Veeam VESS series 2: plan your new architecture

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Veeam Explorer for San Snapshots actually supports only HP LeftHand storage, both physical or the VSA. Even if in the future other storage products will be supported, these concepts could be used as general guidance.

The first steps you need to do even before start using VESS, is to check and configure your LeftHand storage in order to be used in conjuction with VESS.


Choose which VMs need to be protected by VESS

You need to understand first of all which is the use case for VESS. Usual backups occur on a daily base, and this schedule is good enough for most of the VMs you are running. For some VMs however, a more frequent backup is useful. Think about a file server or an Exchange server, where data can vary every minute. The need to protect those VMs with hourly or even more frequent backups is the best use case for VESS.

But, since the space required for San Snapshots on the LeftHand storage is limited by the disk space available, and you have to deal with the added I/O required to do and manage those snapshots, you need first of all to separate your VMs in two lists, based on the need/will to be protected by VESS.


Arrange your VM to LUN distribution on vSphere

Remember: even if VESS operates at the Virtual Machine level, LeftHand creates snapshots at the LUN level. Based on the list you did before, you need then to move your VMs among the LUNs so that each of the LUNs hosts VMs of the same type: VESS-protected or VESS-unprotected.
In this way, you will be able to configure LeftHand snapshots only on the VESS-protected LUNs.

An easy way to check the actual status of your VM to LUN distribution, is vSphere Maps. If you filter the view by choosing only “VM to Datatore” you would have a quick overview:

In my lab, there are two shared LUNs hosted on the LeftHand VSA storage: vsa-snap-01 and vsa-02. Only the first one is going to be configured with snapshots. Since I want to protect with VESS only the VM called fileserver, I’m going to migrate splunk to another LUN/Datastore.

After the migration, only the desired fileserver VM is hosted on the vsa-snap-01 LUN.


Check the disk usage on HP LeftHand

Now, let’s move into the HP LeftHand storage. Using the P4000 CMC (Centralized Management Console) we first check the disk status of the cluster. In my lab you can see I have two VSA and a Failover Manager, and they are exporting two LUNs as described before:

I created my two LUNs in thin format, so I can save space on the storage for further LUNs or snapshots. Be careful because the default LUN type is thick. We need to check the available space on the cluster:

We are sure now we can create LUN snapshots without filling all the storage. If you do not have enough space, remember LeftHand is a scale out storage using a network raid between the VSA or Physical nodes you have. So, if you need more space, simply add another node in the cluster and rebalance your LUNs. This is out of the scope of this post series, but it’s for sure an important check to do before start using snapshots.


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