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Backup Exec

Ignorance is NOT bliss

Created: 19 Sep 2012 • Updated: 28 May 2014 • 1 comment
Drew Meyer's picture
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We just did some data analysis and realized that 80% of our users with virtual environments are missing the boat. What? How can this be? What trick are 4 out of 5 Backup Exec users missing?

Honestly, I had to have Aidan Finley explain it to me. But once he did, it's a no-brainer and we're publishing some stupid-simple pictures for this next month.

If you have a VMware or Hyper-V environment, you shuould be using TWO things for the best possible perforemance and granluar recovery:

1. The Agent for Hypervisors. It works in both VMware and Microsoft environments and integrates with the hypervisor to provide backups. This means you can simultaneouly reduce load on your hypervisors and recover an entire virtual machine or virtual disk from any of the VMs on that host.

2. The Agent for Applications and Databases. Installed in each application guest, it gives you granular restoration powers for that application (Exchange, SQL, SharePoint, and Active Directory).  It doesn't actually do the backup, but it works with the hypervisor to ensure both the application is protected and that all the housekeeping – like log truncation – these applications require.

Using both of these Agents – the Agent for Hypervisors and the Agent for Applications and Databases – gives you the best of all worlds; you get host-level protection, which reduces load on your hypervisor processors, disk, and memory, and gives you recovery from the entire virtual machine down to an individual file, Exchange Email, SharePoint document, or Active Directory object. 

So simple, yet so commonly missed...

@backupexecdrew

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Aidan Finley's picture

One of our customers posted this in response to Drew's posting above.  I'll paste the question here in total because I'm sure that he's not the only one with questions:

Great article.  This is actually the method that I have been using, but I was trying to get away from the double backups.  My concern is why are the double backups required?  The only reason why I was doing this method is because the vm backups were not reliable 100% of the time.  I thought to introduce the double backup to ensure I have all the data I need while I tried to resolve the issue.  Am I wasting my time?  Should I just leave the application agent installed on my vms and do those type jobs?  Any feedback would be welcome.

Double backups are absolutely not required or recommended.

With host-level protection, you're not actually doing multiple backups to protect virtual machines.  If you set up your Backup Exec installation in the way Drew outlines above - with the Agent for VMware and Hyper-V activated on your media server, and the Agent for Applications and Databases installed in the virtualized application server - all you need to do is select the hypervisor in your backup job, and all the virtual guests running on that hypervisor will be protected. 

When you set it up like above, the host/hypervisor is actually in charge of "doing" the backup.  The Agent in the guest is there for necessary preparation and cleanup work - making sure the application is quesced, ensuring logs are truncated when the backup completes, etc. Having an agent in the guest also allows you to restore data - like a folder or file, or even an application item like an Exchange email - directly back into that virtual guest.

Of course, if you are having problems with the host-level backup configiuration, then you could indeed use the agent in the guest to actually do the backups - that is, treat the virtual guest like you would any other physical machine.

Hopefully this helps clear it up a bit - if not, let us know, and we'll get it straight!

Aidan

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