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Block Level Incremental Backup with Netbackup and vSphere 4

Created: 06 Nov 2012 • Updated: 06 Jan 2013 | 5 comments
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I have a question about enabling BLI (BLIB) on a NBU vmware Policy and was wondering if anyone can share any experience or tips.

I've been researching the benefits of performing a BLI (BLIB) backup on a virtual machine and it seems that enabling BLI (BLIB) backup will greatly reduce the amount of time that a full backup typically takes on a nightly basis and reduce amount of data backed up.  However, are there any risks or penalities that you pay during the restore when using BLI (BLIB)?  I've read through these articles:

but haven't read much on disadvantages to using BLI  or restore penalities?

A little more background:  We have a virtual machine that is a windows file server running windows 2008 (NTFS) with 1.8TB of used space.  We have the opportunity now to perform a vmware snapshot backup however performing this size of backups 5x a week seems to be a lot of data to push thru not only the vmware backup host and media server but also to store on tape each night. BLI seems to be a good fit for this scenario however I want to ensure I understand the effects before placing it into production.

Thank you.

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Jevon's picture

We use this for our VMWare environment.

You have the same disadvantages as any normal incremental backup.

As far as I know, VMWare tracks what block and file (of supported FS) changes are made as part of vStorage. NBU then simply backs that up.  There doesn't seem to be any performance impact at all for this.

The only disadvantage I can think of is you cannot create synthetic backups without a lot of scripting and resources.  This is offset by the benefits of being able to perform snapshot backups so quickly and easily.

I have been able to restore individual files from an incremental without the full backup.  I was impressed with that.

Stuart Green's picture

Why not test the restore? Assuming you have the storage space free and resources.

The greatest thing with virtualization is you can restore to a different virtual machine. During the restore wizard give the destination VM a different name.

Choose not to start the network on this VM. Have a local account on the box and log on to check it out through the console in vsphere client.

Or create a test VM with smaller disks and perform a restore under similar backup policy definitions. After a number of deliberate data changes.

Always worth thinking in the virtual space now you dont need physical tin.

Tip: Get overview/document your NBU environment. Run 'nbsu' and review the output.

• If this provides help, please vote or mark appropriate solution.

new2nbu's picture

Yes, I've actually kicked off a restore into our lab environment of the entire vm to test exactly that.. The process and the stability of the restore.  After the restore, I plan on doing some additional testing to simulate change rate and then simulate subsequent backups/restores in our lab environment.  Thanks.