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cmygfx
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VCB and Local Storage

Hi all,

I have been reading plenty of posts on the topic but I can't seem to find a conclusive answer. Can VCB work with Local Storage? I have an esx host with a local scsi disk array with VMs. Basically I'm trying to backup these machines to a windows server on the LAN. I have tried using the VcbMounter tool and it creates the snapshots of the test vm but it exists after deleting the snapshot with the following error in the verbose log:

Command was: vcbMounter -h VChostname -u vcbuser -p vcbpass -a moref:vm-351 -r D:\Backuproot\WINDOWS_XP-002 -t fullvm -C Local_Datastore

.......

2007-11-26 12:32:31.438 'vcbMounter' 2692 info Exporting disks

2007-11-26 12:32:31.438 'vcbMounter' 2692 info Filenames: blklst://snapshot-505[Local_Datastore] WINDOWS_XP-002/WINDOWS_XP-002.xxxx --> D:\Backuproot\WINDOWS_XP-002\scsi0-0-0-WINDOWS_XP-002.vmdk

2007-11-26 12:32:31.470 'App' 2692 trivia Obtained list of SCSI disk devices.

2007-11-26 12:32:31.470 'BlockList' 2692 info Establishing new connection for xxxx

2007-11-26 12:32:31.470 'blocklist' 2692 trivia Initializing SSL context

2007-11-26 12:32:31.470 'blocklist' 2692 info Connecting to host xxxxon port 902

2007-11-26 12:32:31.688 'blocklist' 2692 verbose Connected to stream:

2007-11-26 12:32:31.688 'BaseLibs' 3520 warning Unsetting unknown path: /vmomi/

2007-11-26 12:32:31.720 'blocklist' 2692 info Authenticating user xxxx

2007-11-26 12:32:31.907 'blocklist' 2692 info Logged in!

--2007-11-26 12:32:33.017 'App' 2692 trivia --Attempting to open LVID:46ad58a4-ea04de1a-4695-001aa02309e1/46ad58a3-e0ae3888-76d7-001aa02309e1/1.

--2007-11-26 12:32:33.017 'App' 2692 error --No path to device LVID:46ad58a4-ea04de1a-4695-001aa02309e1/46ad58a3-e0ae3888-76d7-001aa02309e1/1 found.

2007-11-26 12:32:33.017 'BlockList' 2692 error

2007-11-26 12:32:33.220 'BlockList' 2692 info Closing connection xxxx

2007-11-26 12:32:33.220 'blocklist' 2692 verbose Shutting down VMDB service...

2007-11-26 12:32:33.220 'blocklist' 2692 verbose Unregistering callback...

2007-11-26 12:32:33.220 'blocklist' 2692 verbose ...done

2007-11-26 12:32:33.220 'vcbMounter' 2692 error Error: Failed to open the disk: One LUN could not be opened

2007-11-26 12:32:33.220 'vcbMounter' 2692 error An error occurred, cleaning up...

Deleted directory D:\Backuproot\WINDOWS_XP-002

2007-11-26 12:32:35.204 'vcbMounter' 2692 verbose Shutting down VMDB service...

2007-11-26 12:32:35.204 'vcbMounter' 2692 verbose Unregistering callback...

2007-11-26 12:32:35.204 'vcbMounter' 2692 verbose ...done

At this stage I would be happy to use vcbmounter to mount the image and then copy the image to a local share on the LAN using scripts. Any ideas?

ESX 3.02 Update 1

Virtual Center Server 2.02 update 2

Vmware Consolidated Backup 1.03 update 1

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GBromage
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In a way, VCB can be used if all you have is local storage, but it's a different kettle of fish altogether from the SAN way of doing things.

You WILL need gigabit networking on your service console and windows host to do this.

1) On your Windows host, install the "Services for Unix" packages, and set up an NFS store on your large drive.

2) Mount that NFS store on your ESX host.

3) Log in to the console of the ESX host as root

4) Run this command: /usr/sbin/vcbMounter -h localhost -u root -p <<root password>> -a ipaddr:<<vm server IP>> -r /vmfs/volumes/<<nfs store>>/<<vm server name>> -t fullvm

5) After the mount is completed, run your backups on the NFS server.

6) When finished, on the ESX server run: /usr/sbin/vcbMounter -h localhost -u root -p <<root password>> -U /vmfs/volumes/<<nfs store>>/<<vm server name>>

Realistically, you can leave the mount on the NFS store as long as you want, so I suggest you'd use a daily scheduled task/cron script to unmount the previous day's backup and remount it. Then, schedule the backup job on the NFS server after a reasonable amount of time so the the mount has completed before the backup starts. Regularly monitor the mount time to ensure your backups are valid.

I hope this information helps you. If it does, please consider awarding points with the 'Helpful' or 'Correct' buttons. If it doesn't help you, please ask for clarification!

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virtualdud3
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VCB requires shared storage - either Fibre SAN or (with the latest VCB) iSCSI.

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GBromage
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In a way, VCB can be used if all you have is local storage, but it's a different kettle of fish altogether from the SAN way of doing things.

You WILL need gigabit networking on your service console and windows host to do this.

1) On your Windows host, install the "Services for Unix" packages, and set up an NFS store on your large drive.

2) Mount that NFS store on your ESX host.

3) Log in to the console of the ESX host as root

4) Run this command: /usr/sbin/vcbMounter -h localhost -u root -p <<root password>> -a ipaddr:<<vm server IP>> -r /vmfs/volumes/<<nfs store>>/<<vm server name>> -t fullvm

5) After the mount is completed, run your backups on the NFS server.

6) When finished, on the ESX server run: /usr/sbin/vcbMounter -h localhost -u root -p <<root password>> -U /vmfs/volumes/<<nfs store>>/<<vm server name>>

Realistically, you can leave the mount on the NFS store as long as you want, so I suggest you'd use a daily scheduled task/cron script to unmount the previous day's backup and remount it. Then, schedule the backup job on the NFS server after a reasonable amount of time so the the mount has completed before the backup starts. Regularly monitor the mount time to ensure your backups are valid.

I hope this information helps you. If it does, please consider awarding points with the 'Helpful' or 'Correct' buttons. If it doesn't help you, please ask for clarification!
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cmygfx
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Thanks for the prompt answers guys. Although the above approach will definately work I was hoping I wouldnt have to go down that path. Not that its a problem, but when we first got this tool (bundled with esx vi3 enterprise) I was hoping for a more complete solution i.e. gui, scheduling, copy, (not dependant on a 3rd party software) local, san and isci all in one. Perhaps in future versions when this product has more time to mature. I have read that the next version has iSCSI support. Thanks again.

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virtualdud3
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The current version of VCB supports iSCSI storage.

You can very easily setup an iSCSI target, and use the built-in iSCSI software initiator. You can even use a virtual VCB server (for testing purposes).

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GBromage
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Sadly, vcb is just that: it's a tool, not a solution.

If you look at my user profile, you'll see that I'm currently at "Expert" level with 1102 points. Approximately half of those were due to explaining VCB to people. Which isn't a credit to me, but how confusing the documentation and utilities are. Smiley Sad

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cmygfx
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I do have an iSCSI storage device attached but was looking to leverage the local space as well.

Thats quite funny in a sad way GBromage. It sounds all that on the web site put when you look under the hood you find its lacking in terms of a backup solution. Perhaps if it were clearer on the website as to what exactly this product does and does not offer. Looking forward to future updates. Thanks again.

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virtualdud3
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Yeah, VCB can be kind of confusing.

I have played around with configuring the NFS/"local storage" setup described above; I wouldn't do anything like that in production (not that the poster was suggesting you do so). Along the same lines, I wouldn't suggest running the VCB server as a virtual machine as I mentioned doing for testing purposes.

I think the most important part about VCB is understanding exactly what it is supposed to be and what it isn't. VCB is is really just a tool to work with 3rd-party backup software, and allow this backup software to access the virtual machines and offload some of the "work" from the ESX host onto the VCB proxy server. It isn't intended to be a stand-alone, "end-all-be-all" backup solution.

If people are only using local storage on their ESX environment, then I think it is pretty safe to assume that they are running a fairly small implementation therefore they will most likely be best served by simply running a backup agent inside of the VMs.

You bring up a valid point that many, many people mis-understand VCB, and are under the impression that VCB is intended to be/do things that it was never intended to do.

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Tekati68
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How about an external USB drive attached to the ESX server? Could you run the vcbmount command and have it utilize the USB drive instead of doing the NFS solution you propose?

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dominic7
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ESX only supports USB 1.1, which means that your transfer rate will be limited to 1.4mbits/sec. My guess it that this won't help you out.

Forgive me for being lazy and not reading all of the other posts but have you looked at the following products to see if one would fits your needs:

1. Vizioncore vRanger

2. PHD esXpress

3. Alex Mittel's VISBU ( http://www.xtravirt.com/index.php?option=com_remository&Itemid=75&func=fileinfo&id=7 )

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pacorabane
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Hi!

I want to backup my vm by VCB, but I haven't san

storage. When i try it, the proccess of creat of

snapshot success and it begin the copy of files,

but it fail one a .vmdk file. All files created soon

are deleted. Can you help me.

if it work, i will use it with vRangerPro.

I need a help.

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