I 'm using a VDR appliance to bakcup a lot of vms.
The bakcups are all stored in a vmfs datastore ( ie: a virtual disk attached to the VDR image) for better backup performance .
Now, I want to bakcup my VDR appliance, for even more security, to an external storage ( USB drive ).
Can I do so ? Can I user Vmware converter for example, to export the VDR appliance to an ova file for example ?
Any more advice to backup my VDR image is welcome ?
I ask all this because I read a number of web pages where people describes the nightmare when a VDR catalog get corrupted etc... !!
I finally exported the VDR appliance to an external USB drive, using vm converter.
That way, we can store the usb drive in a secure and safe place outside the datacenter.
I also cloned the appliance; this is another option ( but then the clone is still on an esx in the datacenter ).
I just import the VDR OVF again from the CD since that is fast and it is easy to set up. Once you attach the most recent backup store to it, it will ask you if you want to load the configuration again which ends up being your Backup jobs. Cloning your backup appliance won't save you from a corrupted backup store catalog. The catalog is entirely contained within the destination disks or shares.
Correct me if I'm wrong:
When I clone the virtual appliance , the cloned image also has the deduplication stores with it ( the virtual disks have been cloned also ).
So, assuming the VDR appliance was in a correct state before the clone, why the cloned VDR appliance would not be a secure way to receover from a dammaged catalog ?
Yes, I see, cloning VDR with it's destination disks attached will also clone the backup stores.
I'm just use to looking at it another way. Rather than seeing VDR and the backup stores as a VM with big drives, I see a self contained applicance that is easy to restore from CD and potentially many backup stores on shares or virtual disks. So I clone just the backup stores when I want to be safe. If your backup store's catalog goes bad, you go to the backup store copy (if repair efforts fail). If your VDR goes bad (but not necessarily your backup stores), then you reinstall VDR.
So my problem becomes how to duplicated virtual disks and network shares from my backup device onto something that can be archived like a USB hard drive. That depends on where you can attach your USB drive. I can hook it directly to my backup device which is a NAS. If the VDR backup store is a CIFS share, I can run a backup job (not VDR) on my NAS that copies the backup store directly to the USB drive. If the backup store is a virtual disk, that should work too but I use thin provisioned disks since all my datastores are NFS accessed. I found that some of these backup programs will expand it to a fully provisioned disk so the copy is very slow. You can also use the vCenter Datastore browser to copy vmdk files. I have found however to preserve thin provisioning you have to copy just the vmdk file and not the containing folder which is odd.
What I really want to be able to do is daily backups with VDR to my NAS and a weekly backup to an external hard drive that I can put away somewhere safe. So rather than copy the backup store, I want to create it on the external hard drive by using a VDR backup. Well, I've tried to hook an external drive to Iomega (using USB), ReadyNAS (using USB), and QNAP (using eSATA) and it mostly succeeds. But there is something quirky about NFS sharing an external hard drive on these NAS units and I get frequent -2246 errors in VDR when mounting them. Sometimes they mount properly, sometimes not.
So this time I'm trying a new idea. I finally figured out how to use USB device passthrough from ESXi 4.1 to VDR. I've got a backup job running to the USB drive now and I'll record the performance. I'll also be looking out for quirky mounting problems. If reliable, this would also be a good way to copy backup stores. Just mount your backup store disk, then mount your USB disk to VDR using the ESXi passthrough, make sure VDR hasn't spawned an Integrity check, and do a "cp - Rv $src_mount/VMwareDataRecovery $dest_mount/".
Sorry I'm so verbose. I'm trying to figure out the best way too.
Be sure to keep us updated as I'm looking for the best way to acheive the same thing. All I need is an automated way to get a copy of VDR with all the backups onto external media to satify DR requirements. At this stage it's VM Conmvertor, but there must be an easier way.