Backing Up vCentre Using Veeam 6.1

Veeam is a great product, I use it regularly to meet customers RTO (Restore Time Objectives) and RPO (Restore Point Objectives).  As I’m sure you know Veeam’s functionality is extremely diverse with DR, CDP and Backup capabilities.

One of the issues we have had with Veeam has been when you are backing up a virtual vCentre or SQL server that is responsible for the vCentre database.  Essentially what happens is that Veeam sends a ‘snapshot’ command to vCentre for creation of a VSS snapshot, but then cannot communicate with vCentre as it’s database is frozen.

To get around this issue you would add the ESXi host that held vCentre and your SQL database manually meaning that Veeam would communicate with the ESXi host directly and your backup would complete.

This caused issues where if you had DRS enabled and your vCentre or SQL moved your backups would fail.  So more often than not you would have to tie vCentre or SQL to a particular host which kind of defeated the purpose of HA.

So, whats changed, well in our environment, we recently upgraded to Veeam 6.1 with the following configuration.

Veeam Backup & Replication Enterprise v6.1

Veeam is a virtual server with 8 vCPU’s broken down into 2 virtual sockets and 4 cores per socket with 12GB of RAM

vCentre Server Standard v5.0.1

vCentre Server is again a virtual server with 2vCPU’s and 4GB RAM.

This has SQL 2008 R2 Standard installed locally holding the following databases:

– vCentre
– VMware Site Recovery Manager
– VMware Update Manager

SQL 2008 R2 Enterprise

SQL is a virtual machine and holds four instances.  A single instance contains the databases for:

– Veeam

Now you have an overview of the environment, lets create a couple of fresh Veeam jobs.

Backup Job 1 – vCentre

This contains vCentre directly added via the vSphere 5 Cluster, with Proxy Selection ‘Automatic’ and Advanced Settings left as default.

To avoid any confusion, ‘The Backup Proxy’ is this server.

Enable application-aware image processing is NOT selected.

Result is a success.

So what does this mean?  Well we don’t have ‘enable application-aware image processing’ selected.  This means that your SQL database might not be transactionally consistent which could result in data loss and that Veeam does not commit the transaction logs.  However, this can be overcome by creating a SQL maintenance plan, not elegant, but effective!

So essentially, the choice is yours, keep vCentre physical or tie vCentre to a particular ESXi host.  Both mean that vCentre isn’t protected by high availability.  Or do what I have explained and have to use a SQL maintenance plan.

For more information on Veeam Backup & Replication 6.1 please visit Veeam ESX Backup

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