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How to best backup virtual environment?

bergquistcompany
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We run Windows 2003 and 2008 servers and are moving to a virtual network.
Currently we use Symantec Backup Exec 12.5 and I have been reading about Commvault and Symantec 2010 and wondering what people would recommend for backing up VMware?
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Commented:
Inside the Windows environment I really like the Backup Exec suite.  Always worked extremely well for me on foth servers and apps (such as Exchange).  Since you're going to a VMware environment, you can start to take advantage of the included VMware Data Recovery (link)which is really great for backing up the entire VM.  Together, these two solutions provide exceptional backup and recovery coverage.
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Commented:
Checkout my EE Backup Article, it explains all you need to know, if you were afraid to ask!

VMware ESX/ESXi Backup Guide


Any questions, please ask away

Personally, I would recommend Veeam Backup and Replication v5/v6, it's probably the Best in the World, and I would bet 9 out of 10, VMware Admins would recommend and use it!
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
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Commented:
VMware Data Recovery is only included with Essentials Plus, do you have a Licensed Version of VMware vSphere?

Commented:
Appreciate you pointing that out Hanccocka.  From Essentials Plus up Data Recovery is included.  Since he's referring to Symantec and Commvault solutions, I wasn't worried about anything in the free versions, so recommended a tool included in a most versions of paid vSphere licenses.  But again, thanks for pointing this out.
Commented:
We use this
http://www.veeam.com/

I backup all my virtuals with it to another storage subsystem in another part of the building.
We run 30+ VMs

Restores are fast, you can sandbox units, navigate file systems for fast file recovery etc.
I run linux, windows 2003, 2008, R2s, R1s etc.

If your moving to the virtual world get a cluster, use advanced licenses and a fiber attached storage system. In most cases its the easiest.
You can use IBM DS3500 series Iscsi stuff as well.

It aint cheep to do, but you will save in the long run. Even after spending 100k + in gear.

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Commented:
Since we are going to a virtual infrastructure it will be a work in progress.  Can Veeam backup stand alone servers as well as VM servers?  

@L4Net: so you don't use Symantec for virtual backups you actually have 2 products?

Is this what we'll need to do if we have VMs and Stand-Alone servers in the network?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
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Commented:
No Veeam is only for virtual infrastructure, you would need to consider Symantec if you want a single poorer product.

Commented:
Hi, I run a virtual environment of almost 40 servers, and do the following backups.

We use Volume Shadow Copy which runs at 7.00am and midday on all simple file share data drives.

Each day there is a Blue Ray Drive burnt with the core financial data and business core data. We use a simple and cheap (around $50) backup software (with verify after burn) called novastor to collect from the file shares on the Virtual servers and burn directly to the Blue Ray Drive. These Disks are Write Once and then get stored as a snapshot of the core business data each day.

Under windows backup we use network shares and load a HDD in a removable draw (we have a string of them and use one each day). This is the data from the shared drives on the servers. Like the Library, Students, StaffData ( this includes the Core financial Date etc). We have about 1TB of data.

Finally under VMWare we use VDR to produce a deduplicated backup store of all of our servers. This allows us to restore a fully working server from the time of the backup. The data store is under 500GB and undeduplicated the data is about 24TB. It works well. We create new VDR Stores about every 2 to 3 months and delete the old ones every 6 months or so.

There is an issue of restoring a Domian Controller from a backup where you can't get it to work again with the other Domain Controllers. To get around this we would restore the Domain Controller with the FSMO roles and rebuild the other 3 Servers and promote them to DC's so they all work together. DC2 would need to have a backup of the DHCP exported form the old unworkable machine to be imported to the newly rebuilt DC as we have our leases spread over 2 DHCP servers running on 2 of our DC's

Probably more infomation than you need but this has worked well for us over the past 5 years or so. This simple 3 layered backup is simple and efficient to server our needs.

Hope this helps.
Peter
       

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Commented:
Thanks for all the great information!  As for the article it appears VMWare Data Recovery and Veeam Backup are to disk based.
Our VM environment will consist of Cisco UCS Blades and EMC VNX Storage.  Would you backup the data to the EMC given you are backing up the VMWare environment and the EMC is part of the EMC environment?  Is VEEAM dedup?
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Commented:
vDR and Veeam both support DeDupe.

Most VM backup technologies are disk based, Symantec can be to tape.

We would not backup to the same single point of failure that the VMs reside on!

If you lose you EMC, your backups are also gone!

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Commented:
That what I was thinking so do most people have two SANs?  You have one for storage and one to push backups to?  I'm gathering the disk space the backups go to will need to be big if you want to save a month of data to them.  i.e. if we backup 3 TB of data we'd need 4.5TB of disk space?

I will check out Veeam but just want to make sure I have my strategy right before I do.  Thanks again for all the answers!
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
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Commented:
Yes SANs or NAS.

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Commented:
Then for DR can you take those backups to tape i.e. with Symantec and be able to restore a file for example from tape or not because of dedup?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
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Commented:
You can archive to tape. But you need to use Veeam to Restore a file.

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