ExaGrid with Veeam Backup Part 3

As promised here is the third part of the ExaGrid/Veeam Backup series. This post will show you step by step the best practices for using Veeam with your ExaGrid backup appliance.

If you have the time and like reading the best practice documents check out this one. Otherwise, I have the short and sweet version to get you up and running below.

Normally if you are just backing up virtual machine data to a standard drive or network share the default Veeam settings are normally just fine. But because the ExaGrid deduplicates data as well as compresses data some settings need to be modified to allow for optimal space savings. One thing that I’ve always heard is that you cannot compress compressed data, meaning that while you could burn CPU cycles to try to do it you will not see any additional savings. This is the case with Veeam and the ExaGrid as well. Veeam’s dedupe settings, however, can be left at their defaults. I would imagine (and this is in no way official, but it’s my guess) that Veeam dedup’s data at a certain block size (probably whatever the VMFS file system block size is), then when the ExaGrid gets the data it dedup’s at a much smaller block size… probably a 64 or 128k block size. IF this is the case that would explain why you get additional savings by using an ExaGrid over using just Veeam and a standard disk… because once the Exagrid has all the data it can look at the entire job at a more granular level and compress and dedupe the hell out if it! Veeam can’t do this because it has data constantly streaming into it from the SAN or ESX host, so it’s much harder to get a “big picture” of all the data.

On to the step by step and screenshots:

I won’t explain the entire Veeam Backup job process as you should already know most if it, but after selecting your Job Name, and the Virtual Machines you want to protect you are asked to pick a backup location. When using Veeam with an Exagrid you need to entire the UNC path to the ExaGrid share you want to write data too. In this case, I want to put my data on the “VEEAM3” share I created on the ExaGrid.

Before clicking next we need to click the Advanced button to configure some additional settings.

On the first tab in Advanced, we need to make sure that out backup mode is Incremental. If we tried to use a reverse incremental we would cause the ExaGrid ALOT of extra work. Next click over to the Storage tab.

On this tab make sure to set the Compression Level to NONE, and make sure to leave the “Storage Optimize for” section set to Local (even though we are going to a LAN share). This will affect the amount of deduplication that we do on the Veeam server, we will actually do less dedupe on Veeam, but the ExaGrid will more than make up for it.

You can now click OK out of the Advanced settings dialog boxes. And we have completed all of the ExaGrid specific settings, continue to create your backup job just as you normally do.

One thing I do want to note is that you should not point more then 1 Veeam Backup job to a share…. or if you do make sure to run them at about the same time. This is because the ExaGrid monitors activity to each of it’s shares… when there have been no IOps for some time to a particular share it will start the dedupe/compress process on that share. So if you have multiple jobs running at different times to the same share you may lock the ExaGrid out from doing its job.

Check back soon for the update on what I was actually able to save by using the ExaGrid, that will be the next post I do.

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