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Recommended approach to VM backups

Created: 22 Feb 2013 | 7 comments

Hi,

Having now moved to BE 2012 VRay I'm just wondering what the recommended approach to VM backups is?

We have around 15 running VMs across 3 ESX hosts (with vCenter) plus another 8 powered-off VMs which we use occasionally.  Total backup size of these VMs in BE 12.5 (ie data level backup) was around 3.5TB.  Haven't run any backups in 2012 yet - just building up my jobs to run tonight.

We used to do Full Friday backup then Incrementals Mon-Thu, both B2D then Duped to Tape.

Should I continue doing Full Fridays then Incremental daily backups of ESX, or will that cause issues with restoring - should I only do full ESX backups? 

Does this / how does this affect dead-server restore to an alternate VMware system only used for DR purposes?

Thanks,

Peter

Operating Systems:

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OP's picture

Do you want to stay with "classical" agent based backups or switch to "virtual aware" backups (former avvi)?

I would prefer differential over incremental.

Olaf

 

howartp's picture

Hi Olaf,

We bought the VRay edition so that we can backup everything via VMware, rather than the classic agent-based data-level backups.

Whilst differential would be easier for restoring, differential takes longer than incremental - almost as long as a Full backup by Thursday - and it takes more room up on disk and tape.

Peter

OP's picture

Hi Peter,

sure - the decision about the strategy to be used depends on your servers, data and equipment.

What works for us and our customers:

So far we're using avvi/v-ray based backup with grt for all windows-based fileservers, but we've had some issues with exchange 2010 and sql-servers - we switched them back to agent-based backup.
I'm not sure, if the issues are just a configuration problem or a typical BE2012 problem like discussed in several posts in the forum.

Due to "I do not want to spend more time in these problems" I've chosen the "easy" way with the agent-based backup.

Do you have any more specific questions regarding the configuration?

Regards

Olaf

howartp's picture

Thanks Olaf.

If I've understood you correctly, you run a Full VRay GRT backup sometime (say Friday) then you run Differentials the rest of the week.

Ignoring Exchange and SQL for the moment, does this restore ok if I want to recover an entire windows VM into a VM image that I can use on a seperate VM system for disaster recovery? Is BE 2012 able to reconstruct the Full and Differential VM backups into a single up-to-date working VM image?

I'll also run Exchange and SQL as agent-based for a while until I've tested the rest, just in case.

Peter

OP's picture

Hi Peter,

I can positivly confirm that the vm restore from a diff+full backup worked perfectly.

Just tested a windows server vm.

Regards

Olaf

howartp's picture

Thanks Olaf.

Our first full backup on Friday evening failed, but I think I've discovered the electricians turned off the mains which powers my switching infrastructure - so although the backup server and VM infrastructure remained on, the network connectivity between them went off, which doesn't help....

Peter

OP's picture

Hi Peter,

correct - that's the way our backup is running.

I'm pretty sure that I've tested exactly that point to recover a vm from diff/full-backup, but I didn't write down the results. But as we are still using that kind of backup strategy, it should work.

But to be sure, I'm going to do a restore of an diff/full backup up vm.

I'll let you know the results.

Olaf