VMWARE BACKUPS

If you work in IT at all, you’ve heard of Netbackup. NO, really, you have!
It’s been around for 25 years, first with Control Data, then with VERITAS Software, and now for almost a decade with Symantec. VMWARE NETBACKUP2

So what’s special with this oldie?
Well, the thing is that it’s more like a COCOON in a pool, and if you take a dip in the pool you’ll never be ill, never age, and never die.

Really? What happened to VMware backups when Symantec released the latest version of the beast?  The first and foremost thing about this version is the stability – nice! Next, the superior integration with VMware.

Netbackup ACCELERATOR for VMware

Netbackup ACCELERATOR* for VMware is called “vSphere Changed Block Tracking”. This improves full backups performance enormously. This is a block leimagevel tracking at the end point, which checks what blocks have actually changed, and only transfers changed blocks from a VM snapshot onto the backup. The Netbackup media server then combines all these changed blocks with previous backups to create a Synthetic FULL backup. The result is a full backup running as an incremental backup or according to Symantec; 35x faster than before

ANY level recovery

Just don’t backup the VM’s. From a single VMware backup image – you can recover:

  • VMWARE Virtual machine (vmdk)
  • Single files or folders
  • Exchange, SharePoint, SQL databases
  • Single Exchange Email items and Single SharePoint items

VMware INSTANT recovery – IRV.

Instant recovery is also referred to as the new data protection weapon!  I can remember when Vikings ruled the earth, that every backup administrator has been in total anguish and pain about the chance of a total recall or a demand for a complete restore of systems causing massive nervous breakdowns and unnecessary pain.

The magic trick! You can start a VMware virtual machine directly from the Netbackup -disk- media server, i.e.. boot directly from the backup image from within vSphere. The VM backup image will appear as a complete VM residing on a NFS datastore.

This means you don’t need to restore the entire VM first. After it’s powered on, the VM is 100% available (an instant recovery magic trick). Storage Vmotion will ensure no disruption of service, and copy the VM back to a destination datastore. All fimagerom a standard backup image. LIVE 🙂  RTO becomes almost ZERO.

My Idea: Let your Exchange 2013 systems (VM’s) be one of the systems you protect and recover, with Netbackup, this way. 

INSTANT Single file restore

Since you can present the VM from a backup image residing in an NFS datastore, then you can mount the VM (power it on = Instant recovery) and start copying single files, for single files recovery. Note: From any guest OS!

VCenter integration

You have a plug-in for vCenter – you will have an extra TAB in vCenter, giving you Netbackup reports about most recent backup, a backup timeline, and success and failure reporting. It can be integrated in the standard vSphere Client. From here you can do restores directly from the vCenter Console

OpsCenter

Free of charge, you can install the OpsCenter. This is a monitoring and trending tool, as well as a tool for administrators to restore. All this with access control (LDAP/AD), giving service desks monitoring or restore capabilities. Through OpsCenter you can see what VM that has not been backed up

Intelligent policies and Resource limitsimage

  • Query rules. You can create backup-policies where the selection is a query. i.e. Datacenter = “datacenter1” and Displayname Contains “vm” and Powerstate Equal poweredOn
  • There will be a detection at each run and some of the best practice is to catch all and use the ‘AND NOT’ selection to avoid certain hosts or powered off VM’s.
  • Some other best practices is to set resource limits. i.e.. set datastore limit to 1-4. and set ESX server=1
    all this is documented in Netbackups performance document available on Symantec’s Support pages.
  • Through OpsCenter you can see what VM that has not been backed up
  • You can also do load balancing of VMware backups. Avoid bottlenecks, improves performance

Epilogue

So, where does this lead us? Well, in my opinion, Netbackup does a real good job on protecting large VMware environments. Not only by backing up small amount of data leaving you with almost no backup-time, also INSTANT recovery within seconds. I’d rather prefer a slow system up, instead of no system up while restoring.

Needless to say, is that even though you have a VMware VCenter integration, Netbackup provides you with one Admin tool to cover every backup and restore in your organisation, Database backups such as Oracle and SQL Server, Linux systems, Unix Systems and Windows systems, and everything else from Microsoft and many other, in ONE backup/recovery Console.

Cool, Yes it is, Rock’n’Roll – indeed.

Stick around, I’m not finished with this theme!

We have not talked about Netbackup A.I.R., Deduplication, Netbackup MSDP, EMC Datadomain, Netbackup Appliances, and much more. You have a lot to look forward to!

Best regards,
Bengt Grønås
Steria AS

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