, and internally to our engineers. A few people noted their usage of Windows Server Storage Spaces in conjunction with my suggested backup storage architecture which allows them to create uber repositories, spanning (for example) both internal server storage and one or more JBODs attached to the server. Not only this approach provides them with huge volumes to target their largest backup jobs to, but this also guarantees they can easily expand capacity of said volumes in future, should the need arise.

Another interesting storage architecture shared had a goal of building highly reliable backup target. The architecture is essentially the same: Windows Server 2012 with Storage Spaces on top of internal and/or direct attached storage, but additionally “virtualized” with clustered SMB 3.0 file share on top to be able to leverage the transparent failover feature. This SMB 3.0 file share is then registered with B&R normally as a CIFS-based repository. The guy actually sent us a video of his experiments, where he starts backup job and then fails over that file share multiple times - and backup just keeps running with fantastic speed! Pretty cool, especially since he noted that other backup solutions could not handle the same test, even though the failover is supposed to be “transparent”.

Finally, here is really nice write up and real-world proof that my proposed storage architecture scales in both capacity and scalability to support even largest environments of 100 TB and more in size!
We used another product for our backups for years. I was brought in last year because the company had many issues with this application. I was able to clean up almost all of the issues but we ended up switching to Veeam anyway. You see as part of their mitigation to get backups done while they had issues the previous admin used Veeam to do backups on some critical systems. Veeam worked so well that we decided to virtualize 99% of the environment in order to take full advantage of Veeam B&R.

I as began my deployment I utilized the NetApp FAS2240 that our old product used to backup too. I quickly found that doing reverse incremental backups to LUNS on this NetApp was not going to work. After much investigation with NetApp support we found that the way the NetApp writes blocks is not very compatible with the way Veeam writes blocks. It causes a huge amount of resource utilization on the NetApp an so backups and tape outs are extremely slow.

I started searching for another solution and luckily we had a lot of old HP DL380 servers and SAS attached disk arrays that had been retired. I decided to build a new backup server using this equipment for testing. I build a 60Tb backup server using only a DL380 & SAS Attached arrays full of 2TB SATA disks. The performance increase was dramatic. So dramatic that I can now perform all of my backups every night with fulls on the weekends and tape them out every night with no issues. This was something that we were never able to do with our old product alone.

Since the storage I used was all out of warranty I convinced management that we should purchase new backup units to replace these. We are purchaing a new DL380 with attached storage that will have 80Tb of usable space. We are also buying another unit to send to DR so I can run backup copies to it. The cost for this storage significantly less than a NetApp. The NetApp units can easily top 6 figures for only 40Tb where as the HP Storage is less than $50k for 80Tb.

Re: Recommendations for backup storage, backup target

Posted: Apr 04, 2014 10:56 am
by dcolpitts
Not to burst anyone's bubble, but the DL380 solution mentioned above is the same hardware solution as HP's StoreOnce 4500 & 4700 solutions as both the 4500 and 4700 are built on DL380p Gen8s with attached JBODs, except building it yourself does't get you HP's dedup & replication - although the plain old DL380 is likely better suited for those on a budget...


Re: Recommendations for backup storage, backup target

Posted: Apr 04, 2014 11:32 am
by m.novelli
Would like to share my experience. I really love servers with internal storage as Veeam Backup repository.

Recently I've installed a Dell R720xd server, with a PERC H710 controller and eleven 4 TB 7.200rpm SATA disk configured in RAID5 (plus one hot spare for more security). The available usable space with this config is about 36 TB.

The server is connected via iSCSI to three VMware hosts and a couple of Dell PowerVault MD storage. The iSCSI chain is 10 Gbit end to end.

So, with that R720xd server (about 10-11k euro of cost) I can run Full Active backups at 230 MB/sec sustained speed on SATA disks!


[MERGED] Using Windows Server as backup repository/target

Posted: Sep 10, 2014 7:06 pm
by guitarfish
I presently use Veeam 7.0 to backup two ESXi 5.1 hosts to a QNAP NAS at a couple remote sites. I am using a Windows 7 Pro x64 system as the proxy server. I am now looking to deploy two ESXi 5.5 hosts at our HQ, and I'd like something better than the NAS for a target.

I've been looking at some higher end NAS devices, which are basically Windows Server 2012 appliances. If this is the case, why not just use a Windows Server 2012 R2 system (which I happen to have as a spare) as a backup repository? The system has dual gigabit Ethernet, and I can put a pair of SAS drives in it (RAID-1) and away we go. My total backup size of all VMs will be well under 1TB.

Is using a Windows Server a practical approach for a small setup like mine?

Re: Recommendations for backup storage, backup target

Posted: Sep 10, 2014 7:36 pm
by Gostev
It is not only practical, but also the recommended approach. And not just for small setups such as yours... read some feedback above ;)

Re: Recommendations for backup storage, backup target

Posted: Sep 11, 2014 12:16 pm
by guitarfish
Ya know, I remember reading the post above from April, but I couldn't find it. Thank you for directing me to it!

So if I understand this, the Windows Server where the DAS is (the repository) can serve as the proxy server also, which would eliminate the need for me to go from ESXi -> Win 7 proxy -> NAS in my current setups?

Re: Recommendations for backup storage, backup target

Posted: Sep 11, 2014 6:47 pm
by Gostev
That is correct.

[MERGED] Cheap and fast disk target recommendation

Posted: Dec 10, 2014 4:46 pm
by ditguy2012
I know this question has been asked in the past but I'm hoping to find some updated experiences. What are people using to store their disk to disk backups and do you like it?

We're a dell shop so we naturally got quotes about the Powervault series systems. But I'm wondering if there are faster new technologies out there or is it the same old game: maximize your spindle count and disk speed to get backup and restores going faster. you can also use things like synthetic fulls but when it comes to IOs I wonder if there are less expensive options. flash and ssd only seem to help if there's a deduplication database which there isn't in veeam and we need many terabytes of disk space so flash/ssd seems to expensive.

Thoughts anyone?

Re: [MERGED] Cheap and fast disk target recommendation

Posted: Dec 11, 2014 7:43 am
by m.novelli
Dell PowerEdge R730xd with twelve 4TB NLSAS hard disk and 10 Gbit networking is a killer Veeam Backup server

With SATA disks the SureBackup jobs are a little bit slow and sometimes they fail starting Exchange or SQL Servers VM (I'm talking about the Dell PowerEdge R720xd with previous generation of SAS controller)


Re: Recommendations for backup storage, backup target

Posted: Dec 11, 2014 10:00 pm
by getzjd
I just installed a Synology DS1815+ with eight 6TB Western Digital red drives RAID 10 connected via MPIO iSCSI and Windows 2012R2 virtualized Veeam server using direct SAN access mode. My target bottleneck is between 0% and 11% so the Synology is doing a great job. My source is an old CX4 series SAN. We will see how this adjusts in the next few weeks after I cutover to a VNX and off the old CX4 SAN.

Processing rate for 4 jobs totaling 640GB 136 MB/s

Source 98% > Proxy 69% > Network 12% > Target 8%

Re: [MERGED] Cheap and fast disk target recommendation

Posted: Dec 16, 2014 9:15 pm
by ditguy2012
m.novelli wrote:Dell PowerEdge R730xd with twelve 4TB NLSAS hard disk and 10 Gbit networking is a killer Veeam Backup server

With SATA disks the SureBackup jobs are a little bit slow and sometimes they fail starting Exchange or SQL Servers VM (I'm talking about the Dell PowerEdge R720xd with previous generation of SAS controller)

Hi m.novelli. Thanks for the reply. What RAID did you do with 12 4TB drives? We considered doing the Dell R730xd and putting 24x 1.2TB 10K drives in it with a 2GB RAID Controller, 2x 10-core CPUs and 64GB of memory.

The other big concern we're seeing is needing such a high amount of disk space for doing synthetic fulls. Apparently we can do incremental forever but the question is if that means doing a full restore requires a bit from every day the server was ever backed up? Is a better idea to do a real full maybe once a month so that you're not doing restores that many days back? We were told for 18TB of data today, growing to 36 over the next 3 years that we needed over 100TB of space to do the following:

fulls weekly, keep for 5 iterations
daily's, keep for 30 days
monthly fulls keep for a year (the day we do monthly's we don't do weekly fulls).

Re: Recommendations for backup storage, backup target

Posted: Dec 16, 2014 11:44 pm
by jwest
I curious if you are going with dedicated storage servers for the Veeam backup repository, are you also using them as the Veeam proxy as well. Any benefit using VM proxy as the dedicated server should have plenty of CPU and RAM resources if using current CPU & RAM technologies. What happens if you run out space? Just add a second dedicated storage server and then split your jobs accordingly?

[MERGED] Storage Devices for backups

Posted: Feb 23, 2015 9:04 pm
by Dave23
I'm just curious to know what others are using for disk to disk backup solutions for the Veeam environment? Looking for low cost storage device.

Re: Recommendations for backup storage, backup target

Posted: Mar 16, 2015 6:30 pm
by k00laid
Like m.novelli above I am using a Dell PE 720xd chocked full of drives with Server 2012R2 installed. After RAID 5 my usable for a repository is about 24TB. Further I 1) Formatted the drive with the /L modifier (important!) and then 2) enabled Windows Disk Deduplication on the drive with a dedupe cycle of 8 days to allow a synthetic full operation to happen more efficiently. With that I'm currently holding 65 TB of backups in about 3.46TB of actual disk space. I know that this method has fallen out of favor with Veeam, but I swear by it and as long as you do the correct formatting on the server you shouldn't run into corruption issues.

Re: Recommendations for backup storage, backup target

Posted: Mar 16, 2015 6:57 pm
by Gostev
It has indeed fallen out of favor for large backup sizes (above few TB). Depending on your full backup size, you can be totally fine though. One other gotcha is the fact that the technology itself is very young comparing to plain vanilla NTFS, and could contain data corruption bugs (we did observe a few corruptions on such volumes in support, but of course it could have been caused by other issues too).