A quick followup on Veeam DR recoveries

We have been using Veeam with a number of our ESXi and Hyper-V customers with great success.  Frankly, backup is always a pain in the backside and Veeam makes backing up virtual environments just a little bit easier.

One thing that I like about Veeam is the ability to easily manage remote backups – backups that route out to a remote site somewhere away from the main backup site.  The thing I really like is how you set up the backup as a copy – Backup Copy in Veeam terms – and Veeam then copies completed backup passes out to the remote site.  This leaves the main backup to do its thing without having to rely on the remote backup completing correctly.  And, if you have the “Enterprise Plus” version of Veeam you can also take advantage of built-in WAN acceleration for your remote backups.  Veeam can also be configured to coalesce remote backups (the Backup Copies) and create synthetic full backups at the remote site without any direct interaction with the Veeam server in the main site.  All very cool stuff.

I recently performed some DR recovery testing with two customers – one running ESXi and the other Hyper-V.  I wanted to test out full system recovery from the remote site data following the upgrade to Veeam v8 at both customers.  Neither customer has a massive environment by any means as one has a single physical server with a couple of VM’s and the other has three physical servers with six VM’s.  That said, their recovery requirements are pretty much the same as any large organization, they need to be back up and running right now.  My testing environment consisted of a small Dell tower server, my Win 8.1 laptop and a USB disk with the copy of each customer’s remote datastore.

In each case I built out the Dell server as a “mirror” of their hosting environment so it was loaded with either ESXi 5.1 U3 or Server 2012 R2 with Hyper-V role enabled.  Once built I fired up my laptop and did the recoveries.  I know there is a myth out there about Veeam and recoveries that says you must have the Veeam database to perform recoveries and I want to state, categorically, that information is false.  All you need is the full backup chain from the Veeam datastore, nothing else is required.  In my case, I simply pointed my new Veeam install at the USB disk, imported the full backup, set my restore options and then sat back and watched Veeam do its thing.

In both cases, Veeam pulled back the full VM with full fidelity, nothing was missing and it did so very quickly.  And all of this was from the remote data (backup copies)which I found doubly impressive!

I’m a happy camper because I know that my customer’s have good, solid, tested DR recovery plans based on their Veeam backup systems.  And I know I can recover from their local Veeam backups as well as their remote Veeam backups; this is good to know because you do NOT want to find out that there is an issue with backup data while you are in the middle of a DR whirlwind.

If you have a DR plan then good on you!  But have you tested it recently?  And have you tested after your backup/recovery software was upgraded?  Take my word for it, you really want to do that as soon as you can.