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kapple
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Restoring VM from on demand sandbox to production

Post by kapple » Oct 09, 2019 12:35 pm

Hi,

We have a VM that needs to have quite a few changes made, which will take almost a full week to complete (Windows updates on a VM that is woefully out of date, and than an OS upgrade, then more updates). We do have a dev version of this VM, and this is how I found out how long the VM will be out of production, or at least severely impacted during this process. We generally do not just turn on Windows automatic updates, and we want to control reboots, so we use a fairly manual process here.

My thought is to use a backup of the production VM in an on demand sandbox, do the work on it that needs to be done within the sandbox, and then using the vSphere client, either clone or migrate the VM in the sandbox to production (after shutting down the actual production VM).

I have not found any forum posts or documentation that indicates this is a valid method of accomplishing what I want to do. Has anyone attempted such a use for the on demand sandbox, or know if this is supported?

Thanks.

Veeam 9.5 U4
vSphere 6.5

Egor Yakovlev
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Re: Restoring VM from on demand sandbox to production

Post by Egor Yakovlev » Oct 09, 2019 1:19 pm

Hi Ken!

Your approach is viable and can be used, but please consider following:
- machine you are running in a sandbox from backup does not have any link to it's running production copy. That means there will be a data lag between changing production and one in a sandbox. Overwriting production server with one from Sandbox(aka from backup) might lead to data loss.
- running Sandbox for long time*(say, a week?) requires good planning with current data protection policies. Say you are running sandbox from a backup that falls under retention settings next day - Veeam will cancel that Sandbox mount(aka destroy the sandbox VM) to continue data protection operations. It is best to create a standalone full backup and run sandbox from it, rather than using production backup chain.
- you can spend some time automating process that you would like to do in the Sandbox, by creating a script that will run windows updates and whatever else you wanna do with those machines, and then feed that script to Veeam's Staged Restore option. Visible benefits:
- 1 click will run entire process!
- it will automate sandbox launch and machine isolation
- it will automate all processes done inside isolated temp environment(updates, patches, cleanups and what else you want to run there)
- it will automate later migration of staged machine to production
- reduce your "staged maintenance" window from "a week" to "hours"?

Hope that helps!

kapple
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Re: Restoring VM from on demand sandbox to production

Post by kapple » Oct 09, 2019 1:53 pm

Egor,

Thank you for this detailed explanation. This appears to be a valid option for what we want to do.
I don't have scripting experience, but others on our team can assist with that portion.

One question I have regarding using Powershell scripts to run Windows updates is, a first batch of updates will be downloaded, installed, than a reboot occurs. Windows updates will need to run again, because there will be new updates that are applied based on the previous updates. There are several cycles of this happening, which is why it took so long when doing this on the dev server. Is it possible to script the VM to run Windows updates after it has been rebooted, until there are none left? Maybe we would be best served by turning on automatic updates on the VM in the sandbox, have it scheduled to run every few hours, and go from there.

This is not a real big deal, because my main concern was just being able to restore the VM from the sandbox, but if I could speed up the process, that would be a good thing. I am not too concerned about changes on this server. This just runs an application, which will be upgraded by the team that manages this server, once it is restored. The database this application interacts with is hosted an another VM.

Lastly, I assume that when going through the staged restore process, I can map to the appropriate port groups on the distributed switch, so that when it comes back up, it is on the same network and has the same IP as the original production VM. Am I correct in this assumption?

Thanks,

PetrM
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Re: Restoring VM from on demand sandbox to production

Post by PetrM » Oct 09, 2019 7:09 pm

By default, the restored VM will be connected to the same virtual network as the original VM.
If you'd like to connect VM to another network you can specify how networks map between original and new locations on the "Network" step of the restore wizard.

The vm is running in the isolated environment while changes are being applied.

By the way, I'd recommend to make sure you don't forget to assign a new name to the VM that you're going to restore otherwise original VM will be overwritten.

Thanks!

kapple
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Re: Restoring VM from on demand sandbox to production

Post by kapple » Oct 09, 2019 7:18 pm

Thank you Petr.
I won't be changing the network of the restored VM, but not having done a staged restore from an on demand sandbox, I was not sure if there would be any extra steps to make the VM work.

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