Backup performance of VMware VVOLs

Virtual Volumes, or VVOLs, has been one of the biggest addition in VMware vSphere 6. If your storage array supports them, you can start to play with it and decide if it’s time to migrate from monolithic VMFS volumes to this new exciting storage technology. VVOLs have several advantages over regular VMFS volumes, from the granularity of the volume management (essentially, we have now one “LUN” per virtual disk), to policy-based management, and so on. One of the aspects that people didn’t focused too much is the impact on backup operations coming from VVOLs.

An example for a Veeam backup repository using Windows 2016

In my previous article Windows 2016 and Storage Spaces as a Veeam backup repository I talked about the advantages that Veeam Backup & Replication can bring when combined with Windows Server 2016 and the new ReFS 3.1 filesytem. Several people have asked already about some practical examples about how to design a solution using these technologies, so I thought it was time to give you one storage design.

Windows 2016 and Storage Spaces as a Veeam backup repository

As Microsoft Windows 2016 is now finally generally available, people are starting to seriously looking at its features, and no doubt S2D together with the new ReFS 3.1 is one of the hot topics. I’ve first of all updated my lab with the final version of Windows 2016 in order to have my cluster in a “stable” state, than I started to focus on the different topics related to Windows 2016 and its usage as a Veeam repository. And I started to ask How can we leverage ReFS BlockCloning and Storage Spaces to make Windows 2016 the best solution for Veeam repositories? What about Storage Spaces Direct?”.

Patching windows servers with Ansible

After I configured my Ansible server to manage my windows machines in the previous article, one of the first tasks I planned to automate was patching. Patching is one of those extremely boring but needed activities, and in any environment, even with a small amount of server, automated patching may be a savior. As long as proper data protection is in place, like a daily backup of the involved virtual machines, we can safely plan automatic updates, and if anything goes wrong, we just need to revert the virtual machine to the previous state.

Configuring Windows machines for Ansible

As I’m studying Ansible, one of my goal is to manage my several Windows machines with it. I know it sounds strange as Ansible was first designed to deal with Linux systems, but this powerful configuration management platform supports Windows since version 1.7, and is completely agentless: it relies on SSH for linux/unix machines, and Windows Remote Management (WinRM) for Windows machines. Through WinRM, Ansible can connect to Windows machines ard run PowerShell scripts. The idea of using Powershell as the main code to execute tasks in Windows systems, together with the agentless approach, made me be even more curious in learning more about the Windows support.

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