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be2012 - mixing "agent" and "Vmware" backups? Need basic guidance ...

Created: 11 Sep 2012 | 4 comments

Hi -

we have used BE for years - and just now upgraded to 2012. Yes, the interface is going to take some getting used to, but the upgrade actually went pretty well. We have purchased the license that allows us to backup our 5-host vSphere cluster - but we want to go slow while we figure things out.

The first step is tonight we are going to let the migrated jobs run, to confirm that all is working.

Then, I'd like to install the agents on the esxi5 hosts (I guess - pointing at vcenter?) so that I can begin learning how this process works.


1)can I select to backup only one vm, as a test, from amongst all of the vms managed on the cluster by vcenter? Or is it an all or nothing kind of thing?

2)Can I backup a vm "as a vm" while at the same time backing it up the old agent-based way?

Comments 4 CommentsJump to latest comment

Colin Weaver's picture

1) Yes

2) Yes but it would be separate jobs and also if GRT works correctly you won't need to. Note there are some exceptions to the GRT comment if SQL is running inside the VM and requires transaction log truncation

TedH256's picture

Thank you Colin -

so it sounds like I can "play with" the agent for vmware to figure it out, while I keep doing what we have been doing in the meantime. Excellent.

Your comment raises another couple questions that I have been wondering about. Hopefully I'll have a chance tomorrow to start trying stuff out, but ...

1)if a VM does have exchange or sql - how do we get consistent backups of the dbs? I know that vmware tools can "quiesce" but it does not do log management (at least not yet) so ... can I have the new "agent for databases" (or whatever it is called now) installed in the vm at the same time as I am doing a "VM" backup using the vmware agent?

I don't know why but this whole idea confuses me - do I use the agent in the vm ever? If so, how does the backup engine know whether/when to back up the vm "as a vm" from the vmware agent, and how/when to do log management like in the classic exchange/sql agents??


2)What is BE2012 V-Ray version? Is this just a marketing term for BE 2012 with the purchased "agent for vmware/hpyer-v" or --- is it really a seperate product? I can't make heads or tails out of this from the web ...

Thank you!

VJware's picture

V-Ray edition is a licensing bundle for the BE software bundled with the virtualization agents and so on...

Ideally, ir-respective of whether the VM is running an app/db or not, BE backs it up using the virtual agent itself...However, when you require app GRT, that's when a remote agent for windows is installed in the VM itself...

Colin Weaver's picture

The VMware backup process perform a VSS request agaisnt teh applications inside teh VM to get a consistemt state.

There is however a difference between Exchange and SQL. Exchnage will truncate the logs as part of this Snapshot, SQL will not.

Hence for Exchnage you can just it up with the VMware Agamnet and GRT enabled and it will allow individual e-mail restore and truncate the logs.

With SQL however the logs are not truncated due to Microsoft Limitations so you have to be a bit more inventive with your configuration. Especially as the Vmware backup counts as a Backup by the VMware API and not Backup Exec meaning you have to run a full SQL backup with BE before you can run the Log backups.

SQL options in a VM are are therefore

1) Set the SQL Instance to "Simple" so that log truncation is not needed

2) Configured a sequence of VMware backups once a week, immediately followed by a Full SQL backup using RAWS, then do as many Log and Full backups (using RAWS) as you like before starting the sequence again with a new VMware backup

3) Set the VMware backups to be copy backups. I have not tested this, however this might then allow you to run Log backups after VMware backups,  (as long as you do still periodicailly run a Full SQL backup so that you don't have a massive chain of log backups) To set VMware backups to copy please review Warning: If SQL and Exchange are on the same server this will affect Exchange VMware backups as well if you change this setting.