VMware Backup via VDP

The free VMware backup tool VDP is simple, but has limitations in terms of capacity. VMware VDP succeeded the VMware backup appliance from version 5.1. VDP is simple, free, stable and easy to administer but not suitable for all data centers. The backup appliance integrated with VMware vSphere has changed in depth with vSphere version 5.1 marked by the launch of VDP VMware(VMware Data Protection), which is now bundled free with all versions of VMware’s hypervisor. This new protective appliance has even helped some VMware administrators to replace their existing backup software.

Most vSphere administrators were investing in third-party backup software, optimized or not for virtual environments. The appliance VDP made ​​its debut with the launch of vSphere 5.1, and it is probably time to take a look. This appliance is a complete redesign of the old VMware backup software. At first, the solution seems similar to previous versions.  The appliance includes data deduplication and changed block tracking ( Changed Block Tracking or CBT). But unlike the previous appliance, VMware VDP is based on technology from EMC Avamar deduplication. It makes all the difference with the previous generation VMware backup tools.

Needs and installing VMware VDP

It is not complicated to get started with the product. Administrators can use the appliance if they prefer: the VDP appliance only requires VMware vCenter 5.1; there is no need to update your virtualized servers to vSphere 5.1 and later. VDP is able to save the hosts vSphere 4 as the product is used from the management console vCenter 5.1.

Before starting make sure that your DNS works including the reverse lookup for your appliance. Download the VDP appliance from the VMware site and deploy it from the vSphere client. Assign an IP address to the appliance and configure the other network settings and you are ready to start VDP. Now you need to open a Web browser and access the appliance’s configuration page VDP at: https: // <your IP>: 8543 / VDP-configure . Log in as ” root “and the password” changeme “. Alternatively, for those based in Norfolk, hire Prosper IT to do it for you.

Once identified, a wizard appears and asks the host name, DNS and other settings for vCenter Server and the single sign-on VMware. The rest of the configuration is done either from the web interface or via the vSphere client. Note however that it is possible to connect directly to the appliance, it is based o
n SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11.


Backup and Restore

Backups and restores are performed directly from the vSphere Client. In the left column of the Administration Console, a new entry called vSphere Data Protection appears. Use the wizard to define which VDP VM backup and when to do it, and the data retention policy on the appliance.

Should you use VMware VDP

VMware vSphere Data Protection is free, simple to configure and easy to administer. Why is it therefore not deployed by more vSphere administrators? The management held is a major factor. In vCenter, it is possible to drive up to 10 backup appliances, each supporting up to 100 VMs. This suggests that it is theoretically possible to save up to 1000 VM, but it is recommended not to push your system to the limit. It is reasonable to consider saving a few hundred VMs. But every VDP appliance is limited to 2 TB of storage which, even with deduplication, limits the number of VMs that can be saved on the backup store.

The VDP appliance backs up data to disk. But who protects the backup appliance and drives? This responsibility lies with you. Disasters affecting your infrastructure, will also affect the backup disks.  To create a copy, follow the recommendations of the Administration Guide VMware VDP, starting with stopping the appliance. Then make sure it is stopped and use your backup software or your favorite copy mechanism. This can be as simple as exporting the appliance to Ovf VDP format on an external drive. You can also use backup software to backup to tape. As long as you are aware of the limitations of VMware VDP, the software is a viable solution for your vSphere environment.