vCenter Server Appliance and vSphere Data Protection Interop

vCenter logoIn this next test of vSphere Data Protection (VDP) interoperability, I wanted to see if a restored vCenter Server appliance would still be able to work with pre-configured vCloud Suite products such as vCenter Operations (vCops), vCloud Automation Center (vCAC), vSphere Orchestrator VCO and Network Virtualization (NSX). All of these products were running to some extent in my environment; vCAC had a simple blueprint for VM deployment, VCO had a simple workflow for renaming a VM and NSX included an Edge device providing a DHCP service. If all of this functionality was still in place post restore, then the backup and restore will have worked. Testing was done with vCenter Server appliance version 5.5U1 and VDP version 5.5.6.46.

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Network Virtualization (NSX) and vSphere Data Protection Interop

NSX-300x206In this third article in the series of backing up the vCloud Suite, we turn our attentions to NSX, VMware’s Network Virtualization product. Before starting, I should point out that NSX has a recommended way of backing up and restoring configuration information via the use of an FTP server, which you need to configure in your infrastructure to hold this exported metadata. However this exercise looks at how you might be able to use VDP to back up and restore an NSX configuration using image level backups. Once again, I wanted to see whether I could restore the NSX environment to a particular point in time, in-place and also by restoring to a new location. This is the same infrastructure that I used for backing up and restoring vCops and backing up and restoring vCAC and VCO. On this occasion, I was using NSX version 6.0.4, vCenter 5.5U1 and VDP version 5.5.6.46.

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vCloud Automation Center and vSphere Data Protection Interop

vCAC-VCO-ExtensibilityThis post is a follow on to a previous post I did on vCops and VDP interop. In this scenario, I am going to try to use vSphere Data Protection (VDP), which is VMware’s Backup/Restore product, to back up and restore a vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) v6.0.1. and vCenter Orchestration (VCO) v5.5 deployment.

In this particular scenario, there are nine virtual machines making up my vCAC and VCO deployment. VCO has been deployed in a HA configuration, which accounts for two VMs. The others make up the DEM, Manager, Web, vCAC, SSO and various databases for vCloud Automation Center.

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vCenter Operations Manager and vSphere Data Protection Interop

I am currently involved in a project that looks at how we can back up and restore various components of the VMware vCloud Suite. One of these components is vCOps, vCenter Operations Manager. I wanted to verify that I could backup and restore vCOps with VDP, VMware’s Data Protection product. There were a couple of scenarios that I wished to test:

  1. Restore vCops VMs outside of a vApp construct and verify that it was still operational
  2. Restore vCOps VMs inside of a new vApp construct and verify that it was still operational
  3. Restore vCOps VMs inside of the original vApp construct and verify that it was still operational

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VSAN & VDP Interop

In this post I though it might be useful to share some information about VSAN interoperability with VMware’s flagship backup and restore product, vSphere Data Protection also known as VDP. First a note about versions -  that you will need to use the March 2014 release of VDP (version 5.5.6), not just to backup VMs running on VSAN, but to back up VMs running on vSphere 5.5U1. Here is a comment taken from the release notes for ESXi 5.5 U1:

  • vSphere Data Protection. vSphere Data Protection 5.1 is not compatible with vSphere 5.5 because of a change in the way vSphere Web Client operates. vSphere Data Protection 5.1 users who upgrade to vSphere 5.5 must also update vSphere Data Protection to continue using vSphere Data Protection.

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Where to look when troubleshooting VDPA backup issues

vdpaI had the pleasure (?) recently of troubleshooting some backup issues on my vSphere Data Protection Advanced (VDPA) setup. To be honest, I had not spent a great deal of time on this product recently, other than a few simple backup and restores. However, in my new role I now have a number of other projects which requires me to understand this product’s functionality a bit more. When things were not going right for me though, I spent a lot of time searching for some log files which might give me some clue as to the nature of my problem. After some assistance from some of the GSS guys based in Cork, we narrowed it down.

For me, the install and configure part went fine. I could also create backups with relative ease. The issue related to running the backups in certain environments, which were failing. So how then could I determine why this was happening?

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vSOM and VDPA Releases

In case you missed it, VMware released two interesting additions to the product portfolio last week.

vSOM – vSphere with Operations Manager

It became apparent that vCenter’s UI, while adequate for a lot of activities such as VM provisioning, does not provide the level of detail or forecasting required to manage large and complex infrastructures on a day to day basis. This is why VMware has introduced a new SKU which bundles the vCenter Operations product with vSphere. vCenter Operations Manager (vCOps) is the most comprehensive product for monitoring the health and performance of your virtual infrastructure. It  also monitors capacity & over provisioning and helps you to anticipate performance bottlenecks. Great to see it included with vSphere. Read more about it here and here.

VDPA – vSphere Data Protection Advanced

VDPA, as you might expect from the name, is building on top of VDP (vSphere Data Protection) which we released last year alongside vSphere 5.1. Scalability enhancements in the new VDPA include a larger store (up to 8TB) for storing deduplicated backup data and the ability to grow this store dynamically (in case you started out with a small store and now require a larger one). Another major feature, possibly the best feature of VDPA, is the ability to do backups and restores of Microsoft® SQL Server™ and Microsoft® Exchange Server™, both at the image-level and at the guest-level. Read more about VDPA here.