Excellent news! We are not far away from the GA release of Veeam Availability for Nutanix (VAN) which will give Veeam the ability to Protect and provide Availability also for AHV VM Guests running on a Nutanix Cluster.
I was privileged to have access to an internal Technical Preview so I’m taking this opportunity to try and write blog articles on the upcoming release. Nonetheless to say I feel very excited to start blogging and share about Veeam VAN as a new solution to help protecting workloads in Nutanix Platforms based on Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV).
This adds a new milestone to the extensive portfolio of solutions that Veeam is currently offering to protect the leading hypervisors such as VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V, as well as Physical workloads for Windows and Linux.
So, what is Veeam Availability for Nutanix (VAN)?
VAN is a new platform that provides the option to take native Backup and Restore of AHV VM Guests running on Nutanix Platforms including the Community Editions. It comes in a format of an appliance that will run on the Nutanix Cluster and by leveraging the Nutanix APIs it will create and run Backup and Restore Jobs. Veeam leverages Nutanix native snapshots. The great news is VAN will integrate with Veeam Backup & Replication. By mean of this integration VAN Backups can be stored into any of the preconfigured Veeam Backup Repositories. In addition, the integration with Veeam Backup & Restore will also bring features like the ability to:
- Instant Recovery to Hyper-V VM
- Export Disk contents as virtual disks like VMDK, VHD and VHDX formats
- Restore AHV Guest Files and Application items
- Restore to Microsoft Azure
Moreover, we have the options to do a Nutanix AHV VM full restore and VM Disks restore directly from the Veeam VAN appliance.
What do I need to install VAN?
The main component which allows for the integration between Veeam Backup & Replication and Veeam VAN is called Backup Proxy. The Backup Proxy is a Linux virtual appliance that is directly installed into the Nutanix Cluster in any of the available Storage Containers. The VAN Backup Proxy effectively coordinates communication between the Veeam Backup Server and the Nutanix AHV VM Guests using RESTfull APIs and without the need to install any server agent for Backup and Restore purposes.
In summation the Veeam VAN Backup Proxy is responsible for reading and writing the data from/to the Nutanix AHV VM Guests and the Veeam Backup Repositories. Other duties for which the VAN Backup Proxy is responsible for include:
- Job Management and Scheduling
- Data Compression and Deduplication
- Retention Policy
- and more..
How many VAN Backup Proxy do I need to install?
The VAN Backup Proxy is installed as a VM Guest on the Nutanix Cluster. One Nutanix AHV Cluster requires one VAN Backup Proxy. When multiple Nutanix Clusters are available then the same number of VAN Backup Proxies should be installed. The ratio is one Backup Proxy per Nutanix Cluster.
In the screenshot below a quick example on how the implement the Veeam Availability for Nutanix Backup Proxy:
At this point we are ready to start. Let’s review the deployment and installation steps.
How to install VAN
First thing let’s upload the image we’ll use to deploy the Veeam Backup Proxy. From the main setting menu let’s import and create a new Nutanix Image Configuration. Now select the “Disk” image type and the desired Nutanix Storage Container.
At this point we are ready to create the Veeam VAN Backup Proxy VM. From Home > VM > table view and then “Create VM” on the top left. As per screenshot below we can do not need to enable this machine as Agent VM. This is something needed only by Nutanix CVM machines.
With regard to the specs 1 vCPU with 1 Core is sufficient for a homelab. The more vCPUs we can add the more concurrent tasks the VAN Backup Proxy can process at one time. Of course this also depends on the available number of CPUs on the Nutanix Cluster. Thus in the case we want to run multiple tasks at the same time we can consider 1 CPU and 1 GB of RAM Memory per additional task.
For additional flexibility we can change these values in the VM config as we see fit.
Next is to add the Disk. We can simply clone this one from the Image Service and attach this one as SCSI disk.
During the wizard, choose the virtual Disk as Primary Boot Device.
Last VAN Backup Proxy VM configuration is related to the VM Network this appliance will be attached to. In this environment I have created a Prod and Dev networks using separate VLAN IDs. It is important to make sure on this VM Network there is a DHCP Server available. On the first boot the Backup Proxy will request for an IP address that will be used later on to run the first time configuration. Of course the IP address can be changed later on from the same wizard.
As soon as we power on the VM the VAN Backup Proxy will get a new IP Address and a default Network Port on 8100 we can use to run the first time configuration. All communications use SSL encryption.
Now login to the VAN Backup Proxy appliance to begin the configuration. Default username and password are admin/admin.
Click on install to proceed with the configuration.
Now, accept the End User License Agreement.
We can now specify the new password for the built-in admin user. In addition, there is also an option to enable SSH access to the VAN Backup Proxy and restart the main configuration process if required. Details on a separate article.
We can now enter the Backup Proxy appliance name. I would recommend the selected name reflects the FQDN settings within the environment.
And at this point a quick summary with the main installation details we can review before amending changes.
In the current VAN Backup Proxy Beta more functionalities are available out of the box. In the Dashboard view for example we have quick charts showing main information about the Protection Status, Job Status, Repository and Backup Server Status.
From the Backup Jobs we have the option to create and manage the Backups for Nutanix AHV VM Guests.
Protected VMs shows the status for the Backup Jobs including the options for a Full VM Restore and a Disk Restore.
Within the Events tab we can review the main messages of different types like Errors, Warnings and additional Information. The search box allows to look for specific event and check the resolution status. The Resolved drop-down field can further help highlighting these.
The Backup Proxy
At this point we are to configure the VAN Backup Proxy. All we have to do is adding a Nutanix Cluster and Veeam Backup Server. Let’s start with Veeam Backup Server by specifying the IP Address or DNS name and a user that has access to the Veeam Server.
Next is to add the Nutanix Cluster. We can do this by specifying the Cluster IP or DNS name along with the same credentials we use to access to Nutanix Prism. It also works with Nutanix CE edition.
A couple of configurations that are really important are the Time zone settings and the Backup Repository credentials. Ideally the Backup Proxy should be synchronized either with the Nutanix Cluster or use the same NTP Server settings.
The other configuration setting to verify is the Access Permission configured on the Veeam Backup Repository we want to use with VAN Backup Proxy.To store data on it we need to make sure the correct credentials are supplied.
This concludes the first part of the article about deployment and configuration of the VAN Backup Proxy. In the next part we’ll prepare and run a Backup Job to protect Nutanix AHV VM Guests.