In the world of data disaster and recovery, the protector also must be protected. One of the most commonly asked questions when deploying Veeam Backup Solution is how to protect the Veeam backup server. Is there an easy way to protect the Veeam Backup Server?
In this blog, I will take you on a walkthrough of how to protect and restore your Veeam backup server.
There are several ways to protect the Veeam backup server which I will discuss in a different blog post, as I wish to keep this blog post short and to the point. But, before diving into the recovery steps, it is essential to understand the Veeam backup server building blocks.
So lets started with the first step.
The Building Blocks of the Veeam Backup Server Platform
The Veeam backup server is installed on a Microsoft Windows Operating System, followed by installing the Veeam backup and replication product. The installation process, by default, will install Microsoft SQL Express Server. In total, and after successfully deploying the Veeam backup server, you will end up with three different pieces of software (which you must track, and ensure they are protected).
Reducing the Disaster Impact Surface
We now have three different software layers; the OS, the SQL Express Server, and the Veeam backup server, that need to be managed and protected to safeguard your backup server. The good news is that during the Veeam Backup and Replication installation, you will be able to point the Veeam server towards an external SQL server, instead of installing and using the built-in SQL Express Server. Using an external, or remote, SQL Server will add an extra layer of protection to your backup infrastructure, as you will not host all the eggs in the same basket.
The Veeam Backup Server uses the SQL Express/SQL Server to store the Veeam backup infrastructure database; this makes it an essential part of the backup infrastructure, and it must be up and running before starting the Veeam backup services.
For medium to large deployments, it is recommended that you use a full version of the SQL Express Server installed on a remote server. Using a full remote Microsoft SQL Express Server with Veeam will afford you the following advantages:
- reduce the impact on the backup infrastructure in the event of a Veeam backup server failure;
- Better performance, especially when using SQL Express Server 2014. For more information on this, check out my blog post SQL Server – Harness F1 Performance; and
- better scalability.
Protecting the Veeam Backup Databases
The Veeam backup server relies heavily on the SQL Express Server databases to store all the necessary information used by Veeam backup server. This leaves no critical information stored locally on the Veeam backup server, except the Veeam backup server software.
The good news is that, by default, the Veeam backup server sends an automatic out-of-the-box backup of the Veeam backup server database to the default Veeam backup repository. After the Installation, the Veeam backup server will begin backing up the Veeam Backup databases. These include:
- Infrastructure components and objects;
- Backup jobs (passwords are not stored by default); and
- Sessions and Tape setup.
The backup is stored in the Veeam default backup repository. This backup can then be used to restore the Veeam backup server in the event of a disaster.
To modify the default backup policy of the Veeam backup database after the installation, you browse to the Veeam backup server options. There, you can then change the following:
- schedule the configuration backup (by default, this is set to daily at 10 am);
- specify where to store the configuration backup (default repository);
- encryption of the backup file; and, if necessary; and
- force an immediate backup of the database
So, must I backup the MS SQL Express Server after all?
So far, we have learned that the Veeam backup server provides an automated, out-of-the-box, option for backing up the Veeam backup server database. So, the question you might ask yourself is, “Is it necessary to backup the SQL database?”
That answer depends on the backup level you wish to provide. The default backup option will ensure your backup infrastructure is quickly backed up and running after a disaster. But, if you want to give extra protection to your SQL Express database server, then it is a good idea to protect that too. And remember, sometimes the same SQL server will be used to host other databases; and, if that is the case, then the Veeam backup server database will be already included in the SQL backup job.
Personally, I like to keep a separate backup of the SQL database, in addition to the automated, out-of-the-box, Veeam backup server databases backup. This is just to ensure that I am 100% protecting my backup infrastructure.
Recovering the Veeam Backup Server
Let’s keep this blog post short, and now jump to the recovery process. In the following steps, I will demonstrate the necessary steps to recover the Veeam backup server after a complete server failure, and then take you through the installation of a new, clean server.
Before starting the recovery process, you must locate, and have ready, the Veeam configuration backup file; you will need it during the restoration process. As discussed previously, the configuration backup is saved by default on the default Veeam backup server repository. It puts it under the VeeamConfigBackup\<VeeamServerName> folder with the extension of *.bco.
After a clean deployment of the Veeam backup server, you must run the Veeam console. From the console, access the Veeam option Configuration Backup Settings.
Choose to restore:
Choose the *.bco file you wish to restore from the Repository, or from another location where you might have saved it. It is possible to save a copy of the configuration file to a different location using Veeam file copy, or some other copy method:
Press Analyze to start the restore process. After the file you selected has been analyzed, you will be able to review the backup content that is going to be restored:
The next step is to configure the restored database with the location where you will build the new SQL server, and to give the server its Veeam Database Name:
There is one more step before you start the Restore process; that is to specify the configuration data you wish to restore:
Now, the restore process will start. When it has completed, you will see the old configuration settings appear on the Veeam console. Note that the restoration of the configuration data will not restore any passwords saved from the old installation. The original account will be restored, but you have to reapply its password.
Protecting the Veeam backup server is critical, and should be included in your Backup and Recovery Plan. Depending upon the Veeam backup server deployment, you will apply the best protection of your Veeam backup server; but remember, backing up the Veeam configuration is a critical step to ensure you achieve you RTO and SLAs.
Consider using the Veeam File Copy feature to create multiple copies of your backup configuration. To also protect yourself from a complete site disaster, including the Veeam Backup Repository in your multiple copies. I hope this Blog Post has shed some light on how you can best protect your Veeam backup server. See you next time I post.