By: Edward L. Haletky
Solution provider takeaway: This section of the chapter excerpt from the book VMware ESX Server in the Enterprise: Planning and Securing Virtualization Servers will focus on third-party tools for VMware ESX Server.
Download the .pdf of the chapter here.
A small number of vendors produce backup tools specifically for ESX. Some are designed specifically for ESX, whereas others can be used with ESX. Pretty much any current backup tool that has a Linux client will work with ESX in some form. However, tools such as VizionCore vRanger and HPSIM VMM have specific code for use with ESX. No matter which tool is chosen, there is a first step for all the backup tools. See Chapter 5, "Storage with ESX," and open up the firewall to allow the appropriate ports to be used before performing any backup and installing any necessary agents. The next step is to install the appropriate agents, if any, and then to perform a test backup to verify everything is set up properly.
ESXRanger has a graphical mechanism for creating backups and a series of dialog boxes to use when scheduling backups to run. It can also make multiple versions of backups so that different VM states can be restored as necessary. For ESX versions earlier than version 3, ESXRanger uses the vmsnap.pl functionality to perform all backups. For ESX version 3, ESXRanger (see Figure 12.5) uses snapshots and implements its own form of VCB. However, it will work with the legitimate VCB.
In addition to being able to schedule backups of a VM, it is possible to set up a failover host for when an ESX Server that is a part of DRLB dies. This functionality, discussed in the preceding chapter, makes this web-based tool extremely powerful. To use VMM, the ESX Server must be registered in HPSIM (see Figure 12.6) and the VMM component properly licensed and available. Without this, HPSIM only monitors the hardware of the ESX Server.
Another set of tools requires additions to make them work; unfortunately, the specific scripts for the tools may not exist prepackaged by VMware or any other vendor. VMware and vendors offer suggestions on their use, but the final scripting could be left to the implementer. Each of these tools has a method to schedule a backup that is initiated via an agent running on the backup client (VCB proxy server), and these agents will make a call out to a local script to do anything that is necessary to do prior to the backup occurring. In these cases, it is best to use the VMware-provided scripts to create a safe backup of the VMDK before letting the agent transfer the data to the backup server. And finally, the backup agents call another local script to complete any tasks necessary after the backup has occurred. In addition to often requiring specific scripting, these tools require different versions of the application to be used for different versions of ESX. All of these tools work from within the VM, and most will work from the service console if they are at the proper version of the tool for the version of ESX, and all will work with VCB given proper pre- and post-backup processing scripts. Examples of these other tools include the following:
- HP Data Protector There are no prepackaged VCB scripts for use by HP Data Protector.
- Legato Networker VCB for ESX version 3 has a prepackaged set of scripts that provide the pre and post-processing required to safely back up the files by Networker.
- Veritas NetBackup VCB for ESX version 3 has a prepackaged set of scripts that provide the pre and post-processing required to safely back up the files by NetBackup.
- Tivoli Storage Manager VCB for ESX version 3 has a prepackaged set of scripts that provide the pre and post-processing required to safely back up the files by TSM.
It is imperative when using ESX that you create successful backups. Successful backups are ones that are tested to see whether they restore running, usable VMs. The goal of this chapter was to present what is available to the users of ESX and the advanced capabilities of VMware clusters in terms of BC. I may have used ESXRanger and HPSIM VMM to create backups in addition to the intrinsic tools, but they are by no means the only methods available. Just be sure that a good DR and BC plan exists that covers all the possible disasters and that the plan is implemented and tested as often as necessary.
VMware ESX Server in the Enterprise: Planning and Securing Virtualization Servers
Disaster recovery and backup - introduction
ESX Version 2
About the book
VMware ESX Server in the Enterprise: Planning and Securing Virtualization Servers is the definitive, real-world guide to planning, deploying, and managing today's leading virtual infrastructure platform in mission-critical environments.. Purchase the book from Prentice Hall.
Reproduced from the book VMware ESX Server in the Enterprise. Copyright 2008, Prentice Hall. Reproduced by permission of Pearson Education, Inc., 800 East 96th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46240. Written permission from Pearson Education, Inc. is required for all other uses.