Tag Archives: Backup

Altaro Continuous Data Protection

From v7.6 onwards Altaro introduced a Continuous Data Protection (CDP) feature which reduces data loss by providing Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) of up to 5 minutes. Altaro CDP works by saving a point in time copy of the virtual machine based on snapshots at set intervals, configurable per host or per virtual machine. The frequency options available are every 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, every hour, 4 hours, 8 hours, or 12 hours. Each version of a CDP backup is retained for 4 hours since the last successful backup, after this CDP backups are merged into a single recovery point and kept in accordance with your own configured retention policy.

Altaro CDP was initially available for Hyper-V with v7.6, you can read about what else is new in v7.6 here. Support for VMware came with build release 7.6.24.

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Configuring CDP

  • If you do not already have Altaro VM Backup installed see the Altaro VM Backup Install and Overview post. You can download a copy of Altaro here.
  • The CDP Settings option can be accessed from the navigation pane of the Altaro VM Backup management console, under Setup. Hosts that have been added to Altaro are listed, along with any discovered VMs.
  • Use the Enable CDP check box and Maximum Frequency drop down to configure CDP with the desired settings.

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  • When configuring CDP there should already be a backup schedule and backup location in place for the virtual machines. If you have not yet configured this part then see the install and overview post referenced above.
  • Click Save Changes to commit the CDP configuration.

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  • The first time you configure CDP backups the VM Backup management console will display a warning about the Backup Health Monitor. The Backup Health Monitor verifies the state of backup data, during which time backups cannot run.
  • Depending on your environment and desired configuration you can change the schedule of the Backup Health Monitor to not conflict with CDP backups.
  • Once CDP backups are in use they become available restore points for restoring virtual machines.

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  • The Backup Health Monitor can also be configured from the navigation pane under Sandbox & Configuration.

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In summary, Altaro CDP boosts business continuity by allowing administrators to recover to a more granular point in time; thereby reducing data loss from virtual machine restores. The feature is easy to configure and the frequency options provide near continuous data protection with the maximum data loss being up to 5 minutes, this along with application consistent backups should be sufficient protection for most business critcal applications. When planning implementation of a CDP model you should consider other factors such as network bandwidth, and hypervisor performance, for example having a high number of machines taking snapshots every 5 minutes on the same host may add a CPU/memory overhead.

Altaro CDP with VMware support is available now, you can download here.

Altaro VM Backup 7.5 Install and Overview

In this post we will install and configure Altaro VM Backup 7.5 whilst taking a look at the some of the key features. Version 7.5 introduces cloud backup to Azure and restore from Azure to Altaro instances in different locations. The Cloud Management Console (CMC) allows for users to monitor and manage all installations of Altaro through an intuitive and easy to use web client accessible anywhere. Support for vSphere 6.5 is also now included, for a full list of the new functionality see this post.

Overview

Altaro allows users to backup VMware and Hyper-V environments; taking application and file consistent backups of Windows, Linux, and applications compatible with the Microsoft VSS writer including Exchange and SQL. Backups benefit from compression, inline deduplication, and military grade encryption configurable right down to individual VM level. Granular restores also allow for individual file or email restores, as well as sandbox restores. Furthermore Altaro’s unique Backup Health Monitor proactively monitors backups and automatically repairs or replaces any corruption as part of the next backup job. Advanced automation and reporting can be configured using Altaro’s built in REST API. Altaro has easily accessible pricing and licensing information, and multiple channels to engage technical support including live chat from within the management console itself.

  • See the graphic below for a summary of Altaro features for each licensing option. For full product, version, and pricing information click here.
  • The Altaro VM Backup Quick Start Guide can be reviewed here, and full product user guides here. Altaro Support and FAQ can be accessed here.

Versions

Install

The installation of the main backup console is simple and quick. Download the installer to a Windows machine and run as administrator. Accept the license agreement, set the destination, and hit Install. Altaro VM Backup can run on 64 bit versions of Windows 7, 8, or 10, and Windows Server 2008 R2 through to Windows 2016 (including Hyper-V and Core versions).

Once the install has completed open the management console. The VM Backup management console offers an intuitive user interface, allowing for local or remote management of multiple Altaro instances. In this example we’ll connect to the instance running on the local machine.

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After connecting to the new instance the dashboard will load with a handy quick setup workflow.

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Step 1 is to add the hosts to backup. In this example we’re using VMware so after clicking Add Hyper V / VMware Host select VMware vCenter Server and Next.

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Enter and validate the vCenter Server information using Test Connection, click Next.

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Review the hosts detected and click Finish. The hosts and inventory information from the specified vCenter Server are now added to the management console. We can see the host status and number of VMs for each host that has been added.

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The product comes with a 30 day fully functioning trial. At any time you can install a license key by clicking Manage License under Setup and Hosts.

Step 2 is to configure a backup location, this can be a physical drive or network path. From the dashboard workflow click Choose Where to Store Backups.

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For the purposes of this lab installation we will use the data drive of the Windows server.

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Multiple backup locations can be added. Once a backup location is configured you can drag and drop VMs, clusters, datacenters, or vCenters into the appropriate area. After adding a local or LAN based backup location you can also add an offsite location, such as a WAN or Azure target. When the objects you require backing up are all assigned a backup location click Save Changes.

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The final step in the workflow is to take our first backup, to take an on demand backup straight away click Take First Backup. Backup schedules and retention policies can be configured from the navigation menu on the left hand side. You’ll also notice Notifications and Advanced Settings where deduplication, encryption, and CBT can be configured on a per object basis, as well as providing the ability to exclude certain drives. Application consistent backups and truncating logs can be enabled under VSS Settings.

Cloud Management Console

The Cloud Management Console (CMC) can be accessed here. When you first login the getting started dashboard will be displayed, use the workflow to link an Altaro VM Backup installation.

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A one time access key is generated to link the Cloud Management Console with the Altaro VM Backup installation. From the management console click the CMC button and enter this code to pair the installation with the CMC.

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Once CMC is paired with your Altaro VM Backup instance you can monitor and manage the backup environment using the web client. Multiple installations can be added to CMC.

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VMware NSX Backup and Restore

This post will detail how to backup and restore NSX. NSX configuration and components configurable through the NSX Manager UI or API are included in the NSX Manager backup. This includes controller nodes, Edge configurations (Distributed Logical Router, Edge Services Gateway), firewall rules, etc. as well as all events and audit log tables. Virtual switches are included in the vCenter Server database backup. When planning a backup strategy for NSX consider the following:

  • NSX Manager backups can be taken on demand, or scheduled at hourly, daily, or weekly intervals.
  • Ensure that the vCenter Server (and database if external) are backed up and factored into the NSX backup schedule. For example if you need to restore the entire environment it is recommended that the NSX Manager backup is taken at the same time as vCenter Server.
  • The only method of backup and restore for NSX Manager is with FTP/SFTP. Using any other method to backup NSX components could result in errors when restoring objects and is not supported by VMware.
  • When restoring NSX Manager a new NSX Manager is deployed and the configuration restored. The restore process of NSX Manager is only compatible from an NSX Manager of the same version. Therefore it is important to backup NSX Manager both before and after upgrades.

NSX Manager Backup

As outlined above, NSX configuration is backed up using the NSX Manager. Open a web browser to the IP address or FQDN of your NSX Manager. Log in with the admin user.

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From the home page select Backup and Restore.

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Click Change next to the FTP Server Settings row.

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Enter the details for the destination FTP/SFTP server, add a filename prefix for the backup files, and configure a pass phrase. Make a note of the pass phrase in a password safe since this will be needed for restores.

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Optional – next to Scheduling click Change to configure a backup schedule.

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Optional – next to Exclude click Change to logs or events from the backup.

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Once the backup server is configured backups will run as scheduled, or click Backup to backup NSX Manager now.

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Click Start to confirm the backup job.

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Completed backups will be listed in the Backup History table.

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To remove a backup you can delete the files from the FTP/SFTP server and it will be removed from the Backup History table when the browser page is refreshed.

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NSX Manager Restore

To restore NSX configuration a new NSX Manager must first be deployed. While it is possible to restore NSX configuration from an existing NSX Manager it is assumed that since a restore is required NSX Manager has failed and it is best practise to deploy a new instance. For assistance with deploying NSX Manager see this post.

Ensure the old NSX Manager is powered off. Deploy a new NSX Manager instance and configure it with a management IP address (this will be temporary, all settings will be reverted back to the previous NSX Manager after the restore is complete).

Log into the newly deployed NSX Manager and select Backup and Restore.

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Click Change next to the FTP Server Settings row.

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When configuring the FTP Server Settings ensure the same settings are configured as when the NSX Manager was backed up. This includes the hostname, username, password, backup directory, filename prefix, and pass phrase.

Select the backup from the Backup History table and click Restore.

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Confirm the restore when prompted. NSX Manager is unavailable during the restore process.

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When the NSX Manager is available log in, the summary page will display a System restore completed message.