Posts Tagged ‘Virtual Backup’

Veeam Backup vs PHDvirtual Backup part 3- Handling disaster recovery

After a rather successful part 2 of this series, it is high time to kick off part 3, which covers Replication and Disaster Recovery (DR). Most important to note, that backup and DR are two completely different things, and one should not be tempted to combine both unless you are positive your solution will cover all business requirements for both DR and backup.

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Veeam Backup vs PHDvirtual Backup part 2- Performing Backup and Restores

In part 1 of this series, I looked at two solutions for making virtual backups: Veeam and PHDvirtual. In this part, I’ll be looking at installing, making backups, verifying backups and of course restoring items.

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Veeam Backup vs PHDvirtual Backup part 1- Introduction

For a long time I have been a fan of PHDvirtual (formerly esXpress) and their way of backing up virtual environments. Their lack of ESXi support has driven a lot of people towards other vendors, and the one that is really on technology’s edge nowadays is Veeam’s Backup and Replication. Now that PHDvirtual has released their version 5.1 with ESXi support, it is high time for a shootout between the two.

Some history on drawing virtual backups

In the old ESX 3.0 and ESX 3.5 days, there was hardly any integration with 3rd party backup products. Read the rest of this entry »

Veeam Backup part 3- Final fiddling on target storage

Just when I thought I had done a pretty complete tuneup on the storage path from Veeam backup to an Iomega IX2-200 NAS, two things came up I wanted to test. The first one (why didn’t I think of that) is to set compression to “low”, saving CPU cycles and hopefully getting more throughput. The second one was starting a second job on the same Veeam VM to the same target storage.

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Veeam Backup part 1- Optimizing IX2-200 backup speeds

Thanks to Veeam’s Happy Holidays gift, I now have a license for several Veeam products. The one I really wanted to try in my home lab was Veeam Backup and Replication.

In this blogpost, I will try various ways to connect the Veeam appliance to my Iomega IX2-200 NAS box. This setup is very tiny indeed, but it clearly shows the options you have and how they perform compared to each other. Read the rest of this entry »

PHD Virtual Backup 5.1er – First Impressions

Today I got my hands on the new PHD Virtual Backup Appliance – version 5.1-ER. Following in the footsteps of its XenServer brother, this new version uses a single VBA (versus the previous versions where multiple VBA’s were used). Best of all: ESXi support at last!

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PHD Virtual Backup software with XenServer support: One down, ESXi to go

PHD Virtual, creators of the backup product for VMware environments formerly known as esXpress, have introduced a new version of their PHD Virtual Backup software with support for Citrix XenServer.

The PHD Virtual Backup product is the first “virtual only” backup product with full support for Xen based virtualization I know of. But then again, I am no XenServer expert. For me, this is not too important at the moment, because I’m still very focussed on VMware only. But it is a major step for PHD Virtual; a lot of vendors are roadmapping support for all leading virtualization platforms, but today PHD Virtual actually delivers!

Keep going guys! The backup solution they have on the market right now for VMware is simply brilliant, especially in its robustness and its almost famous “install and forget” ability. I actually installed the product at several customer sites, and it started backing up. Fully automated, no headaches. No one ever bothered again. New VMs are automatically added to the list to backup if configured to do so. Simply brilliant. In many ways VMware has been looking closely as to how esXpress has been doing backups. Prove of this is VMware’s Data Recovery, which basically is a poor copy of esXpress in its way of working.

Some other vendors have been shouting about this great “hotadd feature” they now support. People tend to forget that esXpress has used similar technology for several YEARS now! Because hotadd did not exist then, they were forced to use “coldadd” , meaning their Virtual Backup Appliances (VBAs) needed to be powered down between backups (to clarify: NOT the VMs to be backed up).

Whether you use hot- or cold-add, backup speeds are great in any case. But cold-add has a drawback: The VM performing backups has to be powered up and down, reconfigured etc. That takes time. Especially now that Changed Block Tracking (CBT) is used by most vendors, a backup can take as little as 20 seconds if not too many blocks have changed within the virtual disk to backup. And this is where “cold-add” start to hurt: Reconfigure, power up and down of the VBAs for every virtual disk to backup easily takes a 3-5 minutes to complete.

PHD Virtual has been working hard on a version which is compatible with ESXi. Especially now that VMware is pushing even more towards ESXi, this is more important than ever. I hope to see a beta version soon of the ESXi compatible product; I cannot wait to test 🙂 . This will also solve the “cold-add” overhead, because I’ve been told this version will use a single VBA per ESX node which hotadds multiple disks in parallel and then performs the backup also in parallel. Very exciting: Hopefully we’ll see both backup efficiency and robustness like never before. Add replication in the mix (which is a part of the product by default) and you have a superb solution at a relatively low cost.

PHD Virtual Backup with XenServer support link:

vSphere 4.1 and virtual disk names

I just spotted something that had not occurred to me yet… A small new detail in vSphere 4.1 (or I just missed out on it previously)… VMware has had this “problem” for a long time: If you added a second virtual disk to a virtual machine on a datastore different from the location of the first virtual disk, vSphere used to name that new virtual disk the same as the base disk. Well not any more!

I noticed in vSphere 4.1 that this is no longer true. A second disk created on a separate datastore gets its name from the virtual machine (like it used to be), but with a trailing “_1” in the filename.

For a long time backup vendors have been battling with this “issue” because the backup software ended up with two virtual disks that were both named the same… In a lot of environments that meant manual renaming and remounting second and third disks to VMs in order to get proper backups without having to guess which disk goes where.

Amazing that these things all of a sudden get fixed now that VMware has its own backup solution 😉

PHDVirtual releases Virtual Backup 4.0-4 with vSphere 4.1 support

PHDVirtual has released an updated version of their famous Virtual Backup solution (formerly esXpress). This version fully supports VMware vSphere 4.1, and is one of the first (if not THE first) of the 3rd party “high tech virtual backup only” to support vSphere 4.1

I was very quick into upgrading my test environment to vSphere 4.1 (right after the general release), breaking the PHDvirtual backup in the process. For days the environment failed to backup, because vSphere 4.1 introduced a snapshot issue with esXpress. PHDvirtual worked hard to get vSphere 4.1 supported, and on 9/17/2010 they released version 4.0-4 which did just that.

So I upgraded my test environment to PHDvirtual 4.0-4. Right after the upgrade I forced a reinstall on the ESX nodes to 4.0-4 from the 4.0-4 GUI appliance, and I kicked of an initial backup by renaming a VM from the VI client to include [xPHDD] in the VM name. PHDvirtual Backup picked it up, renamed the VM back and commenced performing the backup. It just worked straight away. Even CBT was still functional, and my first Windows VM backed up again with only 2.2[GB] in changed blocks. Awesome!

From the initial tests it shows that both speed and stability are just fine, not very different from the previous release. Still fast and definitely rock solid. Highly recommended!

Soon to come
  • Coming soon

    • Determining Linked Clone overhead
    • Designing the Future part1: Server-Storage fusion
    • Whiteboxing part 4: Networking your homelab
    • Deduplication: Great or greatly overrated?
    • Roads and routes
    • Stretching a VMware cluster and "sidedness"
    • Stretching VMware clusters - what noone tells you
    • VMware vSAN: What is it?
    • VMware snapshots explained
    • Whiteboxing part 3b: Using Nexenta for your homelab
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