greggap
Contributor
Contributor

DR plan assistance, vreplicator, data domain etc

Hi All,

I need some help with a DR plan. We currently have a third party data center with 4 esx hosts, about 70 vms, we have 7 branch offices throughout the US, each connected

by a 1.5 mpls line. Each branch offices has a ESX box running 3-4 vms, about 300-800gb of data per branch office. We currently use Acronis for backup at each branch

office, which quite frankly sucks. We are building a DR site nearby the office we work at, the first priority is to be able to replicate backups from the remote branch

offices. In the future this DR site will replace our outsourced data center and at that time we will build a new DR site and purchase an additional SAN to

mirror from the DR site to the Datacenter. Currently in the branch office we backup to small nas devices via an isolated gig connection.

I have looked a Data domain and exagrid, but they appear to be way out of our price range, the lowest cost device is 12k. These remote

offices have 20-70 people in them, can't justify 12k per office. My main concern is our low bandwidth and being able to transfer

the data at night. We have also looked at vreplicator/vranger combo and possibly seeding our first backup and then

continuing a nightly hybrid backup. Our branch offices do not have exchange servers, sql etc so a nightly replication

would likely be 500-1000mb over the 1.5 line. I'm wondering how reliable this is, how big the snapshots will grow, concerned

with the technology of leaving snapshots open all the time, etc.

Any recommendations would be great.

Thanks,

Greg

0 Kudos
11 Replies
Texiwill
Leadership
Leadership

Hello,

THis is an interesting issue. First a few things about snapshots. You only want the snapshots to live for the length of time it takes to make the backup and no longer. The reason for this is mainly performance and some times odd networking behavior. Snapshots are a means to safely copy a VMDK that since you have using a snapshot is no longer changing on you. Thereby giving you a safe backup. Once the backup is done you commit the snapshot allowing the disk to change once more.

Okay now that we have covered snapshots, your tools of choice will be to use Veeam, esXpress, VISBU, or vRangerPro to perform backups to a local physical machine. You definitely do not want to backup to a local machine due to the horrible write performance of the VMFS, which will affect data transfer as well.

Also, during the work week you would make delta backups so that the data transfer is minimal. Veeam is one you could use to do this, but it will also create a pseudo virtual disk which you can most likely disable.

So you make local backups of the full VMDK once every so often but after that you make DIfferential backups. THereby transferring even less data throughout the night.

If you use a local backup server you can store a copy of the compressed virtual machine image locally with all associated differentials ready to restore. Then copy those files across the wire every night. I would definitely make a full backup every so often however. This way you have two copies of backups one ready to restore locally and one ready to restore anywhere.

CHeck out a '[Comparison of VI3 Backup Tools|http://vmprofessional.com/index.php?content=esx3backups]' for information on vRangerPro, Veeam, and esXpress.

If you really wanted to you could use the tool from the central office as well, and use differentials most of the time. Once more to limit your data transfer to only what changes. In this case, Veeam may be a code choice as it rebuilds the VMDK so that when you restore, you restore just the VMDK and not a VMDK then a bunch of differentials.


Best regards,
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.
Blue Gears and SearchVMware Pro Blogs -- Top Virtualization Security Links -- Virtualization Security Round Table Podcast

--
Edward L. Haletky
vExpert XIII: 2009-2021,
VMTN Community Moderator
vSphere Upgrade Saga: https://www.astroarch.com/blogs
GitHub Repo: https://github.com/Texiwill
0 Kudos
greggap
Contributor
Contributor

We definetly don't want to do differentials, we prefer to do a block-level comparison and not have to scan/rescan the previous backups. Do you know

of any low cost appliances that offer dedupe to an offsite location? Not looking to spend 10-15k per office, need a lower cost solution, im

worried vreplicator will not work well with our slow line speed. I think dedupe would be a much better solution for moving from our branch

offices to an offsite location. The problem is this is normally designed for large corporations and we have fairly small offices, 300-800gb of

data.

Thanks,

Greg

0 Kudos
Rodos
Expert
Expert

Greg.

It may be out of your price range but check out Avamar from EMC and its competitors.

By the sounds of it what you need is a dedupe backup system. As you have already looked at DataDomain is a good fit for this but the size of your sites does not warrant a hardware solution but most likely a software one.

You may want to do whole machine states so you could use a local VM as a VCB proxy that did a single instance replication back to head office. The issue will be the space at the remote site to hold the backups.

Also don't be surprised if the existing VMware style 3rd party backup vendors such as Vizioncore and esXpress start to build dedupe into their coming versions.

VMware have dedupe in their yet to be released backup appliance which could work real nicely for you.

Rodos

Consider the use of the helpful or correct buttons to award points. Blog: http://rodos.haywood.org/

Rodos {size:10px}{color:gray}Consider the use of the helpful or correct buttons to award points. Blog: http://rodos.haywood.org/{color}{size}
0 Kudos
petedr
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

Rodos,

Thanks for mentioning esXpress. As an FYI will be releasing a DeDup appliance in our upcoming 3.5 release this quarter ( it is in Beta now ). The DeDup is source side DeDuplication.

Pete@esXpress

www.thevirtualheadline.com www.liquidwarelabs.com
0 Kudos
jkahn_au
Contributor
Contributor

Hi,

You're thinking along the right lines there with vReplicator/vRanger Pro. You could easily have vReplicator replicate the branch office VMs from the site to your DR facility every night, and then back up the powered off VMs from your DR facility with vRanger Pro. That would minimise WAN traffic to changes only for backup.

Of course, there are many ways to achieve the same end result.

Cheers,

JK.

Disclaimer: I'm a Vizioncore Systems Engineer.

0 Kudos
Texiwill
Leadership
Leadership

Hello,

I would look at esXpress, Veeam, or vRangerPro/vReplicator as a start. Even if you do not do differential backups, the backup time itself is going to be your key factor. You can only push so much data over the link. Backing up all 300GBs every night will take hours even with compression, etc.

I would take all three and get demo licenses so you can see the performance and data transfer requirements for each of the products. That is how I did my comparison. but each person's SAN and infrastructure is quite a bit different and times will change.


Best regards,
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.
Blue Gears and SearchVMware Pro Blogs -- Top Virtualization Security Links -- Virtualization Security Round Table Podcast

--
Edward L. Haletky
vExpert XIII: 2009-2021,
VMTN Community Moderator
vSphere Upgrade Saga: https://www.astroarch.com/blogs
GitHub Repo: https://github.com/Texiwill
0 Kudos
JoJoGabor
Expert
Expert

Take a look at the HP D2D Virtual Tape Libraries. YOu can use your standard Backup tools to backup to the disks on this device which will dedupe the data. Around March time they are releasing a replication module to replicate to another D2D device at a remote site. There are devices of various capacity but bear in mind that the dedupe will reduce the raw data significantly.

greggap
Contributor
Contributor

That might work, the D2D120 looks to be around 2,000.00. I noticed this device is ISCSI but not on the HCL, would I just

install the Microsoft ISCSI initiator inside my VM's? What are the advantages of this versus just connecting to it

via IP? Also is the storage protector any good or should we look at another backup software, we are currently

using Acronis which stinks.

0 Kudos
JoJoGabor
Expert
Expert

I haven't used it myself but have looked at it for a client. I would install a VCB proxy on a Windows physical server and yes use the MS iSCSI initiator to connect to the VTL to use as a backup target.

If you do go down this route, can you let me know how it goes? THanks

0 Kudos
greggap
Contributor
Contributor

Bummer, the lower end models don't do dedupe.. 5-6k for one that does dedupe.

0 Kudos
marktbreaux
Contributor
Contributor

How did your switch over from acronis go? I am going the same thing at my 2 branch offices except with Symantec BackupExec System Restore. I don't have vmware up and running yet but I figured the backup solution would change so I am switching over to VMware vsphere 4. I think I have decided to do a SAN unit but not sure which yet. I know I can't do SAN to SAN replication because having a DR site SAN just sitting there is a huge waste of money in my opinion.

How did you end up doing the switch over? Can you give me model numbers such as the SAN and what software you used to dedup and backup?

Thanks!

0 Kudos