Distributed Backup with the NetVault Plug-in for VMware for Scale and Performance

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1 Distributed Backup with the NetVault Plug-in for VMware for Scale and Performance

2 Table of contents Introduction...3 Background...3 Problem...4 Solution...4 NetVault VMware Plug-in Configuration...5 NetVault VMware Plug-in Distributed by ESXi Nodes in a VMware Cluster...5 NetVault VMware Plug-in Distributed by Folders in a VMware Cluster...6 Conclusion

3 Introduction The Dell NetVault Backup Plug-in for VMware protects virtual machines from disaster, operational data loss, media failure, and data corruption. Its intuitive, easy-to-use interface gives users a single, centralized console to configure backup and restore policies for virtual environments. The plug-in for VMware integrates with VMware vstorage APIs, and allows users to protect virtual environments without the need for complex scripting or deep understanding of VMware, ESXi or vstorage APIs for Data Protection (VADP) internals. This document provides detailed configuration recommendations on how to use multiple plug-ins to protect a single VMware instance. Using multiple VMware plug-in clients allows NetVault to easily scale to protect thousands of VMs. This distributed approach allows for backups to be evenly dispersed across multiple hosts, and reduces backup windows while maintaining its easy-to-use format. Background By implementing the NetVault Plug-in for VMware, users have the flexibility to protect all virtual machines deployed on a single ESXi Server or protect multiple ESXi Servers deployed as a VMware cluster environment. Automatic integration of backup devices ensures business continuity. The plug-in for VMware supports a wide range of backup devices, allowing users to store their backup data on disk-based storage devices, virtual tape libraries, or physical tape libraries. It ensures that virtualized environments are protected and stored off-site for disaster recovery purposes. Backup windows are reduced and device utilization is improved as the plug-in for VMware speeds virtual machine image-based backups with high performance incremental and differential backups for data stored in virtual machines. The plug-in integrates with the Changed Block Tracking (CBT) feature to ensure that only blocks that have changed since the last backup are sent to the current backup stream, which provides more efficient backups and reduces network demands. The plug-in for VMware also preserves the use of VMware vsphere Thin Provisioning feature during virtual machine recovery operations. It controls storage costs and protects data by ensuring virtual machine disks only use the amount of storage they currently need, and dynamically add more allocated space as required. 3

4 Problem The NetVault Backup Plug-in for VMware (version and below) is designed to accommodate configurations like vsphere, vmotion, and VMware clustering. On a smaller scale (which is generally defined by protecting under 50 VMs or a single ESXi server) backup and restore operations perform very well. As customers scale beyond protecting 50 VMs, special configurations must be considered. These special configurations allow for distributing VM backups through multiple VMware plug-in instances. In this configuration a single vcenter environment may have two or more plug-ins working in conjunction to protect larger environments. Solution Configuring multiple NetVault Backup Plug-ins for VMware to work simultaneously when protecting a large VMware environment is straightforward. Users need to define VM groups, install and configure multiple VMware plug-ins, and create the backup jobs. The benefit of doing this is that more backups can run concurrently, resulting in faster overall VMware backups. The image in Figure 01, shows from a high level how the concept of a distributed NetVault Backup Plug-in for VMware works when scaling. Figure 01: Distributed VMware Example 4

5 When distributing NetVault VMware plug-ins, VMs are grouped in one of the following three ways: Either by ESXi server, folder structure, or combination of both in a vcenter cluster. Each group of VMs are assigned a specific NetVault VMware plug-in to use for backups. Because each VMware plug-in is running on a separate NetVault client, more jobs can be run in parallel. Here is how the performance increase works: A single NVBU VMware plug-in can backup X number of jobs. (X is limited by disk i/o, bandwidth, number of streams defined to be sent, and the number of streams able to be received by archive destination) Multiple NetVault VMware plug-ins can backup X number of jobs multiplied by the number of plug-ins deployed. (X is limited by disk i/o, bandwidth, number of steams defined to be sent, and the number of streams able to be received by archive destination) NetVault VMware Plug-in Configuration For both the ESXi server and Folder Structure versions of the Distributed VMware plug-in technique, the first step in implementing the solution is to install X number of VMware plugins. If users intend to use the ESXi server technique, the number of VMware plug-ins to install is directly proportional to the number of ESXi servers running. With the folders technique, administrators create folders in vsphere client that groups of VMs can be dropped into. Each folder is defined to backup through a specific NetVault VMware Plug-in instance. While both techniques perform the same overall solution, the folders option is much more granular. It allows VM backups from a single ESXi server to go to multiple NVBU VMware plug-ins. The most common use of the folders technique is when a single ESXi server has multiple backend storage types with different i/o speeds. If certain VMs are tied to slower or faster backend storage they can all be grouped into their own folder and backed up through a specific NetVault VMware plug-in. Many customers deploy a combination of both techniques to achieve the highest levels of performance. NetVault VMware Plug-in Distributed by ESXi Nodes in a VMware Cluster In vcenter review, the number of ESXi servers that are included are in the cluster. In Figure 02 there are 5 ESXi servers; this means that there should also be 5 VMware plug-ins. Also in Figure 02, you can see that NetVault client AUTOINT150 is backing up ESXi host Separate jobs must be created for each ESXi server and each job must be backed up through different VMware plug-ins. Because VMs to be backed up are defined at the ESXi level, VMs that migrate through vmotion are backed up no matter where they reside. 5

6 Figure 02: Distributed VMware Example Distributing NetVault VMware plug-ins by ESXi server is the easiest and fastest way to implement a distributed backup environment. NetVault VMware Plug-in Distributed by Folders in a VMware Cluster In vcenter, create a folder structure that reflects the number of NetVault Backup Plug-ins for VMware that you intend to implement. In the example below there are three plug-ins; therefore, it is required to create three separate folders. To keep the groups clearly defined, choose a naming convention that is easily identifiable. In the example below Group_001, Group_002, and Group_003 were used. Once the folders are created, place all VMs that you would like backed up into the group you would like them to be backed up in. Some VMs may have a higher priority/value than others. In this case, put similar priority VMs into the same group. This way once the jobs are created, the user can back up the higher priority VMs more frequently if necessary. Note that neither the NetVault backup server nor client is located in a specific group being backed up. This is to avoid NetVault warnings that occur when using hotadd to backup the VMware plug-in server/client. 6

7 Figure 03: vcenter After creating the folder structure and putting all applicable VMs into their respective folder/ group, the next step is to install the multiple NetVault Backup Plug-ins for VMware on either NetVault servers or clients. By default, the NetVault Backup Plug-in for VMware will not see the folder structure created to group the VM. To address this you will need to change Default Inventory View to VMs and Templates. This must be implemented on all NetVault Backup Plug-ins for VMware that are working in conjunction to protect the VMware environment. Note that most configurations will require changing Primary Transport Mode to hotadd, SAN, or whatever is applicable. 7

8 Figure 04: VMware Plugin Configuration Once all the folders/groups are created correctly in VMware, VMs have been placed in their respective folder/group, and all NetVault Backup Plug-ins for VMware are configured correctly, it is time to create backup selection sets. When creating a VMware selection set it is important that the top level folder is selected and a Selection Set name is chosen that makes the two easy to associate as together. In the examples below, each Selection Set is given the same name as the folder/group it is protecting. A separate Selection Set will need to be created for each VMware plug-in that is defined to protect VMware. 8

9 Figure 05: VMware Plug-in Selection Set The last step is to create NVBU jobs from the Selection Sets previously defined. In the examples below three jobs are created that back up each folder/group of VMs to at DR appliance at 10pm daily. Figure 06: VMware Plug-in Job 9

10 Monitoring and reviewing jobs to confirm success Figure 07: Monitoring Job Transfers Figure 08: Reviewing Jobs 10

11 Conclusion Using multiple NetVault Backup Plug-ins for VMware can dramatically increase the number of VMs that can be backed up in parallel. Theoretically, there is no limit to the number of plugins that can be implemented as long as NVBU has available backup locations to write to and resources are available on the ESXi hosts 11

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