Is it possible to use a NAS as backup and as an ESXi Host?

I have a Lenovo thinkserver RD630 with 16 bays.
I was wondering if I could use it as a ESXi host as well as a backup storage to run my VEEAM back up and recovery on it?
This RD630 is a clean unit.
It has not been configured yet.
I was hoping I can use it as an ESXi host and as well use it to store backups from our network.

Our backup solution that we will be implementing is VEEAM backup and recovery and as well a DR replication offsite.

Let me know how and if it is possible to do.
Also, how would I go about to do this?

Thank you.
j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAsked:
Who is Participating?
 
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)Connect With a Mentor VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Is this physical or virtual ?

Create a new virtual disk, on the VM?

Add a new virtual disk to the VM, and select the datastore you want to use on the host.

Format the new disk in the OS, and create a folder and Share it.
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rindiCommented:
Using the same device for host and backup is one of the worst ideas possible. Backups MUST always be located on other hardware, if possible as far away as possible from the original data. If you can't have the backup at a different location, it should at least be on movable media (tape, HD's) which you could for example store offsite, for example in a bank vault, or an employees home.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, mount as an iSCSI or NFS datastore to the ESXi host, and use the datastore as a backup!
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Andrew,

So I can configure the RD630 as a host for ESXi, and the take the storage and convert it to a datastore and then do VEEAM backup unto it, correct?
We have an Dell PowerVault NX3200 that acts as our network datastore for VMs and for our 'shared folders and files'.  We then can use VEEAM to do network backups on the RD630.

Rindi, you have a different opinion.  Was it that you thought I was going to place my data and backups on the RD630?
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rindiCommented:
Yes, having both the backup and the live data on the same place is very bad.
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Rindi,

our data is on our NX3200.
The backup we want to put on our RD630.
The RD630 we want to use it as an ESXi host as well as a location for backup from our main NX3200 live data.
That is what I was referring to.

Andrew,
How many NIC ports do you recommend to separate traffic from acting as an ESXi host, and from acting as a backup datastore?  I was thinking four ports for traffic and four for backups.
I was also thinking of creating within it a smaller datastore to act as a datastore in case I need to migrate a couple of VMs from NX3200 to the RD630 so I can do maintenance on the NX3200 for a couple of hours.  Or would it best best to use one of my other hosts(which can house four drives) and turn that to a datastore for temporary housing for VMs that I do not wish to turn off while I do maintenance on the NX3200 for a couple of hours?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Your storage network, e.g. NFS or iSCSI should be a minimum of 2 network interfaces (depending upon whether 1GBe or 10GBe), and jumbo frames enabled.

What maintenance are you needing to do, that takes a few hours ?

You could do that....with VMs ?

do you have storage vMotion? to move the VMs live ?

and remember if can take a few hours, to move them off and back, depending upon how fast your storage is!
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
No, right now we do not have storage vMotion.
We plan on upgrading in the near future.
The VMs I need up and running is at least one DC and Exchange.

I just want to be pre-emptive in case an issue arises that the NAS has to be taken down for maintenance.
Last year, some components of the motherboard failed and I needed to take it down for several hours to get a replacement board and to reconfigure.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Okay, with no Storage vMotion, you would have to take down your VMs, and then COLD Migrate, and this would take hours, to move from

NAS A ---> NAS B

Do your two hours maintenance

NAS B --> NAS A

Your customers would have even more downtime, waiting for the migrations!
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Andrew, I understand.
Right now, our DC is 45GB and our Exchange is 100GB.
We plan on getting storage vMotion in the future.
I am asking for the future reference.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Okay, Storage vMotion would be better, but still takes time....(you don't normally worry) unless you are taking storage down!
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Hi Andrew, I am back on this project.
Was gone for a bit on other projects.
We are running VMware Standard.
We currently have 2 hosts running just the VMs.
I just installed an extra host that is the thinkserver rd530 with eight drives on it as a host machine.
I originally wanted to use therd630(has 16 bays) but I figure I use the rd530(has 8 bays).
I spoke to VMware so my other host could not see the new datastore on the rd530, they told me hosts can not see datastores on other local host machines. I spoke to Veeam and they told me that backups could only be on Windows or Linus or CIFS (SMB) share.
I do have still the rd630.
How can I use the RD530 to be my backup server for Veeam exactly.
I tried to create an NFS for the rd530 but uncertain how to do it.

What would be the process, the rd530 I would like it to be a host for my VMs, but I would like it to hold my backups from Veeam and another software that does backups.

Would it just be best to convert the RD630 into a NAS/SAN?
and convert the whole thing into a datastore?
Or parttion it to be half datastore and half backup server?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Correct, hosts cannot see local disks on another ESXi host, unless you use vSAN!

and Veeam are also correct, that Backups can be on a Windows Share.

Install ESXi on the  RD530, and then install a VM, with a large virtual disk, which uses all the storage on the datastore.

or you could install FreeNAS, OpenFiler, Windows Server, Nexenta on your server, and share the storage as NFS or CIFs.

What are you most comfortable with? Windows, then add NFS/CIFS to Windows.
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Andrew, so on my 530, i can create a VM machine(windows) and assign it the whole storage. That VM will run lically on the 530 machine? Then i can set Veeam to backup to the storage of that VM, correct? Can it be a windows 7 machine or should i use a windows 2012 machine?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
The virtual machine will run locally under a hypervisor, or you can install Windows on Bare Metal no hypervisor.

It could be Windows 7, both support Windows Share's and CIFS for Veeam Backups.
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Andrew,
I am unfamiliar with this.
I created a Win7 vm machine on a separate partition from the 530, which is mirror raid.
I went to manage computer to try to add the other partition but was unable to.
Am I suppor to convert that second partition of 2Tb as a datastore or not?
What is the process for my win7 vm machine to recognize the 2TB partition for backups?
I gave the win7 machine 4gb ram and 2 cpus?
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Andrew, I will try that now.
Quick question, on the partition (raid 1) I created the VM win7 machine on that partition.
Can I also create a virtual disk using the remaining space of it as another drive letter/partition to use as well?
I have a program that sends snapshots everyhour after 6Pm to an external hard drive for now.
I would like to remove that external drive(WD ip device).
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, you can create virtual disks, on any datastore (what you are calling a partition!)
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Ok, just created three partitions form my datastores.
Is ram 4gb and 2 CPUs enough just for backups?
Or can I reduce the CPU to 1 and/or increase or decrease the memory.
This windows & machine is only so My other VM servers(Veeam) can store the backups in it?
Then the other component of Veeam will replicate to our remote site.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I think 4GB is adequate for Windows 7, I would drop to a single vCPU.

If performance is poor, add another vCPU, and/or more RAM.
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Ok, thank you Andrew.
I will leave this post open for a week so I can test out and update you on the status for your records.

Thanks again.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
No problems...
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Andrew,

I have been using it for a few days and it works like a charm.
I am getting my backups from both systems unto my 530.
Now that I know it works, I can now do the same for the 630.

I plan on using it for UniDesk for the layering of apps and OSs.
As well as a separate repository for other storage since I can not run the VM machines against it as in with our original NAS.

I will use the 630 for file sharing strictly and the NAS for it's vm infrastructure.
Thanks a million for your help.

If you have any suggestions or comments do let me know before I close this case.

-JAG
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)Connect With a Mentor VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
No problems.

Increase vCPU or/add memory, if you have many clients accessing the filer share.
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
ok, thank you very much.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
no problems!
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Andrew, got updates for you.
Backups are taking place nice and smooth.
My IT junk files and ISOs I have been relocating them from our main NAS to the new shared folder.
All is running well.
So far no need to increase vCPU or memory.
The only time there was a lag was because during company time and staff was active I accidently did a transfer of 20 gigs of storage from main NAS to new share folder.
So I had to cancel it for later in the night.
It was only transferring about 2MB/s.
But since it is not that I always transfer that kind of data, no need for me to increase memory or vCPUs.
I will only do that if backup performance is an issue.

You have been a great help.
Thanks again.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
No problems.
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