At work, we have been running a virtualized server environment for about 5 years. Currently we have 8 ESXi 4.1 HP blade servers hosting about 165 guest VMs.
All our servers including our VMs are backed up using Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) which does an incremental backup every night to a disk pool and then is offloaded to a tape pool during the day.
We can use TSM to restore individual files inside a guest VM but we can’t easily (or at least have never tried) to restore an entire VM if it were to be lost.
A few months ago during a fresh installation of ESXi 4.0 (prior to the release of 4.1), I accidentally selected the wrong SCSI disk to install ESXi on and ended up nuking an entire VMFS datastore. Luckily it was only hosting about 25 virtual desktops and those were easily recreated. But it got me thinking about what would happen if we accidentally lost an entire VMFS datastore hosting server VMs, or even just lost one server VM for any reason.
Therefore I decided to look in to backing up the entire VM and not just the files inside it. I asked around andÂ unequivocallyÂ heard that the best solution was the Veeam Backup & Replication suite. My only experience so far with Veeam has been their FastSCP product and that was a nice piece of software, though I did not need to use it that much. I don’t think I even have it installed.
I plan to ask Veeam for a 16-socket trial license so I can get an idea of what backing up my entire environment will be like. I will use changed-block tracking to enable quick incremental backups after the large initial one.
My backup target will be an old EVA8000 array that we purchased and has about 15TB of FC and FATA disk. I only need about 6TB so I plan to carve out a large Vdisk and present it to a Windows Server 2008 Standard R2 64-bit HP blade server where I will install Veeam Backup & Replication. I will also assign the existing VMFS datastores to the Veeam Backup & Replication server in order to do LAN-free (SAN only) backups going from the VMFS datastores, through the backup server, to the destination Vdisk.
I am very excited about this and hope the license-purchase quote that I also asked for will not be prohibitively expensive. There are several local resellers as well as CDW that I could purchase it from, so I will have to shop around and see who can offer the best deal.
I think it’s great what Veeam has put together and I look forward to checking it out.