In this article we continue the series focusing on the Backup & Replication platform with an overview of Veeam Backup Job Configuration. The creation of a Veeam Backup job uses a comprehensive wizard. Covers all the aspects nicely grouped in different sections. This also applies to the “advanced settings” which are conveniently located in specific sub-menus and part of the same wizard.
This helps us to easily choose them and also save them as default configurations for different Backup Jobs.
In this article we’ll go through the main configuration settings with an eye to the various advanced setup options to help getting the best performances from the Backup storage. In addition the settings for application consistent Backups in the Guest Processing section.
All the Veeam Backup job configuration settings will go into the Veeam Configuration Database. This means we can always edit the job parameters even when a particular job is running. Of course these changes will take effect at the next job run.
Very interestingly we can also run all the jobs created in the GUI with PowerShell. In fact on the server where we install the main Veeam Backup & Replication console we’ll find the PowerShell console with all native Veeam PowerShell cmd-lets ready to use including the management of the Backup infrastructure.
It’s now time to take a look and create our first Veeam Backup Job. In this example a simple Backup Job that will protect a few VMware Guests.
Veeam Job configuration
When we login to the main console, from the ribbon on the main view Backup & Replication or from the Backup menu we can start the wizard to create a new Backup Job as per screenshot below. Let’s provide a name for the Job. The description is optional.
We can now select the scope of the Backup Job. This includes objects we can select from different views like Clusters, Virtual Machines, Datastores and even VM Tags. The text box at the bottom filters also based on simple regular expressions.
In this screen we can review the list of objects (in this case VMs) with the total amount based on allocated disk size. We can also create a custom order by which Veeam Backup & Replication will process the virtual machines.
At this point we can specify the Backup Proxy to use and the Storage location acting as a Backup Repository. For the first we can determine also which Backup Proxy should process the Virtual Machines data. Depending on the size and type of environment we have flexible options.
For the latter we can choose amongst different types of Repositories available. Of course considering this is our first copy, we should aim to the fastest storage available in our deployment and then configure the secondary destination for Backup Copy Jobs.
A good Backup strategy uses the 3-2-1 rule which states: 3 copies of your data, on 2 different media, 1 should be off-site.
Definitely Veeam Backup & Replication is helping achieving such scenario.
From the same screen the option to set the Restore Points to keep as a combination of a first Full Backup together with all pertinent Incremental Backups until the next Full thus resetting the Backup Chain. This settings are essential and work very closely with the “advanced settings” as per next section.
From the Advanced Settings we can control various aspects like the Backup mode, maintenance and a lot more. In the first tab we can decide the Backup style. Incremental are less resource intensive when compared to Reverse Incremental. The latter offers always a Full Backup as the most recent state for the simple reason the incremental backups are injected all the time. Depending on situations this can be desirable. In the majority of the cases Incremental is fit for the purpose.
Also very importantly the option to create Synthetic and Active Full Backups periodically. The first one creates a Full Backup directly from the storage. Whereas the latter creates a Full Backup from the Production environment. In both cases they minimising any form of data corruption in the Backup chain.
Synthetic Full Backups of course are very popular with Storage formatted with file Systems optimised for de-duplication. A good example is the latest ReFS. We can store multiple Synthetic Full Backups virtually consuming new Data Blocks as the existing ones will be referenced for the new Backup Chain. This is all transparent to Veeam as the ReFS filse system includes a native de-duplication algorithm fit for the purpose.
In the case of the Maintenance we can schedule tasks against corruption by performing a Backup File health check. This includes removing data pertinent to deleted VMs and also defragmenting the Backup file in order to get the best performances over the long period.
From the Storage tab we can control options for data reduction, compression and encryption. In the case of deleted file blocks this refers to data in the recycle bin. Also the inline data de-duplication can be disabled if leveraging a de-duplication device as Repository. Options here are very flexible.
In the notification we can customise also the body of the email the intended recipients will receive also based on a number of different variables. We can use Global and Custom settings per Job.
In the case of VMware vSphere we can enable the VMware Tools to quiesce the Virtual Machine prior to take an Hypervisor Snapshot. This helps creating an application and crash consistent Backups. Very useful for Linux VMs. In the case of Windows based Guests we can leverage both VMware Tools and native VSS.
Depending the version of the Windows OS, the native VSS can provide file-system consistent and application consistent Backups. If desired we can also trigger the VMware VSS driver shipping with the VMware Tools.
The Changed Block Tracking driver (CBT) works with VMware Guests version 7 and above. This greatly enhances the Backup performances. Because only the changed data blocks from previous backup will process in the current instance. For example when running an incremental.
If we have the Production Storage using a Dell EMC VNX, Unity or HPE StoreVirtual or 3PAR or even NetApp and Nimble appliances we can benefit from Backups from Storage Snapshots. I will dedicate a separate post to cover these topics with more details.
Last by not least we can also specify scripts to run. For example PowerShell, bash and other formats.
Setup Guest Processing for application awareness
Now that we have set the options for the storage it’s time to configure the application-awareness. simply put if we enable this option we can then specify the behaviour for general applications that use VSS writers and standard ones like AD, Exchange, SQL and Oracle.
In addition we can also index the guest file system to allow for even a more granular restore options from the Backup Enterprise Manager Console.. This is usually installed on distributed deployments with multiple Veeam Backup & Replication servers installed.
We’ll cover this and more in a dedicated article along with best practices.
As a next and suggested step is to check the credentials provided for the Guest interaction. This is fundamental for the VSS call to work properly when the Backup Job starts. Highlighting each VM is also possible to get lower level details as well.
Complete Veeam Job configuration
We are now ready to complete the new Backup Job wizard by setting the schedule. As the screenshot is showing it is very flexible with multiple options depending on requirements.
Very useful the automatic retry should the VM processing fail. We can specify the number of times along with timing inn between.
In addition the option to terminate the job should this exceed the Backup Time Window. Goes very nicely when creating SLA policies.
And finally a quick summary of the main configuration settings before amending changes.
This concludes this very quick overview touching upon the several options when configuring a Veeam Backup Job. the solution is very flexible and easy to configure for different scenarios. In the next step we’ll review the Veeam Backup Copy Jobs settings. An easy step to adhere to the industry’s 3-2-1 rule for a good Backup strategy.
Hopefully this was informative and welcome all comments and feedback.