Veeam presented a couple of new features for their Backup & Recovery suite at Tech Field Day 20. Three of them stand out for me: the Scale-out Backup Repository, Enhanced NAS backup, and Continuous Data Protection. The first one is a logical container to bundle other backup repositories in. The second because backing up large NAS filesystems is hard, especially if you want to maintain a low RPO. And talking about RPO’s, there’s Continuous Data Protection (CDP) which protects your volume or VM with an RPO of seconds. Let’s explore what’s changing and when we can expect to see these features in the field.
Last year we decommissioned a physical Avamar grid in London because it was both out-of-support and the location was about to close down. The Avamar was however still being used for desktop/laptop (dt/lt) backups. A separate project was taking care of replacing those laptops, but in the meantime we needed to keep the Avamar backup service running.
We did a quick calculation on the required capacity and deployed 4 new Avamar virtual editions in our central VMware farm. After configuring them and connecting them to the Avamar Enterprise Manager dashboard, we were able to move the majority of clients over.
Now, almost a year later, many of those laptops have been replaced and are no longer backed up by these 4 new Avamars. Which clearly shows in the utilization, as you can see. Three out of four systems are <10% utilized. Since these Avamars claim a fair bit of resources from the VMware farm, I set out to consolidate the systems into the first virtual Avamar. Thus, reclaiming 75% of the resources.
Back at Storage Field Day 16 in Boston, Zerto presented their VM replication software. It’s a block level, continuous hypervisor based replication, using a journal to log I/O in a VCR-like fashion. This enables you to rewind to any point in time that’s covered in the journal, and recover your VMs to that exact state. Zerto’s plans are a bit grander than “just VM Replication” though… they aim to cover the complete IT Resiliency market.
Today I have been troubleshooting Avamar backups of an Exchange 2013 DAG (Database Availability Groups) setup. The Avamar job would start but no data would be backed up and the job would fail within 15 minutes. Initially VSS was suspected to be the culprit but additional troubleshooting revealed some strange behavior of the Avamar client in which the individual plugins would keep waiting for a status message that would never arrive.
The setup is simple: three Windows 2008 R2 SP1 servers, Exchange 2013 Update 5 with Database Availability Groups and Avamar 7.0.2 as the backup software and target. The error that pops up looks like this: