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1 TM TM Data Sheets : White Papers : Case Studies For over a decade Coolspirit have been supplying the UK s top organisations with storage products and solutions so be assured we will meet your requirements head on. It s all about getting things right first time, quickly and simply! Damon Robertson, Coolspirit Ltd Boost your storage buying power... use ours! 24 The Bridge Business Centre, Beresford Way, Chesterfield, S41 9FG

2 Sponsored by VMware Backup: Best Practices for Using Veeam with ExaGrid Disk-based backup coupled with advanced deduplication and data replication provides the ultimate data protection solution. Rick Vanover Product Strategy Specialist, Veeam Software VCP 3, 4 and VMware vexpert Jeff Crum Senior Product Manager, ExaGrid Systems

3 Executive summary Although tape has been the medium of choice for generations of IT systems, it s not necessarily the best medium for virtual machine backups. The infrastructure and components in today s virtual environments allow VMware administrators to craft a solid yet adaptive data protection strategy. For many environments, a disk-based system is the medium of choice for data protection. A disk-based backup system for virtual machines needs to have a winning combination of the most efficient backup solution and a disk system optimized to receive its backups. Furthermore, off-site data protection and disaster recovery (DR) requirements should be easily met in a way that meets or exceeds the capabilities of legacy backup targets, such as tape. But perhaps the most critical indicator of any comprehensive approach to data protection is the collection of features and the performance characteristics related to restore tasks. Not all deduplication strategies are created equal, and the ability to read the most recent backup with the highest performance is critical. This whitepaper will show how Veeam Backup & Replication along with the ExaGrid series of disk backup appliances delivers a solid data protection solution for VMware environments with advanced deduplication and data replication for off-site protection. 2

4 Tape has served us well over the years. Or has it? Over the years, tape has been a relatively successful medium to hold backup data, and most IT professionals started their data protection experience with some form of tape offload mechanism. To be fair, tape has some positive qualities, including a low acquisition cost when calculated per terabyte (TB). However, transfer speed is relatively slow. The biggest issue with tape has to do with restores. The slow transfer speed, as well as media reliability, has caused issues over the years with tape-based data protection. Further, there are plenty of horror stories of tapes being lost or stolen while being transported to off-site storage locations or, once off-site, the tape cannot be located. Features have been added to tape-based data protection in an attempt to mitigate risks. Popular options include encrypting data on tape media, maintaining a tier of backup data on disk as well as on tape, and duplicative efforts of writing to two or more tapes. The fact is that today a better solution is possible with disk-based backup. Disk-based backup An overview Today s disk-based backup solutions accomplish a number of things that legacy solutions leave as questions in a complete data protection strategy. For starters, disk-based backup provides redundancy for protected data. With tape, if the media is not readable, a number of backups might be impacted. Disk-based backup leverages standard hardware disk protection strategies, such as RAID (redundant array of independent disks), in the disk backup enclosure device. Probably the most compelling feature of disk-based backup for today s data center is transfer time. Any backup solution is only as good as its restore time, and for tape media there is an inherent step to restore data before it is usable. Furthermore, multiple tapes are often required and must be retrieved from offsite storage services. The initial concern for any disk-based backup solution is cost. Disk systems are available in a dizzying assortment of options. While one can always find less expensive storage, it is often at the risk of performance and support. The best way to address the cost of disk-based backup is to line up features that drive down costs. Disk-based backup is a perfect platform for these features to be implemented and can provide the motivation needed to move away from legacy data protection targets. The most prominent feature is data deduplication. Data deduplication used with disk-based backup is an ideal combination in that the best of both worlds is realized. Less disk space is consumed with deduplication, yet the transfer time from disk-based backup appliances is far superior to that of tape media. Simply put, data deduplication, replaces duplicate patterns of data on disk with a pointer back to the source pattern. Different products approach deduplication in different ways, and in this example both Veeam Backup & Replication and the ExaGrid series of disk backup appliances implement a data deduplication algorithm that is the best application for the situation. 3

5 Data deduplication truly enables disk-based backup to be an economical option. Without data deduplication, a single backup policy can spiral storage requirements out of control. Deduplication with ExaGrid disk backup appliances There are number of ways a disk-based backup system can go about deduplication. The ExaGrid series of disk backup appliances utilizes post-process deduplication. The data deduplication process starts once the backup has arrived on disk at network speeds. The ExaGrid approach offers a distinct advantage in that the latest backup is kept intact in a special area referred to as the landing space. This is a boon for restore time as the backup does not need to be accessed in a deduplicated state. This concept is especially beneficial when using Veeam features like Instant VM Recovery because ExaGrid s appliance does not require storage-level deduplication to be undone (and data rehydrated) during the recovery from the most recent backup. ExaGrid s disk backup appliances use a unique ExaGrid-invented algorithm called zone-level deduplication. Zone-level deduplication provides scalability by breaking data into large objects, called zones, and detecting similarity between those zones. ExaGrid then only stores unique data, reducing disk space and WAN bandwidth requirements dramatically. By using large objects and requiring data only be similar versus an exact match, ExaGrid is able to provide grid scalability to Veeam users. Even though ExaGrid deduplicates and replicates all backups after they land, it keeps the most recent backup set in its landing space (like a cache) for optimized recovery. Therefore, the most recent backup is ready and available at LAN and disk speed. Deduplication with Veeam Backup & Replication Veeam Backup & Replication approaches deduplication for backing up virtual machines by comparing fixed block sizes at the source. In this case, this is the data residing in virtual machine disk (VMDK) files. A software backup solution like Veeam Backup & Replication has to accomplish the virtual machine backup in the most efficient manner and move data quickly. Veeam Backup & Replication checks blocks of each virtual machine s VMDK in one of three modes. These modes are optimized for transfer to local disk, a network resource or a WAN target. These modes perform source deduplication in block sizes of 1 MB, 512 KB and 256 KB, respectively. The difference in these sizes is to transfer the least amount of data (highest source deduplication) for the WAN target, which is often on a slower connection. Veeam backup data sent to the ExaGrid appliance is further deduplicated by ExaGrid s internal zone-level deduplication algorithm. If the ExaGrid appliance is replicating the backup data, it deduplicates the data and immediately replicates it. The combination of Veeam s source-based deduplication and ExaGrid s targetside deduplication results in dramatic disk space savings and WAN efficiency. By 4

6 maintaining deduplicated copies of all backups plus an undeduplicated copy of the most recent backups in its landing space, ExaGrid meets the requirements of backup history retention and need for rapid recovery all in one appliance. Source deduplication as implemented by Veeam Backup & Replication is the right application for the scenario to keep backup times small yet realize storage savings by performing deduplication on large blocks and avoiding the transfer to the backup storage resource. All of these factors are leveraged to keep the backup window as short as possible for the virtual machines being backed up by Veeam. Leveraging the ExaGrid appliance for Veeam backup jobs The configuration for sending Veeam backup jobs to an ExaGrid disk backup appliance could not be easier. For Veeam, the ExaGrid appliance appears as a LAN target much like any other network disk resource. In the ExaGrid disk backup appliance, an ExaGrid share is created for Veeam backups. This share is one of many types that are optimized for certain data types and programs, including line-of-business applications that use Microsoft SQL Server. The ExaGrid share created for Veeam backups is a common Internet file system, or CIFS, share. This CIFS share is accessible directly within Windows on the Veeam Backup Server. Further, a mapped drive can be configured within Windows or assigned via Group Policy to the Veeam Backup Server to connect the ExaGrid share automatically. The ExaGrid share configuration is shown in Figure 1. Figure 1. Configuration of an ExaGrid share to serve as a backup target for Veeam Backup & Replication. 5

7 There are a few key concepts of the ExaGrid share that make it a powerful deduplication solution. The most important of these is that the most recent backup is kept in its entirety on the ExaGrid share. Shares created for Veeam backups utilize a landing space within the ExaGrid disk backup appliance. The landing space is aware of the file types and job behavior characteristics of backup jobs created by Veeam Backup & Replication. By keeping the most recent backup in its entirety, even after passing a copy of it through the ExaGrid deduplication process, the highest read speeds are obtained in the event of a restore operation or a task such as a SureBackup Recovery Verification or On-Demand Sandbox. ExaGrid shares easily allow two other important pieces of functionality: replicated backup data and an InstantDR share. These two options replicate Veeam backup data to another site in the ExaGrid environment. To optimize bandwidth, replication only sends the deduplicated data set. A corresponding ExaGrid share that can function as a DR site is created in the remote site. If needed, a configurable replication schedule can determine when Veeam backups are transferred to the remote site, which is another configuration to optimize bandwidth utilization. Veeam backup jobs optimized for ExaGrid targets Using an ExaGrid disk backup appliance as a target for Veeam backup jobs allows greater flexibility in job creation and greater deduplication benefits. For example, multiple Veeam backup jobs of like operating systems that are placed on the same ExaGrid share will have additional deduplication benefits by allowing the ExaGrid zone-level deduplication to span multiple Veeam jobs. This allows granular control of Veeam backup jobs to work around tight timeframes of critical production systems. Multiple ExaGrid shares can even be created, providing further control of Veeam backup jobs. The deduplication algorithm of the ExaGrid series of disk backup appliances complements Veeam well, as deduplication is applied across all data within a share on the ExaGrid appliance in the primary site. Each share can contain many Veeam backup jobs, allowing additional Figure 2. Veeam Backup & Replication can send multiple backup jobs to ExaGrid shares. 6

8 deduplication to be applied across Veeam backup job boundaries. Multiple shares on the ExaGrid appliance can be used to balance the load from Veeam backup jobs and to increase the flexibility of administration. Figure 2 illustrates how Veeam backup jobs can point to multiple ExaGrid shares optimized for Veeam backups. Veeam Backup & Replication is also flexible in its ability to adapt to the VMware vsphere environment to best suit the needs of the installation. Licensing is based solely on the number of ESX(i) sockets: the number of Veeam Backup Servers is not regulated by the number of sockets in use in the vsphere environment. Managing the job status of multiple Veeam Backup Servers is made easy with Veeam Backup Enterprise Manager. A number of features are provided within this management portal to manage multiple Veeam Backup Servers, including job status across servers, reports on job success, throughput graphs, a search interface for individual virtual machines, a file search tool for contents of a virtual machine, and a workflow engine to manage restore requests from application owners. Optimal combination of vpower capabilities, restore speed and deduplication Because the landing space holds the most recent Veeam backups in their entirety, like a cache, advanced features are given optimal access to backup data. Most importantly, all read-intensive operations can access backup data directly. If data deduplicated by the ExaGrid disk backup appliance had to be rehydrated, there could be overhead that could slow down read rates. This would affect Veeam vpower is capabilities, such as Instant VM Recovery, U-AIR (Universal Application- Item Recovery) and SureBackup Recovery Verification. With vpower, a virtual machine can be run directly from a backup file. This allows the quickest restore option for a virtual machine that has failed. Dubbed Instant VM Recovery, this feature allows a virtual machine to be recovered quickly by running it directly from the backup file as an inventoried virtual machine. When leveraging the ExaGrid series of disk backup appliances, performance is preserved by optimizing the read operation by keeping the most recent backup in a non-deduplicated region of data (the landing space). Job configuration for Veeam backup jobs The ExaGrid series of disk backup appliances performs deduplication per share, and a few configuration options in Veeam Backup & Replication will optimize ExaGrid deduplication. The area of focus for the backup job configuration is the storage settings in Veeam Backup & Replication. There, a number of options for compression and deduplication in the Veeam backup job can be selected. As mentioned earlier, Veeam implements deduplication at the source. This deduplication is recommended to be used in conjunction with deduplication by the ExaGrid disk backup appliance, but compression in the Veeam backup job should be turned off. This configuration of a backup job is shown in the Figure 3. 7

9 Figure 3. Recommended configuration of a Veeam backup job when backing up to an ExaGrid disk backup appliance. In addition, it is recommended to use the default option that leverages incremental jobs. (Reversed incremental backup jobs are not recommended when backing up to ExaGrid deduplicated backup storage.) The ExaGrid series of disk backup appliances will apply additional deduplication to the backup files created by Veeam Backup & Replication. Further, beginning with the version of ExaGrid software, Veeam backup jobs are a native file and share type recognized by ExaGrid disk backup appliances. Leveraging vpower functionality with ExaGrid disk backup appliances Veeam Backup & Replication changes the virtual machine backup game with vpower. When combined with the landing space of the ExaGrid series of disk backup appliances, vpower technology performs much like it would in any typical network backup target. The key is the behavior of the landing space in the ExaGrid disk backup appliance. The landing space is a reserved area of disk for incoming data from Veeam Backup & Replication. The most recent copy of the backup data is stored in this special area of the appliance as a cache for the quickest read rates. This ensures good read rates for the most recent backup and allows vpower functionality to perform well. This includes Instant VM Recovery, U-AIR, SureBackup Recovery Verification, On-Demand Sandbox and Virtual Lab capabilities. 8

10 Off-site storage of backups One of the most complicated challenges to address with disk-based backups is off-site backup requirements. In the case of ExaGrid disk backup appliances, backup data can be transferred to a different site for off-site storage. This transfer moves deduplicated data, making the transfer both efficient in storage and network bandwidth utilization. Further, backup data moved off-site by ExaGrid disk backup appliances only moves bytes that have changed, requiring minimal network bandwidth. The ExaGrid series of disk backup appliances allows a share to be configured for data replication to another ExaGrid site. This is done by transferring only the deduplicated changed data on the shares, as shown in the Figure 4. Figure 4. The ExaGrid series of disk backup appliances can make Veeam backup files available in a remote site and in an InstantDR share. The backup data replication provided by the ExaGrid series of disk backup appliances allows the vsphere administrator to know that Veeam backup data is being replicated off-site and fully usable through the share in the remote site (such as a DR site). The ExaGrid series of disk backup appliances has a reporting interface that provides status on data replication activities, including completed and active jobs. 9

11 Conclusion Disk backups provide the fastest restore times When it comes to backing up virtual machines, disk backups allow you to fully realize the potential of virtualization to improve availability and disaster recovery, while reducing costs. In deciding where to put virtual machine backup data, identifying the right medium should be an easy choice in today s environments. Together, Veeam Backup & Replication and the ExaGrid series of disk backup appliances provide a strong combination for advanced deduplication and virtual machine data protection features. 10

12 About the Authors Rick Vanover is a Veeam Product Strategy Specialist with extensive virtualization expertise. In addition to being named a VMware vexpert, his certifications include VMware Certified Professional (VCP), Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP), Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) and Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA). Rick is also an author, blogger and has worked in various levels of IT through his career. Jeff Crum is a Senior Product Manager at ExaGrid Systems. Jeff has over 12 years of industry experience, with experience in product management, software development and customer support. Prior to ExaGrid, Jeff was at EMC Corporation where he was a product manager in the Infrastructure Software Group (ISG) and in the Information Management Software Group (IMSG). Prior to EMC, Jeff was a software engineer at VERITAS Software. He has a BS in Computer Science from Florida State University, and an MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. About Veeam Software Veeam Software, an Elite-level VMware Technology Alliance Partner, develops innovative software to manage VMware vsphere. Veeam vpower provides advanced Virtualization-Powered Data Protection and is the underlying technology in Veeam Backup & Replication, the #1 VMware backup solution. Veeam ONE provides a single solution to optimize the performance, configuration and utilization of VMware environments and includes: Veeam Reporter VMware capacity planning, change management, and reporting and chargeback; Veeam Business View VMware business service management and categorization; and a choice of VMware monitoring options including the nworks Management Pack VMware management in Microsoft System Center, the nworks Smart Plug-in VMware management in HP Operations Manager, and Veeam Monitor framework-independent VMware monitoring. Learn more about Veeam Software by visiting 11

13 VMware Backup: Best Practices for Using Veeam with ExaGrid VMware Backup 100% Reliability SureBackup TM Best RTOs InstantRestore TM Best RPOs SmartCDP TM vpower TM Virtualization-Powered Data Protection TM Patents 5 Pending! VMware vsphere 5 Patents Pending! NEW Veeam Backup & Replication vpower enables these game-changing capabilities in Veeam Backup & Replication v5: Instant VM Recovery restore an entire virtual machine IN MINUTES by running it directly from a backup file U-AIR (Universal Application-Item Recovery) recover individual objects from ANY application, on ANY OS SureBackup Recovery Verification automatically verify the recoverability of EVERY backup, of EVERY virtual machine, EVERY time

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