1 Lab Validation Report EMC Avamar 6.0 Next Generation Backup & Recovery By Vinny Choinski with David Chapa June 2011
2 Lab Validation: EMC Avamar Contents Introduction... 3 Background... 3 EMC Avamar ESG Lab Validation... 6 The ESG Lab Test Bed... 6 Data Domain Integration... 7 VMware Advantages... 9 NDMP Enhancements Improved Management and Functionality ESG Lab Validation Highlights Issues to Consider The Bigger Truth Appendix ESG Lab Reports The goal of ESG Lab reports is to educate IT professionals about emerging technologies and products in the storage, data management and information security industries. ESG Lab reports are not meant to replace the evaluation process that should be conducted before making purchasing decisions, but rather to provide insight into these emerging technologies. Our objective is to go over some of the more valuable feature/functions of products, show how they can be used to solve real customer problems and identify any areas needing improvement. ESG Lab's expert third-party perspective is based on our own hands-on testing as well as on interviews with customers who use these products in production environments. This ESG Lab report was sponsored by EMC. All trademark names are property of their respective companies. Information contained in this publication has been obtained by sources The Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) considers to be reliable but is not warranted by ESG. This publication may contain opinions of ESG, which are subject to change from time to time. This publication is copyrighted by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. Any reproduction or redistribution of this publication, in whole or in part, whether in hard-copy format, electronically, or otherwise to persons not authorized to receive it, without the express consent of the Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc., is in violation of U.S. Copyright law and will be subject to an action for civil damages and, if applicable, criminal prosecution. Should you have any questions, please contact ESG Client Relations at (508)
3 Introduction Lab Validation: EMC Avamar Growing data volumes mean larger and larger backups. These backups slow application performance and lead to higher costs for storage equipment, data center energy and floor space, network bandwidth, and data management processes. Deduplication solutions can help organizations reduce the amount of data being backed up, saving money and eliminating the performance hit. EMC offers two deduplication solutions: EMC Avamar, which deduplicates at the client side before sending backup data over the network, and EMC Data Domain, which deduplicates after backup data has been sent to the target. With the release of Avamar 6.0, EMC has integrated these two solutions and enhanced capabilities for VMware backup upgrading hardware, adding application support, and improving management capabilities. This ESG Lab Validation focuses on how these new features can improve data protection performance and management. Background Recent ESG research indicates that the use of deduplication technology is increasing among both enterprise and mid-market organizations. When asked which factors were most important to the evaluation and selection of a data deduplication technology, cost was cited by nearly half of ESG survey respondents. Other important factors included ease of implementation/use, impact on backup/recovery performance, and integration with existing backup processes. 1 Clearly, IT professionals have a vested interest in ensuring that deduplication adds value to data protection processes without negatively impacting operations and performance. The fact that where deduplication occurs was relatively low on the list compared to cost, performance, and integration may indicate that IT professionals have not been able to select a deduplication solution based on what works best for their application workloads. Figure 1. Top Ten Factors Influencing Data Deduplication Technology Evaluation and Selection Which of the following considerations would you say were most important in your organization s evaluation and selection of data deduplication technology? (Percent of respondents, N=140, five responses accepted) Cost of solution 45% Ease of implementation/use 37% Impact on backup/recovery performance 33% Integration with existing backup processes Scalability of solution Vendor service and support Ability to replicate deduplicated data off-site 28% 25% 24% 23% Existing relationship with vendor Deduplication ratio Ability to deduplicate across systems/data sets as opposed to just within a system/data set 18% 17% 17% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% Source: Enterprise Strategy Group, Source: ESG Research Report, 2010 Data Protection Trends, April 2010.
4 EMC Avamar 6.0 Lab Validation: EMC Avamar EMC Avamar is a client-side deduplication solution for backup and recovery that can be used for VMware environments, remote offices, enterprise applications, LAN/NAS servers, NDMP, and desktops/laptops. By removing redundant sub-file data segments (globally, across sites and servers) at the client, before transferring backup data across the network, Avamar reduces the amount of disk storage and bandwidth needed for backups. The result is faster backup and recovery as well as lower costs. Avamar deployment options include software only, bundling with hardware in the Avamar Data Store and the Avamar Virtual Edition for VMware environments. The April 2011 release of Avamar 6.0 offers significant new functionality. First, it takes advantage of integration with Data Domain deduplication storage systems to broaden Avamar deployments into large enterprises and more demanding application backup workloads. Second, it leverages recent enhancements to VMware vsphere backup to provide up to three times the virtual machine (VM) backup performance of competitive solutions, according to EMC. Third, Avamar Data Store appliances now offer more than twice the capacity of previous systems. Finally, the release brings expanded support for NDMP as well as endpoint and client management. Figure 2. EMC Avamar 6.0 Data Domain Integration EMC s flagship deduplication solutions, Avamar and Data Domain, have been highly successful in helping customers speed backup and recovery and reduce the impact of data growth on secondary storage. Their integration broadens the possible use cases for Avamar, enabling Data Domain systems to be used as Avamar backup targets for Oracle, SQL Server, Exchange, SharePoint, and VMware images. Combining these two solutions joins Avamar s simplicity and efficiency with Data Domains scale and performance, providing the flexibility to use Avamar in much larger production environments and delivering a consolidated recovery infrastructure with centralized management.
5 Lab Validation: EMC Avamar To integrate the products, Avamar clients embed Data Domain (DD) Boost software, enabling Avamar to centrally manage backup, recovery, and replication to Data Domain systems. DD Boost distributes the deduplication load differently from Avamar, with portions of deduplication processing occurring upstream from the target system. This provides enhanced performance for high change rate, and larger streaming workloads such as full database backups/restores. The Avamar GUI continues to manage backup, restore, and replication, and monitors and reports on Data Domain systems. VMware vstorage APIs for Data Protection Avamar 6.0 now fully leverages vstorage APIs through tight integration with VMware vcenter server. Key additions are support for Changed Block Tracking (CBT), proxy virtual machine load balancing, and flexible restore. CBT enables faster backup and recovery by tracking incremental changes on virtual machines, introducing incremental protection instead of requiring full backups and full restores. Backup administrators can now do point in time recoveries with CBT for existing VMs, reducing bandwidth requirements and improving recovery times. With proxy VM load balancing, VM backups utilize a pool of backup server resources that is balanced for higher throughput and backup speed. Flexible image recovery options enable administrators to restore any backup image to a virtual machine, not just the most recent full backup of that specific VM. This vcenter integration feature allows Avamar to create a VM in a vsphere environment as part of the recovery process. Gen 4 Avamar Data Store Hardware The Avamar Data Store Gen 4 more than doubles the usable capacity of Gen 3, to 124 TB per rack. Depending on node size, Gen 4 increases density by up to 235% and reduces power requirements by up to 65%. Also, multiple Data Domain systems can be added to increase storage for selected workloads. Expanded NDMP Support Expanded NDMP support in Avamar 6.0 includes the ability to run up to eight simultaneous backup streams per accelerator node with simplified management and support for EMC s VNX family, Celerra DART 6.0, and NetApp ONTAP 8 operating environments Improved Management and Functionality Additional improvements include greater end-user control of directed restores for desktops/laptops; additional client migration and management capabilities; and support for Microsoft SharePoint, Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS), and Exchange as well as Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC).
6 Lab Validation: EMC Avamar ESG Lab Validation ESG Lab testing was performed in an EMC solutions lab in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. The balance of this report explores how Avamar 6.0 integrates with Data Domain systems, improves VMware backups and recovery, accelerates NDMP data protection, and improves overall management and functionality. The ESG Lab Test Bed The configuration used for ESG Lab testing is shown in Figure 3. An Avamar server and a Data Domain system were configured together to validate the new capabilities of the Avamar solution including integration with DD Boost. A separate test bed, detailed in Figure 8, was used to audit new NDMP enhancements. Figure 3.The ESG Lab Test Bed
7 Lab Validation: EMC Avamar Data Domain Integration Data Domain system integration is the ability to deploy enhanced target-based deduplication in an Avamar environment. It creates the ability to align backups, based on their attributes, with the most effective deduplication approach (e.g., source or target). For large enterprise application backups such as Oracle, SQL, SharePoint, Exchange, and VM Images, Avamar can be configured with Data Domain Boost software (DD Boost) to send backup data directly to a Data Domain system. As shown in Figure 3, DD Boost is a software API that is automatically installed with the Avamar agent on supported clients. It provides a backup connection to the Data Domain appliance and manages the initial block segmentation portion of the deduplication process. With DD Boost, Avamar sends the backup stream directly to the Data Domain target and the related metadata to the Avamar Server. This separation process allows Data Domain targets to be centrally managed from the Avamar Server management console. ESG Lab Testing As shown in Figure 4, ESG Lab used the Avamar administrator console to easily configure a Data Domain system into the Avamar test environment. With the DD Boost system already configured on the test network, adding the system was quite simple; the option was selected from the Server Management tab to configure the device. The process was completed by entering the Data Domain host name, the DD Boost user name, and the password. Figure 4. Avamar Data Domain Configuration
8 Lab Validation: EMC Avamar With the new Data Domain system added to the Avamar backup server, ESG Lab modified an existing Oracle dataset to send its backup to the Data Domain target by selecting the device in the Dataset Options drop-down tab. As shown in Figure 5, Avamar Enterprise Manager can be used to monitor the capacity of Data Domain system configured within the Avamar Server. Figure 5. Avamar Enterprise Manager The Avamar 6.0 Data Domain integration made it easy for ESG Lab to monitor, configure, and select between the Avamar Data Store and the Data Domain system, allowing selection of the best-suited backup target. Why This Matters Management complexity is the bane of many backup administrators; some large organizations maintain multiple backup environments to achieve different recovery objectives for different workloads. Before this release, large enterprise customers were steered to Data Domain solutions for scale and performance reasons. Avamar s clientside deduplication can be used for workloads such as virtual environments, endpoints, and remote and branch office data which benefit from client-side duplication. Conversely, applications such as large databases can be deduplicated at the target device using Data Domain so that processing does not impact the performance of the production database. The ability to back up data using either an Avamar Data Store or a Data Domain target enables customers to direct backups to the system best-suited to each workload instead of selecting one technology over another. Avamar/Data Domain integration creates a consolidated backup environment with centralized management for process efficiency. This eliminates the multiple silos required to meet recovery objectives, enabling IT administrators to reduce the number of interfaces they need to touch to get their jobs done. Data Domain Boostenabled plug-ins for business-critical applications such as SharePoint, SQL Server, Exchange, Oracle, and VMware provide an easy onramp to deduplication for these applications.
9 VMware Advantages Lab Validation: EMC Avamar Avamar VMware advantages are the highly configurable, flexible, and tightly integrated backup options available for VMware virtual machine data protection. At the guest OS level, the Avamar agent with client side deduplication is leveraged to provide application consistent hot backups and file-level backups/restores. The Avamar guest OS agent deployment solution uses the distinct Avamar deduplication process to shorten backup windows and reduce network load by only sending unique sub-file blocks of data during backup operations. Deduplication at the guest OS level reduces resource contention during backup, and enables greater consolidation ratios at the ESX host. Filelevel backups and restores are supported in Windows, Solaris, and Linux operating system environments. For image-level (VMDK) backup and recovery, Avamar leverages three components: a proxy VM to install the Avamar agent on, the vstorage API for Data Protection, and VMware Changed Block Tracking. The combination of these three components creates a very fast and efficient image-level backup solution. ESG Lab Testing Figure 6 shows the detail behind the flexible virtual machine backup and recovery options available with Avamar 6.0. The left side of the figure shows the Avamar agent installed in the guest OS. This option can be used in situations where file level recovery and application consistency are most important. Figure 6. Avamar Integration with VMware Overview The right side of the figure shows Avamar integration with the VMware vstorage API. On the right side, the Avamar agent is installed on a proxy VM. The proxy VM has access to the datastore where the virtual disk for VM-01, VM-
10 Lab Validation: EMC Avamar , and VM-03 are stored. The proxy server backs up these VMs by moving only changed blocks of data via the ESX backend IO bus through the network to the Avamar Server. This process has the added benefit of unloading backup overhead from the production VMs. Avamar pools its proxy VMs and load balances amongst them in order to provide superior backup and recovery throughput. No VM is specifically tied to a VM proxy unless specified. The load balancing is completely automatic and transparent to the user, combining high performance and ease of use. File-level restore from an image-level backup is supported for Windows environments. ESG Lab verified the vstorage API with Changed Block Tracking by backing up and recovering a Windows 2008 R2 VM. Figure 7 shows the intuitive process used by ESG Lab to recover the Windows 2008 VM with the Avamar Administrator console leveraging the vstorage API and Changed Block Tracking through a proxy VM. Figure 7. Avamar Restore with Change Block Tracking Avamar client-side deduplication, in conjunction with CBT, further reduces backup and restore times for virtual environments by reducing the amount of data that needs to be transferred during backups. Leveraging the vstorage API and the proxy server schema can unload backup processing from the production VMs. Why This Matters The growth of virtual machine data not only stresses traditional backup solutions, but prevents some organizations from expanding their virtual server deployments. Features such as CBT, load-balanced proxy VMs, and flexible restore let Avamar back up virtual machines more efficiently and effectively. Because blocks are broken into variable length segments and then evaluated for uniqueness, CBT enables the fastest possible backup and restore, reducing resource contention and shortening backup times. Similarly, the proxy VM offloads backup from VMs with running applications; VMs are mounted to the proxy without physically moving data across the network so that Avamar can backup numerous VMs in minutes. The load can be balanced among a pool of proxy VMs for maximum backup and restore performance. Avamar s flexible restore options for recovery allow IT to perform a full VMDK or file-level restore to any existing or new VM through vcenter integration. This lets the backup process serve the business need most effectively. These features, along with CBT for recovery, unique among current ESG Lab Validation reports, make virtual machine backup management less complicated, time-consuming, and costly.
11 NDMP Enhancements Lab Validation: EMC Avamar Avamar NDMP enhancements are a combination of features that expand supportability and improve manageability of the Avamar NDMP Accelerator. The latest version of Avamar now supports NDMP backups for EMC s VNX family and Celerra DART 6.0, and NetApp ONTAP 8. Each Avamar NDMP Accelerator can now be configured with up to eight data streams for improved performance. In order to simplify management, each NDMP Accelerator now appears as a single node capable of multiple data streams instead of one NDMP Accelerator node for each data stream. ESG Lab Testing Figure 8 shows an overview of the Avamar NDMP backup process using an Avamar NDMP Accelerator node. The NDMP Accelerator is a dedicated node used for NDMP backups only. The NDMP accelerator hosts a special version of the Avamar client that is used to create a connection from the NAS device to the Avamar Server. The accelerator performs NDMP processing and deduplication. Once processed, it forwards the data to the Avamar Server. When performing NDMP backups at remote sites, best practice is to place the accelerator at the remote site local to the NDMP NAS device. Figure 8. Avamar NDMP Overview ESG Lab confirmed NDMP backup stream enhancements by auditing the backup and restore of an NDMP backup job for an EMC Celerra NAS device. As shown in Figure 9, the Avamar Administrator Backup and Restore interface allows for up to eight streams to be configured for a multi-file system Celerra NDMP backup. It should be noted that the same NDMP configuration process and features can be leveraged for backup/recovery on the EMC VNX platform as well.
12 Lab Validation: EMC Avamar Figure 9. Avamar NDMP Backup Figure 10 shows the related restore to the NDMP backup displayed in Figure 9. Figure 10. Avamar NDMP Restore
13 Lab Validation: EMC Avamar Improved Management and Functionality ESG Lab examined Avamar 6.0 s improved manageability and functionality during validation testing. These enhancements include a new update procedure for version 6 environments via the Installation Manager interface, simplified ease of use with the new Client Manager interface, and improved application recovery with new client plug-ins and Granular Level Recovery (GLR) from Kroll Ontrack. ESG Lab Testing ESG Lab validated the automated Avamar upgrade process available in Version 6. As shown in Figure 11, ESG Lab used the Avamar Installation Manager to upgrade an existing Avamar instance to The version 6 upgrade process proved easy and intuitive. Figure 11. Avamar Version 6 Upgrade Process Figure 12 shows the new Avamar Client Manager. This new manager view consolidates the activation process and simplifies management tasks such as client moves from server to server or domain to domain. Figure 12. Avamar 6.0 Client Manager
14 Lab Validation: EMC Avamar ESG Lab Testing ESG Lab confirmed granular level recovery for SharePoint through the Avamar SharePoint API and Kroll Ontrack. As shown in Figure 13, a single document was copied from the backup source to the production target document library. Kroll Ontrack enables users to browse a SharePoint backup file for a desired object and drag and drop or copy and paste the object into the running SharePoint target. Figure 13. Kroll Ontrack with SharePoint
15 Lab Validation: EMC Avamar Figure 14 shows the Avamar SharePoint API used for the document level recovery. The Avamar SharePoint API recovery interface enabled calendar-based selection of the desired backup image. The restore option callout on the right side of the figure shows that the Windows SharePoint plug-in is being used for the restore. Figure 14. Avamar SharePoint API Recovery Why This Matters Management costs take a big bite out of IT budgets; the more systems and processes there are to manage, the more they cost to manage. Some organizations have had no choice but to manage multiple backup strategies to accommodate varying application recovery objectives. IT staff must spend a lot of time managing backup when they could be engaged in more business-focused activities. EMC simplified backup management by integrating Avamar and Data Domain, but didn t stop there. Offering greater restore control to desktop/laptop end-users takes some of the burden away from IT staff, as do the new migration capabilities that move clients between Avamar grids with only a few clicks. NDMP performance and management enhancements and broader device support continue that theme. Enabling up to eight simultaneous backup streams per NDMP accelerator node means backups are completed more quickly and efficiently. The addition of Avamar APIs for Oracle RAC as well as Microsoft SharePoint, VSS, and Exchange allows IT to cover more backup tasks with the same backup application. The use of Kroll Ontrack provides granular recovery, eliminating such tasks as restoring an entire SharePoint farm to recover a few documents and instead quickly returns both users and IT to productivity.
16 Lab Validation: EMC Avamar ESG Lab Validation Highlights Data Domain integration with Avamar was easy to configure and easy to use. The configuration was built into the administrator interface, providing easy navigation. Once configured, it was just as easy to direct an existing dataset to the Data Domain backup target. ESG Lab found that Avamar 6.0 provided an extremely flexible solution for VM data protection. A backup administrator can still use the Avamar agent on the guest OS and reap the rewards of client side deduplication or leverage new VMware vstorage API functionality that enables off-host Changed Block Tracking backups and, more importantly, recovery of production VMs that can be load balanced between proxy backup hosts. The improved NDMP functionality extends support to the latest version of DART code, includes the new VNX Operation Environment for File, and supports NetApp ONTAP 8. The NDMP Accelerator node can now be configured for up to eight data streams for improved performance. ESG Lab explored Granular Level Recovery of Microsoft SharePoint with the new Avamar SharePoint plug-in and Kroll Ontrack. Now, a backup administrator can drag and drop individual files from a SharePoint backup into the production environment without having to restore the entire SharePoint farm. New Avamar client and application plug-ins include Microsoft Exchange, SQL, Oracle (RAC), and more. Issues to Consider Encryption. There is no encryption between the Avamar client and the Data Domain system. Encryption is not currently supported in the DD Boost library. Proper network planning is required for environments where security is a concern for data traveling between the backup client and the Data Domain system. License Considerations. Integrating a Data Domain system into an Avamar environment requires the installation of a DD Boost license on the Data Domain System. If Data Domain replication is going to be part of your architecture, you will also need to plan for the addition of a Data Domain replication license even if replication is currently in use as these are separate product license features. Image-level Backup and Restore. Avamar is tightly integrated with the VMware vstorage API for Data Protection. Avamar enables fast image-level (VMDK) backup and recovery via proxy server connectivity to the VMware datastore and Changed Block Tracking. This process helps reduce the number of Avamar agents required for a virtual environment and improves performance of the VMs by unloading the backup process to the proxy server. Though file-level restores are possible from the image-level backup, it should be noted that this option is currently only available for Windows VMs. Image-level Configuration. When using Avamar image-level backup and restore, advanced file-level configuration options like include/exclude lists cannot be used. It should also be noted that unused space in the virtual disk will be backed up with image-level backups. Granular Level Recovery. SharePoint granular level recovery requires a third party tool like Kroll Ontrack to provide the drag and drop functionality used in ESG Lab testing. The Kroll Ontrack tool is available on the Avamar installation media.
17 The Bigger Truth Lab Validation: EMC Avamar Improvements to performance and capabilities of any IT process are always welcome, particularly with backup and recovery, which has been a challenge to IT administrators from the beginning. The proliferation of server virtualization made backup even more difficult as the consolidation of workloads often creates bottlenecks throughout the backup infrastructure stack. Deduplication solutions have helped by streamlining the total amount of data being backed up, enabling backup and recovery to occur more quickly while minimizing disk and network requirements and reducing resource utilization on the ESX server. Still, most organizations have had to choose between client- and target-side deduplication solutions. Enterprises with large database applications needed target-side deduplication in order to minimize performance impacts on the production database. Other workloads, such as virtual server environments and remote offices, benefited from client-side deduplication in order to minimize the bandwidth needed to move data to the backup server. Some organizations have been forced to select one technology over another while others have had to implement two or more different backup strategies and manage them separately. The end results have been complexity, inefficiency, and greater cost. ESG Lab confirmed the ability to easily integrate Data Domain systems into an Avamar environment, validated the flexibility and interoperability of Avamar with the VMware vstorage API for Data Protection, and reviewed improved manageability and enhanced functionality features. These new features make Avamar unique among current ESG Lab Validation reports, providing greater scale and performance, tighter virtual infrastructure and application integration, and improved manageability. The improvements EMC has made in this latest release of Avamar are focused on customer choice, simpler data protection, and wider application support. Data Domain integration gives customers a central backup process that deduplicates in whatever way is most effective for each individual workload while providing consolidated management. The VMware improvements make it simpler and faster to back up virtual machines efficiently, improve image-level restore performance, and integrate with vcenter to streamline management. Leveraging application-aware data protection integration for both physical and virtual environments, Avamar 6.0 reduces business risk and costs as it simplifies management, improves backup and recovery performance, and shrinks backup/recovery windows.
18 Appendix Lab Validation: EMC Avamar Table 1. Test Bed Overview Avamar Server Avamar Configuration Version Total Capacity 34.2 TB Avamar Enterprise Manager Version Data Domain Data Domain Configuration Model DD880 DDOS Total Capacity 43.8 TB Software Virtualization VMware vsphere Version 4.1 VMware vcenter Version 4.1 Software Guest OS Microsoft Windows Version 2008 R2 Red Hat Enterprise Linux Version 5.3 Software Middleware and Applications Microsoft Office SharePoint Server Version 2010 Oracle Version 11G
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