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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Using Storsimple Virtual Array as Veeam Scale Out Backup Repository

[ Updated 21 Jan 2016 ]
Time to build Storsimple Virtual Array on our lab environment. Microsoft just announced a preview version last month and we are gladly to receive a 14 days trial to play around. Then we decided to use it as our test scenario with Veeam Backup and Replication V9 to test Veeam Scale Out Backup Repository. Check out:-

[ Disclamer ]
No distribution of Storsimple Virtual Array as it is tie to our Azure Subscription ID. At this moment, it is still under preview version and intended for evaluation. It is subject to change when General Availability (GA).

We are testing it on our lab environment with Veeam Backup and Replication v9.

[Storsimple VSA Configuration]
To begin with Storsimple Virtual Array will available to customers with an Enterprise Agreement for Microsoft Azure. This version of the Storsimple solution in a virtual machine form can installed on your existing hypervisors:

  • Hyper-V 2008 R2 and above
  • Vmware ESXi 5.5 and above

It is an integrated storage solution that manage storage tasks between on-premise virtual device running in a hypervisor and Microsoft Azure Storage.

Minimum virtual array configuration is
  • 4 cores
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 1 virtual NIC
  • virtual appliance OS disk - 80GB
  • virtual appliance data disk - 500 GB
Storsimple Virtual Array must configure with minimum spec as listed above, else it won't allow you to proceed further.

After download the virtual images and boot up. You can configure VSA initial setup by using browser.

Below is the screenshot on Storsimple Virtual Array on-premise:-

You can use Storsimple Virtual Array (VSA) for file server or iSCSI Server to store files and small database. Native protocol is using SMB or iSCSI. It provides tiering to cloud, cloud backup, fast restore, item level recovery and disaster recovery features.

Features that you might interested:
  • automatic data tiering to cloud
  • deduplication and compression for data tiered to the cloud
  • locally pinned shares and volumes
  • item level recovery. This features available when configure VSA as File Server.
  • centralize management in the cloud
  • data mobility - data tiered to cloud can access from remote site for recovery and migration. You can recover entire virtual array to another virtual array in case primary virtual array failed.
  • restore metadata immediately and store data as it needed. Normal operation can continue with minimal disruption.
  • scheduled and on-demand backup

The Virtual Storage Array has a maximum capacity of 6.4 TB on the device (with the underlying hardware has requirement of  8TB) and 64TB including cloud.

You can deploy multiple Virtual Array and manage from Azure Management Portal. We are managing 2 VSA by using Storsimple Manager.

  • First Virtual Array is configured as iSCSI Server. We are going to test Veeam Scale Out Backup Repository using this VSA.
  • Second Virtual Array is configured as File Server. 

At this post, we are going to focus using Virtual Array as iSCSI Server.

There are two types of volumes that you can create
a) Locally pinned volume
- Suitable when workload data is available locally on Virtual Array.
- volume capacity between 50 GB and 2 TB

b) Tiered volume
-Use when other data and 10% of the provisioned volume size is available on the Virtual Array and remaining % is on cloud.
- volume capacity between 500 GB and 20 TB

We have created 4 locally pinned volume and assign to 3 different servers. Each volume is map to IQN.

On the 3 different servers, we are using iSCSI initiator to connect Storsimple Virtual Array so we get the volumes that has been assigned. Use Disk Manager to initialize, format the volume.

That complete the configuration on Storsimple Virtual Array.

[Veeam Backup and Replication V9 Configuration]
Next step is configure Veeam Backup and Replication V9 to configure Scale Out Backup Repository.

Storage management is a problem for system administrator. You either
- managing multiple storage appliances
- allocate too many or too little space
- running out of hard disk space like what we encountered on previous post.
and many more....

V9 introduced a new features called "Scale out backup repository". You can group multiple repository into a single entity.

We just assigned 4 iSCSI volume to 3 different servers and added as Backup repository. Rather than using them as individual backup repository, we group these into one large pool.

Guess what? We now got 200 GB+ in one pool.

Lastly, we configure backup and point it to Scale Out Backup Repository as a target.

That's all about our testing on using Storsimple Virtual Array as iSCSI storage and set as Veeam Scale Out Backup Repository using Veeam Backup and Replication (VBR) v9.

Feel free to download VBR v9 and test it on your environment.

More related post:-

[ Updated 21 Jan 2016 ]
In term of disaster recovery ,Storsimple Virtual Array will perform schedule daily backup to cloud and each data backup is based on incremental. There are an option to execute on-demand backup of entire volume from Storsimple Manager.
For recovery, head to backup catalog, select the volume and click "Restore as new" to existing or another server.
New volume with data will presented to target host.