VMware Virtual Machine Protection
PowerVault DL Backup to Disk Appliance
Dell │ Symantec
Symantec DL Appliance Team
VMware Virtual Machine Protection
The PowerVault DL Backup-to-Disk Appliance – Powered by Symantec Backup Exec offers the industry’s only fully
integrated backup-to-disk solution with software factory installed. Industry leaders Dell and Symantec have codeveloped this offering to give you easier management capabilities of the backup-to-disk environment. It’s an ideal
way for any IT department to achieve faster, more reliable backups and restores. In addition, the appliance
simplifies the backup and recovery of VMware based virtual environments by integrating with VMware Virtual
Center, VMware Consolidated Backup, and VMware Converter.
Server virtualization is quickly becoming a standard technology in many data centers today. While VMware
significantly augments hardware utilization through server virtualization, VMware’s Virtual Infrastructure (ESX) 3
introduces new issues related to protecting and recovering virtual environments.
Data created and utilized in virtual machines is no less important than data located in a single physical machine.
This paper describes several approaches that can be used to back up VMware ESX Server 3.x and its underlying
components using Backup Exec for Windows Servers and the Agent for VMware Virtual Infrastructure (AVVI). This
paper also discusses the relative advantages and disadvantages of each method.
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Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.
VMware Virtual Infrastructure 3 Backup and Recovery Challenges
As server consolidation continues to accelerate, placing larger and larger numbers of VMware ‘Guest’ virtual
machines in a single virtualized environment, planning backup, restore, and disaster recovery of the virtual
environment is an essential requirement of managing your virtual infrastructure. VMware’s Virtual Infrastructure 3
(VI 3) has quickly become an industry standard for organizations looking to virtualize their IT environments.
Companies are becoming dependent on efficient backup and quick recovery of their virtual systems and the host
systems they run on to maintain business productivity and cost savings that server virtualization delivers. This
includes not only the Guest virtual machines, but also the applications that have been installed on those Guest
virtual machines such as Microsoft Exchange, SQL, and SharePoint Server. A lost ESX server could impact
productivity up to several hours, or even days, for multiple departments while the IT administrator struggles to
recover the virtual environment and the individual Guest virtual machines.
Administrators looking to protect their VMware environment quickly understand the frustration and time involved
with backup technologies that were not built specifically for protection virtual environments. Administrators and
companies who have not had the experience of recovering a Guest virtual machines using basic backup and
recovery tools will face several limitations to quickly recovering their data with these older backup tools designed
only for physical systems including:
•
•
•
•
•
•
Having to install a backup agent inside of each Guest virtual machine or on the ESX server directly
Recovery of a single file typically requires a long restore of the entire Guest virtual machine
Separate backups for system level vs. individual file level recovery
Taking Guest virtual machines off-line during backup in order to protect them completely
Concerns about ensuring applications running inside of the Guest virtual machines can be recovered
Having to use separate backup products for physical vs. virtual machines
Traditionally, this problem has been overcome with the use of VMware utilities that allow 3rd party backup
software to perform backups within the ESX Service Console of running Guest virtual machines. Unfortunately,
performing the live or “Hot” backups of running Guest virtual machines using these utilities can require using
scripts and Linux based tools that usually require Linux scripting experience.
Additionally, these types of backups on the ESX server can place an additional performance load on the entire ESX
server during backup, affecting all Guest virtual machines on that ESX server and all of the users connected to the
Guest virtual machines on that ESX server. Performing a hot backup can prove to be difficult or impossible to
manage manually and certainly is not cost effective if it’s not centralized and useable by the necessary staff.
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VMware Virtual Infrastructure 3 introduces new technology, VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB), to help overcome
some of these challenges with the traditional backup methods of virtual machines, but it also introduces some
backup and recovery challenges of its own that need to be considered for all environments planning on
implementing it including:
•
•
•
Managing cumbersome and complicated VCB “scripts” to integrate with existing backup products
Installation of proprietary VCB “integration modules” that require additional testing and setup
Separate backups for system level vs. individual file level recovery to recover a single file from a
.vmdk
This paper attempts to discuss these topics, how Backup Exec can help address these unique challenges, and
ultimately provide sufficient information to administrators to make a decision on what Backup Exec solution is right
for them.
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Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.
VMware Architecture Overview
Planning your backup and recovery procedures for an ESX Server system, you should identify the items that need to
be addressed for recovery in your environment before a recovery is required. Typically, with VMware’s Virtual
Infrastructure 3 (VI3), the major components that need to be considered for backup are (see Figure 1- VMware
Virtual Infrastructure 3 ESX Architecture):
•
•
•
Figure 1.
Virtual disks
Virtual machine configuration files
The configuration of the ESX Server system itself
VMware Virtual Infrastructure (ESX) 3 Architecture
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Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.
Addressing the VMware VI3 Backup and Recovery Challenges
As discussed earlier in this paper, while virtualization can provide enhanced server utilization and flexibility, it also
introduces unique backup and recovery challenges. There are several ways that Backup Exec can be configured to
safely protect VMware environments. Before planning your backup and recovery processes of your virtual
environment you should consider several questions first, including:
•
•
•
•
•
•
Do you want to back up the individual virtual machines as normal clients for file level and
application level recovery or do you want back up the underlying .vmdk files on which the virtual
machines are based for complete volume or system level recovery only?
While one virtual machine is being backed up, what is the performance impact on additional virtual
machines hosted on the same physical ESX 3 server during the backup?
What are the relative advantages\disadvantages of each of these backup techniques?
What are the relative advantages\disadvantages in terms of recovery of the ESX server and the
guest virtual machines?
How would you perform a disaster recovery of an entire Guest virtual machine?
Does a combination of these backup methods make sense for my environment?
Taking into account these issues, we discuss these methods in detail and provide a comparison chart later in this
paper.
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Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.
Traditional VMware Virtual Infrastructure (ESX) 3 Backup Methods
•
•
•
Traditional Agent-Level Backups
Installing Linux Agent on ESX Server
Basic Script-level VCB Integration
Traditional Agent-Level Backup
In this method, you are essentially treating each virtual machine as if it were a traditional physical system. In each
case, a Backup Exec Remote Agent is required to be purchased and installed in each Guest VM (see Figure 2Installing Backup Exec Agents inside VMware Guest Virtual Machines). The Guest VM backup is then scheduled and
performed as you would with any other Backup Exec protected system on your network.
Advantages of Traditional Agent-Level Backup of Guest VM’s
The virtual machines will appear to Backup Exec as normal physical systems. Restores of data contained inside of
the Guest virtual machines are done the same as they would be for any standard Backup Exec restore job.
Figure 2.
Installing Backup Exec Agents inside VMware Guest Virtual Machines
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Disadvantages of Backup Exec Agents in Guest VM Backup
Installing an Agent in each of the Guest VM systems can be cost prohibitive for many organizations in terms of both
money and i/o performance on the ESX server. Existing Backup Exec licensing applies to VMware environments.
Backup Exec and its Agents are licensed on a per server basis regardless of whether they are physical or virtual
servers For example, if three Guest virtual machines running Windows 2003 being protected by a Backup Exec
Media Server would require:
•
•
1 Backup Exec for Windows Servers Media Server License
3 Backup Exec Agent for Windows Systems (AWS) Licenses (Agent for Windows Systems licenses
include both a Continuous Protection Agent and a Remote Agent for Windows Systems license)
Service Console Backup and Recovery Method of .VMDK Files with RALUS
The Backup Exec for Windows Servers Remote Agent for Linux and Unix Servers (RALUS) can be installed directly on
the ESX 3 Service Console to protect the .vmdk and .vmx files on the VMware supported file systems including EXT3
and VMFS. (see Figure 3- Installing RALUS in the VMware ESX 3 Service Console)
Figure 3.
Installing RALUS in the VMware ESX 3 Service Console
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Disadvantages of Backups with RALUS in Service Console
Care needs to be taken when backing up these files to make sure they are backed up in a consistent manner,
assuring that restored files are not corrupt. Before backing up the vmdk files, all I/O operations to these files must
be halted. This can be done either by:
•
•
Shutting down each guest virtual machine prior to the backup
Performing snapshots of the virtual machines that can be used for backup
These commands can be used by Backup Exec in a backup job automatically as a pre\post job command. For
complete documentation of all vcbMounter and vcbRestore commands, please see your ESX documentation on
www.vmware.com
Note: The Backup Exec for Windows Servers RALUS Agent requires ESX 3 or later and will not install or function
correctly on an ESX 2.x server
Backing Up the ESX Service Console Itself
The service console itself (excluding .vmx and .vmdk files) does not typically change often, so backing up the service
console OS does not need to occur very frequently. Additionally, ESXi versions no longer even include the Service
Console. However, in the event of an ESX system failure, restore operations of the Service Console configuration files
could be facilitated if a current backup of the service console was available. As a point of clarification, the backup of
the service console described in this section would not typically include the .vmx and .vmdk files associated with a
guest OS. These files would be protected separately as mentioned in the previous section of this paper (Service
Console Backup and Recovery Method of .VMDK Files with RALUS).
Basic Script-level VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB) Backup
The traditional practice of placing backup agents on the virtual machine to perform daily backups puts extra load
on the ESX Server and can impact performance for that ESX Server and for all of the users connected to virtual
machines being hosted by that ESX server.
Advantages of Basic Script Level VCB Backups
For a wide range of ESX Server virtual machines, VCB can accomplish two types of separate backups of Guest VM
data.
•
•
File Level- This type of VCB backup will result in the entire file system contents of the .vmdk files
to be mounted as local directory (i.e. mount point) on the VCB Windows 2003 Proxy Server that
can then be protected by Backup Exec via a normal file system backup of the VCB Proxy Server.
Image Level -This type of VCB backup will result in snapshot copies of the virtual machine .vmdk
files being copied from the ESX 3 server’s VMFS volumes to the VCB Windows 2003 Proxy Server as
complete .vmdk disk file images.
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These File Level or Image Level backups by can be done on a separate server from the ESX server (i.e. “off-host“)
using a centralized Windows 2003 machine as the off-host VCB “Proxy” Server. VCB is then used by Backup Exec,
via pre\post job “scripts”, during a backup of an ESX server to perform File Level or Image Level (or a
combination) backup of the guest virtual machines by exporting either the File Level data or complete Image
Level data (.vmdk, .vmx, and .log files) to the off-host Windows 2003 Proxy Server. (see Figure 4- VCB Proxy
Server Backup Configuration)
Figure 4.
VCB Proxy Server Backup Configuration
Disadvantages of Basic Script Level VCB Backups
It is important to understand that both Image and File Level VCB backups must be performed separately to obtain
both complete backup of a Guest VM and individual file recovery. This “two-step” process results double the
backup time, double the disk or tape backup media storage, and twice the backup administrator’s time to ensure
both backups run successfully. Additionally, you must download, install, configure, and manage the VMware
created VCB scripts for Backup Exec to perform these functions. You can obtain VCB and the VCB interoperability
modules specifically for Backup Exec directly from VMware at
http://www.vmware.com/download/download.do?downloadGroup=VCB
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Improving VMware Virtual Infrastructure (ESX) 3 Backup and Recovery
Backup Exec Agent for VMware Virtual Infrastructure (AVVI) takes the advantages of VCB, such as off-host backup,
while removing some of the challenges of implementing a script-based VCB-based backup solution. Improvements
have been made in several key areas over just basic VCB script-level integration including;
•
Integration with key VMware API’s to ensure VCB “scripting” or “integration modules” are not
required
• Eliminates separate VCB backups for system level vs. individual file level recovery to recover a
single file from within a .vmdk file
• Protecting **VSS-aware applications such as Exchange, SQL, or SharePoint as part of the entire
Guest virtual machine (**see Best Practices section below)
AVV itself requires no “agent” to be installed on the ESX and nothing to be configured for VCB backups to take
place. All of the support necessary to perform backups of the VMware Virtual Infrastructure is included. (see
Figure 5- Backup Exec AVVI Configuration)
Figure 5.
Backup Exec AVVI Configuration
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Table 1.
Backup Exec AVVI Features and Benefits
AVVI Features
Benefits
Integrated with VMware Virtual
Infrastructure 3 (VI3)
Supports and integrates with all key VMware technologies
including VCB, VirtualCenter, VMotion, VMware Converter,
ESX/ESXi, and VMware Tools.
“Scriptless” VCB Integration with
Backup Exec
AVVI is integrated directly into the Backup Exec console and
does not require VCB “scripts” or “integration modules” to
protect a VMware environment
“Agentless” Guest VM backup
Backups can be done without installing a Backup Exec Agent inside
of Guest virtual machines or on the ESX host server.
Simplified Licensing and Pricing
A single AVVI license can protect all Windows and Linux Guest VM’s
on an ESX Server. Simply purchase an AVVI license for each ESX
server in your environment. A single AVVI license includes the
ability to protect an unlimited number of Guest VM’s on the ESX
host.
Embedded Granular Restore
Technology(GRT)
Included GRT technology provides the ability to restore individual
files and folders inside of Guest virtual machine without restoring
the entire Guest virtual machine(*Windows Guest machines only)
Application Protection via VSS
When protecting the entire Windows Guest VM, AVVI can provide
protection of applications via Microsoft’s Volume Shadow Copy
Services (VSS). This allows for the entire server and application to
be recovered together.
Restore Anywhere Features
Restore Guest VM’s to their original or alternate Datastore
locations including specifying different virtual machine name and
virtual network to be used after the restore
Integrated with Backup Exec To Enable
Protection of Virtual and Physical
Systems
Backup Exec AVVI can automatically discover your VMware virtual
environment next to your physical environment to provide the
seamless protection of both.
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Using Backup Exec Agent for Virtual Infrastructure (AVVI)
Once the Agent for VMware Virtual Infrastructure license has been installed on the Backup Exec server, the easy to
use Backup Exec interface can communicate with VMware’s VirtualCenter or with individual ESX servers to walk
Administrators through the process of identifying the necessary ESX hosts, Groups, and Guest virtual machines for
fast and simple backup and recovery. (see Figure 6- Discovering and Selecting Guest VM’s)
Figure 6.
Discovering and Selecting Guest VM’s
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The entire Guest VM and all of it’s necessary components are automatically selected for backup including the Guest
VM’s .vmdk files, .vmx, .log files, and .nvram files (see Figure 7- Protecting Guest VM’s)
Figure 7.
Protecting Guest VM’s
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When the need arises to recover and entire Guest VM, simply browse to your protected Guest VM systems in the
Backup Exec console to restore the entire Guest VM or individual .vmdk files. (see Figure 8- Restoring Guest VM’s)
Figure 8.
Restoring Guest VM’s
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Or use Backup Exec’s built-in Granular Recovery Technology (GRT) to allow individual file/folder recovery from
within a .vmdk file without having to run a separate backup of them. (see Figure 9- Restoring Individual Files and
Folders)
Figure 9.
Restoring Individual Files and Folders
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Backups can be restored back to their original locations or to alternate locations, including alternate datastores,
host ESX servers, with different virtual machine names and to different virtual networks. (see Figure 10- Restoring
to Original or Alternate Locations)
Figure 10. Restoring to Original or Alternate Locations
Table 2.
VMware Backup Method Comparison Chart
The following table provides a comparison of the VMware backup methods described in this document.
Feature
Backup Exec Agent for
VMware Virtual
Infrastructure (AVVI)
Agent Level Guest
VM Backup
Scripted VCB
Off-Host Proxy
Level Backup
Service Console
Backup via
RALUS***
Integrated with
VMware VCB
Backup
Framework
YES
NO
NO
NO
Support for VMware’s
VCB framework has
been integrated into
the Backup console
without any scripting
There is no
integrated support
for VMware’s VCB
framework when
Agent’s are
Requires
separate
scripts or
integration
modules for
No support for
VMware’s VCB
framework
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or integration modules
required
installed inside of
the Guest VM’s
VMware VCB
support as
pre/post job
scripts
Individual filelevel and folder
recovery from a
single-pass image
level backup of a
Guest VM (.vmdk)
YES
NO
NO
NO
AVVI uses Backup
Exec’s Granular
Recovery Technology
(GRT), to recover
individual files,
directories, or entire
volumes can be
restored without
restoring the entire
Guest VM .vmdk
Individual files,
directories, or
entire volumes can
only be selected
for restore for a
Guest virtual
machine when a
Backup Exec Agent
was used for
backup
Individual
files,
directories, or
entire volumes
can only be
selected for
when a
separate 2nd
pass file-level
VCB backup
has been
performed
The entire
.vmdk file must
be restored.
Individual files
from within the
.vmdk cannot
be restored
separately
Integrated with
VMware
VirtualCenter
YES
NO
NO
NO
AVVI can communicate
directly with VMware’s
VirtualCenter to
automatically discover
and display your
VMware environment
Individual files,
directories, or
entire volumes can
only be selected
for restore for a
Guest virtual
machine when a
Backup Exec Agent
was used for
backup
Individual
files,
directories, or
entire volumes
can only be
selected for
when a
separate 2nd
pass file-level
VCB backup
has been
performed
The entire
.vmdk file must
be restored.
Individual files
from within the
.vmdk cannot
be restored
separately
Agentless Backup
of Guest Virtual
Machines
YES
NO
YES
NO
AVVI allows Backup
Exec to communicate
directly with
VirtualCenter or
individual ESX Servers
to provide protection
of Guest VM’s without
Individual Guest
VM backup
requires an Agent
to be installed
inside of each
Guest VM
Provides basic
backup
without
requiring an
Agent to be
installed inside
of each Guest
Requires Agent
to be installed
on ESX Service
console (not
possible with
ESXi) and does
not off-load
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installing an Agent on
the ESX or Guest VM
VM
backup i/o
Off-Host Backup
Processing
YES
NO
YES
NO
AVVI uses VMware’s
VCB to offload backup
tasks from ESX Server
systems to one or more
dedicated backup VCB
proxy servers, reducing
the load on the ESX
Server systems
Off-host backups
are not currently
supported with
Agent Level
backups of Guest
virtual machines
Provides basic
script level
VCB backup
support for
off-host
backups
Backups of the
.vmdk and .vmx
files with the
RALUS Agent
must be done
on-host on the
VMware ESX 3
server to a
remote Backup
Exec Server
Included
Application
Support
YES
YES
YES
NO
AVVI included VSS
support to protect VSSaware applications
(such as Microsoft
Exchange, Microsoft
SQL, Microsoft
SharePoint, etc) when
protecting the entire
Guest VM
Backups of
applications are
available via the
corresponding
Backup Exec Agent
when installed
inside of the Guest
virtual machine
running the
application
VCB 1.5 does
support the
backup or
recovery of
online
application
data beyond a
crashconsistent file
system backup
of the .vmdk
file
RALUS does not
currently
support the
backup or
recovery of
online
application data
beyond a crashconsistent file
system backup
of the .vmdk
file
YES
NO
YES
NO
AVVI leverages VMware
Converter to restore
Guest VM’s backup to
their original or
alternate location with
different virtual
machine name and/or
different network
VMware Converter
integration is not
available
A SAN is
required to
perform VCB
off-host proxy
backups
VMware
Converter
integration is
not available
Leverages VMware
Converter for
Customized Guest
VM Restores
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Leverages VMware
Converter for
Customized Guest
VM Restores
YES
NO
YES
NO
AVVI leverages VMware
Converter to restore
Guest VM’s backup to
their original or
alternate location with
different virtual
machine name and/or
different network
VMware Converter
integration is not
available
A SAN is
required to
perform VCB
off-host proxy
backups
VMware
Converter
integration is
not available
Online Backups of
Guest Virtual
Machine
YES
YES
YES
YES
AVVI leverages VMware
VCB to communicate
with VirtualCenter or
individual ESX servers
to perform online offhost backups of Guest
VM’s
The Backup Exec
Agent for Windows
Servers (AWS) and
the Backup Exec
System Recovery
7.0 Option (BESRO)
can both be
installed into the
Guest virtual
machine to take
online backups
without being
shutdown
VCB enables
online backups
of Guest
virtual
machines
Backup Exec
Remote Agent
for Linux and
Unix (RALUS)
can use the
vcbMounter and
vcbRestore
VMware tools to
perform online
backups of
Guest virtual
machines
YES
NO
YES
NO
AVVI can support all
current storage
infrastructures of
VMware including SAN,
iSCSI, NBD/NFS, and
local storage
A SAN is not
required to
perform Agent
Level backups of
each Guest virtual
machine
VCB scripting
can support
multiple
storage
infrastructures
including SAN,
iSCSI,
NBD/NFS, and
local storage
Public folders
can be restored
directly by
Backup Exec
GRT-enabled
backups to
original or
redirected
locations.
Supports all
VMware Storage
Configurations
*** Backup Exec Remote Agent for Linux\Unix Servers (RALUS) does not support ESX 2.x. It is only compatible with
ESX 3.x servers.
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Licensing Backup Exec Agent for VMware Virtual Infrastructure
The Backup Exec Agent for VMware Virtual Infrastructure is designed to accommodate the needs of large and small
deployments – whether it’s a single ESX host or a robust, multi-ESX, VirtualCenter managed environment. It is
licensed simply on a per-ESX host basis.
Scenarios
Customer Environment
Licensing
Protecting three
(3) ESX hosts with
eighteen (18)
Guest virtual
machines total
Three (3) ESX host
systems with
eighteen(18) shared
Guest virtual machines
ten (10) running
Windows and eight
(8)running Linux
Qty: 3 of Backup Exec Agent for VMware Virtual Infrastructure
licenses.
**Note- No Agent for Windows Systems license or Agent for Remote
Linux/Unix Servers is required for any Guest virtual machine hosted
on the protected and licensed ESX host. However, application level
or granular application level recovery requires a separate Backup
Exec Application or Database Agent. Please see the Integrated Data
Protection Section below
AVVI System Requirements
To support Backup Exec AVVI, the following components are required:
•
•
•
•
•
•
VMware ESX 3.0.2, 3.0.3, 3.5, or later
VMware Converter 3.0.3 or later
VMware VirtualCenter 2.5 or later
VMware VCB 1.1, 1.5 or later
Guest virtual machines are required to have VMware Tools installed on them
Check the Backup Exec Software Compatibility List for the most current information at
www.backupexec.com
Symantec Corporation World Headquarters
20330 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino, CA 95014 USA
© 2008 Symantec Corporation. All rights reserved. Symantec and the Symantec logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Symantec Corporation or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries.
Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.
Backup Exec AVVI Software Installation Locations:
Installation of AVVI is simple and does not involve installing any software on the ESX Server. The following section describes what
components of Backup Exec and VMware Virtual Infrastructure are installed where. (see Figure 11 below - Backup Exec AVVI
Software Installation Locations)
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One or more backup proxy systems running Microsoft® Windows 2003 SP1 or later, having network
connectivity to the VirtualCenter Server managing your ESX cluster (or to the ESX Server system if
you are not using VirtualCenter and have only one ESX Server system), and containing a Fibre
Channel host bus adapter (HBA).
For best performance, it is recommended that Backup Exec for Windows Servers be installed on the
VCB Windows 2003 Proxy Server to perform the backups of the exported data from the ESX 3
servers
VCB 1.1 or later software from VMware must be installed on the Windows 2003 VCB Proxy Server
VMware Converter 3.0.3 can be installed on the VCB Proxy Server or other Windows location that is
accessible by the Backup Exec server
To protect VSS-aware applications such as Exchange, SQL, SharePoint, and Active Directory, a
Backup Exec VSS Provider can be installed inside of the Guest VM. This VSS Provider is located on
the Backup Exec CD. Alternatively, VCB 1.5 also includes a VSS component that can be used in
place of the one provided with Backup Exec AVVI. It is important to ensure that both are not used
together. See the Backup Exec Administrator’s Guide for more details on installation of the VSS
component.
Figure11 - Backup Exec AVVI Software Installation Locations
Symantec Corporation World Headquarters
20330 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino, CA 95014 USA
© 2008 Symantec Corporation. All rights reserved. Symantec and the Symantec logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Symantec Corporation or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries.
Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.
VMware Data Protection Best Practices with Backup Exec
Backup Configuration
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For best performance, it is recommended that Backup Exec for Windows Servers be installed on the
VCB Windows 2003 Proxy Server to perform the backups of the exported data from the ESX 3
servers. If Backup Exec is installed on a separate server from the VCB Proxy Server, Backup Exec for
Windows Servers or the Backup Exec for Windows Servers Agent for Windows Systems (AWS) must
be installed on the Windows 2003 VCB Proxy Server
When performing VCB Image Level backups, care must be taken to ensure sufficient disk space
exists on the VCB Proxy Server for all .vmdk files that will be copied directly to it for off-host
backup
Do not use both the Symantec Backup Exec VSS Provider and the VCB 1.5 VSS Requester together on
the same Guest VM system. Only install one or the other
VSS-enabled backups via VCB of Guest VM’s that contain applications such as Microsoft Exchange,
SQL, SharePoint, and AD are NOT intended to replace traditional application/database level
backups via Backup Exec Application/Database Agents . VCB backups with VSS enabled do not
support application/database level Full, Incremental, or Differential backup methods. The
following Backup Exec backup methods are supported with VCB VSS backups are COPY backups that
do not truncate log files of the application or provide application granular recovery.
For SAN backups, the off-host VCB Proxy Server will need to be zoned properly to see the VMFS
LUNs that the ESX Servers use. VCB will mount a VM’s VMDK file to a directory on the centralized
Windows VCB server and allow the contents of the VMDK to be backed up
To avoid snapshot-associated issues, backups should be scheduled during times of relatively low I/O
activity on the VM. Reducing the number of simultaneous backups (and, in turn, VCB snapshots) can
help with this, as well.
Upgrade to the latest version of VMware Virtual Infrastructure. This includes the latest version of
ESX Server, Virtual Center Server, and VCB Framework. Newer versions of Virtual Center
components typically have enhancements that improve VCB snapshot reliability.
Once a VCB snapshot is created, data is transferred from the VM datastore to the Backup Proxy
mount point. The completion speed of the snapshot process can be significantly enhanced if care is
made to ensure that the data path from the datastore to the snapshot mount point is as fast as
possible. The snapshot mount point should be configured over as many dedicated spindles as
possible.
RDM disks are not currently supported through VCB backups and will be automatically skipped
Symantec Corporation World Headquarters
20330 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino, CA 95014 USA
© 2008 Symantec Corporation. All rights reserved. Symantec and the Symantec logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Symantec Corporation or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries.
Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.
Restores
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VCB provides no direct-restore capability to individual Guest VM’s. A Backup Exec Agent for
Windows Systems (AWS) to be installed on the target Guest VM to perform Granular Recovery
Technology-enabled restores of individual files and folders. Alternatively, an alternate client
restore can be performed to a Windows share, and the restored files may be accessed and
transferred to the VM through this share.
Granular Recovery of individual file and folders from within a .vmdk file works best when restoring
from a disk-based backup. While Granular Recovery from a tape based backup is supported, it does
require temporary staging of the entire .vmdk file to a disk-location during the restore and is then
removed. Please ensure sufficient disk space exists on the temporary staging location specified in
the Restore Job Properties to recover the entire .vmdk file
Summary
Server virtualization has quickly risen to mission-critical status in many companies; therefore, keeping it highly
available and protecting its data is not an option, but a business requirement. Consequently, backup and recovery
including full disaster recovery are among the most critical processes of datacenters that contain virtualized
servers. Backup Exec introduces a number of new powerful capabilities to protect your VMware environment as
part of your overall backup strategy while maintaining the ease of use that has made Backup Exec the solution of
choice for thousands of IT administrators for over 15 years.
Symantec Corporation World Headquarters
20330 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino, CA 95014 USA
© 2008 Symantec Corporation. All rights reserved. Symantec and the Symantec logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Symantec Corporation or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries.
Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.
Reference Materials
Title: “Consolidated Backup in VMware Infrastructure 3”
Desc: Covers the VMware Consolidated Backup functionality that was introduced with ESX Server 3
URL: www.vmware.com/pdf/vi3_consolidated_backup.pdf
Title: “ESX 3.x Backup Compatibility Guide”
Desc: Backup Software Compatibility for ESX Server 3.x
URL: http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vi3_backup_guide.pdf
Title: “Virtual Machine Backup Guide”
Desc: ESX Server 3.01 and VirtualCenter 2.01 Virtual Machine Backup Guide
URL: http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vi3_30_20_vm_backup.pdf
Table 3.
Appendix A: VMware Virtual Infrastructure (ESX) 3 Backup Terminology
Term
Description
AVVI
Backup Exec Agent for VMware Virtual Infrastructure
.VMDK
All the information of a physical server, including the operating system,
applications, and data, is included in a VMware virtual disk file(s). Each
VMware Guest virtual machine has at least one physical disk file associated
with it. VMware places these files on top of VMFS and adds a “.vmdk”
extension to each file
Guest VM
Guest Virtual Machine running in a VMware environment that includes .vmdk
that represent virtual hard disks and .vmx files that represent the system
configuration
Symantec Corporation World Headquarters
20330 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino, CA 95014 USA
© 2008 Symantec Corporation. All rights reserved. Symantec and the Symantec logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Symantec Corporation or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries.
Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.
VCB
VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB) is a set of command line executables
developed by VMware and designed to offload backups of Guest virtual
machines on the ESX server to a separate VCB Windows 2003 Proxy Server
VCB PROXY SERVER
A physical machine running Microsoft Windows 2003, Consolidated Backup,
and third-party backup software (in this case Backup Exec) that is used to
perform off-host file level and full virtual machine backups of VMware virtual
machines
Backup Exec RALUS
Backup Exec Remote Agent for Linux and Unix Servers. This is not a VMware
term, but is important to understand for the purposes of this paper. This
agent is available for purchase separately for Backup Exec for Windows
Servers to enable the remote backup of Linux and Unix Servers, in this case
VMware ESX 3 servers when installed into the ESX 3 Service Console
VCB FILE LEVEL BACKUP
File Level backup are a backup of individual files contained on the disks
within a virtual machine. This can include all files and/or directories or just
selected files and/or directories. Additionally, Incremental or Differential
backups can be performed to protect only those files which have changed
since a previous backup (full, differential or incremental file backups). File
Level backups allow files or directories to be restored individually, which is
often desirable in the case of file corruption or accidental file deletion. File
Level backups can be done with either VCB or via Backup Exec Agents
installed within Guest virtual machines
VCB IMAGE LEVEL BACKUP
Virtual machine image backup includes of all the disk (.vmdk) and
configuration files (.vmx) associated with a particular virtual machine,
allowing the restoration of the entire virtual machine just as it was at the
time the backup was made. It is a complete volume level backup. This
capability is important for rapid and efficient disaster recovery of entire
.vmdk files. Image Level backups can either be done via VCB or RALUS
backups within the ESX Service Console
VMFS
VMware VMFS is a high-performance file system on physical SCSI disks and
partitions, including SAN and iSCSI storage systems. ESX Server uses the
VMware VMFS file system for storage of virtual machines.
Symantec Corporation World Headquarters
20330 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino, CA 95014 USA
© 2008 Symantec Corporation. All rights reserved. Symantec and the Symantec logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Symantec Corporation or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries.
Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.
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