Book Review: Learning Veeam Backup and Replication for VMware vSphere
I was recently sent a copy of Christian Mohn’s new book “Learning Veeam Backup and Replication for VMware vSphere” to review, and as ever this is my honest opinion of this book. I am not receiving anything other than the copy of the book for this review. I don’t work for a vendor, so I have no axe to grind!
The book starts of with explanations of basic backup strategies and explains principals like Grandfather-Father-Son media rotation and RPO/RTOs. From there it dives into the architecture of Veeam BR and its components. The remainder of chapter 1 covers a walk through of the installation of the product.
Chapter 2 covers the configuration of backups, and gives some background into the different types of backups within Veeam, their drawbacks, and how Veeam have addressed them. For example solving the problem of having to combine incremental backups with the last full, which Veeam solve with synthetic full backups. The chapter also covers backup proxies, and configuring backup jobs, copying to tape or remote repository, and the WAN accelerator.
The next chapter walks through performing restores with Veeam, including full VMs, VM files (like a vmx) and VMDKs, and guest OS files.
Chapter 4 covers the replication part of Veeam Backup and Replication, and after explaining the differences between backup and replication it covers the infrastructure required before stepping through the set-up of a replication job. It also covers the process for fail over and fail-back, and here is one example of where I’d like to see some comparison – e.g. with VMware’s SRM, which has a similar feature set.
The fifth and final chapter covers some of the more unique features of Veeam’s offering, and I thought it provided a good explanation of those features – here is where I think walk through of setup/config would be most valuable, but it reads more as a feature list than a learning guide.
I found the writing style easy to read and I thought it flowed quite well throughout the book – this is always impressive when the author’s first language isn’t English.
I did find that I had to keep reminding myself that the book is specifically written about a single product rather than a more agnostic approach – I felt it read more like a vendor produced document. Personally, I would have liked some comparison with other well-known backup products to ground it a little and perhaps some more real-world explanations to distinguish it from vendor install documentation.
Perhaps that’s a little unfair as the book is specifically about that one product, and there is added value in the explanations provided. The introduction specifically states that it’s aimed at “vSphere administrators looking for an introduction to Veeam Backup & Replication v7 for VMware” and it definitely does provide that.
Extending a vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) Workflow with ForEach – Backing up all ESXi hosts in a Cluster
In my previous post Backing up ESXi 5.5 host configurations with vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) – Workflow design walkthrough I showed how to create a workflow to back up host configurations, but it was limited to one host at a time. For this post I’m going to show how to create a new workflow that calls the previous one on multiple hosts using a ForEach loop to run it against each one. This was actually easier than I had anticipated (having read posts on previous versions of vCO that involved created the loops manually).
Ready? Here we go…
Create a new workflow – I’ve called mine “DefinIT-Backup-ESXi-Config-Cluster” and open the Schema view. Drag a “ForEach” element onto the workflow and the Chooser window pops up. This is a bit deceptive at first because it’s blank! However, if you enter some search text it will bring up existing workflows, so I searched for my “DefinIT-Backup-ESXi-Config” workflow that was created in that previous post. (more…)
Backing up ESXi 5.5 host configurations with vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) – Workflow design walkthrough
As a little learning project, I thought I’d take on Simon’s previous post about backing up ESXi configurations and extend it to vCenter Orchestrator (vCO), and document how I go about building up a workflow. I’m learning more and more about vCO all the time, but I found it has a really steep entry point, and finding use cases is hard if you haven’t explored capabilities.
The steps I want to create in this post are:
- Right click host to trigger
- Sync and then back up the configuration to file
- Copy the file to a datastore, creating a folder based on date and the host
Ideas for future extensions of this workflow include – trigger from cluster/datastore/host folder, email notifications, emailing the backup files and backup config before triggering a VMware Update Manager remediation. Hopefully all this will come in future posts – for now, lets get stuck into the creation of this workflow.
GFI Backup – Home Edition: Free backup for home users!
Why should a home user backup? Most don’t, most people just have their photos, music and video collection on a single hard drive, maybe an external drive or even a USB key. Unfortunately, no-one ever thinks about what they’d do if their drive were to fail, losing all their precious holiday snaps, their slightly embarrassing music collection, or perhaps their family finances. But stop and think for a second – can you really replace those holiday snaps? What about your music collection – do you want to spend 3 days importing all your CDs or DVDs? Or maybe your personal finance app – is that something you could afford to lose?
With my little preachy bit out of the way, I’ll come to my point – GFI have released their own home backup software, and from what I can see, it’s pretty good. Installation is dead simple, and then you’re presented with your main screen:
Simple enough, Backup lets you…well…backup, Restore, funnily enough, lets you restore, Sync is a handy tool for syncing data across several sources, and finally My Tasks lets you modify previously configured Backup, Restore and Sync tasks.
Configuring Backups is as simple as selecting What, Where and When – What do you want to backup? Where do you want to back it up to? When do you want to back it up? There are some nice features over the bundled-with-Windows NTBackup
- email notifications
- backup to an FTP site
- backup registry keys
- backup email applications
- backup user settings (i.e. your AppData folder)
- “stacked backup” that keeps versions of your data
- zip compression
- aes encryption
In my test the pre-scan element of the backup took a while, but the actual backup itself was pretty speedy. I backed up my website (about 3000 files, 10mb) in 54 seconds to an external USB drive.
Restoring is just as easy, you can select to restore the entire backup, or individual files and folders. Both work well and are intuitive. I restored the same web folder back to my hard drive in an incredible 9 seconds.
I’ve not tested comprehensively, but on the surface it looks like a great piece of home software, which I’ll be using to do some off-site backups at home. And it’s free, which means you can’t go far wrong – nice one GFI!