Granular recovery from SAN Snapshots

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1 Granular recovery from SAN Snapshots with Veeam Backup & Replication 6.5 Luca Dell'Oca This white paper was compiled from an article series written by virtualization consultant and architect Luca Dell Oca, a specialist in the design and management of VMware infrastructures.

2 Now that Veeam Backup & Replication 6.5 is available, it s time to take a deep dive into my personal favorite feature of this new version: Veeam Explorer for SAN Snapshots (VESS) This whitepaper will show you: How to configure HP Lefthand for use by VESS How to connect Veeam to HP Lefthand How to restore data from HP Lefthand via Veeam Backup & Replication. Contents Plan your new architecture 3 Configure HP LeftHand snapshots 6 Configure and browse HP LeftHand snapshots inside Veeam Backup & Replication 9 Instant VM recovery via HP LeftHand snapshots 12 2

3 Veeam Backup & Replication 6.5 More ways to WOW! Veeam provides powerful, easy-to-use and affordable backup that fully leverages the virtual environment and eliminates the need for agents. Version 6.5 includes: Free e-discovery and item recovery for Microsoft Exchange Easy VM recovery from SAN snapshots 50+ other new features and enhancements» Free Download Plan your new architecture Veeam Explorer for SAN Snapshots (VESS) actually supports only HP LeftHand storage, both physical and VSA. Even when other storage products will be supported in the future, the following concepts will still be useful as general guidance. The first steps, even before you start using VESS, include checking and configuring your HP LeftHand storage so it can be used in conjunction with VESS. Choose which VMs need to be protected by VESS You must first understand the specific VESS-use case. Usual backups occur on a daily basis, and this schedule is good enough for most of the VMs you are running. For some VMs, however, a more frequent backup is useful. Think about a file server or an Exchange server, where data can vary every minute. The need to protect these VMs with hourly or even more frequent backups is the best use case for VESS. However, since the space required for SAN Snapshots on the HP LeftHand storage is limited by the disk space available, and you have to deal with the added I/O required to create and manage these snapshots. You will need to separate your VMs into two lists that are based on the need for them to either be protected or unprotected by VESS. Arrange your VM to LUN distribution on vsphere Remember: even if VESS operates at the Virtual Machine level, HP LeftHand creates snapshots at the LUN level. Based on the list you created earlier, you will then need to move your VMs among the LUNs, so that each of the LUNs hosts VMs of the same type: VESSprotected or VESS-unprotected. In this way, you will be able to configure HP LeftHand snapshots only on the VESS-protected LUNs. An easy way to check the actual status of your VM to LUN distribution, is with vsphere Maps. If you filter the view by choosing only VM to Datastore you will have a quick overview: 3

4 In my lab, there are two shared LUNs hosted on the HP LeftHand VSA storage: vsa-snap-01 and vsa-02. Only the first is going to be configured with snapshots. Since I only want to protect the VM called fileserver with VESS, I m going to migrate splunk to another LUN/datastore. After the migration, only the desired fileserver VM is hosted on the vsasnap 01 LUN. Check the disk usage on HP LeftHand Now to move into the HP LeftHand storage. Using the P4000 CMC (Centralized Management Console), we first check the disk status of the cluster. In my lab, you can see I have two VSAs and a Failover Manager, and they are exporting two LUNs as described before: I created my two LUNs in thin format, so I can save space on the storage for further LUNs or snapshots. Be careful, because the default LUN type is thick. 4

5 We need to check the available space on the cluster: We are sure now we can create LUN snapshots without filling all the storage. If you do not have enough space, remember HP LeftHand is a scale out storage using a network raid between the VSA or Physical nodes you have. So, if you need more space, simply add another node in the cluster and rebalance your LUNs. This is an important check before you start using snapshots. 5

6 Veeam Backup & Replication 6.5 More ways to WOW! Veeam provides powerful, easy-to-use and affordable backup that fully leverages the virtual environment and eliminates the need for agents. Version 6.5 includes: Free e-discovery and item recovery for Microsoft Exchange Easy VM recovery from SAN snapshots 50+ other new features and enhancements Configure HP LeftHand snapshots In the previous chapter, I showed you how to check and properly configure your environment to be sure you can safely use storage snapshots. Now I will show you how to configure and monitor snapshots on HP LeftHand. Create your LUN Snapshot schedule Once your datastore is hosting only the VMs you want to protect using VESS, it is time to configure snapshots. Using the P4000 CMC, select the LUN you want to snapshot:» Free Download The second tab on the right is called Snapshots. Here you will find a context menu about snapshot tasks you can run. The first one is what we need: New Schedule to Snapshot a Volume: 6

7 This command opens a new menu, where you are going to configure the scheduled snapshots: In my example, I configured the schedule to create a new snapshot every hour. If you need a different frequency, you can run it as frequently as every minute. Be careful to avoid a schedule that can put an excessive load on your storage. To avoid the complete consumption of your storage, remember to configure the retention period of your snapshots. You can remove older snapshots by time (choose: Maximum Time to Retain Snapshot) or by number of snapshots (choose: Maximum Number of Snapshots to Retain). In my example, I m creating one snapshot every hour, and I m going to keep a full day of history. A note about Application-Managed Snapshot: Snapshots are usually taken at a specific point-in-time, but an application writing to that volume may not be quiesced. Thus, data may be in-flight or cached at the actual data on the volume and this may not be consistent with the application s view of the data. In contrast, an application-managed snapshot is taken while the application using the volume is quiesced, assuring data consistency. However, in order to use application-managed snapshots, you will need to install the HP LeftHand VSS provider into the Windows VMs being snapshotted. Keep in mind that since you will then be using a Veeam VSS provider to do your usual backups, the different VSS providers do not work so well together. 7

8 After the first day of executing this schedule, your storage will show you a screen like this one: You now have 24 hourly snapshots of your HP LeftHand LUN! In the next chapter, I will show you how to configure and browse HP LeftHand snapshots from Veeam Backup & Replication. 8

9 Veeam Backup & Replication 6.5 More ways to WOW! Veeam provides powerful, easy-to-use and affordable backup that fully leverages the virtual environment and eliminates the need for agents. Version 6.5 includes: Free e-discovery and item recovery for Microsoft Exchange Easy VM recovery from SAN snapshots 50+ other new features and enhancements» Free Download Configure and browse HP LeftHand snapshots inside Veeam Backup & Replication In the previous chapter, we completed the configuration on the HP LeftHand side. This time, we are going to configure VESS itself. Network Connection HP LeftHand storage has no dedicated management interface. This has always created debates among its users, since many smaller storage types have this ability. I believe that in iscsi scale-out storage, every node in the cluster must be able to talk with others, so they are on the same network. Regardless of the reason behind this design, you will need to deal with it and configure other systems that need to talk with HP LeftHand accordingly. One of the most common configurations in VMware environments is done this way: The iscsi network is already configured (either via standard switches or distributed ones like in my lab) to connect to the HP LeftHand storage. So, the easiest way to connect the Veeam server to the HP LeftHand (obviously, if you are going to run Veeam on virtual) is to add a VM-type portgroup to the iscsi switches and a second vnic to the Veeam VM, and give it an IP of the same HP LeftHand subnet. Chances are you already have this configuration in place, since one of the most common places to install and use HP LeftHand CMC is vcenter itself. 9

10 Configure VESS In new Veeam Backup & Replication (VBR) 6.5, there is a new section named SAN Infrastructure. This is where you will configure VESS. You start with the Add Storage command. In the Name step, you insert the IP or DNS name of the Virtual IP, which you configured while creating the cluster. 10

11 In the Detect section, you can already see VBR talking with the HP LeftHand. In my example, it sees the group skunk-vsa-group, the two volumes vsasnap 01 and vsa-02, and most importantly, it has found the VMs running inside vsa-snap-01 and synced its information with those coming from vcenter skunkworks.local (my lab domain). Expanding the tree, see the complete HP LeftHand structure with all the snapshots! For each, you can see its size and, most all of the number of VMs inside each snapshot. Finally, if you go back to the usual Backup & Replication menu of VBR, you will not need to work in a different way when managing VESS restores: You can browse the LeftHand structure in the same way you browse any other Veeam backup. As you can see, my fileserver VM is only listed once, and VBR shows I have 24 restore points, the exact number of snapshots I have in my HP LeftHand. 11

12 Veeam Backup & Replication 6.5 More ways to WOW! Veeam provides powerful, easy-to-use and affordable backup that fully leverages the virtual environment and eliminates the need for agents. Version 6.5 includes: Free e-discovery and item recovery for Microsoft Exchange Easy VM recovery from SAN snapshots 50+ other new features and enhancements» Free Download Instant VM recovery via HP LeftHand snapshots In the previous chapters, I explained how to configure and use Veeam Explorer for SAN Snapshots to create SAN-based snapshots of VMs, and also to make them available directly inside Veeam Backup & Replication. Now it s time for the last lesson: how to do restore operations. One of the beauties of this tool is the complete integration with the standard backups that are already available in the previous version. If you look at the backup console, you can do the same kind of restores available for usual backups: From the VBR point-of-view, nothing would be different, so I would end this chapter here. However, it is still interesting to see what happens behind the scenes when you start, for example, an Instant VM recovery. When we start the restore operation, we are first asked for a desired restore point from which to start. In VESS, it is equal to one of the available snapshots: 12

13 Then, since an Instant VM Recovery powers up the restored VM directly in an ESXi host, the procedure asks for specific vsphere information: When the Instant VM recovery is finally launched, there are multiple views of activities. First, there is the Veeam view: This log gives you a detailed understanding of how the whole process works: Veeam searches for the required snapshot It creates a smart clone volume (basically, a clone of the snapshot that can be seen as a standalone LUN from the connecting iscsi initiator) It creates a new iscsi target name (iqn) It launches a rescan on the target ESXi so it can see and mount the new LUN (remember, this is a clone of the original VMFS datastore, so it is already formatted with a file system that ESXi can use it only needs to be resigned) It registers the VM in the new LUN so it can be powered on from ESXi 13

14 You can also see other details from the HP LeftHand console: Here, you can see the highlighted original snapshot (lower left), the smart clone volume (upper left), and its new iqn number (right). The LUN has the same configuration parameters of its father: 120 GB, my three ESXi hosts in the access list, (but it s only 1 GB in size). This is the size of the snapshot. Another great feature of HP LeftHand: the smart clone volume has the size of its original snapshot, instead of the parent LUN. So, multiple-clone operations can be executed without consuming much space on the storage. Finally, we can see what happens inside vsphere: The activities in the tasks pane are those described earlier. The final result of these tasks is the VM named Fileserver Restore, listed in the VM list. As you can see, its vmdk is hosted inside the datastore named snap-2a378c60-vsasnap-01, which is the smart clone volume. How cool is that! 14

15 When you are finished restoring your VM (same procedure applies to file-level restore or Exchange-server objects), simply stop publishing the Instant VM. All activities described earlier will then be reverted to bring your environment to its previous state: In the meantime, the scheduled snapshot on the HP LeftHand storage is going on based on your schedule, so no new data will be lost if you are only restoring certain files. 15

16 About the Author Luca Dell Oca, 2011/2012 vexpert, has worked at ICT since He is a virtualization consultant and architect since 2006, specialized in the design and management of VMware infrastructures. He is also co-founder and board member of the VMware Italian User Group, and author of the blog where he regularly publishes articles on virtualization and cloud computing. About Veeam Software Veeam Software develops innovative solutions for VMware backup, Hyper-V backup, and virtualization management, including Veeam Backup & Replication, the #1 VM backup. Veeam ONE is a single solution for real time monitoring, resource optimization, documentation and management reporting for VMware and Hyper-V. Veeam extends deep VMware monitoring to Microsoft System Center with Veeam Management Pack (MP), and to HP Operations Manager with Veeam Smart Plug-In (SPI). Veeam also provides free virtualization tools. Learn more by visiting 16

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