TechTip: Backing up VMware Environments Using NetBackup
One of the questions NetBackup customers ask is how to back up VMware environments using NetBackup. There are two ways to do this:
1) Install a NetBackup or PureDisk Client inside each virtual machine or on the ESX Service Console.
You might want to choose this option because the implementation is essentially the same as it is with physical machine backups. This method is clear-cut and simple to implement, and because there's no additional hardware required, system restores are quick and easy to do. The client inside the Service Console gives you backup and restore access to the VM files.
Although backup activity on one virtual machine may also affect the performance of other virtual machines hosted on the ESX Server, this is the best option for your environment if you would prefer to do the backup on the host without having to buy additional hardware.
2) Take advantage of VMware Consolidated Backup technology to offload backup processing from the ESX Server to a separate Backup Proxy server.
This method could be considered an "off-host" backup approach, because there is no NetBackup software installed inside the virtual machine. This option works better for some customers because they can perform either a single file restore or an entire VM restore. There is minimal backup impact on other VMs hosted on the same machine, and there's no need for you to install NetBackup software on the VM or inside the ESX Service Console. The only downside to this method is that it requires the purchase of additional hardware—a proxy server.
"One of the questions we get very often from customers is how do we size the proxy server accurately?" says Daniel, a Symantec support engineer who focuses on VMware. "How do we know how much hardware we need to throw at the proxy server for it to support an environment of our size? Since there are so many variables involved in doing this, we've created an Excel model to walk customers through the actual process of accurately sizing a proxy server for their particular implementation." If you choose this option for backing up your VMware environment, remember to ask your system engineer about this tool.
For further information about which backup method is best for your VMware environment, download our white paper called Veritas NetBackup™ 6.5 for VMware 3.x Best Practices. This white paper discusses both backup options and also gives a brief overview of sizing proxy servers.