Cookbook Backup, Recovery, Archival (BURA)

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1 Cookbook Backup, Recovery, Archival (BURA) IBM Global Technology Services: Khoa Huynh Daniel De Araujo Bob Kellenberger 1

2 Summary This document is part of a series of cookbooks. They are intended to provide vsphere administrators with important information to deploy VMware vsphere environments within SoftLayer. refers to the deployment of VMware vsphere infrastructure in SoftLayer as a Hybrid Cloud. In this particular case, a hybrid cloud refers to the deployment of a private cloud within the SoftLayer environment. This document provides how vsphere administrators can set up data backup and recovery solutions for VMware-based hybrid clouds in the SoftLayer environment. This document is intended for experienced vsphere administrators with basic deployment skills to install and administer VMware vsphere ESX and vcenter products. It is not intended to provide information on enabling operating system tasks within VM guest operating systems. Additionally, it will not cover advanced network design concepts to recover guest network services. 2

3 Table of Contents 1 VADP-based Backup & Restore Solutions vsphere Data Protection (VDP) VDP Specifications System Requirements VDP Deployment and Configuration Creating Backup Jobs Restoring Backups Locking and Unlocking a Backup File-Level Restore Advanced Topics SoftLayer-provided Backup & Restore Services evault Idera

4 1 VADP-based Backup & Restore Solutions Customers can re-use, or extend, existing backup and restore tools which they have in their on-premise data centers into SoftLayer. These tools can either exploit the vsphere APIs for Data Protection (VADP) or rely on agents installed on the servers that need to be backed up. One of the most advanced backup and restore tools in a VMware vsphere environment is the vsphere Data Protection (VDP), which is included with the vsphere license. Alternatively, customers can also use the backup and restore services provided by SoftLayer, such as evault and Idera Continuous Data Protection (CDP). 1.1 vsphere Data Protection (VDP) vsphere Data Protection (VDP) is an advanced data backup and recovery solution for VMware vsphere environment, as shown in Figure 1. It is provided at no additional charge with the vsphere license (there is also an Advanced version that is licensed for up to 8TB backup storage). VDP was designed specifically for the VMware environment and is actually powered by EMC Avamar under the cover. VDP provides the following features for data backup and recovery: Nice Graphical User Interface (GUI) Relatively easy to set up Fully integrated with VMware vcenter and vsphere Web Client Very flexible VDP allows full-vm backup, full-vm restores, as well as file-level recovery (FLR) Advanced technologies VDP exploits vsphere APIs for Data Protection (VADP) for centralized, efficient, off-host backups, and it uses Change Block Tracking (CBT) technology for data de-duplication (in our testing, de-duplication reduces the backup image size almost 7:1) No agent to install (a big advantage for large VMware environments) There is also an advanced version of VDP VDP Advanced that provides additional data backup and recovery capabilities: Up to 8TB of de-duplicated capacity per appliance Application-aware backups for Exchange, SQL, and Sharepoint WAN-efficient backup replication to another VDP Advanced appliance Automated backup verification Backup to EMC Data Domain Enabling VDP Advanced functionality requires an appropriate number of CPU licenses, which are available for purchase separately from vsphere. More details on VDP Advanced are available at vmware.com/go/vdpadvanced. 4

5 Figure 1. vsphere Data Protection overview VDP Specifications VDP supports the following specifications: Each vcenter Server can support up to 10 VDP appliances Each VDP appliance supports backup for up to 100 virtual machines Only one VDP appliance can exist per ESX / ESXi host Each VDP appliance can handle 0.5 TB, 1 TB, or 2 TB of de-duplicated backup data (this amount can be selected during the initial configuration of the VDP appliance) The above specifications should allow users to determine if VDP is a suitable data backup and recovery solution for their environments based on the number of virtual machines and amount of data that need to be backed up System Requirements VDP 5.5 has the following software requirements: VMware vcenter Server Version 5.1 or later vsphere Web Client Web browsers must be enabled with Adobe Flash Player 11.3 or higher to work with the vsphere Web Client and VDP 5

6 VMware ESX 4.0, 4.1 VMware ESXi 5.0, 5.1, 5.5 A single VDP appliance is available in three different configurations: 0.5 TB, which requires a minimum of 4 x 2-GHz processors, 4GB of memory, and 873 GB of disk space (for creating and managing checkpoints) 1 TB, which requires a minimum of 4 x 2-GHz processors, 4GB of memory, and 1,600 GB of disk space (for creating and managing checkpoints) 2 TB, which requires a minimum of 4 x 2-GHz processors, 4GB of memory, and 3,100 GB of disk space (for creating and managing checkpoints) VDP Deployment and Configuration Before deploying the VDP appliance, an entry must be added to the DNS Server for the VDP appliance's IP address and Fully Qualified Domain Names (FQDN). The DNS server must support both forward and reverse lookup. The user account that is used to administer the VDP should have Administrator privilege. To verify that this is the case, go to Home > Adminiistration > Role Manager and click the Administrator role. The VDP user should be listed to the right of that role if it is set up correctly. Note that, if the VDP user belongs to a domain account, then it should be used in the format SYSTEM-DOMAIN\admin format to configure the VDP. For best performance and flexibility, the following best practices should be followed: The VDP appliance should be deployed on a shared VMFS5 or higher to avoid block size limitations All virtual machines (VMs) should be running hardware version 7 or higher to support the Change Block Tracking (CBT) feature provided by VDP VMware Tools must be installed on all VMs that are backed up by VDP because some VDP features, such as file-level restore, require VMware Tools. The VDP appliance can then be installed through the normal deployment of the OVF template. After the VDP.ovf template is deployed successfully, as shown in Figure 2, the VDP appliance must be configured. 6

7 Figure 2. VDP appliance has been successfully deployed. To configure the VDP appliance, we can use the VDP Configure utility, which can be invoked in any browser (Figure 3): where IP_address_VDP_Appliance is the IP address of the VDP appliance ( in our case). The default root password is changeme, which must be changed after the first login. 7

8 Figure 3. VDP Configure utility. Using the VDP Configure utility, the following can be set up for the VDP appliance: Network settings: Ipv4 static address, netmask, gateway, primary and secondary DNS, hostname (e.g. vdpa-l-01b), and domain name (e.g. cil.ibm.local) Vcenter information: username, password, IP (or FQDN), and vcenter port (443) Time zone VDP credentials (password) Storage settings: we need to select Create New Storage here With the Create New Storage option, we can create new storage where new VMDK storage disks are created. On the Device Allocation page, the number of required disks is displayed. Be default, the Store with Appliance option, which deploys disks on the same datastore selected when deploying the VDP appliance, is checked. If we do not want this option, we need to un-check it; in this case, we need to select the appropriate disks on the datastores that are visible to the VDP appliance. Once the storage is created, we need to specify the type of provisioning for the disks. There are three types of provisioning that are available: Thin the thin disk starts small and uses only as much datastore space as needed for initial operations. The disk can expand later as necessary up to the value that we enter for the disk size. 8

9 Thick Eager-Zeroed the entire size of the disk will be allocated when it is created. All previous data will be erased, so this type of provisioning should be used when data security is a major concern. Thick Lazy-Zeroed the default type of provisioning. In this case, the entire disk is allocated when it is created. However, previous data will not be erased during creation; rather, it will be zeroed out on demand later as new data is written to the disk. On the Ready to Complete page after the storage has been configured, we can run some performance tests. In order to pass these performance tests, the configured storage must be able to support at least 30 MB/sec for writes, 60 MB/sec for reads, and 400 seeks per second. The performance results reported will be either Passed (if all read, write, and seek tests passed), Failed (if read and/or write tests failed), or Conditionally Passed (if read and write tests passed, but seek test failed). Existing VDP storage can also be attached to the VDP appliance during this initial configuration phase. The VDP appliance should be restarted after the initial configuration phase. After restarting, we can view the configuration of the VDP appliance using the same URL ( In our case, the network and storage configurations of the VDP appliance are shown in Figures 4 and 5. The VDP operational status can also be monitored on the Status tab of the VDP Configure utility, as seen in Figure 6. 9

10 Figure 4. VDP network configuration. Figure 5. VDP storage configuration. 10

11 Figure 6. VDP operational status as seen in the VDP Configure Utility Creating Backup Jobs After the VDP appliance has been configured properly, it is fully integrated into the vcenter Server. Setting up backup jobs, recovery points, reports, etc. can now be done from the vsphere Web Client ( as shown in Figure 7. Clicking on the vsphere Data Protection on the left pane of the Home view in the vsphere Web Client will connect to the VDP appliance. To create or manage backup jobs, we click on the Backup tab of the VDP view, and then select New in the pull-down menu of the Backup job actions button in the top bar of this tab. The first option is to select the type of backup job: Full image this will aggregate all disks in each virtual machine into a single image backup for that virtual machine Individual disks this option allows us to select only the disks in each virtual machine that need to be backed up. This provides us the flexibility to filter based on certain configuration criteria, such as by operating system or by retention policy. In this example, let's select the Full Image backup type. Click Next to select the virtual machine(s) that we want to back up in this job. On this Backup Targets page, we just select all virtual machines that we want to back up, as shown in Figure 8. In our case, we select two virtual machines (appserver and CentOSTest) for this backup job. 11

12 Figure 7. Accessing vsphere Data Protection from the vsphere Web Client. Next we need to determine how often these virtual machines will be backed up. The schedule options are shown in Figure 9. In our case, we use the default schedule daily backups starting at 8pm. Click Next to specify the retention policy, which determines how long backups are retained, as shown in Figure 10. After the retention period expires, the backup images will be deleted from the system. Again, we select the default retention policy of keeping backups for 60 days in our example. Click Next to enter a name (e.g. Backup01) for this backup job. On the Ready to Complete page (Figure 11), which is displayed by clicking Next, we see a summary of all options that we have selected for this backup job. Click Finish will create the backup job based on those options. 12

13 Figure 8. Selecting backup targets. Figure 9. Backup schedule options. 13

14 Figure 10. Retention policy options. Figure 11. Summary of options selected for backup job. Once a backup job has been created, it will appear on the Backup tab of the VDP view. The backup job will be started based on the schedule that we specify for it. However, we can start any backup job immediately by clicking on the Backup now button on the upper right corner of the Backup tab. 14

15 For demonstration purposes, let's click on the Backup now button now. The status of the backup job can be seen in the Task console by clicking on the Tasks on the left pane of the Home view. Figure 12 shows that the backup job is about 10% complete while the appserver and CentOSTest virtual machines are being backed up. Figure 12. Monitoring backup job status in the Task console. The Reports tab of the vsphere Data Replication view shows the backup of all virtual machines. For each virtual machine, this report shows the associated backup job (if there is one) and the timestamp of the last successful backup (Figure 13). Each backup job can be enabled or disabled, edited, cloned, or even deleted by selecting that job in the Backup tab and then select the appropriate action in the pull-down menu displayed by clicking on the Backup job actions button. 15

16 1.1.5 Restoring Backups After virtual machines have been backed up, we can restore the backups to the original location or to an alternate location. In order to restore a backup image, we go to the Restore tab of the vsphere Data Protection view. On this tab is a list of virtual machines and associated backup images that have been collected, as shown in Figure 14. Clicking on a virtual machine on this list allows us to see all of the available backup images for this virtual machine from which we could restore. We can start the restore process by selecting one (or more) backup images and then click on the Restore button near the top of the Restore tab. Backup images from different virtual machines can be selected to be restored in one restore operation. After verifying the backup images to be restored, click Next to set the restore options, as shown in Figure 15. Figure 13. VDP reports. 16

17 Figure 14. List of virtual machines and backup information. Figure 15. Setting restore options. 17

18 The restore options include the following: Restore to the original location this is the default option (box checked) Restore to another location by clearing the Restore to the original location box, we can specify the new location (e.g. a new vsphere cluster) to which the backup image can be restored. In addition, we can specify a new name for the (restored) virtual machine in its new location. Advanced options these include the ability to specify a different datastore for the restored image and whether the newly restored virtual machine should be powered on after the restore operation completes. After reviewing all settings in the Ready to Complete page, click Finish to start the restore operation. As the restore operation is under way, its progress can be monitored in the Tasks console, as shown in Figure 16. Figure 16. Monitoring the restore progress in the Tasks console. 18

19 1.1.6 Locking and Unlocking a Backup During maintenance periods, VDP checks each backup image in the appliance to see if its retention period have expired. If it has expired, that backup image will be removed from the appliance. In order to prevent a backup image from being removed by the VDP, it can be locked. While locked, the retention period for that backup image will not be checked by the VDP until it is unlocked. Note that all full image backups can be locked; individual disk backups can never be locked. To lock a backup image, we select that image from the list of backup images in the Restore tab, and then click on the Lock/Unlock button in the action bar near the top of the tab. This is a toggle button. After an image is locked, the expiration date for that image will be changed to Never. Unlocking the image will revert its expiration date to retention period set when the backup job is created File-Level Restore VDP creates full backup images of entire virtual machines. As we have seen in the previous sections, these backup images can be restored in their entirety using the VDP user interface through the vsphere Web Client. However, if only specific files need to be restored from these full backup images, the VDP Restore Client must be used. The VDP Restore Client, which can be accessed through a web browser, allows a full backup image to be mounted as a file system. That allows us to browse through the file system and select specific file(s) that can then be restored. The VDP Restore Client is only available to virtual machines that have backups managed by the VDP, so this would require the user to log into one of those virtual machines through either the vcenter console or some other remote connection. The VDP Restore Client does have the following limitations: No support for unformatted disks, dynamic disks (Windows), and multi-drive partitions No support for the following file systems: EXT4, FAT16/32, GPT, extended partitions, encrypted partitions, compressed partitions. Partitions that are mapped to multiple virtual disks are also not supported No support for the following Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 file systems: deduplicated NTFS, ReFS, EFI bootloader Symbolic links cannot be restored or browsed Cannot restore more than 5,000 files or folders in a single restore operation 19

20 To perform a file-level restore for a virtual machine, we need to do the following: Log into the virtual machine for which we need to restore file(s). This virtual machine must have already been backed up by the VDP and has a valid backup image. Additionally, VM Tools must have been installed on this virtual machine. Access the VDP Restore Client from that virtual machine through a web browser: (in our case, it's as shown in Figure 17. Figure 17. Accessing the VDP Restore Client. Log into the VDP Restore Client using the login credentials of the local virtual machine. A list of backup images that can be mounted will be displayed after the login. Select a backup image from which we want to restore file(s), and click Mount. After a backup image has been mounted, we can browse through the list of directories and files, as shown in Figure 18. We can select one or more files to restore. Then click Restore selected files. We then specify the destination location (i.e. hard drive, folder, etc.) to which the selected file(s) will be restore, as shown in Figure 19. Click Restore, then Yes to the dialog box asking if we are sure to initiate the restore operation. 20

21 The progress and final result of the restore operation can be seen in the Monitor Restores tab of the VDP Restore Client, as shown in Figure 20. After the restore operation completes, the restored files should be at the destination location. Figure 18. Browsing and selecting file(s) to restore in VDP Restore Client. There is also the Advanced Login provided by the VDP Restore Client. To use advanced login, just click on the Advanced Login link on the login page of the VDP Restore Client. The advanced login requires an additional authentication using the vcenter credentials. The advanced login capability allows us to mount, browse, and restore files from any virtual machine that has been backed up by VDP, not just the virtual machine that we currently log in. However, all restored files will be restored to the virtual machine that we currently log in. 21

22 1.1.8 Advanced Topics Replication Backup images can be replicated to another location using the VDP replication jobs. VDP replication jobs determine which backup images are replicated, when they should be replicated, and to what destination. Note that imported backups, which were created from a previous appliance on disks imported to the new appliance, cannot be replicated. Figure 19. Selecting restore location. A replication job can be created on the Replication tab of the VDP view. Among the options that can be set for a replication job Backup options these options allow us to limit the number of backups that are replicated. By default, all backups for each selected client will be replicated. For replication, we can specify the backup types (e.g. daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, or user-initiated), maximum backups to replicate per client, and date restrictions (if any 22

23 ). In our case, we selected user-initiated for backup type, and default values for the rest (i.e. no limit on number of backups to replicate per client and no date restrictions) The destination host to which the selected backups will be replicated: hostname or IP address, port, username, and password. It is recommended that we verify authentication in this step by clicking on the Verify authentication button at the bottom of this page. Figure 20. Monitoring progress and result of file-level restore operations. Replication schedule how often do we need to replicate the selected backup images: daily, weekly, or monthly, and the start time of the replication job. Retention options when the replicated backups will expire from the destination. We can keep the same expiration date for each replicated backup the same as for each source (original) backup image, or set the expiration dates by backup types. Alternatively, we can also choose to keep them forever. Name of the replication job As with backup jobs, we can edit, clone, delete, enable, or disable replication jobs by clicking on the Replication job actions and selecting the appropriate action on the pull23

24 down menu. We can also initiate a selected replication job immediately by using the Replicate now button. The progress and results of the replication job(s) can be monitored in the Tasks console. Viewing VDP Configuration The Configuration tab of the VDP view also displays a lot of useful information, as shown in Figure 21. Figure 21. The VDP and backup window configuration. Among the information found in this tab: VDP appliance information and status VDP appliance storage usage, including the total capacity, free space, de-duplicated size, and the amount of disk space that would take up if the backup data was converted to the native, non-de-duplicated format. In our test, using the CBT technology for de-duplication results in 80% reduction in the disk space required for backup images! Backup window configuration this is shown graphically at the bottom of Figure 21. Basically, each 24-hour day is divided into two operational windows: a backup 24

25 window and maintenance window. The backup window is the portion of each day reserved to perform the actual backup jobs that are normally scheduled. The maintenance window is the portion of each day reserved to perform maintenance tasks, such as integrity checks. Because of this, it is strongly suggested that Backup now operations should not be done during the maintenance window because they would take away precious resources that the VDP appliance needs for maintenance tasks. The backup window configuration can be edited using the Edit button just below the graphical representation of the backup window. For more detailed information on VDP, please refer to the vsphere Data Protection Administration Guide for VDP 5.5: VDP Storage Management In previous sections, we already discussed how to create storage for the VDP appliance using the vdp-configure utilty ( ). We can add previously-created VDP disks to a new VDP appliance by selecting the Add existing VDP storage on the Create Storage page of the vdp-configure utility. In the even that the primary disk partition (OS boot partition) of the VDP appliance is corrupt or lost, we could detach the disks containing backup images from the unrecoverable VDP appliance, and then attach them to a newly-deployed VDP appliance. To remove a disk (not Disk 1, which is the primary 100-GB OS boot partition) from the VDP appliance, we can do it from the vsphere thick client (not the Web version): Log into the vsphere (thick) Client Go into vcenter > Hosts and Clusters view and select the VDP appliance Choose Edit Settings for the VDP appliance, then select the Hardware tab Click Hard disk 2 from the list and note the full path and name of the disk (vmdk file ). Then click the Remove button. Under Removal Options, select Remove from virtual machine Repeat this procedure for each disk that we want to remove (detach) from the VDP appliance After a new VDP appliance is deployed, we can re-attach the disk(s) to it. 25

26 2 SoftLayer-provided Backup & Restore Services There are two BURA services currently provided by SoftLayer: evault idera Both of these services require agents to be installed in VMs that need to be backed up. 2.1 evault SoftLayer has partnered with evault to provide reliable, easy-to-use, enterprise-class backup and recovery solutions. The backup solution utilizes evault's Infostage line of products. evault is a centrally managed backup service by SoftLayer. Figure 22 provides an overview of evault in SoftLayer. It requires an agent to be installed in each system (physical or virtual) that needs to be backed up. It does not exploit the vsphere APIs for Data Protection (VADP). This service supports the backup of individual files, directories, and applications (e.g. MS Exchange, Oracle, SQL, etc.) at flexible schedules (i.e. single instance, daily, weekly, monthly, etc.). It also provides FIPS-140 encryption option. For specialized applications, such as SQL and Exchange, additional plug-ins must be purchased. The evault backup service can be ordered per server regardless whether it is a physical or virtual server. Backup space is allocated per server, and the monthly cost is based on the amount of backup space per server, as shown in Figure 23. The backup and restore jobs from multiple servers are managed from a web-browser-like GUI within the SoftLayer portal, called the Web Control Console (WCC). For environments, there are several issues with the evault service in SoftLayer: The evault agents currently provided by SoftLayer can only be installed on Linux and Windows systems There are VMware ESX agent tarballs stored on SoftLayer service website, but there is no workable automated script to untar and install this agent. There is no support for VMware ESXi at this time. It should be noted that the evault support in SoftLayer is only a subset of the evault product from Seagate, which does provide evault agent for ESXi: As a result, if we only want to back up virtual machines running Linux or Windows, and do not need to back up the VMware ESX / ESXi hosts, then the evault backup service 26

27 provided by SoftLayer is quite sufficient. However, if the ESX / ESXi hosts need to be backed up, then the evault service in SoftLayer is not a suitable option. Figure 22. Overview of evault in SoftLayer. 27

28 Figure 23. Costs for evault service. Additional details on how to install evault agents, create backup jobs, and perform restores are available from KnowledgeLayer: Installing evault backup agent for Linux: Installing evault backup agent for Windows: Accessing and performing backup & restore operations in Web Control Console (WCC): 28

29 2.2 Idera The Idera Continuous Data Protection (CDP) is a backup software created by Idera (formerly R1Soft) that allows for backup of both physical and virtual servers. Although the Idera CDP service is licensed and supported by SoftLayer, it is actually administered by customers. Like evault, it also requires agent access and is not VADP-enabled. An overview of this service in SoftLayer is shown in Figure 24. Idera CDP consists of three main components: the CDP server, the agent, and database plugins (which are available for purchase separately from the first two components). Idera CDP service provides block-level full / incremental backup, full-image and file-level restores, and MySQL protection feature. To use the Idera CDP service, the CDP server must first be provisioned preferably, a bare-metal server in SoftLayer. The user is responsible for provisioning this CDP server, including CPU, memory, storage, and network resources. In addition to the operating system, we also need to purchase from SoftLayer the following add-ons: Idera Server Backup 5.0 Enterprise (either for Linux or Windows) for $18.13 per month Idera Backup Agent Pack (available in packs of 1 to 25 agents from $3.63 to $54.38 per month) All virtual machines and physical servers that need to be backed up must be registered with the CDP server. The backup space resides on the CDP server and is shared by all virtual machines and servers that are registered with the CDP server. All backup and restore jobs are managed through the Idera Web Console, which can be accessed through both public and private networks in SoftLayer. The Idera CDP passwords can be tracked and stored within the SoftLayer's customer portal. 29

30 Figure 24. Overview of Idera backup service in SoftLayer. More detailed information on the Idera CDP service in SoftLayer is available through KnowledgeLayer: 30

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