Video Screencast Help

Backing up ESX4.0 guest VM's

Created: 04 Feb 2011 • Updated: 09 Feb 2011 | 11 comments
This issue has been solved. See solution.

I have been looking at our backups recently with the intention of improving performance and reducing the amount of time taken. I have noticed that the backups of virtual machines take much longer compared with the backups of physical hosts. As we are moving to a majority VMware server estate and several large servers are scheduled to be migrated, I need to improve this backup performance drastically.

Our current setup is:

ESX and vCenter 4.0
EMC CX3-10 SAN attached by fibre to the ESX hosts
Backup Exec 12.5
The backup server is not attached to the fibre network
VM’s are currently backed up using VCB within Backup Exec 12.5, with the backup server is acting as the proxy
I am using the NBD option.
Backups are to normally LT03 tape

I have run some simple test using both VCB and agent backups to disk backing up 2 different servers.

Server 1
The agent backup took 1hr 20 min for 108GB @ 1500MB/min
The VCB backup took 9hr 10min for 181.3GB @ 315MB/min

Server 2
The agent backup took 24min for 9GB @ 359MB/min
The VCB backup took 36min for 10.6GB @ 280MB/min

This is without encryption or validation.

The main questions I have about these results are:

Why is there such a huge difference between agent and vcb backups on server 1? I understand that VCB backups are always larger data and time wise, but this is surly excessive?

Why is there such a difference of throughput between the agent backups for server 1 compared with server 2?

I have been backing these servers up to the same disk that the VCB uses as a proxy, could this have caused the performance issues? Neither of these servers are production, so I don’t have any back up to tape logs to compare them with.

Lastly I have been led to believe that there will be a large performance increase if I use the SAN option with VCB as they will be backed up directly from the LUN. Is this just a case of attaching the backup server to the fibre network? Any possible pitfalls around using this option?

I understand that this i a complex setup with many possible 'issues' but i appriciate any help that i can get.

Cheers,

Morrow,

Comments 11 CommentsJump to latest comment

ZeRoC00L's picture

Lastly I have been led to believe that there will be a large performance increase if I use the SAN option with VCB as they will be backed up directly from the LUN. Is this just a case of attaching the backup server to the fibre network? Any possible pitfalls around using this option?

Yes, you need to attach the backup server to the FC network, and make the LUN's available to this server. Please take care that first you need to disable automount (automount disable, automount scrub) to prevent the Backup server from writing a signature on the LUN(s).

 

If this response answers your concern, please mark it as a "solution"

villeah's picture

Hi!

In our environment it takes about 1h 15 minutes to backup our fileserver with more than 500Gb of storage. Job rate is then more than 900Mb/Min. I have BE 2010 R2 with deduplication option. Media server is not in same fibre network, so I am taking backups over LAN. To speed up the backups I would upgrade BE and start using deduplication.

Morrow's picture

Hi,

Thanks for your reply.

Is that via and agent backup or through VCB?

ZeRoC00L's picture

Backup Exec 2010 does not use VCB anymore, it uses the Vmware Storage API.

See attached PDF for more info about the BE Vmware Agent.

AttachmentSize
Backup-Exec-2010-VMware-FAQ.pdf 385.42 KB

If this response answers your concern, please mark it as a "solution"

SOLUTION
villeah's picture

You only need agents for restoring individual items. I have installed agents on every server I'm backing up because VMware agent license makes it possible. Vmware backups have been improved after release of BE 2010 R2, so now I can actually recommend it to other users :) You need VMware hardware version 7 though to perform differential/incremental backups, so I don't have experience on that yet.

Colin Weaver's picture

In your situation would recomend connecting your media server to the SAN and upgarding to Backup Exec 2010 R2 (or depending on your timescale R3 when it is released as that will have a few other AVVI updates)

Morrow's picture

Forgive me for asking what i already know is a silly question.

But I am correct in thinking that the host machine should have no real effect on the performance of the VCB backups?

My understanding of VCB was that is takes a snapshot, backs up the VMDK as it was at that time, deletes the snapshot. So no contact with the host at all.

I have been toying with network configurations to try and improve performance and i am seeing better agent performance from one of our new servers. However more surprisingly i am no seeing much better VCB backups for that same server. Coincidence?

ZeRoC00L's picture

The new Backup exec Vmware Agent actually works the same as the older VCB method. Make a snapshot and backup de VMDK.

I realy suggest you to try this version with BE 2010 R2. If you have a valid support contract this version is available to you free of charge.

If this response answers your concern, please mark it as a "solution"

villeah's picture

Maybe it has something to do with disk I/O that could affect both.

Morrow's picture

Thanks to all who replied.

I am currently drawing up a plan to update to BE2010 and will be attaching the Backup server to the SAN via Fibre. I will post again in a few weeks once i have everything in place.

Morrow's picture

So.. when trying to upgrade to 2010 it seems i am unable to install SQL express. I get the error:

02-17-2011,17:17:33 : V-225-53: ERROR: Failed to install SQL Express BKUPEXEC instance with error 29543. ***To search for information about this error, click here
02-17-2011,17:17:33 : Please review C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Setup Bootstrap\LOG\Summary.txt for more details.
02-17-2011,17:17:34 : The return value for Microsoft SQL Express returned error code: 1603
 

...in the log files.

I have spoken to a guy who knows a bit more about SQL than i do and he says the version of Express is already more up to date than the version that the installation is trying to run.

Has anyone ever had this issue? Is there a way to run the installation without installing the SQL component?

Just thought i'd ask, if no one knows i'll start a new topic.