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Veeam with Storage snapshot

Posted on 2015-02-04
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Last Modified: 2016-10-27
I want to understand about SAN snapshot technology:
With Veeam backup , I believe you can do the back up and let veeam use its own snapshot to back up a VM or if there is SAN snapshot technology , you can use Veeam just to recover a VM or a file from SAN.

Any Illustration on this will be a good help.

Thank you
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Question by:jskfan
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 500 total points
ID: 40588378
Correct, most if not all Backup Applications, use the "VMware Storage API", and use the VMware VM Snapshot to "backup" the VM, they do not really use a snapshot to backup the VM, they use the Snapshot, to take the read and write "locks" of the parent VMDK, so it can be copied!

The issue with this we all know, is the snapshot function, must "freeze" the VM, for several micro seconds to complete this function, and on slow datastores (e.g. SATA 7,200rpm), or heavy I/O VMs, e.g. SQL, Active Directory and Exchange, they can detect this pause, and the data in the databases can, and sometimes get's corrupted. (this has been the same issue since ESX v1.0).

More recently SAN technology, which has been around for 10 years or more, can SNAPSHOT the Volume, which contains the LUNs (datastores which are presented to Hosts, e.g. ESXi is one such host).

This is a very fast method of backup and restore, because the instructions are set to the SAN, to instruct the SAN to snapshot the volume at a particular time.

The SAN, makes a delta copy of the volume, so it records all the changes which have occurred since the last snapshot, making it very efficient. If the Snapshot is the first snapshot, it records all the data in the volume.

Your VMs are located on a VMFS datastore, on a LUN, in a volume, so they are recorded.

This SAN SNAPSHOT is being done at the storage layer, and can be done without the VM, even know it's occurring

see this whitepaper

http://www.veeam.com/wp-deep-dive-veeam-backup-with-netapp-storage-snapshots.html

and here is a nice Video from NetApp

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHfGKN0b9gU.
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by:jskfan
ID: 40599651
If I am not wrong the traditional Backup solutions (Netbackup,BackupExec,Comvault)also use Snapshots through Windows VSS. I believe they freeze Windows machine for a while. However the snapshot does not cause issues when backing up a cluster. I wonder how different Veeam Snapshot from traditional backup solution Snapshot ?
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 500 total points
ID: 40599664
depends what you mean by a traditionally backup, file and folders or Block Copy (e.g. vmdk!), e.g. inside or outside of the VM....

inside the VM, is old fashioned, like a physical server....

ALL VMware Snapshot's cause issues.... e.g. if a product is going to instruct the VMware VM to call a snapshot, take a snapshot, there is a possibility of failure, or being left on a snapshot. - it happens!

Every week, at least two clients, log a support call on a service desk with snapshot issue....

BIGGEST SUPPORT AND MOST COMMON ISSUE!

Netbackup,BackupExec,Comvault - ALL affected! exactly the same issue as Veeam, VDR, VDP and all the others' since the beginning of time ESX v1.0.

We dropped this in 2004, and moved to SAN Snapshots!

because of this issue, which is still with us today.....

Every week on EE, there is at least 1 question, I've been left with a snapshot, and I don't know why, or my VM is slow, or my datastore is full, my VM has stopped, my VM is corrupted....

because the EE Member, did not know that the backup application left the VM on a snapshot....

ALL those applications, are responsible, and Acronis, Nakivo...

as storage gets faster, SSDs. flash, caching, the problem may go away.....eventually...

BUT, VMs will still be aware, they've been stopped for a mirco second,...
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by:jskfan
ID: 40599688
When I said traditional backup solutions, I meant they are not like Veeam.
Veeam will backup only Virtual machines not physical machines. I believe the Snapshot it uses is different than the Snapshot that Netbackup will use to back up a physical machine.

I am not sure if Netbackup or Veritas will commit the Snapshot after finishing the backup, though they should.

First , let me see if I understand  how traditional software use Snapshots. I believe:
The backup software will create a temporary delta file(snapshot) for machine changes.
Then the backup software will start backing up the machine (excluding the delta file).
 after he machine has been backed up, then I wonder if the Delta file will be comitted to the machine (this way it will not be included in the backed up file)

Veeam backup process (I am not sure if it is the same) ?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 500 total points
ID: 40599708
First , let me see if I understand  how traditional software use Snapshots. I believe:
The backup software will create a temporary delta file(snapshot) for machine changes.
Then the backup software will start backing up the machine (excluding the delta file).
 after he machine has been backed up, then I wonder if the Delta file will be comitted to the machine (this way it will not be included in the backed up file)

Veeam backup process (I am not sure if it is the same) ?

the same.

Do not confuse the backup of a physical  server e.g. files and folders in the OS, that uses Shadow Copy. (not really a snapshot!).

Just to confuse you also Veeam are moving into Physical backups now....(that was announced Sept/October 20-14!)

http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240232271/Veeam-moves-into-physical-backup-with-free-Endpoint-Backup

Veeam does not do it's own Snapshots, it leverages VMware API, and now it can leveral your SAN API.

Your choice:-

1. VMware API (VMware Snapshot)
2. SAN API (SAN Snapshot)

that's it!
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by:jskfan
ID: 40599759
Thanks for the clarification Andrew.
If you can just clear up the Shadow copy , why they call Snapshot ?
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 500 total points
ID: 40599779
anything that does "point in time" often is referred to as a snapshot.

Snapshot has many definitions, e.g. also means a photograph, but it does not mean that when we talk about it in a VMware environment!
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by:jskfan
ID: 40609085
Thank you
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