I'm sure a common problem with most shops is backups, their size, and the window in which you have to back up the data.

What we are working with:

VMware vSphere 4.1 Cluster

PS4000XV Equallogic Storage Array (1.6TB Volume dedicated for Backup to Disk)

Physical Backup Server with a single LTO4 drive.

BackupExec 2010 R3 with the following agents, Exchange, SQL, Active Directory, VMware.

Dual Gigabit MPIO Connections between all devices (Storage Array, Backup Server, VM Hosts)

What we would like to accomplish:

I would like to implement an efficient Backup to Disk to Tape solution where all of our VMs are backed up to the Storage Array first, and then once completely backed up to the array are replicated to tape. In the event we needed to recover, we would be able to do so directly from tape.

Where we are at currently.

Of the several ways I have setup the jobs in Backup Exec 2010 R3 the backup jobs all queue up at the same time, as soon as a job is finished backing up to disk it then starts that same job to tape, but pulling from the original source instead of the designated B2D location. I understand that I could create a job that backs up the "Backup to Disk" folder to tape, but in the event of restoration, I would first need to stage the data in the B2D folder before I could restore the VM.

I would really like to hear from individuals in similar situations. Any and all comments and critiques are appreciated.

  • 1
    How tied to BE are you? I'm more of a netbackup guys sorry. The array can do snaps right, can't you just run LUN snaps, NDMP-copy that and then drop the snap?
    – Chopper3
    Apr 9 '12 at 16:57
  • 1
    I'd go with @Chopper3's comment (we used to use Netbackup and now use Commvault). Maybe I'm being unfair to BE a bit but I think its fair to say there are different tiers of product and it only tends to be the higher tier products (like netbackup & commvault) that can really backup stuff like this very efficiently. You're looking for something that can talk to either the SAN directly or to ESX directly, allowing you to do a backup image at a lower level than the individual virtual guests.
    – Rob Moir
    Apr 9 '12 at 17:19
  • @Chopper3 - I'm not particularly "tied" to Backup Exec, but from what I've gathered about Backup Solutions they all have their own quirks. So I'd probably just stick with the one I'm familiar with (and already paid for). I've considered performing array snapshots, but wasn't sure about the logistics of it or how it tied into Backup Exec. I'll do some more research on your suggestions as an alternative. Thanks.
    – Josh
    Apr 9 '12 at 17:22
  • @DJ Pon3 - The backups actually work great, especially with GRT. It's the entire flow of the process that I am trying to improve (shorten the time window)
    – Josh
    Apr 9 '12 at 17:25
  • @DJPon3 - We're about half way in our transition from NB to Commvault - some older legacy stuff will be on NB for years though - but both do great jobs of VM backups either way.
    – Chopper3
    Apr 9 '12 at 18:48

This is accomplished using one of the Backup Exec 2010 templates. You will end up creating a Disk-to-Disk-to-Tape (D2D2T) job that leverages the "Duplicate Job" functionality of BackupExec.

In this case, you'd run a normal backup using your array as the destination. Successful completion of that job will trigger a job that duplicates the job from the array (not the original source) directly to tape.

In practice, I usually have a setup similar to yours, and run this schedule:

  • full backup to disk on Saturday.
  • duplicate the full disk backup to tape, which is taken offsite on Monday.
  • incremental backups to disk Sunday through Friday.

Since the catalog is intact, are you sure you need to stage recovery from tape to disk first??

Symantec forums say no...

The D2D backup will create one or more BKF files on the target disk drive. If you then do a standard COPY backup of the BKF file(s), then you would need to restore them , inventory and catalog, then select the file(s) to be restored If, however, you do a DUPLICATE backup job, BackupExec will create a copy of the backup set on tape, and you can restore directly from tape.

  • I've tried creating a B2D2T Template/Policy, but it appeared that the jobs were backing up to tape as soon as they finished backing up to disk. I have the jobs broken down to individual machines, or a group of similar machines to ease job failure troubleshooting. I could have very likely missed something, but from it sounds like you are able to perform what I am trying to accomplish.
    – Josh
    Apr 9 '12 at 17:31
  • I am taking another stab at creating a B2D2T Policy following some of the knowledge provided by ewwhite. I will update this post tomorrow with my findings.
    – Josh
    Apr 9 '12 at 21:25
  • While my results varied and need quite a bit of refining, I am accepting ewwhite's answer. The link helped fill in some blanks for me and the job ran correctly for the most part. I need to troubleshoot why the remote agent crashes on the media server along with a few other oddities, but the concept appears to work. Thanks.
    – Josh
    Apr 10 '12 at 18:42

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.