Last week, I presented a webinar titled, 5 New ways to use vPower. The objective of this webinar was to explain how the SureBackup functionality with vPower can bring a few more options to the VMware vSphere administrator. While I was focusing on SureBackup, a few questions were raised related to the networking capabilities of the Virtual Lab functionality. In the Users Guide, this diagram explains the Virtual Lab well:


However, there are still questions that may arise for each of the virtual machines behind the proxy appliance (located at the top end of the diagram). Here are five facts about these machines behind the proxy appliance:

1. The SureBackup virtual machines cannot pass through the Proxy Appliance to the production network. The VMs that reside in the isolated network are on a vSwitch that is only accessible to the proxy appliance. There is no route from this network out other networks.
With this safeguard, the isolated network virtual machines have the same IP addresses as the production virtual machines. This is the fundamental way that the virtual machines can start as expected while not interfering with the production instances within the isolated network.

2. The Virtual Lab proxy appliance is created from the wizard. When the Virtual Lab wizard creates the networking configuration for the proxy appliance, the virtual machine that performs the proxy appliance role is created with the input from the wizard. The proxy appliance is created from the contents of the C:Program FilesVeeamBackup and ReplicationLiveCD folder in default installations. Each proxy appliance will have individual network configuration from the Virtual Lab wizard , which creates a floppy image to provide the proxy appliance its configuration. The virtual floppy image also is where logs are written. The floppy image file is stored as config.flp file in proxy appliance folder on selected datastore.

3. The vSwitch has no physical adapters assigned. If you look in the network inventory of the host, you may notice that there are no vmnic interfaces assigned to it. The figure below shows an example vSwitch for a Virtual Lab:

This is, by design, to keep the virtual machines in the Virtual Lab isolated. The SureBackup proxy appliance does have a connection on a production network vSwitch, but its configuration prohibits pass-through from the isolated to production networks. Inbound traffic is permitted through the access IP, if configured, within the Virtual Lab wizard.

4. The vSwitch is located only on one host. During the Virtual Lab wizard, the selected host is the only one that receives the vSwitch for the SureBackup Virtual Lab. In this way, the Virtual Lab is contained to this host and will not move around should a vSphere feature such as vMotion be configured.

5. Distributed Virtual Switches (DVS) are supported with Veeam Backup and Replication 5.0.1. Using a DVS on the ESX host is now supported for the Virtual Lab. Further hosts that are part of DRS clusters are also supported with version 5.0.1.

The Virtual Lab is an incredibly useful tool, yet the networking configuration should be fully understood before proceeding. If you haven’t checked out the User Guide, it’s the authoritative resource for these feature. Some lab time to go through the drill with vPower is also a good idea to be fully comfortable.

How do you use the Virtual Lab within Veeam Backup and Replication v5? Share your comments below.

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  • Rick,

    Great Post. I just wanted to point out that, although a vLab is contained to a specific ESX host, Veeam customers can configure multiple vLabs from the same Backup and Replication Server each using different ESX hosts.

    Therefore, many vLabs can be created for the many different scenarios!

  • Hi,

    Very good article.

  • I see that the SureBackup allows you to use the last backup in the Virtual Lab but how would I mount a rollback from a previous date?

  • It would be a manual selection and execution of the Job (last part of the three sections). Or you could create a new job to not interfere with SureBackup automation.