In an earlier post, I talked about the 8th awesome feature of Veeam Backup & Replication v7: the ‘Backup copy job‘. In this second post about the new Veeam Backup & Replication, I’ll discuss the ninth new feature: off-host backups using SAN snapshots:

Using Veeam in a SAN environment

So you guys probably know about the Veeam Explorer for SAN Snapshots. This little tool enables you to restore VMs directly from a (HP StoreVirtual) SAN snapshot. Veeam has finally implemented a feature I’ve been waiting for and other backup vendors have done for ages (like the Symantec Backup Exec Advanced Disk Based Option or ADBO for short). This feature enables ‘0ff-host’ backups and moves the backup workload from the vCenter environment straight to the underlying SAN infrastructure. Simply put, this Veeam feature leverages existing storage capabilities (SAN snapshots) and offers instant VM Snapshot commit. The big plus for me is that the latter feature significantly reduces the amount of time a VM snapshots exists. Currently, Veeam needs to copy out the data from a snapshot. In large VMs, this can take a serious amount of time. By creating a SAN snapshot directly after the VM has been snapshotted, the consistent state of the VM has been captured without the need of copying out all the data thus reducing the time the VM snapshot exists, since the VM snapshot is released directly after the SAN snapshot has been created. The snapshot is then mounted to the backup proxy and is copied out with no impact on the source virtual machine. Veeam has done a great job enabling a lot of regular VMware features, such as Changed Block Tracking.

One thing to mention is that since the SAN snapshot is mounted on the backup server and the VMs are copied out (leveraging CBT), Veeam doesn’t actually store the SAN snapshot itself. This way, you don’t need to build a large chain of SAN snapshots; you don’t need the SAN snapshot after the backup job has finished. Also, the backups are stored in the Veeam format (and not in the SAN snapshot format), making the backup just as portable as regular backup jobs. This in turn enables the ‘backup copy job’ or any other type of job / action you currently have in place.

Veeam v7 - SAN Snapshot

This feature doesn’t work with all SAN vendors yet. At GA, Veeam expects this feature to work with HP StoreVirtual (both the physical boxes and the virtual appliance) and HP StoreServ (3PAR). Other vendors are to be determined in a future release.

Licensing and Joep’s stance

In my third and last blog post on the new release, I’ll shed some light on the new licensing of v7 and conclude the subject with my opinion and insight on the new release. Check it out here: The awesome Veeam B&R v7: Licensing and Joep’s Stance