This is a special guest post by Veeam SE Mike Beevor from the United Kingdom. Follow mike on Twitter
Posts tagged vss
This is a special guest post by Veeam SE Mike Beevor from the United Kingdom. Follow mike on Twitter
May 21st 2010
This post is meant to be educational but I realize many of you will see it as FUD. I won’t deny that this post is an attempt at answering the FUD put forth by one of our competitors as they prepare to release a fix update to their backup product, so I guess just take everything below with an open mind and realize that the virtualization marketplace is very competitive. Customers have chosen and will continue to choose the best software for VMware backup and replication!
Changed Block TrackingVeeam has supported CBT for over 8 months starting with our 4.0 release back in October of 2009. With
Object-Level RestoreMost of you have heard by now of Veeam’s plans around Veeam Backup & Replication version 5 that includes the technology known as SureBackup. One of the things that makes me so excited about the new capabilities is that we’re going to be able to offer Universal Application Item-level Recovery – we’re not just talking about Exchange or files, but any data from any application without an additional charge for each application. Other vendors are promising object-level restore but only for Exchange and only if you purchase an additional and very expensive software tool (per mailbox) from their parent company. And yes, they’ve been promising this for years.
Volume Shadow Copy Services (VSS)While other vendors try to make it seem like they’re the “thought leaders” when it comes to VSS, the truth is that Veeam has been leading the way in VSS for VMware backups for almost 2 years now. We knew early on that the only way to ensure proper VSS support was to write our own implementation and not rely on VMware to provide it for us. Additionally, with our VSS implementation everything is done at run time, no need to deploy and maintain a VSS agent executable on every Windows VM. Their implementation:
This driver is implemented as an .exe file which can be added to Windows 2003 and 2008 guests.You can check out any of these previous posts on VSS if you want to know who the real thought leader is when it comes to VSS support on VMware:
Active Block What?Now we’ve heard about this new technology that one of our competitors claims greatly improves the speed of backups. What they’re not telling you is all the limitations of this technology and the fact that it only makes FULL backups faster. Since Veeam uses a proven synthetic backup approach we only require 1 full backup. Here are some other limitations of that patent pending technology:
- No benefit in incremental backups (deleting NTFS data does not update disk content, so data blocks do not change and are not picked up by CBT in an incremental backup)
- Limited to NTFS and basic disks
- Limited to full ESX since it relies on the Service Console (does not work with ESXi)
- Not supported on direct SAN backups utilizing the vStorage API for Data Protection (90% of Veeam customers use VADP)
- Without built-in dedupe their “full” backups are still larger than Veeam’s.
Be Careful What You Read, It May be Paid forI’ve seen some materials that are pointing to an analysis provided by a “pay for play” blogger. I’m not going to mention names or link to sites here because I’d rather not give anyone the traffic. My only advice here (and this goes especially for the VAR community) is to research any “independent” sources your vendor is quoting, there’s a good chance they paid for that analysis and those words. And finally, consider this: what does it mean when a vendor promotes a survey of beta customers in which 39% of the participants claimed reliability was the most important NEW capability. If reliability is a new capability, then I understand why so many partners and customers have chosen and continue to choose Veeam Backup & Replication
Jan 7th 2010
UPDATE (January 11, 2010): In an effort to help clarify things,
Therefore, final answer: if you need application consistent backups, you must do a guest level backup. An image level backup is simply not good enough. Even with a MS Windows 2003 or higher guest, even though VMware supports VSS. Yes you may do image level backups too, but they will only complement, no replace, guest level backups.To be honest Scott was talking about VMware VSS here. I still don’t agree with his statement that for application consistent backups you have to do a guest level backup because there ARE solutions on the market today that provide application consistent backups from an image…of course that would be Veeam Backup & Replication. What prompted some of the discussion (as far as I can tell) is that people don’t realize that Veeam uses its own VSS driver, not VMware’s. This has been the case since Veeam Backup and Replication 2.0, released in July of 2008. In fact, at the time, we pointed out how our VSS integration was different from the competition through a couple of blog posts:
Unfortunately, nobody has been able to provide a piece of definitive technical documentation (a white paper, or a support document, or relevant piece of text from an administration guide) that clearly describes the issue.First, we have real users, using Veeam’s VSS today, that are talking about it in our forums, this is proof that they’re getting application consistent backups from Veeam’s image level process using our VSS:
by tsightler » 05 Jan 2010 14:22 Once again, Veeam fully support VSS aware snapshots of both AD and Exchange server when using the Veeam VSS Agent. Veeam doesn't just "take a VM copy", the Veeam VSS agent uses Windows VSS services to put these features into a proper, supported VSS backup state prior to taking the VM snapshot. In other words, a Veeam backup is indeed a "backup-aware copy of the Information Store and NTDS database", and it uses the Windows recommended VSS processes to achieve this.
by donikatz » 06 Jan 2010 00:00 Obviously neither Tom nor Anton need my help here, but maybe some real-world testimony would make you feel more comfortable? Not only have I tested this, I've performed a *production* restore of a w2k3 DC with Veeam and it worked exactly and as simply as in the video. I've also done several *production* SQL restores without issue. Veeam also works well in our Exchange restore tests, although we haven't had to do any in production (knock on wood). Although agent-based apps like Backup Exec may have more direct hooks for simpler granular restore (we still use BE for Exchange brick-level restores because our admins are more familiar with the process), Veeam is more than capable without the drawbacks of an agent. I hope to move away from BE altogether for Exchange this year; it's just a matter of updating our runbook and training. Honestly, if there's one area you certainly don't need to lose sleep over with Veeam, it's with Microsoft products. MS has well-proven APIs and Veeam makes great use of them; Veeam VSS is excellent. Heck, if only Oracle on Linux had VSS the way it does on Windows it would make my life a lot easier...Next, I’ve taking some quotes from Veeam’s own user guide regarding the differences between using VMware tools quiescence (SYNC) and Veeam’s VSS driver:
Additionally, we then go on to explain the VSS process as well as the systems supported by our VSS driver:
Transactionally Consistent BackupVeeam Backup & Replication 4.0 provides two techniques for creating transactionally consistent backup images — the Enable VMware tools quiescence and Enable Veeam VSS integration options. In contrast to restoring a crash-consistent backup, which is essentially equivalent to rebooting a server after a hard reset, restoring transactionally consistent backups ensures safety of data of applications running on VMs. Please note that when you select both VSS integration and VMware tools quiescence options for a job at the same time, the VSS module will only be used for processing backed up and replicated VMs. However, if you use both VSS and VMware tools quiescence options and select the Continue backup even if Veeam VSS quiescence fails option for backup jobs or the Continue replication even if Veeam VSS quiescence fails option for replication jobs, all your VMs will be processed with VSS first, and in case of VSS failure (e.g., Linux VMs), VMs will be processed with the VMware tools quiescence option enabled. This can be very useful when you have both Windows- and Linux-based VMs in one job, so all VMs will be processed in a transactionally consistent way using VSS or VMware tools quiescence option.
If anyone has any questions or further thoughts I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to comment below, hit me up on
Enable VSS IntegrationWith the Enable VSS integration option selected, Veeam Backup & Replication 4.0 utilizes the Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) that ensures consistent backup of VSS-aware application running within your virtual machines (domain controllers, databases and other applications) without shutting them down. The Enable Veeam VSS integration option allows creating a transactionally consistent backup image of a VM, which, in contrast to a crash-consistent backup image, ensures successful VM recovery, as well as proper recovery of all applications installed on the VM without any data loss. In the process of its work, VSS freezes all I/O at a specific point-in-time by interfacing with all VSS-aware applications and the Windows operating system. Consequently, there remain no unfinished database transactions or incomplete application files. Such backups, when restored correctly, result in fully functional applications. The VSS works with Windows 2003, Windows XP, Windows 2008, Windows 2008 R2 and Windows 7 guest operating systems. Use VSS to back up 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows 2003, 32-bit version of Windows XP guest OS, 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 2008. Please note that administrator credentials are required to access the guest OS. Microsoft Windows VSS backup option requires that your guest OS has VMware Tools, and all the latest service packs and patches installed.