Veeam Intelligent Data Management for Huawei OceanStor

Source: Veeam

Veeam and Huawei recently released new, integrated storage snapshot and orchestration capabilities for customers using Veeam and Huawei OceanStor storage. This new Veeam Plug-in is based on the Veeam Universal Storage API and allows Veeam solutions to deliver higher levels of backup and recovery efficiency when paired with the Huawei OceanStor storage infrastructure.

The constant flow and management of data is taxing today’s organizations to their limit. Data has become hyper-critical to business, but IT organizations struggle to cope with their data’s hyper-growth and hyper-sprawl while protecting against data loss threats, ransomware, service outages and human error — all of which result in loss of business, productivity and reputation.

To address these new business and technical requirements, Veeam partnered with Huawei and other leading storage providers to deliver integrated data protection and storage solutions. OceanStor customers can now leverage Veeam storage integration for VMware environments, bringing new levels of Intelligent Data Management to their data center for better RTPO (recovery time and point objectives).

Faster, efficient backup for Huawei OceanStor

Backup operations strain production storage environments, resulting in lower performance. New Veeam-Huawei integration brings agentless Veeam Backup from Storage Snapshots capabilities to OceanStor storage, increasing Veeam backup speed by 2x, and up to 10x faster compared to competing backup solutions.

Veeam’s usage of VMware Change Block Tracking while reading data from storage snapshots minimizes the performance impact on production VMs during backup. As a result, the VMware snapshot lifetime is lowered to minutes instead of hours — which is often the case when using VMware-based backups without storage snapshots.

During standard Veeam backup procedures, Veeam uses parallel disk backup to reduce the time window, but the VMware VM snapshot may be open for some time as would be expected. This leads to higher IO at the time of the VMware VM snapshot, and could cause a possible performance impact on the VM.

The new integration allows Veeam to create Huawei snapshots in the background directly after the VM snapshot creation. The result is nearly instantaneous. In the example below, the VMware VM snapshot is open only until the storage snapshot was created, lowering the time required for the VMware snapshot to be open.

While certain variables can come into play and affect performance, this level of performance will not be uncommon for Huawei OceanStor customers using Veeam Availability storage snapshot integration.

Orchestrate your Huawei OceanStor storage snapshots

Veeam integration with OceanStor also includes orchestration capabilities that reduce backup management complexity and increase efficiency. The new Veeam Plug-in can orchestrate application-consistent storage snapshots without the need of any agent installed within the VMs.

In most IT organizations, backups are ideally scheduled during off hours, when they will not affect performance. However, the realities of today’s business demands on IT infrastructures make this approach obsolete. In today’s world, “off hours” don’t exist anymore. Constant use of available compute and infrastructure resources is key to better return on investment, so low usage windows are harder to find. More importantly, backups need to be taken more often to protect against data loss. Where one backup a night was acceptable in the past, the continuous creation of recovery points to meet higher recovery point objectives is now the common service level demand.

Veeam snapshot orchestration helps you address this need with a mix of frequent crash-consistent and application-consistent snapshots.

Unlimited recovery options from storage snapshot

With Veeam Explorer for Storage Snapshots, you can use either Veeam orchestrated, or any other existing Huawei storage snapshot, to recover full VMs or single items from a snapshot, in many ways depending on what will be most efficient for the recovery situation.

Veeam integration brings new levels of flexibility for recovery with Huawei OceanStor storage. Full VM recovery is simple and quick, but more often than not, simple item recovery within a VM is the recovery use case.

Veeam Explorer for Storage Snapshots gives IT teams recovery of individual items without requiring the normal time and resource consuming process of re-provisioning a VM. This item-level recovery is supported for Microsoft Exchange, SQL, Active Directory and SharePoint objects through a simple Windows Explorer-like interface. Veeam allows data, files, emails and more to be pulled from backups and into the production environment with a few clicks. Recovering Oracle databases out of a storage snapshot is also supported.

Automated DR/recovery verification and DataLabs

The new Veeam Plug-in for Huawei also brings automation to one of the biggest pain points and inconsistencies most organizations struggle to address in their backup and recovery operations. That is the fact that most IT backup administrators can never really be sure they can recover from the restore points in a disaster or when data is lost.

With Veeam and Huawei integration, Veeam On-Demand Sandbox for Storage Snapshots automates the process of creating a completely isolated copy of your production environment, verifies the viability from the snapshot, reports that status, and then deprovisions the environment. Veeam builds the DataLab from recent storage snapshots created by Huawei or any other third-party software and runs through a complete routine to verify VM boot, network connections, and application function. When finished, Veeam then reports the test results via email or through enhanced reporting found in Veeam Availability Suite.

Creating what Veeam calls a DataLab, addresses two core needs in modern IT Infrastructures. First, it addresses the need for verified recoverability to meet regulatory and operational requirements, not to mention peace of mind for the IT team knowing they are prepared for disaster recovery when they are called.

Second, DataLabs are extremely valuable to address the needs of your development teams, or any others that constantly require a dedicated lab environment with real-world data for the purpose of new solution development, upgrade and deployment testing, as well as risk assessment and mitigation planning.

Veeam and Huawei OceanStor are better together

Huawei is the latest storage provider to partner with Veeam for more efficient data management, more efficient backup, and faster recovery. Regardless of whether you want to speed up your Veeam backups or if you want to use storage snapshots next to real backups to lower your RTPO, with the newly released Veeam Storage Plug-in for Huawei OceanStor, you are on the right track and ready for the future.

More resources

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Veeam Intelligent Data Management for Huawei OceanStor

Veeam is now part of Cisco dCloud

Source: Veeam

In the last couple years, On-Demand Labs have become an important part in our IT industry to train employees, run customer demos and get hands-on experience. One of the most innovative and capable On-Demand Labs is Cisco’s dCloud. Cisco dCloud is a huge catalog of demos, training and sandboxes for every Cisco architecture which are fully scripted. The customizable environments are available almost instantly in the cloud. It’s very easy to work with and to get started, all you need is a Cisco account.

That’s why I’m more than happy to let you know that as of mid-November Veeam is now part of Cisco dCloud and provides you with full hands-on experience of our Veeam Availability Platform and the integration in Cisco HyperFlex.

There are two different labs available to you:

  1. Veeam Demo Lab

The demo is intended to be used to demonstrate the Veeam integration into Cisco HyperFlex as well as different backup and recovery scenarios:

Scenario 1: Introduction to Veeam
Scenario 2: HyperFlex integration
Scenario 3: Backup HyperFlex VMs
Scenario 4: Restore VMs in a HyperFlex Cluster

  1. Veeam installation and configuration lab

The lab can be used to perform a full installation and configuration of Veeam as well as the integration of a HyperFlex environment. Furthermore, the lab also guides you through backup and recovery as well as replication scenarios:

Scenario 1: Install Veeam Backup & Replication
Scenario 2: Add Cisco HyperFlex Storage to Veeam
Scenario 3: Perform a backup
Scenario 4: Perform a restore
Scenario 5: VM replication

The labs are available in the following areas: US East, US West, EMEAR, APJC, China, and can be accessed with your personal laptop and a Cisco Login.

The labs contain several different components, including:

  • Cisco HyperFlex HX Data Platform 2.5 (Simulator)
  • Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 2 (Windows Server 2016)
  • UCS Director 6.0 (Emulator)
  • Microsoft Active Directory 2012 (Windows Server 2012 R2)
  • SQL Server 2016 (Windows Server 2016)

We hope you enjoy the new offering to use Veeam in Cisco’s dCloud and you like the experience of our integration into Cisco HyperFlex.

For more information on Veeam Availability Suite with Cisco HyperFlex, please have a look at the Cisco Validated Design Guides.

The post Veeam is now part of Cisco dCloud appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.

Veeam is now part of Cisco dCloud

Cisco HyperFlex integration details and Q&A

Source: Veeam

With Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 2 we launched our integration with Cisco HyperFlex. The integration leverages our Backup from Storage Snapshot technology to optimize the data transfer for Veeam backups as well as replications. Since then I got a lot of positive feedback and questions around the integration. That’s why I want to answer the most common questions in this blog post. A brief overview on the integration itself was already done by my colleague Michael Cade earlier this year.

Besides this blog post we already started the work on an implementation and best practice guide so stay tuned and check our website regularly.

Why does Veeam integrate into Cisco HyperFlex?

The main reason why Veeam started to integrate into storage arrays, regardless if it is Cisco HyperFlex or any other storage we support, is to avoid or at least minimize the time of VMware Redo-Log Snapshots (native VMware VM Snapshots).

If you run a VM backup without the integration, the workflow will always create a VMware Redo-Log Snapshot; Veeam will read all data while VMware redirects all writes into the Redo-Log File and after the backup/replica is done, the VM Snapshot will be deleted as shown in the graphic below on the left side. Especially the VM snapshot delete can take a lot of time and consume serious amounts of storage resources until done.

Cisco HyperFlex integration

Using the Cisco HyperFlex integration means avoiding VMware VM Snapshots completely. As you can see on the right side in the graphic above, the workflow will create a Cisco HX Snapshot; Veeam reads all data out of the Snapshots and after the backup/replica is done Cisco will delete the HX Snapshot which has almost no impact in the VM or the rest of the production.

With that the Veeam integration into Cisco HyperFlex is the only one where no more VMware Snapshots are needed at all.

What are the requirements and which Veeam features can be leveraged with Cisco HyperFlex?
Before going ahead and trying the integration please be aware of the following requirements. 50% of the questions and errors I get are due to the fact that at least one of the following requirements is missing:

  • VMs reside on a Cisco HyperFlex 2.0 or newer cluster (HX version < 2.0 are not supported)
  • Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 2 or newer is installed on the backup server
  • License for Veeam Backup & Replication Enterprise Plus Edition is installed on the backup server
  • Cisco HyperFlex storage system is added to the Veeam storage infrastructure and the vCenter server is added to virtual infrastructure
  • Backup proxy is properly configured in the backup infrastructure
  • VM must not have any existing VMware native Snapshot before the first job kicks off
  • The “Enable backup from storage snapshots option is selected in the job settings
  • When using Backup from Storage Snapshot over NFS:
    • Veeam Proxy server has access to the Cisco HyperFlex NFS Backend
    • Required VMware Firewall Ports are open for IOVisor Backup (see Helpcenter article)

As of today Veeam supports Backup from Storage Snapshots with Cisco HyperFlex. All other storage related features like Veeam Explorer for Storage Snapshots, OnDemand Sandbox from Storage Snapshots, Snapshot only job…etc. are not supported. Of course, you can use all regular Veeam features leveraging the Veeam backup.

How do I configure the Cisco HyperFlex integration?

The Cisco HyperFlex integration is like any other Veeam Storage Integration. For us Cisco HyperFlex is not a HyperConverged system but seen as a storage system. That’s why you need to navigate to “Storage Infrastructure” within your Veeam Backup & Replication installation to add the Cisco HyperFlex system. After selecting “Add Storage” you will be promoted with the following wizard:

1. Select “Cisco HyperFlex”

Cisco HyperFlex integration

2. Add the Cisco HyperFlex Management IP address of the Data Platform

Cisco HyperFlex integration

a) To find the needed IP address simply open the advanced Cisco HX settings within your VMware Webclient

Cisco HyperFlex integration

b) The needed IP can be found here

Cisco HyperFlex integration

3. Define the login credentials for the management

Cisco HyperFlex integration

4. Optional: Define Veeam Proxies to be used for this cluster

Cisco HyperFlex integration

5. Finish the wizard

Cisco HyperFlex integration

After finishing the wizard, you will see the following dialog that adds the Cisco HyperFlex system to the Veeam installation.

Cisco HyperFlex integration

If you see any warning message here the reason is most likely that your Veeam proxy server doesn’t have the needed backend NFS data access or the VMware Firewall ports are not opened. More details in the next questions.

What access is needed on the Veeam Proxy to get Backup from Storage Snapshots working?

The Veeam integration with Cisco HyperFlex works with all available data transport modes.

Cisco HyperFlex integration

No matter if you use NFS (1, 2) as the transport protocol by accessing the backend Cisco HyperFlex data network or if you use the regular transport modes Hot-Add (3) and NBD (4), Veeam will always leverage a Cisco HyperFlex Snapshot as a source.

For NBD and Hot-Add, no additional configuration is needed. After the Cisco HX system is added to the Veeam installation Cisco HX snapshots will be automatically used.

For NFS as transport mode there are two ways to access the data:

  • Backup from Storage Snapshots over IO Visor on ESX(i) hosts (1): The IO Visor is a Cisco HyperFlex software module that runs on every ESXi host that is part of the Cisco HyperFlex cluster. It presents HyperFlex NFS datastores to the ESX(i) hosts and optimizes the data paths in the HyperFlex cluster. The backup over IO Visor is the preferred method as it provides the high speed of VM data reading and balances the load across the HyperFlex cluster.
  • Backup from Storage Snapshots over HyperFlex Controller Cluster IP (2): In this processing mode, all traffic is handled by a single HX controller that holds the HyperFlex Controller Cluster IP.

Cisco HyperFlex integration

No matter which NFS mode you use, the Veeam Proxy will need access to the backend NFS data network of Cisco HX. The graphic above shows which networks are accessed by the Veeam proxy server. I’m used to saying, configure your Veeam proxy server with the same management and storage access like what you would do with an additional ESXi host.

The HyperFlex Controller Cluster IP does not require any additional confirmation as all needed communication will be handled by Veeam and Cisco APIs.

For the IOVisior backup you need to open specific VMware Firewall ports as the Veeam proxy server needs to access a module running within the VMware ESXi. Information on how to open the needed ports is listed in the next question.

How do I open the needed VMware Firewall Ports?

The Cisco HyperFlex IO Visor is a software component that runs on all ESXi hosts within a Cisco HyperFlex cluster. It works as an NFS server for Veeam traffic.

You need to allow NFS traffic from the backup proxies to ESXi hosts. As Cisco IO Visor based NFS communication uses dynamic ports, you need to create an ESXi firewall rule with inbound ports 0-65535 and the backup proxy IP addresses as allowed IP addresses.

You can do this in three ways:

  • Create a VMware ESXi host VIB host extension file that creates the firewall rule, install/enable it on all hosts and set the backup proxy IP addresses as allowed ones. For more information, see KB article 2291.
  • Use a predefined VMware ESXi host extension VIB file from the Veeam Community GitHUB project. For more information, see KB article 2298.
  • Use ESXi command line interface to create a temporary firewall rule (until the next ESXi host reboot). For more information, see KB article 2299.

Conclusion

As you can see the integration is very powerful and there are a lot of details when it comes down to the configuration. Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 2 offers Availability for Cisco HyperFlex 2.0 by providing both an optimized backup and replication workflow to lower the recovery time and point objectives (RTPO) to < 15 minutes for ALL applications and data running on top of it.

Here are some useful links, including our newly released Cisco Validated Designs:

The post Cisco HyperFlex integration details and Q&A appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.

Cisco HyperFlex integration details and Q&A

Enterprise performance and scalability for NetApp storage

Source: Veeam

Recently, Veeam released version 9.5 of Veeam Backup & Replication. In this blog post, I would like to share some of the new capabilities that 9.5 delivers with our NetApp ONTAP storage integration.

As this is not a major version release, we didn’t add any specific new features, however, there are several improvements with respect towards backup resource scalability, which is of particular importance in enterprise data center environments.

1. Automatic NetApp LIF selection for data traffic

With 9.5, we implemented an advanced way for the Veeam backup server to identify the correct Data LIF for the backup process.

Enterprise performance and scalability for NetApp storage

In the above example, the VM is stored on an aggregate located on Node 4. With 9.5, we made sure that data LIF4, of node 4, is used to access and backup the VM, instead of using data LIF1 on node 1 and transferring the data over the back-end cluster network. With this new implementation, we avoid the potential for node 1, or the back-end cluster network, to run out of resources during a Veeam backup.

The new cluster aware LIF selection also follows the data in case it is moved to another aggregate on another node, thereby ensuring the optimized path is utilized by the Veeam proxy server to perform data movement.

This functionality is enabled by default and does not require any action from your side to utilize this new capability.

2. Proxy affinity rules for storage access

The second enhancement is a new way to define proxy affinity between your NetApp ONTAP systems and the Veeam proxy server.

Enterprise performance and scalability for NetApp storage

By using proxy affinity rules, you can easily define Veeam proxy server assignments for each NetApp ONTAP system. If there are multiple NetApp systems and Veeam proxy servers in the same environment, it is recommended to assign affinity relationships to avoid situations where a Veeam proxy server is misaligned with an ONTAP system. This capability saves time in the job initialization process and optimizes proxy resource utilization in larger environments, enabling you to ensure that specific proxy servers are available for specific backup jobs.

Enterprise performance and scalability for NetApp storage

This also ensures that local proxies are only accessing local NetApp ONTAP systems when using network based access protocols like NFS or iSCSI.

Enterprise performance and scalability for NetApp storage

To configure the proxy affinity, simply go to “Storage Infrastructure” within your Veeam Backup & Replication console and select the NetApp cluster you want to modify. Open the advanced settings and select the backup proxies Veeam should use.

3. Protocol selection to optimize proxy data access

One very common user request that we have addressed with 9.5 is the option to assign a different protocol to the Veeam proxy server than the one being used by the VMware server. Before 9.5, you could use different REG-Keys to force the Veeam proxy to use a different protocol.

Enterprise performance and scalability for NetApp storage

Now with 9.5, you can easily deploy a configuration where VMware is accessing the ONTAP cluster by FC, while the Veeam proxy uses iSCSI for backup and replication and all of the other Veeam features. Since the LUN is the same block device, it can be accessed via FC, iSCSI or both, enabling you to leverage your existing 10 GB network to back up the data via FC or iSCSI (or vice versa).

Besides the benefit of defining a different access protocol, you can also reduce the time that the Veeam proxy needs to scan and access your NetApp data and start a job, as the overhead required to check all available protocols is eliminated. In short, it’s a very simple way to optimize your existing Veeam and NetApp installation.

Enterprise performance and scalability for NetApp storage

To configure the protocol selection, simply go to “Storage Infrastructure” within your Veeam Backup & Replication console and select the NetApp cluster you want to modify. Open the advanced settings and select the protocol to be used by the Veeam proxy host. As shown in the above example, only the licensed ONTAP protocol is available to use.

 

In summary, the enterprise enhancements available in 9.5 make the Veeam integration with ONTAP more flexible and scalable. This is another great example of Veeam product development implementing feature enhancements based on the direct feedback from our customers and partners.

For additional Veeam and NetApp best practices, I highly recommend the following documents and articles:

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Enterprise performance and scalability for NetApp storage

Enterprise datacenter Availability with NetApp cascaded SnapMirror and Veeam

Source: Veeam

Data Availability has become more and more important for today’s businesses. The NetApp Data ONTAP and Veeam combination provides a high Availability level for the Always-On Enterprise. By leveraging NetApp data protection features like snapshots, SnapMirror and SnapVault, Veeam is able to enhance recovery time and recovery point objectives, otherwise known as RTPO, for VMs and applications residing on NFS-, FC-, FCoE- and iSCSI-based arrays.

Some enterprise data centers are leveraging NetApp’s ability to cascade ONTAP systems to maximize Availability. In this blogpost, I explain the benefits of leveraging an ONTAP cascaded design with Veeam.

The environment

Let’s assume the customer has the following data center design and requirements:

Availability with NetApp cascaded SnapMirror and Veeam

  1. In the primary data center, a NetApp ONTAP system named RLPEDGE01, with a source volume called NFSVAULT
  2. On the secondary side, a NetApp ONTAP system RLPEDGE02, with a SnapVault destination Volume RLPNFS01_NFSVAULT_vault
  3. At the third side, a NetApp ONTAP system RLPEDGE03, with a SnapMirror destination volume RLPNFS03_NFSVAULT_mirror

The requirements include using SnapVault between RLPEDGE01 and RLPEDGE02, combined with application-consistent snapshots. Furthermore, the customer wants to use SnapMirror to replicate the SnapVault data to RLPEDGE03, which is in a co-location facility.

Veeam orchestration combined with NetApp protection policies

To build this configuration, NetApp ONTAP protection policies are combined with Veeam’s advanced storage integration and orchestration capabilities.

Availability with NetApp cascaded SnapMirror and Veeam

  1. Veeam creates an application-consistent backup of VMs. This includes the optional log truncation and snapshot creation within the VMware environment.
  2. Next, Veeam instructs the primary NetApp system (RLPEDGE01) to perform an array-based snapshot and subsequent orchestration.
  3. Next, the primary NetApp system will manage the SnapVault update to the secondary (RLPEDGE02) and retention policies of these snapshots within both primary and secondary systems.
  4. The NetApp ONTAP built-in protection engine handles the SnapMirror update between the secondary and the tertiary (RLPEDGE03) NetApp systems. Through this process, all snapshots on RLPEDGE02 will be mirrored to RLPEDGE03 and made available for restores.

The customer benefits here by being able to leverage Veeam’s native restore capabilities on any NetApp ONTAP platform in the environment. This includes the third NetApp system, RLPEDGE03, which is not part of the Veeam snapshot orchestration process. The restore functionality permits granular restores using Veeam Explorers for Storage Snapshots to perform file, item or VM image-based recoveries for Microsoft Active Directory, Exchange, SharePoint, SQL and Oracle. Veeam OnDemand Sandbox capabilities can also leverage NetApp snapshots to create isolated test environments for testing application updates, patches and other changes, without impacting the production environment.

Let’s get it done

To set up this configuration, follow these steps:

1. Add all NetApp ONTAP systems to your Veeam Backup & Replication console

Availability with NetApp cascaded SnapMirror and Veeam

2. Create the SnapVault relationship between primary and secondary NetApp systems

Availability with NetApp cascaded SnapMirror and Veeam

3. Create a Veeam job to protect your VMs:

a. Within the Veeam job set the desired SnapVault retention policies

Availability with NetApp cascaded SnapMirror and Veeam

b. If required, enable Application-Aware Processing

c. Define a schedule for the job that meets the RPO of applications being protected

If you require any assistance creating a Veeam/NetApp backup job, you can find additional detail in the Best Practices Guide.

After Veeam Backup and NetApp SnapVault are configured and running, we can now set up the SnapMirror relationship to the third NetApp system. However, you should pair NetApp 2 and NetApp 3 and ensure that the proper SnapVault Mirrors (SVMs) are available and paired as well. In addition, create a DP Volume on the NetApp 3 SVM, which will be used as the destination target for the SnapMirror volume.

NOTE: Veeam assumes no warranty for any command. These commands should only be used as a reference. Exercise CAUTION when working in any production environment. All commands should be modified (cluster, volume, vservernames, etc.) to fit in your environment!

After the volume is created, you can create the SnapMirror policy and the SnapMirror relationship:

To create the SnapMirror policy run:

snapmirror policy create -vserver SVMNFS03 -policy VeeamSM -tries 8 -transfer-priority normal -ignore-atime false -restart always -type async-mirror

Add the rule to mirror all source snapshots: all_source_snapshots. This is mandatory, otherwise you will get an error that the SnapMirror label was not found:

snapmirror policy add-rule -vserver SVMNFS03 -policy VeeamSM -snapmirror-label all_source_snapshots -keep 1

snapmirror policy show

SnapMirror relation creation and initialization:

snapmirror create -source-path RLPNFS02:RLPNFS01_NFSVAULT_vault -destination-path SVMNFS03:RLPNFS03_NFSVAULT_mirror -type DP -throttle unlimited -identity-preserve false -vserver SVMNFS03 -policy VeeamMirror

snapmirror initialize -destination-path SVMNFS03:RLPNFS03_NFSVAULT_mirror

snapmirror modify -destination-path SVMNFS03:RLPNFS03_NFSVAULT_mirror -schedule 5min

snapmirror show

You can also check the SnapMirror relationship within the NetApp System Manager on the third NetApp to get the following screen view:

Availability with NetApp cascaded SnapMirror and Veeam

Now that the SnapMirror relation has been initialized and running (in our case, every 5 minutes), check the Veeam interface to verify that snapshots on the third NetApp platform are available for restores.

Your Veeam interface should look similar to this:

Availability with NetApp cascaded SnapMirror and Veeam

As you can see, all three NetApp systems are available, as well as the three volumes. When browsing the volumes on RLPEDGE02 and RLPEDGE03, we see the same number of available snapshots (one snapshot is the baseline image).

Availability with NetApp cascaded SnapMirror and Veeam

With the configuration complete, we now have a cascaded SnapVault to SnapMirror relationship from which all Veeam restore capabilities can be used. One of the benefits of the direct integration Veeam provides is the ability to directly restore from array-based snapshots.

In the example below, we illustrate how an administrator can browse our NetApp system RLPEDGE03, view the VMs within that snapshot and perform all of the great recovery options that Veeam has available. In summary, this scenario illustrates how we’ve executed a single NetApp snapshot, which has been cascaded down to our tertiary device where we’re able to perform recovery. This process drastically reduces the load placed on the production environment during backup and recovery operations, which in turn, increases the RTPO for our applications and services.

Availability with NetApp cascaded SnapMirror and Veeam

What about Veeam Backup from Storage Snapshots?

Veeam Backup from Storage Snapshots is a unique technology that optimizes VM backup by leveraging Storage Snapshots as a source for the Veeam data stream. In the scenario that was just explained, you can fully leverage Veeam Backup from Storage Snapshots from the primary or secondary NetApp ONTAP storage device. Veeam orchestrates all the snapshots processes across these two storage systems.

Availability with NetApp cascaded SnapMirror and Veeam

To complete the cascade process, and as mentioned earlier, the SnapMirror relation toward the third NetApp ONTAP system is handled by the data protection engine of ONTAP, and is not a part of Veeam orchestration.

Interested in learning more?

Please visit:

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Enterprise datacenter Availability with NetApp cascaded SnapMirror and Veeam

NetApp NFS volumes and Veeam — configuration best practices to get you started

Source: Veeam

I’ve received many inquiries about the Veeam and NetApp integration with NFS over the last few months. Because of the high level of interest, let me share some insights based on our latest configuration and best practices for NetApp, Veeam and NFS that can help save you time and effort when installing and configuring Veeam for the first time.

There are several supported protocols for connecting VMware to a NetApp storage system to achieve better Availability for your critical applications and data. These include iSCSI, FC, FCoE or NFS. However, NFS is becoming a more common choice in the last few years due to growing adoption and standardization of 10, 25 and now 40 Gbit/s Ethernet as well as the NFS v4 implementation within vSphere 6. In general, there are many reasons to choose NFS as your protocol, including:

  • Ease of management
  • The fact that the VMDK is simply a file in the ONTAP file system which results in direct deduplication and compression savings
  • Easier design of the volume and datastore relation

Overall, I would say that if you are designing a new environment from scratch, it’s a very good idea to consider NFS as your backend storage protocol between VMware, NetApp and Veeam. Pairing Veeam and NetApp via NFS also has several specific benefits. The two most significant are that Veeam can access the NetApp volumes during Backup from Storage Snapshot operations — which is not the case with iSCSI and FC which requires to clone and map LUNs — and NFS also shortens storage scan, backup and restore times.

The following is a short overview and guide to help you plan and prepare for your NetApp and Veeam deployment.

Visibility of the NetApp snapshot directory for NFS volumes

One of the best technologies within ONTAP is of course the Snapshot engine. And, as it is with all the features in IT, there are some best practices for each of them. For a volume exported to VMware, your configuration best practice might be to disable the NetApp Snapshot scheduler and to hide the Snapshot directory (.snapshot) for these volumes.

You might experience some issues or errors while using Veeam in combination with these volumes. For example, you may not see the VMs or Snapshots, and experience problems when running backup jobs, which would produce messages like, “VM does not meet the requirements for storage snapshot based jobs.”

NetApp NFS volumes and Veeam

The issue is that the Snapshot directory is hidden. As such, Veeam can’t scan/access the Snapshots. So my best practice is to enable the Snapshot directory on all volumes that Veeam will interact with, including operations for Backup from Storage Snapshot, Veeam Explorer for Storage Snapshot, and On-Demand Sandbox for Storage Snapshots.

To enable the Snapshot directory, login to your NetApp OnCommand System Manager, select the NFS volume and click Snapshot Copies – Configure and make sure Make Snapshot directory (.snapshot) visible is enabled.

NetApp NFS volumes and Veeam

A second way is to use the ONTAP CLI. Use the following command to check if the option is enabled:

volume show -instance -vserver <svmname> -volume <volumename>

The output will look like the example below with the field indicating the status of Snapshot Directory Access Enabled.

NetApp NFS volumes and Veeam

Use the following command to enable the option:

volume modify -vserver <svmname> -volume <volname> -snapdir-access true

Namespace and export policy settings for NFS volumes

Clustered Data ONTAP NetApp introduced namespace capabilities. Every volume that will be accessed by NFS must be mounted into the namespace due to the fact that the export policies are assigned there. When working with Veeam, you do not have to change any policy or namespace setting. Veeam will discover the assigned policies automatically and add the required proxy IP addresses to access the volume. If you have added a NetApp system to your Veeam installation, check the Export Policies options. There should not be any proxy IP address assigned.

NetApp NFS volumes and Veeam

After adding the NetApp system to the Veeam configuration, Veeam Backup & Replication will perform a discovery and try to access the NFS export. As there is no access, Veeam will add the required IP address to the assigned policy and continue. For example, in the screen capture below, you now see both the ESXi host (192.168.178.210) and the Veeam proxy server (192.168.178.216) listed in the policy.

NetApp NFS volumes and Veeam

Namespace settings for NFS volumes 2.0 on secondary systems

Now that you know Veeam is able to handle all the necessary export and NFS settings, everything should function as expected.

However, the most common question I receive from those working with NetApp, Veeam and NFS for the first time is, “I installed Veeam and configured the NetApp integration, but I cannot see any VM on the secondary side. What is the problem?”

To understand what’s going on, first take look deeper look the configuration. The first thing to confirm is if you installed Veeam and integrated both the primary and secondary NetApp ONTAP systems. Also, make sure you have configured a SnapVault/SnapMirror relationship between these two NetApp systems. At this point the Snapshot directory should be visible and all rescans should be successful.

If at this point you are unable to perform a Backup from Storage Snapshot, Veeam Explorer for Storage Snapshot or On-Demand Sandbox from Storage Snapshots, you are likely getting the message “VM does not meet the requirements for storage snapshot based jobs.” If this is the case, your Veeam console likely will look like this — unable to see any VMs in the secondary snapshots:

NetApp NFS volumes and Veeam

The problem is that NetApp does not mount a secondary volume into the namespace by default. Because of this, the secondary volume is not accessible by Veeam after initializing the SnapVault/SnapMirror relationship. To fix the issue, open your NetApp OnCommand System Manager, mount the secondary volume into the namespace, and assign it any access policy.

NetApp NFS volumes and Veeam

After you’ve mounted the volume into the namespace, perform a Veeam rescan of the NetApp system and Veeam will add the required access to the export policy.

NetApp NFS volumes and Veeam

As soon as the rescan is finished you should be able to see all of the VMs on your secondary system and perform any type of Veeam job which leverages our NetApp storage integration.

NetApp NFS volumes and Veeam

These three best practices address the most common questions I’ve received, and should help you configure your new Veeam and NetApp NFS volume integration quickly and correctly.

For a complete, step-by-step guide for NetApp and Veeam, please download the NetApp and Veeam Backup & Replication v9: Configuration Guide and Best Practices.

Feel free to leave questions and comments below.

The post NetApp NFS volumes and Veeam — configuration best practices to get you started appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.

NetApp NFS volumes and Veeam — configuration best practices to get you started

Datacenter 4.0 – A reference architecture with Cisco, NetApp and Veeam

Source: Veeam

Today’s business relies on the IT department more than ever. The Internet of Everything (IoE) now requires a fully functioning datacenter to avoid business grinding to a halt, products not reaching the market and services disappearing. It is impossible to meet all user, customer or partner expectations without a fully functioning datacenter, which is the driving force for organizations to modernize and optimize their IT resources.

An important part of this modernization is standardizing predictable, repeatable and very stable data center reference architectures.

The reference architecture defines a technology design and deployment that addresses the specific requirements of a business need. This includes the blueprint and best practices for installation and configuration, which all work together in the most optimal state. The reference architecture defines which specific technologies and products are combined and how address them in a particular use case. The reference architecture is a template solution for enterprise IT.

To build an IT infrastructure design based on the reference architecture, you will want to first clearly define the specific expectations and requirements. Next, you will need to provide a detailed overview of the involved components. The enterprise IT department looks for designs that deliver the required performance and the necessary data protection and Availability.

A template based on NetApp, Cisco and Veeam, for instance, would be based on several integrated infrastructure offerings. Veeam would work closely with both Cisco and NetApp to jointly design, test and validate an optimized configuration for deploying and powering Veeam Availability Solutions. This process eliminates guesswork in the early system design stages, simplifies ordering and reduces testing cycles before implementation.

The converged NetApp and Cisco FlexPod solution provides a standardized way to combine NetApp FAS storage with both Cisco UCS server performance and Cisco Nexus switching. FlexPod configurations are very common for the Tier-1 applications and available for different use cases such as virtualization, VDI or Microsoft Exchange.

The recently released Cisco HyperFlex hyper-converged platform offers a unique way to leverage virtualized SAN and compute power across different nodes within one cluster and with unified management. HyperFlex HX220c and HX240c nodes can be built up and extended dynamically and flexibly to meet changing business needs and IT capacity requirements. These hyper-converged solutions are a great fit for virtualization of Tier-2 applications, VDI, ROBOs (Remote Office & Branch Offices) and test/dev environments.

With Cisco UCS Appliances for Veeam, which is built on Cisco UCS C240 and C3260 size and capacity configurations, Veeam Availability Suite makes it easy to deliver a full data-protection design for IT environments.

Reference architecture built on Cisco, NetApp and Veeam

In this example, a combination of three technologies – storage, networking and Availability – allow you to design an architecture that fulfills both business and IT requirements. Figure 1 shows how you can build a data center based on this reference architecture.

A reference architecture build on Cisco, NetApp and Veeam

Fig. 1. A reference architecture build on Cisco, NetApp and Veeam

The Cisco Appliance for Veeam is a central management and orchestration point (see Figure 1, #1) for all data protection and monitoring tasks within a reference architecture. It doesn’t matter if you run a Veeam backup, replication or cloud job or if you want to monitor your virtualized environment, the Cisco Backup Appliance combines all you need here.

During performance tests in the Veeam lab, this joint solution reached a throughput of 1,100 MBs on a single 3×60 node and reached a limit of 10 GBit/s Ethernet backend. The server node still had more than 60% of CPU and RAM resources available. Based on these tests, we expect to reach a throughput of more than 2.5 GB/s per C 3×60 server, (Figure 2) when fully loaded with the maximum of available CPU cores and a properly configured 40 GBit/s Ethernet and storage backend.

Performance expectations

* Expected in a best case configuration with C3260

Fig. 2. Performance expectations

For the Tier-1 applications, a Cisco/NetApp FlexPod delivers the required compute, storage and network performance (Figure 1, #2). To backup and replicate data from FlexPod, Veeam uses unique snapshot integration (Figure 3) with NetApp DATA ONTAP to minimize the overhead in VMware and/or on the production storage.

Snapshot integration in NetApp DATA ONTAP

Fig. 3. Snapshot integration in NetApp DATA ONTAP

During a backup/replication job, Veeam creates a VMware snapshot, followed by a storage snapshot on NetApp. The VMware snapshot is immediately deleted because Veeam will now have a consistent VM state in the NetApp snapshot. After VMware has committed the snapshot, Veeam either triggers a SnapMirror/SnapVault update to a secondary NetApp (Figure 1, #3) to be used as source, or VMware can start the backup directly from the primary storage. The NetApp snapshot is then mounted to the Cisco Backup Alliance to proceed with the job. After the job is finished, the storage snapshot is automatically deleted.

You can also leverage our NetApp integration to orchestrate ONTAP snapshots and control the SnapMirror and SnapVault connections between different ONTAP systems (Figure 1, #4).

For Tier-2 applications, such as Test/Dev or for VDI and ROBO deployments, the new Cisco HyperFlex (Figure 1, #5) system provides the required performance and management. The Cisco Backup Appliance for Veeam is used to backup data (see Figure 1, #6, and Figure 4) from the Cisco HyperFlex or replicate (Figure 1, #7) VMs between HyperFlex and FlexPod. This appliance provides a fully flexible way to back up and move data wherever needed. In addition, you can also leverage replicated data with features such as Veeam SureReplica to automatically verify your replicas for recoverability.

Data flow Cisco HyperFlex – Backup Appliance

Fig. 4. Data flow Cisco HyperFlex – Backup Appliance

For more details and step-by-step instructions for getting started on your reference architecture, I highly recommend the following Veeam deployment guides:

It does not matter if you are in a technology or waste management industry, business still continues to change quickly and require new levels of IT agility and stability or you will risk disrupting the applications, services and data that power your business. That is why Veeam believes that EVERY business is in the software business, and why a reference architecture that fully address your business, infrastructure and management requirements, is absolutely critical to your Always-On Enterprise.

Datacenter 4.0 – A reference architecture with Cisco, NetApp and Veeam

Backup and storage snapshots: How they work together for the Always-On Enterprise

Source: Veeam

In today’s data center-powered world, we’ve come a long way from simple, legacy backup for data protection. The new IT business objective is Availability. Companies need to be able to recover from the loss of data, applications, systems or location with minimal or zero downtime, and that is vastly different from backup solutions of yesterday.

However, 84% of IT decision makers say there is a Availability Gap and their data centers cannot meet users’ needs of an agile, Always-On Enterprise as a result. Learn more from the Veeam Availability Report.

With modern storage, virtualization and the cloud, backup, replication and recovery all work together. This gives IT managers new levels of flexibility. Storage snapshot adoption is growing in these environments, and they play a critical role in data protection for business both large and small. Two specific objectives can be used to better define Availability:

  • Recovery time objective (RTO) is the amount of time allowed for recovery to take place
  • Recovery point objective (RPO) is the point in time the recovery should bring the business back to

Let’s look at how backup and storage snapshot technologies come together in IT operations for a combined recovery time and point objectives (RTPO) of < 15 minutes for all applications and data. This union creates the agility and responsiveness to deliver what Veeam calls Availability for the Always-On Enterprise.

Backups

Backup is a process that creates a consistent state of the application and operating system and then copies the data to a different location for safekeeping. With backup, you have an additional copy and multiple versions of a file, application, file system or other resource for use in the event of failure or loss of the original.

Veeam recommends following the 3-2-1 Rule to protect your critical data and applications. The rule states you should have at least three copies of your data, stored on two different types of media, with one copy stored outside your primary data center. When done correctly, backup operations provide long-term retention of backups for months and years with effective performance and space consumption.

Storage snapshots

Snapshots are a common way to protect data and systems. They minimize both the data traffic and the load required to create them compared to a backup. In computer systems, a storage snapshot is the state of a system at a particular point in time. Think of it as a photograph that captures a moment in time. A storage snapshot is similar: it is a point-in-time image-level view of data.

A storage snapshot does not consume any space by default when it is created. It is just a copy of the metadata that holds information about the data snapped that is used both for tracking purposes and for saving changes based on the pointer. Storage snapshots are created instantly, which means they are done within seconds. Because of that it, is very common to create lots of them to get RPOs down to minutes.

The one of the differences between a storage snapshot and a backup is that the snapshot is stored at the same location as the original data. Therefore, it depends entirely on the reliability of the source. This means that in case of a disaster or damage to the source data, the storage snapshot will be lost or inaccessible. There is no way to restore if the source gets lost. In addition, snapshots on their own do not have the means to check for corruption or restore capabilities.

Storage snapshots and backup: A powerful combination

Storage snapshots shorten backup windows considerably, and they are especially useful when you’re doing many updates because it is easy to revert the system to a snapshot.

However, storage snapshots alone are not the complete answer to bridging the Availability Gap. Even replicating storage snapshots to a secondary storage system does not avoid problems if the data is corrupted or if there is an error on the storage system. Also, there are no safeguards to protect against an administrator deleting a snapshot on the primary storage, which may trigger the deletion on the secondary storage during the next replication. Additionally, the number of storage snapshots you can create and save is limited in most scenarios.

The following table illustrates how storage snapshots and backups complement each other based on their respective strengths:

  Backup Snapshot
Better RPO ?
Better RTO ?
Consistent backups ? ?*
Corruption/Error check ?
Instantly created ?
No impact on production ?
Highly storage efficient ?
Off-site copy to external media  ?
Not data source dependent ?
Long term retention ?
Eliminates human errors  ?

*with application integrations

The best IT approach is to use storage snapshots and backups together to lower RPO and RTO down to minutes instead of hours and days — and in some cases weeks.

Veeam and storage snapshots

Veeam Availability Suite v9 leverages storage snapshot operations to multiply the value of your investment virtualization and modern storage from:

These integrations orchestrate application-consistent snapshots on a desired schedule to ensure the OS and applications are in a consistent state before the snapshot is created. These can be used for Veeam Backup from Storage Snapshots to lower the performance impact on your production environment and for restores directly from the snapshots themselves with tools like the Veeam Explorer for Storage Snapshots or Instant VM Recovery. Veeam On-Demand Sandbox for Storage Snapshots also allows you to uses snapshots to create a Virtual Lab environment.

Storage snapshots enable for implementing short-term data protection with very low RPO and impact on your production system, which greatly complements classic data protection with a solution like Veeam Backup & Replication. Remember that despite all the benefits storage snapshots bring to the table, you still need to be taking your production data out of the single fault domain that storage snapshots operate in, and writing it to an external (independent) storage system.

You can use these backups as long-term retention for disaster recovery, even if the primary data is deleted or becomes unusable. The backup can also be an efficient source for sending copies to the cloud or to a secondary data center to meet the requirements of the 3-2-1 Rule.

The 3-2-1 Rule

The Veeam 3-2-1 Rule defines, that you should have at least three copies of your data, stored on two different media types, with one copy located off site.

Combining modern storage, virtualization with backup and replication delivers Availability that is far beyond the rudimentary backup capabilities that keep IT professionals at organizations of all sizes up at night. Bringing together these technologies goes a long way towards meeting the continually changing business requirements for today’s modern data centers.

How has using snapshots and backups changed how your IT team delivers and protects the services that power your business?

Related information:

Backup and storage snapshots: How they work together for the Always-On Enterprise

Cisco Hyperflex Availability powered by Veeam: What you need to know

Source: Veeam

Hyper-converged infrastructure is a very hot topic in IT right now, without a doubt. Customers are interested in building a fully functional virtualized infrastructure including compute, storage and management. On March 1, Cisco announced the new hyper-converged solution, Hyperflex, at the Cisco Partner Summit in San Diego. Based on Cisco UCS technology, the solution offers a unique way to leverage virtualized SAN and compute power across different nodes within one cluster and one management instance. With the HX220c and HX240c nodes, the hyper-converged system can be built up and extended dynamically and flexibly to fit in to the requirements.

Cisco Hyperflex Availability powered by Veeam

 

Efficient and scalable backup for Cisco Hyperflex

Veeam Availability Suite v9 delivers the data Availability and monitoring to complete the new solution and meet the demands of the Always-On Enterprise. Veeam Backup & Replication is used to lower the recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs), or RTPO to <15 minutes for ALL application and data in case of a disaster or lost data. In combination with Cisco’s NEW Backup and Replication Appliances for Veeam, built on Cisco UCS C240 and C3260 in Starter, Medium and Large configurations, it’s easy to deliver a full data protection design for Cisco Hyperflex environments.

Cisco Hyperflex Availability powered by Veeam

Veeam delivers powerful and efficient virtual machine (VM) backup, fast and flexible recovery and advanced VM replication functionality for Cisco Hyperflex including:

Fast and reliable image-based backup for Cisco Hyperflex virtual environment — all without the use of agents — giving you the ability to achieve shorter backup windows and reduce backup and storage costs.

Instant VM Recovery helps maintain system Availability when you need it most. Instead of making users wait for hours, Instant VM Recovery immediately restores a VM back into your production environment by running it directly from the backup file.

Veeam Explorer offers revolutionary technology that gives you instant visibility into application backups and granular recovery of individual items.

SureBackup automatically verifies the recoverability of every backup, every VM, every time by automatically starting VMs in an isolated Virtual Lab environment, performing a set of tests and sending a status report to your mailbox, so you know if your VMs are recoverable at any time.

Disaster Recovery for Cisco Hyperflex with Veeam

Veeam delivers advanced, imaged-based VM replication and streamlined disaster recovery (DR) — ensuring Availability of your mission-critical applications. Veeam gives you the ability to achieve RTPO of < 15 minutes for ALL application and data.

Cisco Hyperflex Availability powered by Veeam

More than that, Veeam Backup & Replication offers you additional capabilities to leverage the replicated Cisco Hyperflex VMs and data on secondary sites.

Check out our product page for more information about Veeam Availability Suite.

Find more information on Veeam and Cisco backup appliance.

Cisco Hyperflex Availability powered by Veeam: What you need to know