Converting to a virtual environment



  • hmm... We have around 600 - 700GB of data, on 1 server .. , and around 200 - 250GB on another ...

    If you'll say that an External USB HDD, won't be upto the task to backup/restore the VM, then this idea is moot ..



  • @scottalanmiller said

    I don't know anything that will attach via USB that will be able to pull this off. You will need a more serious storage device to be able to handle it.

    It depends on what you are trying to accomplish.

    For just protecting from a VM blowup, why not attach a USB as a SR? That would work, no? I know in the past you said no one attaches USB drives to servers, but not sure I believe that. đŸ™‚

    Of course that doesn't protect from a disaster with the machine itself.



  • @PRPL said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    hmm... We have around 600 - 700GB of data, on 1 server .. , and around 200 - 250GB on another ...

    If you'll say that an External USB HDD, won't be upto the task to backup/restore the VM, then this idea is moot ..

    External HD is never a recommended backup system. Or almost never. There are lots of problems with that approach. Does it work? Normally. But it is fragile and very, very slow. It's not that having one work is impossible, just improbably. USB is not a serious connection technology and no one is going to build a truly fast system and then put USB on it, the two just don't go together. USB drives are for trivial data and not for infrastructure components. I know you are trying to make things work on a budget, and maybe you have no choice, but if possible you don't want to have this and you should not think of it as a serious backup system. It's crufty at best, fragile at worse.

    External USB means you have to physically get to the machine, unplug from one and plug into the other just to start restoring. That alone is a major problem. What if you are ten minutes away from the office? Or in the bathroom? You don't have enough time for that, your restore window is not large enough.

    I don't know any USB attached device that can push enough data for you to restore in time.



  • @PRPL said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    hmm... We have around 600 - 700GB of data, on 1 server .. , and around 200 - 250GB on another ...

    So which machine has the 1TB VM?



  • @BRRABill said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    @scottalanmiller said

    I don't know anything that will attach via USB that will be able to pull this off. You will need a more serious storage device to be able to handle it.

    It depends on what you are trying to accomplish.

    For just protecting from a VM blowup, why not attach a USB as a SR? That would work, no? I know in the past you said no one attaches USB drives to servers, but not sure I believe that. đŸ™‚

    Of course that doesn't protect from a disaster with the machine itself.

    Backup storage can't just be generically attached. How would it be mounted as an SR? Even if the backups were storaged as VHDs (anyone know a product doing that), how would the host know how to handle the delta files? Backups storage is not just a mirror of production storage.


  • Banned

    @BRRABill said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    @scottalanmiller said

    I don't know anything that will attach via USB that will be able to pull this off. You will need a more serious storage device to be able to handle it.

    It depends on what you are trying to accomplish.

    For just protecting from a VM blowup, why not attach a USB as a SR? That would work, no? I know in the past you said no one attaches USB drives to servers, but not sure I believe that. đŸ™‚

    Of course that doesn't protect from a disaster with the machine itself.

    Sure people attached USB's to servers because they are bidding their time, hoping it doesn't fail, trying to accomplish something with as little as possible.

    For a scenario like this that @PRPL is in he could* build his own backup server from parts he has lying around, he needs at most 4TB of space.

    To build something new for this would be incredibly cheap (recommended no, likely not) but as an absolute stop gap before using a USB to backup; a cheap "whitebox" server with the storage needed would be vastly better.



  • One of the reasons that USB Drives don't work in this scenario is that you need two different backup systems, totally independent from each other, to handle the two servers. And then there is no clear means of restoring in the case of a server failure without hardware changes. And in the case of a breach, the backups are totally exposed (tightly coupled) at all times to the server. So if someone got access to the server, not only is your server at risk, but they will "own" all of your backups too. To the point that it is only marginally possible to even call this a backup, technically the USB drive is external, but it is so physically close and so much just a slow, internal drive that it's more a copy, less a backup.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    One of the reasons that USB Drives don't work in this scenario is that you need two different backup systems, totally independent from each other, to handle the two servers. And then there is no clear means of restoring in the case of a server failure without hardware changes. And in the case of a breach, the backups are totally exposed (tightly coupled) at all times to the server. So if someone got access to the server, not only is your server at risk, but they will "own" all of your backups too. To the point that it is only marginally possible to even call this a backup, technically the USB drive is external, but it is so physically close and so much just a slow, internal drive that it's more a copy, less a backup.

    In a smallish shop, the server you are backing up to is probably pretty close tot he actual server.

    We're not talking offsite redundancy here.

    You could throw Linux on a spare machine and accomplish what you are looking for pretty cheaply.


  • Banned

    @BRRABill said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    In a smallish shop, the server you are backing up to is probably pretty close tot he actual server.

    We're not talking offsite redundancy here.

    You could throw Linux on a spare machine and accomplish what you are looking for pretty cheaply.

    And that is what should be recommended, avoid using USB's as the "backup target" and get a decent system with the capacity needed and backup to that.

    In linux setting up an CIFS/NFS server is trivial and takes minutes at most.



  • @BRRABill said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    You could throw Linux on a spare machine and accomplish what you are looking for pretty cheaply.

    And that's why USB drives are never used... there is always a better, simpler way.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    @BRRABill said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    You could throw Linux on a spare machine and accomplish what you are looking for pretty cheaply.

    And that's why USB drives are never used... there is always a better, simpler way.

    IF you have a spare machine sitting around.

    (Yes, I am kidding.)



  • @scottalanmiller

    @scottalanmiller said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    @PRPL said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    hmm... We have around 600 - 700GB of data, on 1 server .. , and around 200 - 250GB on another ...

    So which machine has the 1TB VM?

    None ... I just used 1TB to get an idea of the restore time-frame ....



  • @BRRABill said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    @scottalanmiller said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    @BRRABill said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    You could throw Linux on a spare machine and accomplish what you are looking for pretty cheaply.

    And that's why USB drives are never used... there is always a better, simpler way.

    IF you have a spare machine sitting around.

    (Yes, I am kidding.)

    We have desktops, almost all of them have 500GB disks ... These are used, simply to host the Operating System and client-side applications, which lie on a 100 - 150GB primary partition... The rest is un-used, which in my opinion is a complete waste ... If somehow, one could pool the free storage from all these desktops (say even 20), then you'd get around 2TB of storage space , good enough for backups ... AetherStor ? The one down-side (?) with AetherStor is that, currently it offers only FAT32 based storage ... I wonder how it would work if we backed-up NTFS files to FAT32



  • @PRPL ÆtherStore will work fine for files but would lose perms if you are using a copy command instead of backup software. If you are using backup software and/or taking snaps it will work just fine.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    @PRPL ÆtherStore will work fine for files but would lose perms if you are using a copy command instead of backup software. If you are using backup software and/or taking snaps it will work just fine.

    geez Scott ... when do you get sleep ...

    Yes, I was wondering about the permissions ... So, whats your take on the viability of AetherStor, as a proper, production use backup pool (given that I'll use a proper backup software)



  • ÆtherStore can work great for that. As a backup target pool it is really ideal. That's a perfect use case.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    @BRRABill said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    @scottalanmiller said

    No, does not need to be the same. Although Veeam Free will leave you without some of the things that you want. Unitrends or XenOrchestra will likely do a better job for you here when trying to do this for free.

    Though no file level.

    Always better to have an agent if you need that.

    Unitrends does file level. But not for free.

    Veeam can also do file level restores (no agent required) but again not in the free product.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    ÆtherStore can work great for that. As a backup target pool it is really ideal. That's a perfect use case.

    This is one of the primary use cases for ÆtherStore that many of the testers used it for, myself included.



  • @JaredBusch said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    @scottalanmiller said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    ÆtherStore can work great for that. As a backup target pool it is really ideal. That's a perfect use case.

    This is one of the primary use cases for ÆtherStore that many of the testers used it for, myself included.

    Absolutely, when I spent time with @Rob on this, the focus was very heavily to get backups working before anything else. It's the top use case for the product.



  • @JaredBusch said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    @scottalanmiller said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    @BRRABill said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    @scottalanmiller said

    No, does not need to be the same. Although Veeam Free will leave you without some of the things that you want. Unitrends or XenOrchestra will likely do a better job for you here when trying to do this for free.

    Though no file level.

    Always better to have an agent if you need that.

    Unitrends does file level. But not for free.

    Veeam can also do file level restores (no agent required) but again not in the free product.

    Oh, the free version doesn't have that feature? I did not realize that.



  • Summing up this thread, the biggest thing the OP needs to understand is that he is not a special snowflake (I leave it to @scottalanmiller to link to his post on that). He keeps saying he needs all these various things that he almost certainly does not need.

    I am willing to bet real money that no one in his company even took the time to analyze anything related to this.

    He currently has a non-virtualized environment FFS. He most certainly does not need < 1 hour restores and HA and pretty much everything else that has been talked about.



  • @JaredBusch said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    Summing up this thread, the biggest thing the OP needs to understand is that he is not a special snowflake (I leave it to @scottalanmiller to link to his post on that).

    You Are Not Special



  • @JaredBusch said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    I am willing to bet real money that no one in his company even took the time to analyze anything related to this.

    This is huge, when you need HA, someone will pretty much tell you numbers for you to work with, things like "We lose $3,500 per hour." Or better, they give graphs that show how much they lose for each hour because it's not flat... it might be $20 the first hour and $10,000 the second hour.

    There should also be outage mitigation strategies in a policies and procedures documentation place. People need to understand how to deal with an outage, not just act like the world has ended.



  • @JaredBusch said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    He currently has a non-virtualized environment FFS. He most certainly does not need < 1 hour restores and HA and pretty much everything else that has been talked about.

    Agreed, it is a huge leap. It's not an organic growth from where they are to an improvement, it's "not treating it like a business" jumping straight to "things normal SMBs do not need." Good things to consider, but likely a single server with solid design is all that is warranted.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    @JaredBusch said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    @scottalanmiller said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    @BRRABill said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    @scottalanmiller said

    No, does not need to be the same. Although Veeam Free will leave you without some of the things that you want. Unitrends or XenOrchestra will likely do a better job for you here when trying to do this for free.

    Though no file level.

    Always better to have an agent if you need that.

    Unitrends does file level. But not for free.

    Veeam can also do file level restores (no agent required) but again not in the free product.

    Oh, the free version doesn't have that feature? I did not realize that.

    Unless it changed in the last year, free Veeam only does full backups as "VeeamZIP" file to my knowledge.



  • @JaredBusch said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    @scottalanmiller said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    @JaredBusch said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    @scottalanmiller said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    @BRRABill said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    @scottalanmiller said

    No, does not need to be the same. Although Veeam Free will leave you without some of the things that you want. Unitrends or XenOrchestra will likely do a better job for you here when trying to do this for free.

    Though no file level.

    Always better to have an agent if you need that.

    Unitrends does file level. But not for free.

    Veeam can also do file level restores (no agent required) but again not in the free product.

    Oh, the free version doesn't have that feature? I did not realize that.

    Unless it changed in the last year, free Veeam only does full backups as "VeeamZIP" file to my knowledge.

    Makes sense that they would do that.



  • Their Endoint Recovery Free would work for backups in this scenario as well. And with that one, you do get file-level restores.

    Unfortunately, it'd have to be loaded per VM, and is Windows only at the moment (Linux version just hit beta).



  • @dafyre said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    Their Endoint Recovery Free would work for backups in this scenario as well. And with that one, you do get file-level restores.

    Unfortunately, it'd have to be loaded per VM, and is Windows only at the moment (Linux version just hit beta).

    The beta has been very flaky in my testing.

    I've used rsnapshot before and it's worked pretty well. Stores everything in directories so no fancy interface, but it was rock solid.



  • I need to get that downloaded so that I can start testing on Linux, too. (Veeam Endpoint Protection, that is.)



  • @scottalanmiller said in Converting to a virtual environment:

    I need to get that downloaded so that I can start testing on Linux, too. (Veeam Endpoint Protection, that is.)

    It's ok. Nothing like the Windows version. It's just a tui with a few options (file level, volume level, and whole system I think). I haven't tried a restore through it so no idea how painful that is.


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