I am in the process of deploying a VMware infrastructure based around three physical hosts and a SAN (all to be purchased). I will be running about 12 production VM's to include File, SQL and Exchange services. I am looking at entry level SANS from EMC, HP, Netapp and Equallogic.
I am starting to think about performaing SAN backups to tape as the cost of replicating to another SAN is restrictive for me.
Can any one recommend any backup software to do this (based on reliablity, ease of backup/restore and cost)?
Well a few things, be sure your servers have at least 6 pNICs for security, redundancy, and performance. YOu may need more depending on your network configuration. Lots of discussions on this on the forums.
As for backup tools, there are several from which to choose.
Vizioncore vRanger Pro (No ESX 3.5 support currently but that should be available very very soon).
VCB with any tool you want.... This requires presenting your ESX LUNs to a Backup Proxy then you can use any tool you want to use to do the backups. Some scripting required. This could cause SCSI REservation conflicts on low end SANs. it does on my MSA1000....
etc.... You can even write your own tools.
Edward L. Haletky
VMware Communities User Moderator
Author of the book 'VMWare ESX Server in the Enterprise: Planning and Securing Virtualization Servers', Copyright 2008 Pearson Education. As well as the Virtualization Wiki at http://www.astroarch.com/wiki/index.php/Virtualization
I second vRanger...its a great economic product for small environments. We are running a similar setup 3esx hosts, 18vm's and all attached to two fibre switches to a Hitachi SAN. We backup to two NAS boxes as we wanted to get rid of tape. We were using CA's brightstor product to backup our SAN, it worked great. We just wanted to get rid of tape for restore and logistic problems that we faced with getting tapes off-site.
Russell, what consistency are you after for your backups? Do you need crash consistency? Do you want to quiesce the disks or the applications (do you need VSS integration)? Also what do you want to restore and how often. If need to frequently restore individual messages or mailboxes out of exchange you may want a different type of solution than if you hardly ever do a restore.
Backup is for protection and restore. Once you work out your requirements for those two things you can then see what products provide those things well. You can backup from inside the VM, at the VMware level or at the SAN level or integrate all three in various ways.
Just some things to consider.
Let us know how you get on.
My thinking around my backup plan will probably be:
1) SAN snapshots for recovery of user issues and restoration when the SAN and building is intact. I will probably take regular snapshots of Exchange and SQL, every 4 hours or maybe 1 hour for SQL or even less, then my file data will probably be every 6 hours or maybe twice a day.
2) For restoration when I have a SAN failure or my building is un-usable I would need data off site, I don't think I have budget or location for another SAN or NAS based device so I was thinking of using VCB with a software product to get a daily backup off site of my critical data and VM files, and I am not sure which product is best for this.
I need flexibility on whatever product as another SAN or NAS device might be an option in further years.
If you are going to use SAN snapshots for recovery how are you going to build your storage? Are you going to use VMFS or RDMs? Do you need to quiesce the app before taking the SAN snapshot, such as if its Exchange.
If you do a straight snap the VMFS will all of the Exchange disks on it you will have to mount that SAN snap to an ESX host, take a helper VM to mount the VMDK files to and then extract the data appropriate to the application (files, database, exchange).
For the second part with VCB if you want daily backups of the while machine (which is usually best), products like vRangerPro are good because they can compress the backups and do incremental's.
Backup can be a complicated beast.
I am not sure about VMFS and RDM's just because I don't know enough about them at this point. I assume VMFS but I know I need an RDM for my exchange quorum on the cluster.
I believe I will quiescing exchange to make sure it is verified.
Ideally I would like to have a snap of my vmdk files and data then get it onto tape so I can rebuild my VM's plus data off site. As I might not have a SAN at a DR site I guess I would have to use VCB and some software to take backups of the VM's to include the data.
I am assuming that I will build my VM's with say a C: and a 😧 drive (which would hold my OS and Application) and these will be on a volume on the SAN and then the E: drive for data would be mounted from a seperate volume on the SAN with my stores on it. So from a snapshot point of view I would have snapshots of the VM volume and the Exchange data volume, which combined would let me restore. In a VCB tape type backup I assume I have to perform more of a host based backup for it to be readable when I want to restore.
thanks for your help.