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Netting Out NetBackup

Nuts and Bolts in NetBackup for VMware: NetBackup 5220 and SLES based backup hosts

Created: 13 Aug 2012 • Updated: 22 Jan 2013 • 12 comments
AbdulRasheed's picture
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  NetBackup for VMware was born on August 2007 to help enterprises protect virtualized workloads. Its granular recovery capability still remains unique in the industry in implementation, performance and efficiency. We saw vStorage integration, universal backup host for Windows VMs and Linux VMs, Automatic protection using VMware Intelligent Policies, Application Granular recovery and so on. What amazes me is how fast NetBackup engineering delivers the next coolest thing just in time for newer business needs.

  Until NetBackup 7.5.0.1, VMware vStorage APIs for Data Protection (VADP) integration required customers to deploy a Windows based backup host. The business reasoning behind that approach was the following.

  • In the beginning, VMware focused primarily on Windows platform for VADP development
  • Most enterprises were primarily virtualizing Tier 3 Windows based workloads

Fast-forward 5 years; the new wave is in virtualizing business critical workloads. With that came new requirements. Windows based backup host for VADP has a few challenges.

  • If Windows finds a new disk on SAN, it will prompt the administrator whether it should go ahead and initialize the disk for its use. VADP SAN transport presents VMware vSphere datastore LUNs as new devices to the backup host and hence the administrator needs to be careful not to overwrite those LUNs. Of course, we can remediate this by setting the proper SAN policy on Windows.
  • Licensing and maintenance cost may be a challenge. This situation is customer dependent. Most VMware customers have free access to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for VMware. Why would I need to buy and maintain another host/OS to accommodate VADP?

Behold the new capabilities in NetBackup for VMware vSphere!

  • Direct vSphere Backup capability in NetBackup 5220: With appliance software version 2.5, your NetBackup 5220 is a VMware Ready certified backup appliance with full VADP support! No need for any Windows based backup hosts!
  • NetBackup for VMware Backup host on SuSE Linux Enterprise Server: With NetBackup 7.5.0.3, your SuSE Linux Enterprise Server can be a VMware Backup host with full VADP support. You may be able to make use of your VMware vSphere investment and obtain the operating system and maintenance from VMware for free!   

With these solutions, you bring down the cost of backups while also kissing good-bye to Windows disk initialization nightmares at night.

NetBackup for VMware is the only product in the market that provides all capabilities of VADP (including SAN transport) using a Linux based backup host. Let me explain why.

Once hypervisor level snapshot is taken, the vendors typically do one of the following to provide granular recovery capability.

  • Backup the VMDK first, index the content afterwards by mounting the VMDK using VADP Mount APIs. This is a two phase backup underneath the cover.
  • Some ad-hoc backup vendors mount using VADP Mount API and discover files during the restore time. This is an operationally challenging restore process for enterprises and it affects RTO.

The common element here is VADP Mount APIs. For mount API to work, the backup host needs to be aware of the file system. To protect NTFS (with ACLs and all other file system specific attributes) you need a Windows based backup host. To protect ext3/ext4 etc, you need Linux based backup host. Well you get the idea.

In NetBackup, Symantec V-Ray eliminates this limitation. NetBackup never mounts the VMDKs anywhere. It is reading at the raw disk read performance while enabling granular recovery using a time tested mapping technology known as Veritas Mapping Services (VxMS). That is why NetBackup Appliance and SLES based NetBackup backup host can even support SAN transport in VADP!

Back to Nuts and bolts in NetBackup for VMware series

 

 

Comments 12 CommentsJump to latest comment

captain jack sparrow's picture

Hi Abdul

Reading your blog is a must i say. Thanx for another insight of NBU & VMWARE.

now my customers can get sigh of relief (backup host  Windows Only (now not only windows but also SLES hurrey !!!!

 

Cheers to NBU team for this

 Cheers !!!

CJS

 

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captain jack sparrow's picture

Abdul do we have RHEL also under roadmap for backuphost support.Also does this SLES support applies to non appliance environment also.

 

 Cheers !!!

CJS

 

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AbdulRasheed's picture

Hi, (so sorry, I feel it may not be approriate to addess you with a name that has 'freak' in it!)

   Unfortunately, I am not allowed to disclose road map items through social media. It is against Symantec's social media policy. Sorry for the incovenience. 

   However, it will be great if you could post RHEL VMware backup host as an idea at https://www-secure.symantec.com/connect/backup-and-recovery/ideas so that community members can vote. It will help us prioratize the proliferation if there is huge demand. We picked SLES as the first platform for the reasons mentioned in the blog above. 

   Yes, SLES support is applicable for non-appliance environments as well. We support SLES on physical systems as well as on VMs. 

 

Warm regards,

Abdul "Rasheed" Rasheed

Tweet me @AbdulRasheed127

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captain jack sparrow's picture

You can name me SF (one of Symantec stack)... Thanx for highlight . i'll create idea on connect

 

 Cheers !!!

CJS

 

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captain jack sparrow's picture

Hi Abdul,

I was looking for updated documents with SLES support and any pre-reqs associated with it. (unlike we have for Windows based era). Could you shed some light on this. 

 

 

 

 Cheers !!!

CJS

 

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AbdulRasheed's picture

Hi Captain! 

  No special configuration is required in most cases. All that you do is to add the FC adapters World Wide Names to SAN such that it can see the datastore LUNs. Use your favorite device scanning tool (or just do cat /dev/scsi/scsi) to make sure that your SLES media server can see datastore LUNs. 

  You may need to adjust max_scsi_luns if you have large number of datastore LUNs. I believe (don't quote me on this) the default number of maximum scsi LUNs for SLES is now 512. This is enough in many cases. 

 

Warm regards,

Abdul "Rasheed" Rasheed

Tweet me @AbdulRasheed127

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Symctec's picture

Hello Abdul,

From your post I understand that NetBackup doesnt need to mount the VMDK on any host in case performing a granular recovery(it used VxMS), so now if for any reason my windows based backup host is unavailable, can I restore using a media server of differnt OS flavor(e.g Solaris) from the backup tape?

Thanks...

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AbdulRasheed's picture

Hi Symctec, 

  Of course! This is the beauty of NetBackup for VMware. During the backup, we are not only reading the content at raw read performance but VxMS also catalogs the content inline. Once the backup is finished, the granular recovery process is identical to any other file level recovery. Thus you get a bunch of features that competitors cannot match. 

  1. Since there is no Mount API involvement, you can even perform recovery from tape backups. Other vendors would require you to stage it to a temporary disk for granualr recovery

  2. Your recovery is not tied to a specific Windows/Linux backup host. Any NetBackup client or media server can do the restore (unless site specific policies are in place to prevent it for security reasons; NetBackup is known for its flexible bells and whistles!) 

  3. The ability to AIR (automatic image replication) to other NetBackup sites and recover from there. 

 

Warm regards,

Abdul "Rasheed" Rasheed

Tweet me @AbdulRasheed127

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StefanosM's picture

Hello Abdul.

Do you know:

When netbackup will support granular recovery of a VM when it is using VxFX?

And when symantec will support application state capture for Enterprise vault?

Both are symantec products.... They should have these capabilities... yesterday.

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AbdulRasheed's picture

Hi Stefanos,

  Unfortunately, I am unable to comment on road map items on public forums. It is against Symantec's social media policy. Do you mind submitting these as ideas in our ideas portal for members to vote?

 

 

Warm regards,

Abdul "Rasheed" Rasheed

Tweet me @AbdulRasheed127

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StefanosM's picture

I will do that imidielty.

Thanks

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bazeemuddin's picture

Hello Abdul,

Thanks for the article.

Our situation:
In the implementation of Symantec Netbackup in 2 sites ( less than 1KM)

We are running into issues with in the Virtualization - VMWARE - Backups of VMs
I have many LUNS presented to the VMWARE production

Using the Windows host:
As per the Symantec tech support, we have to present those LUNS to the Media Server - which is very risky even if the set the Group Policy for SAN LUNS as recommended by Ahmed Atef Khalil
http://www.symantec.com/connect/articles/netbackup...

Now I read your post, that we can have SLES do the same job avoiding the risks.

I need more information/Documentation about using SLES that I can share it with our teams and that can be used safely.

Please can you provide the links or the documents that are officially supported using SLES.

Thanks
Basheer A. Ahmed