Wow that's some backup routine! We've got Backup Exec 2010 but we want to drop the support \ maintenance now as the price is getting silly for the yearly renewals. On top of that we want something to backup the VMs which will either be DPM (for Hyper-V) or maybe for VMWare the Data Recovery tool. We're not paying out for the Backup Exec VM agents as there also seems to be a growing number of people who aren't happy with the amount of errors the product keeps throwing up and are now looking elsewhere.
Even if we go VMWare we're still looking at DPM as it does the continuous backups for ease of restore then back off to tape weekly. Also helps it's included in our Campus license. That said we still need a solution to put the VM backups on tape and if going down the VMWare route it seems to be a bit more complicated to get to that point as Veeam and VDR both seem to only natively support disk and require a bit of creativity to get the files off to tape
Have to say on this front I think Hyper-V and DPM 2010 seem a good combination and looks a neater and more flexible solution as long as everything works as it says on the tin...
My original design for the hardware was based on HP DL380 servers for something standard, proven and reliable. The SAN is more up for debate but seems to be coming down to either HP or EMC (price will most likely decide that one). We've also been recommended to look at the Intel Modular Server but the fact it's an OEM box doesn't instil me with as much confidence as the HP kit does.
As for spec I'm going 3 x minimum dual quad core CPU (maybe even 6 core if I can get the price down) with 32GB RAM... will leave plenty room for expansion and really I guess the 3 host limit is me being paranoid as much as anything else (although I reckon better to be paranoid than overconfident and miss something out!)
It sounds like you're using a mixture of both virtualisation products at the moment so here's a question... if you had to choose one platform which would it be (if we take the cost issue out of the equation for a moment)
Last edited by gshaw; 23rd February 2011 at 09:05 PM.
1. Not a great fan of Data Recovery tool. I tried it but there were multiple VM failures on backup and at the time it did assume you were implementing remote SAN LUN mirroring which we deemed too expensive to implement (note all my backup solutions are relatively cheap).
2, We use Backup Exec 12.5 never bought maintenance or support just worked with the product as it is only does file backups which also include backing up the Veeam backups.
3. Don't rate the Backup Exec VMWare solution.
4. I would strongly recommend Veeam if you choose VMWare. DPM is not enough. The main problems you will find with virtual machines is that if the machine files get screwed you will have to restore the full VM DPM cannot do this. My backup rationale goes as follows:- Do a full VM backup once a week then use DPM to maintain up to date files during the week. If VM gets screwed on Wednesday, recover full VM from lets Saturday and restore user files from DPM up to point in time. Always have some way of doing a full VM backup (not Data Recovery Tool!) separate to your SAN this is essential. Learnt that the hard way. To answer your question Veeam gives you, off SAN, full VM backup capability this along with DPM gives you the ability to recover to point in time (almost depending on you DPM rotation).
5. The servers and SAN (hardware) I thought were really important when I started out but 5 years on they're really not. It's just a point in time decision based on price, performance, warranty etc. As long as you remember buy big names and make sure the warranties (5 years if possible) cover the disks, that's the really important bit. Our kit is IBM, not the fastest in the world (measured against massive enterprise kit - but in a school environment more than good enough) but the kit has been rock solid. That knowledge along with the 5 year warranties is priceless. Will I go for IBM when we start to renew in 2012? yes no question.
6. Processors are a non-issue, we run 45 VMs on 3 ESXs and the processor use is negligable. Put you money into the memory I suggest 48Gb per host if you intend to put more than 15 VMs per host.
Answer to your last question:- VMWare always.
Last edited by Dave_O; 23rd February 2011 at 09:30 PM.
Thanks for such a detailed reply, just what I've been looking for... real world experience of using the products is the most valuable info
Had a feeling VDR might be buggy so looks like DPM + Veeam is the route to go. One more qu, how much space does DPM use up e.g total size of data plus 50% etc. Just plucked that number out the air tbh, not sure how much space it uses for the change deltas after the initial backup.
I was thinking of building an OEM box to do the backups with 1-2TB SATA disks to give enough capacity then hook it up to the tape drive for off-site backups.
We have a Dell 2950 with 6x 1.5Tb dedicated to DPM ing located across the other side of school. We use DPM for all file servers, Exchange, SQL (inc SIMS) and HyperV with 2 snaps per day kept for 60 days. There's plenty of space still on the server (30%) been going for a year. Putting 2Tb drives in would give you plenty of space
For what its worth, we are a vmware house but looking to migrate to hyper-v at easter.
We will make a £800 saving a year for the vmware support renewal, but thats not the reason we are switching.
We got vmware in nearly 3 years ago when hyper-v was not the product it is now, but since it went in we have struggled on occasions with a lack of training on the platform and being a linux based system, we haven't felt confident dealing with it when issues occurred (and they have occurred).
We feel now that SP1 is out, delivered dynamic memory, we will will not lose any functionality by switching to hyper-v (except FT which we dont use) and we hope to benefit from a platform which is easier to support, troubleshoot when errors occur and offers integration with system center and full integration with DPM (we do use DPM for backing up our servers, but it sits on top, no vm awareness).
Nothing wrong with vmware - its a good product, used everywhere with great success... but for us and our situation, i believe hyper-v will suit us better.
That's interesting, not known of many places switching from VMWare to Hyper-V until now.
The thing that Microsoft have been quite clever with is that they've got a full integrated solution with Hyper-V and DPM 2010 whereas going down the VMWare route is going to cost us again for Veeam. It just seems MS are going to give more from the package but VMWare still has the technical merit... very hard choice...
Having spoke to a few colleges I think I've made a final choice with VMWare, just need to stick to it now
With all the other systems I need to look after I want the most solid and proven platform to put the infrastructure on and overall VMWare will be easier to manage in the long run. £1600 and £800 a year support isn't a lot and the saving on Backup Exec pays for that straight away
In all honesty I find it hard to go past vmware in this space....the only ither virtualisation I would consider is out of our league...(IBM System P and System Z mainframe...)
running vmware esx4.1 + vsphere licensing. have a 3 server HA on one site. and 1 esxi 4.1 at second site....second site is has DC, DHCP, DFS and other inf functions..all replicated from main site..
using IBM FASTBACK for backup with cross-site replication of backups
Using Veeam replication to perform DR functions from 3 Server HA cluster to servers based in separate locations....
Using IP Storage via Thecus devices...
and also not using any Storage replication.... I would avoid this and SAN switches like the plague.....they can require specialist skills most of us will not have...