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Virtual Media Servers

Created: 01 Aug 2013 • Updated: 23 Aug 2013 | 5 comments
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Hi all,

We're potentially looking to replace our physical media servers, and I've been looking into whether it could be an option for us to virtualise our media servers on a VMware / Cisco UCS platform. Our NetBackup servers are all running Windows Server 2008 R2 and they all currently back up to Data Domain 880s over a 10Gb network.

I have had a look at the “Support for NetBackup 7.x in virtual environments” PDF and found that it is supported, but there are some limitations around storage units, VMware HA / VMotion and also a support disclaimer regarding unforeseen incompatibilities within the hypervisor environment.

Are any of you using virtualised media servers or have any experience of how reliable or problematic they may or may not be?

Operating Systems:

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Nate.D's picture

We briefly (3-4 months?) used a 7.5 media server on a esx 5.1.0 with 2008R2 and had no issues we needed temporary media server for a remote site for backups. I dont know if you are looking for much more than 'we did it, and it worked' but if you had any other questions about it, I would answer what I can!

If I was helpful in solving your issue please mark my post with a thumbs up or a solution!  Have a great day :)

Bmitche's picture

I use virtualised media servers for all of my virtual server backups. I have 1 virtual media server in every cluster in vSphere. For examle...if I have 3 clusters...Dev,test,prod. I would have 1 virtual media server in each cluster. I aso use HOTADD as a transport seems to be faster than NBD. When the virtual media servers are not backing up the VM's...they help out with the client agent backups.

I have 5 virtual media servers and 3 physical. The only reason I still have the physicals is for tape library connectivety.

Omar Villa's picture

Big load under the same pipe, this means if you will have all your media servers under the same ESX you are basically creating a bottleneck because your ESX haves a limited number of NIC's and HBA's that are also shared with your clients, Media Server are High I/O intensive and can easly put on it's knees any physical box with a lot of RAM and CPU, my recommendation is to measure your environment well if is something small where the clients dont demand much I/O I will say do it, but soonest it grows you will need to take the media servers out of the ESX because backups will start to impact production not only because they share the SAN and LAN but the RAM and CPU.

Hope this helps.


Omar Villa

Netbackup Expert

Twiter: @omarvillaNBU

Possible's picture

Its important to look at OS resources on ESX server which will be used by VM media servers.

Media servers are actual WORKHORSE for nbu environment ; if u have number clients in lower 

quantity for per media server u can go for that ; but if u have 100's of client triggering the backups at same

time it will definitlty create the problems Like error code 28,11 and many more. Consult with OS guys for better idea...!!!

Shaun Taylor's picture

Thanks for the feedback everyone. This definitely seems to be an option worth considering, so I'll look into virtualising one of our media servers as a test at some point in the future. As we would be using UCS we would be able to provision an adequate amount of resource even though our media servers are working fairly hard (particularly as we're using DSP with our Data Domains!).