Import a .ova file Versus using VEEAM BAckup and replication


I am preparing to move 1 Virtual Server (Citrix Server) from 1 ESXi Host to another ESXI host.  We do not have a SAN; hence, I cannot use VMotion.  We do have:

- VMware 5.1 Update 1
- VEEAM Backup Replication and Recovery in our environment.  After researching how to export/import an .ova file with the Experts help:  Another person suggested that I can use VEEAM Backup to move the VIrtual Server from 1 ESXi host to the other.

The plan would be to
        1.  Power off a Citrix2 server.
        2.  Then, initiate the restore in VEEAM for Citrix 2 to be restored on a different ESXi Host.
        3.  Then, to power on the restored Citrix2 Virtual Server, while it is on the new Host.
        4.  Then, to leave the original Citrix2 Server powered off and test the restored VM.
        5.  Then, eventually delete the original Citrix2 VM from the original ESXi host.

My questions are:

1.  What is the difference between moving a Virtual host via .ova file compared to using VEEAM?
        a.  Will both procedure work the same?
        b.  I have tested restore times with VEEAM; hence, I am a little more familiar with that process.

2.  Will the Citrix Farm and Citrix Servers work the same if I restore a Virtual Server to another host?
        a.  As compared to exporting/importing an .ova file or an ovf template.
        b.  I am learning more about Citrix; hence, that is why I am asking such elementary questions.
        c.  I just would like to ask before I proceed.
PkafkasNetwork EngineerAsked:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
If you have Veeam use it.

The VM will be the same either method but advantage of Veeam it checks if its a good backup.

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
The VM will behave the same after restore.
You may use VmWare Converter which is done for that, it will handle everything for you and you will be able to customize everything during the operation if you needed to change or adapt something (like use of more or less disk space / use thin provisionning ...)
PkafkasNetwork EngineerAuthor Commented:
Lets focus on the options of:

1.  Import/Export .ova file
2.  Using VEEAM Backup and Replication
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I've already stated - use VEEAM Backup and Replication

There is no error checking on Exporting an OVA!

You would need to be certain, of Exporting it (3) times, just in case it's exported incorrectly!
Use VmWare Converter cause its the proper & best way it's vmware !
but it's up to you man.
PkafkasNetwork EngineerAuthor Commented:

Here is my plan:

1.  I have a full backup from VEEAM last night.

2.  Make sure the host that I want to move the VM to has the appropriate drive space and resources to handle the Citrix 2 Virtual machine.
        a.  Hard Drive space - Check.
        b.  Logical Processors available - Check.
        c.  RAM available - Check.

3.  Begin a restore of Citrix2 to another host during the day.
        a.  But do not power on the restored Citrix2 VM.
        b.  Users may be logged to the Citrix2 VM.

4.  Plan a maintenance window, and test the functionality of Citrix2 before I do anything.
        a.  Run continuous pings on the Citrix2 IP Address and domain name.
        b.  Then turn off the original Citrix2 Virtual server, on host 3.
        c.  Then turn on the restored Citrix2 Virtual server, on host 2.
        d.  Then logon to the Citrix2 VM and begin testing out the remote connections to Citrix2.

5.  I hope that the restored Citrix2 VM will perform better on host 2 with some applications.
        a,  While at the same time not loosing any other Citrix or application functionality.
        b.  There is only one way to know for sure, and that is to try it.

6.  If there are any questions marks that come up, I can always power off the restored VM.
        a.  Then power on the original VM, from the original host.

Am I missing anything else to check?
PkafkasNetwork EngineerAuthor Commented:
To: Andrew Hancock,

I know that you already stated to use VEEAM; but, I did not want to close this ticket until I had a chance to ponder that choice.  Compared to doing a manual import/export with the .ova file or any other option.

It seems that the VEEAM option is the best and the easiest.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
If I had a Enterprise Backup and Restore product in place, such as Veeam Backup and Replication, I would not hesitate in using anything else.

You plan is sound, however, sometimes when you turn off a Server, Restore a Server, you may find, the trust relationship between the server and domain has failed.

This is nothing to worry about, just remove from domain and add to domain.

and this is because your Restore (is older than the current Server! because time has moved on).

The way to overcome this is

1. Shutdown Citrix2 VM
2. Backup
3. Restore
PkafkasNetwork EngineerAuthor Commented:

I will try it out and see how it works.  Worst case scenario I can turn off the restored VM and then power on the original.  I may need to un-join and then re-join the server to the domain again; but, we will see.

I just hope that no Citrix functionality is missing.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
It's also a good test, for your Restore!

Have you never tested Backup and Restore ?
PkafkasNetwork EngineerAuthor Commented:
Hello Andrew Hancock:

1.  I have done a restore (with VEEAM); but I have never powered it on.
        a.  I did not want to disrupt a Server in production to test a restore time.

2.  Good call suggesting the possibility to un-join and then re-join the Domain.
        a.  I wanted to verify the documentation for the local 'administrator' user account, on Citrix2, just in case I needed to use it.
        b.  I discovered that the documentation was inaccurate; hence, I changed the local administrator account's password and then manually ran a full back up of that Citrix2 server.

3.  Veaam Support told me that they have only seen VM's required to un-join the Domain and then to re-join the Domain when the restored VM was a Domain Controller or an Exchange server.
        a.  Equally important they only saw that happen with VEEAM version 6.5 .
        b.  We have VEEAM version 7.0; but, its good to know about the risks before we proceed.

I plan to conduct this restore at a very late time in the evening when no other users are logged on.

And then see if the performance increases if the Citrix 2 server is operating from a different host.
PkafkasNetwork EngineerAuthor Commented:
Everything appears to be working just fine after the restore, to Host #2.  The application is performing faster as well, as compared when it was on Host #3.

Equally important the Citrix 3 Server is still perfoming slower in that same application as it did before.  Now Citrix 1 and Citrix 2 are performing better.  Citrix 3 will be the odd ball.

I think this case is closed; but, I want to see if any users have any problems during the work day.  I was abel to do everythign that I needed at 12:30 am this morning.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Very Good, I'm glad all has gone well.
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