VMware Backup and Deduplication. Written by: Anton Gostev Product Manager Veeam Software

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1 VMware Backup and Deduplication Written by: Anton Gostev Product Manager Veeam Software

2 Copyright Veeam Software Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. No part of this publication may be reproduced, transmitted, transcribed, stored in a retrieval system, or translated into any language in any form by any means, without written permission from Veeam Software Inc (Veeam). The information contained in this document represents the current view of Veeam on the issue discussed as of the date of publication and is subject to change without notice. Veeam shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein. Veeam makes no warranties, express or implied, in this document. Veeam may have patents, patent applications, trademark, copyright, or other intellectual property rights covering the subject matter of this document. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners. Except as expressly provided in any written license agreement from Veeam, the furnishing of this document does not give you any license to these patents, trademarks, copyrights, or other intellectual property. Important: Please read the End User Software License Agreement before using the accompanying software program(s). Using any part of the software indicates that you accept the terms of the End User Software License Agreement. Rev. 1.0 Page 2

3 CONTENTS ABSTRACT... 4 WHY USE DEDUPLICATION?... 5 HARDWARE DEDUPLICATION... 6 SOFTWARE DEDUPLICATION... 6 COMBINED APPROACH... 7 INTEGRATING SOFTWARE AND HARDWARE DEDUPLICATION... 8 ESX DATASTORE... 8 LINUX NFS MOUNT... 8 WINDOWS NFS MOUNT... 8 CIFS SHARE... 8 CONCLUSION... 9 ABOUT VEEAM Rev. 1.0 Page 3

4 ABSTRACT Storage is one of the most costly assets in the modern IT budget. While adopting virtualization, you will surely face significant and ever-growing storage space requirements to host backups of all the virtual machines (VMs) you have. Deduplication offers a way to minimize costs by reducing redundant data across VM backups, making the backups more portable, and providing significant cost-savings due to reduced storage requirements. This paper reviews best practices in using various deduplication approaches in conjunction with VM backup solutions. Rev. 1.0 Page 4

5 WHY USE DEDUPLICATION? Virtualization offers a very cost-effective solution for enterprise IT by reducing the number of physical machines you need to buy and maintain. But due to the ease of provisioning and low cost, the number of virtual servers soon becomes much larger than the number of physical servers for enterprises that have not adopted virtualization. As a result, you will soon face significant storage space requirements due to backups of all of the VMs in your environment. Deduplication offers a way to reduce costs by reducing redundant data across VM backups, making the backups more portable and providing significant cost savings due to reduced storage requirements. Due to the nature of virtual disk files, deduplication of VM data can yield amazing results, with 50 or more times space reduction. Deduplication can be performed on different levels: in the software application, making it produce the deduplicated output; and in the hardware storage device which automatically deduplicates all data saved to it. This summary table shows the results of using different deduplication techniques, alone and combined, for the purpose of VMware backup. Deduplication Method Pros Cons Result No deduplication N/A - Huge storage space requirements - VMware backups are not portable - Worse backup performance - VMware backups are not portable - Slower VM backup performance - Worse deduplication ratio compared to hardware solutions - No deduplication between different backup files N/A Worst By hardware storage device only - Best deduplication ratio - Deduplication between backup files Better By backup software only - Better VM backup performance - VMware backups are portable Better Combined approach - Best VMware backup performance - VMware backups are portable - Best deduplication ratio Best Rev. 1.0 Page 5

6 HARDWARE DEDUPLICATION There are a few hardware vendors (notably Data Domain) providing storage devices with hardware deduplication. Such storage devices accept raw data via various protocols (NFS, CIFS) and deduplicate it before saving to the raw storage. These devices provide, on average, 10x - 30x reduction for typical workloads, and up to 40x to 60x reduction for virtual machine inclusive data - providing for very cost-efficient storage. In the VMware backup setting, using a storage device with hardware de-duplication to store VMware backups has the following benefits and drawbacks: Pros Deduplication is done on hardware level, so there is zero CPU overhead on clients. Deduplication is performed across all data on the storage device, yielding better overall results. Best overall deduplication ratio due to more advanced engine Cons VMware backups stored on such devices are not portable and get uncompressed as soon as they leave the storage device. If you need to transfer your backup over physical storage or wire, you are going to have to transfer raw, non-deduplicated data. Thus, you cannot easily move backup files around (e.g. copy file to storage without built-in deduplication, send the file to a remote office on physical storage such as a USB hard drive). Similarly, tape backup of non-deduplicated data will consume too much space. VM backup performance is slower than could be achieved with VM backup solutions featuring built-in deduplication. SOFTWARE DEDUPLICATION Software deduplication is a bit less common and is currently provided by only a few vendors. In the VMware backup space, the only vendor currently providing software deduplication is Veeam Software, with its Veeam Backup & Replication solution. Similarly to hardware deduplication, this solution accepts raw VM data, and deduplicates it on the block-level basis before saving it to the backup file. In the VMware backup setting, having software deduplication built into the backup solution has the following benefits and drawbacks: Pros Better backup performance due to less data needing to be transferred over the network to the place where the backup file is stored. Created VMware backups remain portable no matter whether the storage device they are located on has hardware deduplication functionality. Rev. 1.0 Page 6

7 Cons Deduplication is not performed across different backup files and other data located on the backup file storage device instead, only data within the backup file is deduplicated (that is, data across all VMs included in the backup job). Overall deduplication ratio is lower than hardware deduplication devices provide. As you see, software deduplication provides some important benefits, but in cases where you have more than one VM backup file, it makes great sense to use hardware deduplication storage to host the backup files. The devices will then deduplicate similar data blocks between different VM backup files, as well as other files located on the same storage device. COMBINED APPROACH So, are there any benefits to using software and hardware deduplication together? Absolutely! In fact, the very best results in VM backup can be achieved by combining both software and hardware deduplication. This approach gives you the best of both worlds, and brings the following benefits: Pros Best backup performance due to less data needing to be processed and transferred over the network to the place where the backup file is stored. VM backups remain portable no matter what storage device they are located on. Deduplication is performed across all data on the storage device, including deduplication between different VM backup files, yielding the best overall result. Cons N/A Rev. 1.0 Page 7

8 INTEGRATING SOFTWARE AND HARDWARE DEDUPLICATION To illustrate how easy it is to integrate software and hardware deduplication solutions together to achieve the best results in VM backup, let s review the following example: integrating Veeam Backup & Replication 3.0 (a VMware backup solution featuring software deduplication) with a Data Domain storage device featuring hardware deduplication. Note that to achieve the best results with hardware deduplication, you need to disable the backup compression feature in Veeam Backup & Replication job settings. With Data Domain devices, you get the following options on integrating Veeam Backup with the Data Domain device. With any of these options, the backup file will be saved on the Data Domain device and it will perform deduplication between backup files produced by different Veeam Backup jobs. ESX Datastore This method is applicable when you have your ESX hosts configured to use a Data Domain device to store the data. This can be achieved by creating NFS mount for Data Domain device, and then configuring your ESX hosts to use the NFS path as a datastore. In this case, when creating the backup job, select your ESX server as a backup destination on the Choose Destination step of Backup Wizard, then select a datastore presenting Data Domain device. Linux NFS Mount This method is applicable when you have a Linux server. You can then create an NFS mount for the Data Domain device, and then mount it to your Linux server. Veeam Backup has native support of Linux servers as a backup target. Now when creating a backup job, you can select your Linux server as a backup destination on the Choose Destination step of Backup Wizard, then select the folder presenting NFS mount of your Data Domain device. Windows NFS Mount Create an NFS mount for the Data Domain device, and mount it to your Veeam Backup proxy server. Then specify the Windows volume representing the mount as a backup target folder normally. Note that you need to install Microsoft Windows Services for UNIX on your VCB proxy server to be able to create a local NFS mount. CIFS Share Create a CIFS mount on the Data Domain device. Doing this essentially creates a regular Windows share which you can use to read/write data from/to. To make Veeam Backup & Replication store backups in this share, create a backup job and on the Choose Destination step of Backup Wizard, select This computer or shared folder option, and type in a UNC path to share (e.g. \\device\sharename). Please note that this integration method provides lower performance than NFS. Rev. 1.0 Page 8

9 CONCLUSION Deduplication is a very promising technology, and is mature enough to be recommended for production use. Deduplication provides especially good cost savings when used in conjunction with virtualization, due to the fact that different virtual machines are often created from the same templates and thus share a lot of the same content. While storage devices featuring hardware deduplication offer the easiest way to start gaining the benefits of deduplication, you need to also consider some of the implications of using hardware deduplication alone. All data stored on such devices lacks portability, which may be important to have when dealing, for instance, with VM backup files that you may need to move around, or back up to tape. Thus, for VM backups, the best deduplication results are achieved when using hardware deduplication in conjunction with software deduplication. This way, the VM backup software produces portable VM backup files which contain deduplicated data, while storage devices with hardware deduplication perform deduplication across different VM backup files. It s truly the best of both worlds. Rev. 1.0 Page 9

10 ABOUT VEEAM Veeam Software, a premier level VMware Technology Alliance Partner and member of the VMware ready Management program, provides innovative software for managing VMware Infrastructure. Veeam offers an award winning suite of tools to assist the VMware administrator, including #1 for VMware backup: Veeam Backup & Replication; Veeam Reporter Enterprise, for VMware performance, storage, capacity reporting and chargeback; Veeam Configurator, offering Host Profiles today; and Veeam Monitor, for VMware performance monitoring and alerting across multiple vcenters. With its acquisition of nworks, Veeam's products include the nworks Smart Plug in and the nworks Management Pack that incorporate VMware data into enterprise management consoles from HP and Microsoft. Learn more about Veeam Software by visiting Rev. 1.0 Page 10

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