In my previous post, I described how you can configure a virtual proxy to access an iSCSI storage, in order to test DirectSAN backups. Veeam has an additional functionality, called Storage Snapshots, that improves even more DirectSAN backups performances when you have a supported storage. I’m going to show you in this post how you can configure it in your lab.
What you need
There are several components that need to be present and correctly configured in an environment, in order to run Storage Snapshots:
– a supported storage: as of now, Veeam supports this list:
Be careful with this list: for example 3Par is supported only when connected over FC storage, I’ve already seen some users buying an iSCSI 3Par and then not be able to use Veeam Storage Snapshots. In a home lab, the easiest way to have a supported storage is to run the StoreVirtual VSA; you can have one with 30 days trial directly from HP Website. In my lab I’m running two VSA in a cluster, but to test Storage Snapshots you only need one VSA. It’s not the goal of this post to explain how to install and configure it, but there are several blog posts around, for example this one from Craig Kilborn.
– at least one Veeam proxy able to run DirectSAN backups. You can read my previous post to learn how to create it. Both the Veeam Central Server and the proxy should be able to connect to the StoreVirtual cluster.
– Veeam Backup & Replication 7.0 (better to use the latest patch version) with an Enterprise Plus license. In your lab, you can request the Trial License, that comes with Enterprise Plus capabilities
Add the StoreVirtual VSA to Veeam Backup & Replication
This part is pretty easy. Go to the SAN Infrastructure section in the console, right click on HP StoreVirtual and select Add Storage:
Insert the IP address of the virtual interface of your StoreVirtual cluster:
And if you have configured the correct credentials, the “Detect” screen will confirm you all the network connections are correctly configured:
In the same SAN Infrastructure view as at the beginning of this paragraph, you can now see the StoreVirtual cluster and its LUN:
Run a Backup from Storage Snapshot
There is no special job for Storage Snapshots, this feature is an addition to existing backup jobs, whenever a supporte storage exists and can be used. So you can simply edit an existing Backup Job and activate Storage Snapshots. Obviously, if the VMs selected in a given job are hosted on a storage among those supported by Storage Snapshots.
The activation of the feature is dead simple:
As you can see, it takes only 4 steps: edit the backup job and go to Storage section, select Advanced, open the “Storage Integration” tab, and enable the use of Storage Snapshots. That’s it!
When you run the “super-charged” backup, you will see in the logs something different from before:
Veeam is using Storage Snapshots, and most of all the VMware snapshot is open only for 14 seconds, and is removed at the very beginning of the job, even if the job goes on for other 13 minutes! In a usual backup job, the same snapshot would have stayed open for 13 minutes, the time used by Veeam to backup the virtual machine.
See the difference, with the same backup job without Storage Snapshots:
Backup tiself took 7 minutes more, but this is not the most important part. The underlying storage is always the same, so an increase in performances could not be that much. Most important is the fact the VM Snapshot stayed open for 20:44 minutes, compared to the 14 seconds of the Storage assisted backup.
Obviously my lab is not heavily loaded, but try to imagine the same situation with a large Exchange Server for example, saving thousands of emails per day. The backup could last several hours, and for this time the delta disk is saving all the I/O activity, and so it will grow considerably. Its commit at the end of the job can last many more hours than it takes to save the VM. With Storage Snapshots, you can remove all these problems and be able to backup heavily used VMs without problems.