Veeam Direct Attached Backups with HP P2000 SAS

I’ve talked about the benefits of “Direct Attached” backups in Veeam before, but normally always in conjunction with an iSCSI type SAN’s. Lately, though, we have had a lot of interest in the HP P2000 G3 SAS attached SAN, mostly because it’s reasonably priced and offers great performance. So this week I have to start building a Veeam backup server for use with one of these P2000’s; the problem is that there is no Ethernet interface to attached it into the SAS controllers in the customers P2000 G3 SAS SAN. So my options were to make Veeam virtual machine or use NBD mode (slow)…. both of which I did not want to do for this customer. The answer to the problem was to order another SAS HBA (the same one we use in our VMware servers), and directly attach the backup server into the SAS fabric.

Our parts list for this project:

  • A backup server
  • HP SC08e 6Gb SAS HBA
  • HP Ext mini-SAS to mini-SAS

I should note that this is a demo system to see if the customer likes Veeam Backup and Replication, and we will be repurposing a server that we virtualized during phase 1 of this project. The hardware is an HP DL320 G5P with an Intel Xeon 3000 series CPU and 2GB of ram. For storage, we will be leveraging the two internal SATA/SAS bays with a RAID1 between two 1TB SATA drives. By no means is the system meant to be a powerhouse or a storage monster, but it will give the customer a very good idea of what Veeam B&R is capable of and how easily restoring files could be if they decide to purchase.

The Game Plan

So the plan is to install Windows 2008 R2 on the server and then install just the Veeam Backup and Replication package. Because we are limited on RAM and CPU power we are going to forgo installing the Enterprise Manager and the Microsoft Search Server components. Basically, if we wanted to use the Guest Indexing feature or be able to search our backups to find specific files, or just to have a web interface for management we would need these components, but since we are pretty tight on extra RAM we will leave them out.

After getting windows installed on the server and Veeam installed we will rack the server at the customer site, but before we connect the SAS cable to the SAN we need to boot Windows and run a command to stop Windows from trying to mount the datastores on the SAN. If you remember my “The Missing Manual Part 1” article you will recall that before we connect this server to our SAN we MUST run ‘automount disable’, otherwise we run the risk of losing data when Windows discovers our VMFS datastore LUNs.

  1. Open a command prompt and Run as Administrator
  2. Type: diskpart <enter>
  3. Type: automount disable <enter>

That will do the trick and keep your datastores safe when Windows is booting, and now we can safely connect the SAS cable to the SAN. At this point, we can either refresh the Disk Management Service to have the card go out and rescan, or simply reboot the server.

Now we are ready to configure our Veeam Backup and Replication jobs just like we normally would.

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27 Responses to "Veeam Direct Attached Backups with HP P2000 SAS"

  1. Interesting, but is not more easy install Veeam on a VM, without using a physical host?
    We are developing a virtualization project with vSphere with 3 ESXi hosts and a HP MSA P2000 G3 SAS as shared storage. For backup our intentions are to use Veeam B&R installed on a VM in Virtual Appliance mode and use the same shared storage (P2000) as destination storage. Backup files will be also copied on a tape for having a offsite backup.

    What do you think about this?
    HP MSA P2000 SAS could be right solution for us?

    What do you think about EMC competitors products (VNXe for example)? Is better of HP MSA P2000 SAS for small business?

    Thanks
    Alessandro

  2. The virtual appliance mode is a great option if you are going to make Veeam a VM. and the SAS P2000 will really take advantage of those 6Gbps connections if you are reading data and writing to the same SAN.

    The only part about that plan that scares me in general is that all of your data is on the SAN. Yes you are offloading to tape which reduces the risk of total loss, but if you lose your SAN then your completely dead in the water until you can get it back online.

    If you make Veeam a physical machine then if the SAN dies you can leverage the new vPower features and run your VM’s directly from the Backup server until the SAN is back online and then storage vmotion them back to the SAN.

    As for the EMC VNXe series I will see if i can get one of my co-workers who follow that product line to post a reply. He has been watching them very closely since they came out and knows much more about them then I do.

  3. But P2000 is fully redundant (disks, controllers, power supplies), there aren’t single points of failure. It is not reliable? What type of failure could to happen?

    Another question: vSphere Essential Plus (edition provided by the project) don’t has Storage vMotion functionality, how can I exploit vPower functionality in physical backup server environement? It is possible power off VMs that reside on backup server and then moving to the SAN when it back online without miss changes?

    Thanks
    Alessandro

  4. The only part of the P2000 that is not redundant is the backplane. But it is a fairly simple device and after asking around I haven’t heard of very many backplane failures.

    If you do not have storage vMotion you can just power off the VM then migrate the storage. (Or alternatively, you could also try to put that host back into “trial mode” … by removing the license key from it… sometimes this works and then that host has access to the Enterprise plus level features, including storage vmotion. But this is a gray area and would not be supported by VMware)… so you would be better of to just power off the Vm after everyone goes home. and then migrating it to the production datastore…. this will also copy any changes that happen from when you do the instant recovery until you shut it down.

  5. Ahh, finally made it. 🙂

    In response to Alessandro’s question about a comparison between the P2000 and a comparable EMC product, the new VNXe3100 and P2000 are nearly identical units. Both support dual controllers, SAS and SATA (NL-SAS) drives and iSCSI, FC and directly connected hosts with an external SAS/SATA connector. Even the pricing, warranty and add-on features (assuming HP’s add-ons are supported on the P2000 as they are on the larger units) are nearly the same so there are very few differences technically between the boxes.

    If you are already an HP or EMC partner then that could potentially be a differentiator (or not if you aren’t a partner to either). Otherwise, a slight price difference one way or the other depending on the deals you can find may also make a difference.

  6. Hello, very interesting posts!
    I’m going to deploy a P2000 G3 SAS with 2 ESX hosts and I’ll use Veeam Backup in Virtual Appliance mode because its performance are impressive (tested on different customers).
    In our typical setup we also use an external NAS (like the Iomega StorCenter Pro ix4-200r or similar) where Veeam B&R will store the backup, so that in the remote case of SAN failure backups are still safe.
    You can use the StorCenter either via CIFS or via iSCSI and perform quite well.
    Cheers,
    Luca

  7. Justin, looks like a nice entry level design.

    Only thing that I’m not a massive fan of is the scalability to 4 host on those MSA SAS controllers, either way bang for buck this looks very good indeed.

    Just a shame that you SATA disks will never see anything like 6Gb 🙂

    I’ve not got any clients who use the SAS controllers in these P2000’s but can you not map the volumes as read only to certina hosts to avoid windows writing a signature to the vmware datastore?

    I’d be interested to hear more about your long term retention or tape strategy in case your server room is lost.

    Cheers,
    Dave

  8. Just for curiosity, did you have any issue using the SC08e HBA on a G5 server?
    From the QuickSpec of the product it seems that only DL generation G6 and G7 are supported from HP.
    It seems due to the fact that the SC08e is PCI-Express 2.0, while the SC08Ge is PCI-Express 1.1, but I suppose that the SC08e should be backward compatible.
    I’m going to install it in a DL385 G5!
    Cheers,
    Luca

  9. Sorry Justin, but in this post you wrote that you’ve used an HP DL320 G5P as backup server, and that you attached it to the P2000 SAS with an SC08e HBA 🙂 was it a G5P really?

    Anyway, I *do have* to get it working on a DL385 G5P with vSphere 4.1! 🙂 it’s only a 2 years old server!!

    Cheers,
    Luca

  10. Yes, sorry it really was a G5P server LOL. I guess when you said DL385 i was thinking “real server” and in my opinion the 320 G5p is a glorified PC lol

  11. Well thank you, this sounds interesting. The DL320 G5p is not in the compatibility list of the SC08e HBA (while the DL320 G6 is in the list), so I feel that the HBA is really backward compatible with PCI-Express Gen1.
    I’ll let you know about my tests with the DL385 G5.
    Ciao!
    Luca

  12. Hello

    I would like to used a HP P2000 SAS G3 with one DL 380G5 and one DL380G7 and used vmware VMOTION.
    It’s seams that G7 is ok but G5 have not good and not supported by HP (with SC08e or SC08Ge).
    On the preview post you have write that you think make test to validate that.
    Have you found time to make it ?
    could you post your conclusion ?
    I must take a decision between SAS or FC solution, and the price is not very the same.

    thanks

    Regards.

  13. the SC08Ge card works fine in a DL320 G5p server. I have not had a chance to test with a DL380 G5 though.

    Remember to enable EVC mode before powering on all your virtual machines though. If you try to enable it later you will need to reboot both servers before you can start using it.

  14. Hello Justin

    I have never heard about EVC, I will search all informations on the net, thanks.

    I have an others questions :
    -have you tested your dl320g5 + sc08ge with direct attachment on hp p2000g3 ?
    – have you tested to add an other server with sc08e and make a vmotion , is it ok ?
    have you put this solution in production ?
    do you think it will be a good solution?

    thanks

  15. @Luca Maranzano – You mentioned you have an external NAS you use for storing the backups. Is the initial staging and deduplication processed from that NAS as well, or is that handled on the Veeam virtual appliance, and then once complete it is copied over to the NAS? How bandwidth intensive is the connection between the virtual appliance and your NAS where the backups are stored?

    The reason I’m asking is that I currently have a number of building spread throughout our location (all the same physical address). I was thinking that putting the NAS in a building separate from our servers/SAN to help keep our backups offsite. The only catch is that the buildings are all connected via 100 meg links, not gigabit. Do you see this as a viable option?

  16. @john

    Veeam Deduplicates and Compresses inline… so as it pulls data off the SAN or the local datastore it compresses and deduplicates and then writes to the NAS.

    You could do what your planning but i would recommend that you use the “Lan” or “Wan” target that should make dedupe and compression work a little harder and reduce network traffic.

  17. Hi,

    I am running a new setup with the above solution.
    From my veeamserver i can see the my 3 LUN’s on the P2000, but my veeam job uses the ethetnet connection, how do i control this ?

  18. Hi Justin
    I am using veeam 6, and as told i can see my 3 LUN’s in disk management, DISK 0, DISK 1, DISK 2, and they are online. My last full veeam backup was running at 56 mb/s

  19. Hi Justin,

    Took your advice and did exaclty that. Getting great throughput on Veeam.
    Ive also done what dave suggested above and set the backup box to read-only on the luns in the mapping on the p2000 (also did the automount disable too in the windows o/s)

    one kind of related question based on some of the responses is the dedupe with veeam.
    Im deduping my jobs and then using arcserve to write the entire backup to tape. If im doing this perhaps i should not be using dedupe since if i want to restore a full vm for example from todays backup in 6 months time is veeam going to know what that deduped data is? I know that other backup products use an index for thier dedpue that needs to be present.

    cant find a clear answer in veeam manual.

  20. Veeam files are designed to be portable. So as long as your are getting a fule (VBK) file and the metadata VBM…. you should be good to go, as veeam stores everything it needs in the VBK file and the VBM file 🙂

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