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Veeam Backup and Replication allows you to flexibly select objects to add to the job. At the Virtual Machines step of the job wizard, the Add Objects screen offers various “views” into the vCenter architecture that match the views provided by the vSphere client. You can switch between the Hosts and Clusters, VMs and Templates, Datastores and VMs or Tags views by pressing the appropriate button on the backup object selection screen.
This screen also provides an advanced object exclusion tool that allows you to select a parent object and then exclude child objects, or even individual disks within a VM.
Note When selecting very high level containers with many virtual machines, such as datacenters, clusters or large folders, it is important to keep in mind that tape archive jobs, or SureBackup jobs with linked jobs cannot exclude certain objects from being processed
More guidelines on object selection are listed below.
Important: Veeam Backup and Replication supports encrypted VMs (in vSphere 6.5) but the resulting backups will contain unencrypted data. Thus it is strongly recommended to enable in transit and at rest job level encryption to ensure safety of the data. For more details on requirements and limitations of the backup of encrypted VMs refer to the corresponding section of the User Guide.
If the target repository is not configured to use per VM backup files, deduplication across all VMs within a single job is available. When using per VM backup files, deduplication is only available within a single VM backup chain, which reduces its efficiency but still makes it relevant. The following recommendation applies to job level deduplication only.
Grouping VMs running the same operating system or deployed from similar templates into a single job will increase deduplication rate. Job sizing guidelines still apply, and it is recommended to monitor the backup window and the size of the job for manageability.
Adding resource pools, folders, datastores, or vSphere Tags (vSphere 5.5 and higher) to backup jobs makes backup management easier. New machines that are member of such constructs or containers are automatically included in the backup job, and machines removed from the container are immediately removed from job processing.
When creating jobs based on groups or constructs, ensure that the configured constructs do not overlap. Overlapping constructs may cause undesired results. For instance, when creating jobs based on datastores, VMs with disks residing on multiple datastores included in more than one backup job will cause the VM to be backed up in each job.
Tags are very convenient for a policy driven approach to data protection. However, it is recommended to follow these guidelines:
- Monitor the number of VMs automatically added to the job to avoid too many VMs being backed up within a single job
- Only one tag can be used to include a VM in a job
- Using tags, you can classify VMs by service levels, using different backup jobs for different service levels
- Veeam ONE Business View (OBV) is a very convenient tool for managing vSphere Tags. OBV allows for creating classification rules and update corresponding tags in vCenter. Classifications can be defined from CPU, RAM, VM naming convention, folder, resource pool, datastore etc. OBV can also import VM/host/datastore descriptions from a CSV file. This feature can be useful when refreshing VMware tags, for example, to update a CMDB.
It is recommended to limit the number of exclusions in backup jobs. While exclusions can be very useful, the virtual infrastructure is dynamic and changes rapidly. It is quite possible that a VM gets moved to a folder or resource pool that is excluded which makes it unprotected. Monitoring Protected VMs with Veeam ONE is highly recommended.
Also remember that exclusions have higher priority over inclusions in Veeam Backup & Replication.
Detailed descriptions of compression and storage optimization settings and their influence on the backup infrastructure is provided in the Deduplication and Compression section of this guide. In almost all cases deduplication should be left enabled. Veeam Backup & Replication uses source side deduplication which decreases the amount of data that must be transferred to the target repository.
While data amount is growing and backup window is decreasing, forward incremental forever backups have become increasingly important in any backup solution. Backup jobs with no scheduled synthetic or active full backups are becoming more widely adopted. Forward incremental with weekly synthetic full backups is however still the default setting.
The two main objections towards using a forever forward incremental backup mode are the following:
The first one is full backup file fragmentation, leading to undesired VBK file growth over time, and degradation of performance due to fragmentation. Previously it was recommended to perform periodical active full backups in order to create a new VBK file and backup chain. This would mitigate issues of fragmentation and remove whitespace left by deleted data blocks.
The second objection is silent storage corruption. If ever a file or block in the chain got corrupted by a storage related issue, all subsequent consolidations or restores from this could be affected.
To address both objections, following features are available under the "Maintenance" tab, in the Advanced settings of a backup job.
Full backup file maintenance will address two issues: VBK file fragmentation caused by transforms (forward incremental forever or reverse incremental) and left over whitespace from deleted data blocks. These issues are mitigated by synthesizing a new full backup file on the backup repository, i.e. copying blocks from the existing VBK file into a new VBK file, and subsequently deleting the original file. This process may also be referred to as "compacting".
How does it work? During VBK compacting, a new VBK file is created. Existing blocks are copied from the previous VBK, requiring free space equivalent to the size of an additional full backup in the repository. In the Restore Point Simulator, this space is part of the "Work space" parameter. When using Scale-out Backup Repository in Performance Mode, the compacting process may utilize multiple extents and significantly speed up the compacting process.
When to use? For every backup job with full transforms. Defragmentation will benefit most jobs that are configured to generate a single chain per job, keeping files smaller and restore optimal speed over time.
When to avoid? When using deduplication storage, it is recommended to disable the "Defragment and compact" option. As deduplication appliances are fragmented by their very nature and also have very poor support for random I/O workloads, the compacting feature will not enhance backup or restore performance.
In addition to using SureBackup for restore validation, storage-level corruption guard was introduced to provide a greater level of confidence in integrity of the backups.
How does it work? When a job has finished, storage-level corruption guard will perform a CRC verification for the most recent restore point. It will validate whether the contents of the backup chain blocks match the content described within the backup file metadata. If a mismatch is discovered, it will attempt to repair the data block from production storage, assuming the block still exists and has not been overwritten. If it exists, the backup file will be repaired. If not, storage-level corruption guard will fail and make the user aware that a new full backup is required, and that the backup chain must be recovered from a secondary copy of the backup.
When to use? It is recommended to use storage-level corruption guard for any backup job with no active full backups scheduled. Synthetic full backups are still "incremental forever" and may suffer from corruption over time.
When to avoid? It is highly discouraged to use storage-level corruption guard on any storage that performs native "scrubbing" to detect silent data corruptions. Such storage will automatically heal silent data corruptions from parity disks or using erasure coding. This is the case for most deduplication appliances.
Chaining backup jobs is convenient in certain circumstances, but should be used with caution. For example, if a job as part of a chain fails or stops responding, the entire job chain delivers poor backup success rate.
A common way to handle multiple jobs is to let the built-in Intelligent Load Balancing (ILB) handle the proxy/repository resources by starting multiple jobs in parallel and consequently using all available proxy/repository resources. This allows optimal task scheduling and provides the shortest backup window.
When planning job schedules, you should consider balancing the load on source and target disks. Too many jobs accessing the same disk will load the storage significantly; this makes the job run slower or may have a negative impact on the VMs performance. To mitigate this problem, you can utilize Storage Latency Control (or Backup I/O Control) settings.
Veeam has a load balancing method that automatically allocates proxy resources making a choice between all proxies managed by Veeam Backup & Replication that are available at the moment.
While configuring a backup job, you can disable the automatic proxy selection. Instead, you can select particular proxies from the list of proxies managed by Veeam backup server, and assign them to the job. This is a very good way to manage distributed infrastructures; also it helps you to keep performance under control.
For example, you can back up a cluster residing on a multiple blade chassis. In this case, if using virtual proxies, keep the proxies' load well-balanced and optimize the network traffic.
Dedicated proxies can be also very helpful if you use a stretched cluster and do not want proxy traffic to cross over inter-switch links.
See the illustration below as a good starting point to reach and keep control on high backup throughput. In this example, administrator wants to keep network traffic as much as possible inside the chassis; only the proxy-to-repository traffic goes via an external link.
Tip: To optimize load balancing in a distributed environment where backup proxies are located in multiple sites, it is recommended to select all proxies from the same site in the corresponding job.