More thoughts on Veeam Backup & Replication

I’ve made a few posts regarding Veeam and, if you have read them, you’ll know I’m a fan.  You’ll also know that we have not yet put Veeam into any real large customer sites (like datacenters) but I think it’s important to know that Veeam’s benefits are as valid for small shops as they are for large ones.

Case in point:  We (itgroove) have a local food distribution company as a customer.  They have a single office/warehouse and a dual VMware ESXi server environment (VMware Essentials).  They use a food distribution management system called “Distrib-U-Tec” that runs the whole business – back office, shipping, ordering, you name it – and all of it is installed locally on a large Server 2008 RDS server (one large VM).  They have three other VM’s on another ESXi server – SBS 2008, a Server 2008 VM for BES and a Server 2003 VM with management tools for their HP Thin Clients.  There is a physical Server 2008 box that houses their vCenter as well as Veeam B&R 6.

The owner of the company is particularly paranoid about data loss as all of the “eggs” are contained within the Distrib-U-Tec “basket”.  Loss of Distrib-U-Tec would effectively put the company out of business.  Our mandate was to put a backup system in place that would guarantee as little downtime as possible in the case of system problems and bullet-proof recovery capabilities in the case of full-blown disaster.  I think we’ve come up with a very workable solution.

There are three separate Veeam backup jobs configured:

  1. A nightly job that backs up ALL the VM’s to a local QNAP NAS device.
  2. An hourly job that backs up the RDS server VM to the QNAP NAS device (8AM – 8PM M-F).
  3. A nightly job that backs up the RDS server VM and the SBS VM to a Server 2008 server at the owner’s house via remote Veeam agent.

The backups on the local QNAP are copied off to external USB disks for offsite storage while the backup at the owner’s house is copied off the server to a local QNAP NAS device.  There is also a completely separate file copy performed nightly from the RDS server to a USB stick mounted on the Veeam server just to cover the bases.

In the case of a ESXi server failure, the most recent backup of the SBS server (from the last night) and the RDS server (an hour ago) can be mounted up via Veeam’s “5 Minute Recovery” process to the remaining ESXi server and operations can continue albeit with reduced performance.  If needs be, a full VM recovery can be performed to the remaining ESXi server as both servers have been configured with enough headroom to allow for the two critical VM’s (RDS server and SBS) to run on the same host.

There was no additional cost to the customer to be able to run ALL of these Veeam backups, all that was needed was appropriate server hardware and server licenses (they had all of that) and the time needed to configure and implement the backup schedules.  The Veeam backup across the Internet to the owner’s house runs extremely well over the Shaw connections (he has Shaw business service at both locations) and once the initial full backup was made the nightly reverse-incremental backup takes very little time, usually a bit over an hour for both VM’s.

It might be a bit overkill but it does demonstrate Veeam’s abilities and all of this was/is well within reach of most small businesses.