Tag Archives: Disaster Planning

SAP HANA Backup with Veeam

my colleague and friend Tom Sightler created an toolset to backup SAP HANA with Veeam Backup & Replication. He documented everything in the Veeam Forum:

Basically it follows the same way that storage systems like NetApp use for Backup of HANA. You implement in Veeam Pre and Post Scripts that makes HANA aware of the Veeam Backups. As well Logfile Handling is included (how many backup data do you want to keep on HANA system itself?).

In case of a DB restore, you go to HANA Studio and can access the backup data on HANA system directly. If you need older versions you can restore them with Veeam File Level Recovery Wizard or more comfortable with the Veeam Enterprise Manager File Restore (Self Services) and hit the rescann button at HANA Studio restore wizard. They are detected and you can proceed with the restore.


CU andy

Interview with Anton Gostev about “Agentless” Backup

Hi everybody,

as you might know Veeam do not install backup agents on the VMs to process application aware and application- and filesystem consistent backups. Veeam looks into the VM and it´s applications and register plus start an according run time environment that allow application aware backups.

We had lately an internal discussion about this topic and Anton Gostev Vice President of Product Management at Veeam Software allowed me to share his thoughts and ideas behind Veeam’s unique approach.

Andreas Neufert:  “Let´s talk first about the definition of Agents. According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_agent an Agent is defined as an installed software piece that stays on the servers. Veeam´s unique functionality register (install) start and unregister (uninstall) his run time environment just for job processing. Anton why do you think this is better than installed agents? ”

Anton Gostev: “All problems which cause issue known as “agent management hell” are brought by the persistency requirement
…(of that Agents from other solutions)…

– Need to constantly deploy agents to newly appearing VMs
– Need to update agents on all VMs
– Need to babysit agents on all VMs to ensure reliability (make sure it behaves correctly in the long run – memory leaks, conflicts with our software etc.)
Auto-injected temporary process addresses all of these issue, and the server stay clean of 3rd party code 99.9% of time.”

Andreas Neufert: “I think we all were at the point where we need to install a security patch in our application and have to wait till the backup vendor released a compatible backup agent version. Or I can remember that we have to boot all Servers because of a new version of such an agent (before I joined Veeam). But what happens if the Application Server/VM is down?”

Anton Gostev: “… Our architecture address the following two issues …
– Persistent agent (or in-guest process) requires VM from running at the time of backup in order to function. But no VMs are running 100% of time – some can be shutdown! We are equally impacted, however the major difference is that we do not REQUIRE that in-guest process was operating at the time of backup (all item-level recoveries are still possible, they just require a few extra steps). This is NOT the case with legacy agent-based architectures: shutdown VM means no item-level recoveries from the corresponding restore point.
– Legacy agent-based architectures require network connectivity from backup server to guest OS – rarely available, especially in secure or public cloud environments. We are not impacted, because we can failover to network-less interactions for our in-guest process. This is NOT the case with legacy agent-based architectures: for them it means no application-aware backup, and no item-level recoveries from the corresponding restore point.

Andreas Neufert: “Everyone who operate a DMZ knows the problem. You isolated the whole DMZ from your normal internal network, but the VMs need a network connection to the backup server which hold as well data from other systems. So the Veeam approach can bring additional security to the DMZ environment. Thank you Anton!”

Thanks for reading. Please send me comments if you want more interviews on this blog.

Cheers… Andy

Lotus Domino Backup with Veeam Backup & Replication

Hi everybody,

on customer request I created a video that shows backup and single mail restore for lotus domino with Veeam Backup & Replication.

A Lotus Domino is non VSS aware (anyway this is the case under Linux).  So you have only 2 options for consistent backups as IBM do not support VSS Filesystem only backups:

  1.  Shutdown the VM => Service offline or at cluster do this only on one side.
  2. Close the connections and write the cache to disk

The question is why should I use a non Domino Backup API based backup?

For Veeam the answer is:

  • Ultra Fast Serivce Restore with Instant VM Recovery (2min + OS boot)
  •  Easy to use Single Mail/Document restore
  • Automated Restore Tests with SureBackup that test if a VM is Restoreable, OS boot, Network Connection is online and Domino Services are up and running on a daily base.
  • And finally a backup on Image Level with Change Block Tracking based Incremental Forever is very efficient even at a Domino Server with high change rate.

Enjoy the video


HA? DataProtection? DataRecovery? – IBM San Volume Controller SVC and Veeam Backup & Replication

Many DR scenatios didn´t reflect the need of the companies. Sometimes because of budget problems, sometimes of other things.
Why you want to bring data to another site?
HA? DataProtection? DataRecovery?

If you look at syncron mirrors. This is a typical HA szenario. If you go active-active there it can help to bring the servers back online as fast as of a boot. (VMware HA or othe cluster/failover solutions at legacy systems). Because this is an expensive one for legacy systems, this leeding to a scenario which VMs are ways better protected (HA) than my Tier 1 legacy systems. This and the advantages for maintenance (vmotion), power and cooling savings brings customer to a point that more and more Tier 1 applications are placed on virtualization.
Products that can be helpful here are IBM SVC, Datacore, Netapp, others.

Why this szenario has nothing to do with DP or DR.
You replicate only the disk data, so applications and DBs are not in a consistent state. Also the Applications and DBs are not in a Application Restore aware state. (see below)
Software errors are mirrored as well and if there are bugs in the code of the solution both sides are affected.
If you look at the storage and storage virtualization systems and their bigger and bigger fail domains you need a backup solution that fits your datarecovery needs.
Many customers looking because of the big fail domain at Replication solutions and looking for storage replication that can store more then 1 restore point (replicated snapshots).
Here you need to regard that your Servers/DBs/Applications are in the following states that you have no problems in case of restore/recovery. This is pretty the same demand for BackupSoftware.
a) Consistency (Application/OS/DBs). Basically before you do a replication/snapshot all RAM caches needs to be written to disk and no open write commands of the filesystem are there.
b) Application awareness: You have to set some settings in the OS/Application/DBs that after next boot(after restore/recovery) they jump into a mode that they needed in that secenario to avoid problems. A typical problem that is a good example for this is if you start active directory servers without this from different snapshots/recovery points you end up with an inconsistent and not supported active directory database.

So in most cases you need some software that can do this in addition to the storage snapshot replication base. IBM Flash Copy Manager or Netapp SnapManager for example. Or if you do this on the Software side Veeam (Virtualization) is a good example for this.

If you look at the size of your fail domains and your demand to bring back a lot of servers in a fail szenario. You need tools that can do this with an easy to use solution. Because of budget concerns many go only here with their backup software.

Most Backupsoftware can help to restore a Server in a timewindow you need (SLA) but if more than one server are affected this leeding into the situation where normal SLA are exceeded. There are some Backup Software that can help with this and can start systems directly out of the backup, start the OS and Applications and user can work, while later the data is transfered back to the repaired storage system. Veeam do this for example with VMs since 2010, but there are other solutions that can do this, for example NetBackup has announced that they will have that sort of recovery for VMs. Veeam holds the patents for this Instant VM Recovery.

Because this solutions uses the backup environment ressources to bring up the systems this can only be done with a limited number of systems, depending on the backup environment (20-100 VMs). So the idea was to add software based replication (Veeam for example) that has no direct interaction with storage System (storage fails can not harm this system) to replicate most critical systems to a separated datacenter over IP WAN links. There you can start (application aware) your core systems and you can recover over the next time your not so critical systems.

One cool thing I want to add from Veeam side. You are able to automatically test your Replicas (with v7 or newer) or Backups (v5 or newer) if they are able to restore your workloads. This scheduled restore checks test the  OS boot,  Network Connection and application Response.This include problems that are based on source side server. Simple example is a corrupt windows boot file that you do not detect in production. All backup solutions checks only the data with checksums > if same = backup/replication successfull. And you fail in case of restore. So this can be helpful to detect problems before you run into a failover scenario.

This described scenario reflect most budgets and can dramatically increase your operating safety.

Examples for a small szenario:

2 ESX Hosts with shared storage (redundant controllers)
Third ESX host on separate fire section or hosted datacenter. Which hold allsVMs as replicas.
Backup on the first side for fast restore and application/file restore.
Backup and recovery cheks on the second side of the replicas will help to prevent you from trouble in case you need your DR. 
Implementation of automatic Restore Checks with SureBackup and SureReplica.
 HW: Small Budget (Standard solution)
SW: Hyper-V or VMware Essentials + Veeam Essentials
Powerfull solution I think

Example for midsize – enterprise szenario:
VMware Hosts
Active-Active mirrored Storage (vdisk mirroring) for example with IBM SVC splitted over to datacenter on two fire sections. Third site with SVC Quorum.
Another datacenter many miles away with another Vmware environment which you use with Veeam replication of most critical systems.
Backup to third site (SVC Quorum) with Veeam (Fast Restore of Files/Objects/Servers).
Implementation of automatic Restore Checks with SureBackup and SureReplica.

What do you think? Yes it is very virtualization related but you get more operation safety than in legacy environments. Why not virtualize your biggest DBs on a 1:1 ratio and profit from this DR scenario. If you are concerned about VMware Snapshot commit szenarios or 2TB volume size limit, have a look at Hyper-V 3. The main idea behind this described szenario works there as well.

CU Any