In April 2016, Veeam Software announced Nimble Storage Integration. In this post, we will take Veeam Nimble Storage Integration (Beta) for a test flight to demonstrate those announced integration features we heard about. So, let’s get started…
Veeam Nimble Storage Integration includes these features:
- Schedule the creation of Nimble Storage snapshots containing application-consistent VM images and storage snapshot replication orchestration.
- Restore from Nimble Storage snapshots, or their Replicated Copies (entire VM, guest files and application items).
- Backup from Nimble Storage snapshots or their Replicated Copies.
We are lucky to get access to Veeam version 9.5 Beta and two Nimble storage arrays. Our test lab is configured as follows:
Please note, this blog post is an early Veeam-Nimble Storage Integration, and some functionality may changed or modified on the GA release.
Veeam Nimble Storage Configuration
To start our testing, we must configure the Nimble Storage array inside the Veeam console. It’s an easy and straight forward operation. So, follow the steps below:
1. Run Veeam Console;
2. Browse to Storage Infrastructure to add the Nimble Array;
3. Add new Storage – Chose NIMBLE;
4. Enter the Array IP/DNS and credentials;
5. Select the Access option; in this example, we have selected [TBD]iSCSI.
6. After the setup completes, you can browse the Nimble Array from the Veeam console, and view ReScan; you can also manually create Nimble Snapshots:
Note: Now is a good time to add the Nimble secondary array to be ready for testing later. To add the secondary Array, follow the above steps from 1 to 6.
Basic Integration Testing
On this basic integration testing, we are going to test our basic integration features to see what we can expect from the Veeam console.
Our tests will include creating a manual storage snapshot, and then we will try some recovery testing; such as Instant Recovery, Guest File Recovery, and Application Recovery.
Follow these steps to begin the testing:
1. Create a Storage Snapshot by right clicking on the controller, and then chose to Take a Snapshot:
2. Give the Snapshot a Name to complete .
3. File Restore – Right click on the desired Snapshot, and then select “Restore guest Files.”
4. Press Customise to specify a host where the Storage Snapshot will be mounted.
5. Attach the Nimble snapshot to the ESXi host:
6. See the screenshot below: Instant Recovery and SQL item recovery.
Basic Testing Summary:
- Add Storage: Pass
- Edit Storage: Pass
- Delete Storage: Pass
- Instant Recovery: Pass
- Application Recovery: Pass
- Guest File Recovery: Pass
- Manual Snapshot: Pass
- Snapshot Deletion: Pass
- Array Rescan: Pass
Nimble Store Array Preparation
To backup from the snapshot, we must create a volume collection, and then assign the desired Volume for replication. Note, the team at Veeam did a great job ensuring that the effort needed to set up the configuration of the Nimble storage was kept to a minimum; therefore, no special configuration is needed when creating the volume collection.
Introduction Tab: Enter the Volume Collection Name – Can be any.
Synchronization Tab: Use VMware or Windows VSS.
Schedule Tab: Veeam backup and replication not utilizing the Nimble schedule, and will use Veeam engine to initiate the snapshots and replication.
Volumes Tab: Associate the desired Volume for replication.
Important note 1: Keep the Introduction Name and the Schedule Name short; otherwise, you might exceed the maximum allowed 80 characters for the snapshot name.
Important Note 2 : As with SAN mode (LAN-Free) backup, and for the integration to work, Veeam requires access to the Nimble volumes from the location where the VM/VMs will be backed up.
Backup, Schedule, and Manage Nimble Storage Snapshots Orchestration
It’s time to start our real testing. In our first test, we are going to test the first Veeam Nimble integration. With this feature, Veeam Backup and Replication will backup any VM stored in the Nimble array with Nimble Storage Snapshot. Veeam will also initiate a Nimble Storage Replication between two arrays, and then provide the option to backup from the Secondary Array, instead of from the Primary Array.
A. Backup from Storage Snapshots:
1. Create a Veeam Backup Job, provide a Job Name, and then select the desired VM for backup (these VM’s are located in the Nimble volume).
2. On the Storage option, chose the repository, and then click the Job Advanced setting.
3. Browse to the Integration Tab to enable the Storage integration. By default, the integration that is already checked.
4. Configure the Guest processing – Schedule, and then run the job.
5. Run the Job:
B. Schedule the Nimble Storage Snapshot:
With this feature, Veeam will orchestrate the Nimble Storage snapshot on to a particular schedule. After the Nimble Snapshot was taken, you will be able to use these snapshots for recovery purposes; such as Instant recovery, On-Demand Lab, Application Item Recovery, etc…
- Create a backup job
- Choose a VM, or VMs; these are located in the Nimble volume.
- On a Storage Stage, select “Backup repository: Nimble Snapshot (Primary storage snapshot only)” from the drop-down list.
4. Configure the desired schedule; in this example, we will use 5 minutes.
5. Save, and then exit the job configuration; run the Backup job.
6. Let’s browse the Nimble Storage snapshots from Veeam console:
C. Backup from the secondary storage.
There are many benefits to backing up from the Secondary Storage. Just to name one of many, is the reduction of the performance degradation that impacts the production storage during the backup process.
In this test, we going to backup a VM from the secondary array. The job will require a snapshot creation on the primary storage. Then Veeam will replicate it to the secondary storage. Following that, Veeam will start the backup process, and then backup the VM from the secondary storage.
1. Create a backup Job
2. Chose the desired VM, or VMs, that we are going to backup.
3. Chose the Veeam backup Repository and then enable the “Config secondary destination for this Job” checkbox:
4. On the Secondary target config option, select Nimble Snapshot and Nimble collection Replication.
Edit the Nimble Volume Collection Replication to enable the backup to run from Replica.
5. When our setup is complete and we want to run the Job, Veeam will first initiate a Snapshot on the production Storage. It will then replicate to the secondary storage. After that, it will start the backup from the replica.
Nimble Volume Collection Replica/Nimble Snapshot
You will remember the two options presented to us on the secondary target. Let’s take a look what each of those option mean:
a. The Nimble Snapshot option considers the source/production Storage snapshot retention; and
b. the Nimble Volume collection replica considers the retention on the target or the secondary storage.
The replicated jobs that will be triggered by Veeam are shown on the screenshot below:
D. On Demand Test/Dev Environment from Storage Snapshot.
Finally, we are at the last test. After conducting all the tests, and then generating some storage snapshots, we will try to use one snapshot to create an On-Demand Test/Dev Environment.
- Browse to the Backup infrastructure – Veeam GUI:
2. Browse to the “SureBackup” line:
3. Select Application Groups, and then start the configuration by providing a Group Name. Select the VM(s) included in the group, and ensure that you select from Storage Snapshot:
4. Press Finish
After running the steps above, you can see the configurations needed to build the Virtual Lab and test. When set up correctly, everything just works as expected.
Although this procedure is based on a Beta version, Veeam Dev has released a solid Beta version of their Veeam-Nimble Integration. We spent a week conducting these integration tests, and through all of it, we never experienced any major bugs or challenges. Yes, we faced minor issues, but these are expected when we are dealing with Beta versions. You must have noticed, though, we conducted all the expected and promised Veeam Nimble integration features.
We hope this blog post helps you to learn and to understand Veeam’s new features. Come back to our blog for our next article on Veeam and Nimble performance testing shortly.