Since I’ve started here at Veeam, one of the foremost things I’ve been doing is become more familiar with the products. One feature that caught my eye and has been a popular aspect of Veeam Backup and Replication v5 with vPower is SureBackup. Basically, SureBackup verifies the backups not only that they were taken correctly; but that they are usable. There is plenty of information on SureBackup, as a refresher; see Doug Hazelman's earlier blog post from before SureBackup being released.
The fundamental issue is that a system can be backed up without any issues or warnings on the task, but is not bootable or otherwise usable. Consider the case of a virtual machine that has a critical system component missing, such a portion of the registry. The virtual machine is able to run and be backed up, but may not be able to reboot correctly. Further, the system administrator may not even know that there is a problem with the virtual machine. In this case, the system would be backed up and the source would match the backup, albeit not operational. This is the case for any virtual machine protection tool, including Veeam products that are simply just backed up.
The issue that can come into play is retention policies. It is not atypical for a critical system in today’s demanding IT environments to have high uptime numbers, and this high uptime may end up exceeding the backup retention policy. Let’s take an example of a critical system that only has one or two maintenance windows per year. In this situation, this system is backed up regularly and retained off-site on three tiers of storage including off-site storage in a three month retention. The issue becomes that unless the backup is fully functional, the retention policy could propagate only an inoperable virtual machine if a full restore is needed.
As we already know, SureBackup’s objective is to provide verification to the virtualization administrator that the virtual machine is indeed bootable and that critical applications start up as expected. This cornerstone feature is a way to ensure that the backups are in good shape, but also possibly to identify any issues with the virtual machine that would prohibit a successful recovery operation.