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Licensing Questions Thread, Backup Software in Technical; Afternoon all... We're looking into renewing our backup strategy (as part of a wider picture) but I was hoping you ...
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    Backup Software

    Afternoon all...

    We're looking into renewing our backup strategy (as part of a wider picture) but I was hoping you all could help me with a few questions.

    At the moment we're using BackupExec 11 to back up physical and virtual servers with agents... far from ideal. We're looking into the likes of Veeam, DPM, Backup Exec 2012 and Appasure.

    What does everybody use? We intend to have around 3-4 physical servers to back up by the end of the summer, with another 10-20 virtual servers on 3-4 ESXi hosts (currently 3). At the moment we are doing a full backup weekly to disk which is duplicated to tape, and we have differentials that run each day to disk - also not overly ideal. We're interested in doing continuous backup of some servers.

    I am curious to find what you all use, how it works for you, whether it is something you would recommend or if you have experience with something different which may be worth a look? I am also interested in cost, so if you have any figures that would be appreciated.

    Cheers all
    Steve

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    VeryPC_Ed's Avatar
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    Hi Homer,

    If you are using Hyper-V, DPM is great as it integrates with Hyper-V brilliantly, if you are running on Esxi hosts (and are not going to switch to Hyper-V) then you are going to be limited to guest only backups and you lose a degree of the power of DPM (in my opinion).

    Veeam supports VMware and depending on your host configuration, you can get away with an lower cost essentials (if i remember correctly) license and it also supports features such as running VM's from the backup location in case of emergency etc.

    No experience of appasure i'm afraid.

    If you can PM me some tech details of your hosts (CPU sockets / cores etc) and what you are planning on using for your backup target I can probably get you some pricing for the Veeam over.

    Thanks,

    Ed

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    Ephelyon's Avatar
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    I can detail ours if it's any help. Quoting from our strategic overview for the past three years (here):

    "This involved the purchase of a new DR server (in addition to the existing backup server) along with the purchase of Veeam Backup & Recovery, designed specifically for use in a fully-virtualised server environment. Combined with the virtualisation of all core servers, this allowed for the entire system to be backed up to disk every evening, employing a reverse-incremental methodology, including quarterly archives to tape storage that would provide somewhere between 1 to 2 years’ worth of data retention depending on system growth. Working with the County Council and a local partner school, XXX XXX XXX, an arrangement was made whereby the bandwidth between the two sites (both being ‘core sites’ on the County broadband network) would be unthrottled at weekends to allow both sites to send their backups over the line to our colocated storage, thereby ensuring that a complete copy of the system was always available at another (geographically local) site. The five data recovery methodologies now available are as follows:

    • Using the 'Previous Versions' feature, which extends back approximately one month (this is also available for individual users to manage directly);
    • Using the disk-based system backups, extending back approximately three months;
    • Using the readily-available VM replicas, which are always the full system 'as it was yesterday' (or the previous Friday should a problem occur on a Monday);
    • Using the appropriate quarterly tape archive;
    • Using the off-site storage."

    This is using Veeam running against ESXi hosts. All servers are guest VMs and they are backed up to disk every Monday through Friday evening (on a three-month retention cycle). All server VMs are also replicated to the DR server after that job finishes to allow for a 'hot mirror' approach (only the last day is stored there). Every three months, the backup server and its contents are written to tape (on roughly an 18-month retention cycle). At weekends we use our offsite link (iSCSI over WAN - yes, I know the controversy but it's working well so far!) to back up to our offsite storage (one-week retention cycle, i.e. only the latest copy as with the hot replicas). Additionally, I've enabled Shadow Copies on the file server VM and given it 100GB or so of space, then opened Previous Versions up to the users (both staff and pupils); this means they are empowered to resolve most accidental deletions and other cock-ups by themselves in case we're not available at the time.

    On a side note, I'd agree completely with @VeryPC_Ed that DPM is an excellent option if you're running Hyper-V.

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    zag
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    We use:

    Veeam backs up virtual machines daily
    Backupexec 2010 for file backups (soon to be depreciated by Veeam)
    SQLbackupandFTP for SQL backups to Google Drive.

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    Ephelyon's Avatar
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    I hope the ICO knows you're storing personal data outside the EU? It's a pretty painless process to notify them but failure to do so can lead to legal action even if nothing bad happens.

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    Evening all

    Cheers for the responses, been a bit nutty at work recently so had to move this to the side for a few days.

    Epheylon - How much data are you backing up and from how many VM's? How much storage do you have on the disk based backup for this? We're not intending on keeping many servers physical. The only things which are going to stay physical (at this point in the plan) are a single DC, anything operating as an iSCSI target and the actual box handling the backups. Your solution sounds quite similar to what we are after, would it be OK to PM you to go into a bit further detail? We are unlikely to have the funds to do a full on DR solution like yours but the main part of it interests me.

    Zag - When you say Veeam are deprecating the file backup, are you using a seperate utility from Veeam to do a file backup, or are they removing the ability to 'explore' virtual disks and pull files out of them that way?

    I have toyed with the idea of moving to Hyper-V but we've put so much money into VMware now it is illogical for us to move away when ESXi is working well for us... though hyper-v 3 is an awesome piece of engineering.

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    wesleyw's Avatar
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    We use appassure here very good experience will.restore a vm straight to another esx server or to a vhd file can't remember but i think it does esxi too. 5 min intervals for incremental backups windows of time to ignore/backup in say 8pm - 6am or 6am-5pm whatever you specify its very good new version 5 is available now i think theres plans to restore back to a hyper-v server as well.

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    Ephelyon's Avatar
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    It's about a terabyte and a half as we're quite a small secondary, from about 11 VMs. The storage volume is around three and a half terabytes, which adequately accommodates 60 reverse-incremental snapshots of varying sizes as well (20 working days per month * 3). Please feel free to PM me and maybe we can schedule a phone call so I can explain the supporting infrastructure in more detail.

    Veeam also has the capacity to do snapshots up to every five minutes but we're not using this to save space and bandwidth (although we do have a separate BAN - Backup Area Network)... as most of the data that could be "lost" consists of files, I rely on Shadow Copies to handle this side of things.

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    TheScarfedOne's Avatar
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    Im using a mixture of Symantec, WSB, built in utilities (Sharepoint and SQL) and scripts. Im also doing drops of our HyperV VMs to it as well. I wanted to use DPM, but sadly there isnt yet a linux media server like Symantec have.

    We have not long come out the other side of a big refresh of our backup solution. On site, we backup to an Overland Snapserver with 12tb of disk storage. This is SAS attached to a Neo2 LTO5 tape library. Daily backups go onto the disk storage, and then weekly there is a full drop to tape. User data is also sent offsite to our Scomis support unit.

    In the coming months, we are also going to use the replication available on the Overland units to pool offsite storage with some other partner schools who have bought (or are soon to buy) the same solution as us.

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    The offsite solution you have in place there sounds very encouraging - we're hoping to do the same with our own kind of setup.

    In this way, local schools would establish a manner of "data protection grid" that ensures we're only screwed if a nuclear missile takes out most of the area.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ephelyon View Post
    The offsite solution you have in place there sounds very encouraging - we're hoping to do the same with our own kind of setup.

    In this way, local schools would establish a manner of "data protection grid" that ensures we're only screwed if a nuclear missile takes out most of the area.
    Yep - thats exactly what we are doing. You can pay a fortune to have offsite backup; when really if you invest in compatable hardware - you can pool by installing extra disks in eachothers storage systems. Before the Data Protection guys get in - yes, data is encrypted. You are reliant on someone elses network and internet connection, and power/UPS....but only as much as they are on you! Everyone has to look after eachother for this to work so engage with and work with your local (or not so local in all my cases) schools/contacts :-)

    PS... should give a heads to up to @Net-Ctrl here; and any of the Overland mob who are lurking im sure :-p

  12. Thanks to TheScarfedOne from:

    Net-Ctrl (1st May 2013)

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    Brilliant! I know there are people at the Local Authority here in Cheshire who are looking to other examples... I may see if I can refer them to Devon!

    One thing I will say in fairness to Michael Gove (and I really don't want a political debate)... he's saying schools should share and pool their resources wherever they can. This is a good way of doing so and can (I imagine) be used by Local Authorities or Academy Chains who may need to justify themselves in this manner.

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    truebluesteve's Avatar
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    Currently using Backup Exec 12.5 with a D2D2T setup. We are moving to Cloud based backup in the next few weeks and I'm looking at VEAM to backup our VMs but I'm finding the pricing a bit hard to get my head around!

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    zag
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    Quote Originally Posted by truebluesteve View Post
    Currently using Backup Exec 12.5 with a D2D2T setup. We are moving to Cloud based backup in the next few weeks and I'm looking at VEAM to backup our VMs but I'm finding the pricing a bit hard to get my head around!
    Veeam is excellent and the new market leader.

    The pricing is pretty simple, they do an "essentials" 2 socket educational license for about £320 quid. We bought 3 of these which covers 6 Hyper-V virtual machines.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Homer View Post
    .

    What does everybody use? We intend to have around 3-4 physical servers to back up by the end of the summer, with another 10-20 virtual servers on 3-4 ESXi hosts (currently 3). At the moment we are doing a full backup weekly to disk which is duplicated to tape, and we have differentials that run each day to disk - also not overly ideal. We're interested in doing continuous backup of some
    I would recommend using BackupAssist (http://www.backupassist.com/index.html) for backing up your physical servers (as long as they are Windows servers) and storage and Veeam for the VMs.

    I've used BackupExec, NetVault, Acronis, and Zmanda in the past and found that BackupAssist just works better overall for Windows backups. It's inexpensive, dead simple, reliable, and quite flexible. The backups are also non-proprietary so no worries about being able to recover from the backup media (same goes for Zmanda). If you have a need to backup physical Linux or Mac servers as well then it won't do that and I would probably go with NetVault or Zmanda in that case.

    Veeam works a treat for backing up VMs, and is very flexible. It can be a finicky and can throw a wobbly occasionally with things like CBT faults and such, but these are usually pretty easy to resolve. The ability to test your backups in a sandbox and replicate to secondary storage arrays on-site or off-site makes it a real winner.

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