Veeam Backup Proxy is an essential component of the Veeam infrastructure. This article is a follow up with regards to the Veeam Backup Server new features overview. The main role is to act as an “interface” between other components. Namely Backup Servers (VBR), Storage locations (Backup Repositories) and target Backup Proxies for example when sending backups to a remote location. This gives an advantage to the Veeam Backup Server as it is offloading from the Backup Server various tasks like:
- Retrieving VM data from the production storage
- Sending it to the backup repository (for example, when running a backup job)
- Sending it to another backup proxy (for example, when running a replication job)
This way the Veeam Backup Server can focus on other operational tasks. There is virtually no limits on how many Veeam Backup Proxies we are going to install. It is also worth mentioning that Veeam Backup Proxies work with both types of deployments: Physical and Virtual. Really it all depends on how many VMs we are letting this Backup Proxy to manage. Also other considerations might find reasons in specific deployment scenarios. For example as long as it is easy to deploy Veeam Backup Proxies it is also true the best practices involve in making sure they are always available or at least redundant. In any case a “default” Backup Proxy along with a “default” Backup Repository are part of the main Veeam Backup Server deployment. So in disaster recovery scenarios the Veeam Backup and Replication Server can always help.
How Veeam Backup Proxy operates? A quick look at the Transport Modes
When adding a Veeam Backup Proxy it can communicate with the Storage in three different modes:
- Direct Storage Access
- Virtual Appliance
- Network mode
Let’s take a look at the main differences between these.
Direct Storage Access mode leverages the VMware VADP APIs to transport the VM Data Blocks directly from the SAN Storage to the Veeam Backup Proxy. As a such the VM Data Blocks travel the SAN network by-passing the vSphere Hosts and the LAN. This method provides the fastest access to Datastores and effectively is not using the Production Network. This method is the recommended one where the Datastores are sitting on a block storage (FC, FCoE, iSCSI and Shared SAS Storage).
Virtual Appliance mode uses the VMware SCSI HotAdd capability that allows attaching devices to a VM while the VM is running. During backup, replication or restore disks of the processed VM are attached to the backup proxy. At that point the Backup Proxy retrieves/writes VM data is directly from/to the datastore, instead of going through the network. In terms of speed is less efficient when compared to the Direct Storage Access but is definitely more flexible when it comes down to infrastructure requirements.
Network mode is valid with any infrastructure configuration. In this mode in fact, the Veeam Backup Proxy reads Data via the ESX(i) host over LAN using the Network Block Device protocol (NBD). Although this is a very flexible method it is not avoiding sending the Data Blocks from the Production Network over the Production LAN. For big environments this represents the last option to prefer. when the first two methods are not applicable then Network mode can work as fail-over method.
Veeam Backup Proxy Deployment
Veeam Backup Server includes a default installation of all required components. Although this is a good fit for testing and small scenarios it also possible to scale out the Veeam infrastructure to fit different needs. So for example to optimize performance of several concurrent jobs, we can use a number of backup proxies. In this case, Veeam Backup & Replication will distribute the backup workload between available backup proxies. We can deploy backup proxies both in the primary site and in remote sites. In addition we also dictate which Veeam Backup Proxy can execute a specif job and or even be assigned to selected Backup Repositories. In fact we can decide on the “Proxy Affinity” setup.
Veeam Backup Proxy Services
When installing Veeam Backup Proxy there are tow major components:
- Veeam Installer Service is an additional service that is installed on any Windows server once it is added to the list of managed servers in the Veeam Backup Server. This service analyses the system, installs and upgrades necessary components depending on the role for that particular server.
- Veeam Data Mover is a component that performs data processing tasks on behalf of Veeam Backup Server, such as retrieving source VM data, performing data de-duplication and compression, and storing backed up data on the target storage.
In order for a machine to work as a Veeam Backup Proxy there is a number of prerequisites we need to check:
- The machine must meet the system requirements. For more information, see System Requirements.
- The role of a backup proxy can be assigned to a dedicated Microsoft Windows server (physical or virtual).
- You must add the machine to the Veeam Backup & Replication console as a managed server.
- A machine used as a backup proxy should have direct access to the storage on which VMs reside or the storage where VM data is written. This way, the backup proxy will retrieve data directly from the datastore, bypassing LAN (Direct Storage Access mode).
- The backup proxy can be a VM with HotAdd access to VM disks on the datastore. This type of proxy also enables LAN-free data transfer (Virtual Appliance mode).
- If neither of the above scenarios is possible, we can assign the role of the backup proxy to a machine on the network closer to the source or the target storage with which the proxy will be working. In this case, VM data will be transported over LAN using NBD protocol (Network mode).
Ok I’m ready! Let’s install a Veeam Proxy
At this point we are ready to install a Veeam Backup Proxy. As you might expect the installation is very easy and everything is done with a Wizard. a right click from the Backup Proxies will bring the menu to choose which type of Veeam Backup Proxy to install. For this article we’ll focus on the one for VMware infrastructures
This will start a wizard. By default the Wizard points to the existing machine with the Veeam Backup Proxy installed along with the current settings. Let’s click on the Add New.. button to add a new one. Veeam will create this as a Managed Server first..
This will bring a new wizard. In this case let’s specify the name of the new machine we want to install this role into
At this point let’s provide the credentials. As we have seen in the previous article on this series we can use the Credential Manager to manage all the required credentials. In alternative we can create a new one on the fly. Let’s make sure the account we are adding has local admin rights on this machine. If not possible then verify the minimum permission requirements from the Veeam website
Next Veeam wizard will automatically check the info provided. In case of errors these are immediately identified. In this case for example the DNS name resolution is not working as expected (I did this on purpose!). If from the previous screen is taking a long time to load then expect en error!
Once the issue has been solved we are now ready to take a look at the ports. To quickly take a look at the default ports let’s hit on the button below..
From here we have a quick selection of ports Veeam Backup Proxy will use. According to our environment we can also specify different ones
The wizard is detecting the missing components and install them accordingly
A quick installation goes through the setup also showing a log of the current operations
We now have a summary of the installation including the status. As soon as we click on finish we are going back to the previous wizard
Adding a Managed Server as Veeam component
We can now see the newly created Veeam Backup Proxy in the first drop down. Next is to edit the description (optional) and more impotantly depending on our environment the Transport and Connected Datastores. Another important info is the number of concurrent tasks. 1 task equals 1 disk. In this case this Veeam Backup Proxy can operate 2 disks at the same time. This number is automatically set based on the number of detected CPUs. Of course it is possible to increase this number and if course it will affect the CPU %Ready% times. If a virtual machine better to increase CPUs first and then adjust this value accordingly
In the Transport Mode depending on our infrastructure we can decide the preferred mode or leave it to Automatic selection. I would also suggest to leave the “Fail-over to network mode” enabled as Veeam Backup Proxy will try to run the job before giving up!
Likewise we can also select which Datastores the Veeam Backup Proxy would be able to see and operate with. By default is working with all of them
Last but not least is we have the capability to dictate which network Veeam Backup Proxy will use to send/receive VM Data Blocks. Very useful to separate these activities from VM Production traffic. On top of that the option to encrypt and even throttle the speed for which it operates. No change to the firewall or other network appliances are required. Everything is configured within the Veeam Backup Proxy
A finally we have a summary of the installation. Well really the wizard is straightforward so not much info to display at this point (note to self – always check name resolution!)
And this concludes this part about adding a Veeam Backup Proxy. Again there is no limitation on how many can be deployed. Generally speaking Virtual ones are recommended up to 250 VMs to backup. Whereas the Physical ones can go up to 500 VMs. They can definitely mixed together in order to accommodate different scenarios.
Hopefully this article was informative to understand what a Veeam Backup Proxy is and how to deploy. Make your home labs ready and happy backups! I’m open to feedback and suggestions. Comments are welcome!