Bare Metal Recovery is equally important as the need of running swift restores for Applications and their content. And this applies to both physisical and virtual machines. That means we should include Bare Metal Recovery options in our Backup Strategy as well for a full Disaster Recovery plan. This article covers this topic in more detail with an overview of the Veeam Recovery Media.
In which situations I should use the Veeam Recovery Media?
Traditionally Bare Metal Recovery was intended just for physical machines. And yes I’m using the past because this was the general practise for these type of Recovery.
Today the Veeam Recovery Media can be used for both physical machines where the Veeam Agents are running and also for virtual machines we are protecting with Veeam Agents in Managed Mode. In this particular case in fact the Veeam Agents are protecting a Failover SQL Cluster.
But there are lots of other cases where Veeam Agents still apply. For example we might want to protect our Microsoft Windows and Linux based workloads running into different types of hypervisors like Citrix XenServer or other KVM based and why not even running in the public Clouds like Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and more!
In essence Veeam Recovery Media is an important component we should always consider as part of the “big plan”. This article wants to explore and provide a quick overview of Veeam Recovery Media options when restoring a Failover SQL Cluster node. For the record, this is a real life Bare Metal Recovery I had to perform in my home lab since the installation of the cluster nodes was corrupted. I have tried everything I knew to restore the clustered SQL Role and was going into circles. So this was the right time to perform a Bare Metal Recovery on both cluster nodes and the Veeam Recovery Media simplified the entire process of restore.
As a side note, that serves me right for not paying attention to the warnings! Having a good Backup Strategy and a rock solid Restore plan (yes even for a home lab) gives the peace of mind and the option to replay steps and improve the configurations in your infrastructure. Defnitely not something we can afford in a production environment. So why take the risk?
Let’s take a look at how to create and use the Veeam Recovery Media to perform a Bare Metal Restore of a couple of SQL Cluster nodes running on VMware vSphere. In this particular case both Cluster nodes are protected using Veeam Agents in Managed Mode.
The entire process is very quick and simple: about 50 seconds to create the Veeam Recovery Media and roughly 5 minutes to perform a Bare Metal Recovery. Interested? Read on!
How to use Veeam Recovery Media to restore physical and virtual machines
In order to create a Veeam Recovery Media essentially we have two options. This can be part of the installation wizard for Veeam Agent deployment or using the same process we can also create a Veeam Recovery Media from a virtual Machine Backup protected by Veeam Agents in Managed Mode.
The screenshot below shows the steps for the latter option. We need to browse to Backup section and open (or import in my case) the pertinent backup job. From here we simply select the desired machine and from the contextual menu we choose the option to create a Veeam Recovery Media.
The wizard will start and guide us through the process. As a side note even though we might need to restore “similar” machines like in this case 2 similar nodes of the same cluster, we still need to create a single Veeam Recovery Media per machine. Main reason is this will hold the specific configuration of that particular machine including amongst other the Boot configuration and Drivers information.
At this point we can specify the location where the Veeam Recovery Media ISO file will be created. Let’s make sure we have at least 500 MB of free space as this is the general file size of the ISO which will include also all additional device drivers to boot and operate essential (virtual) hardware devices.
Let’s review the settings and click next to continue.
The wizard shows the progress for the creation of the Veeam Recovery Media ISO file. 50 seconds in total is not bad at all!
Now that we have the Veeam Recovery Media ISO file we can mount and connect this one directly to the virtual machine. For a physical machine we might want to burn the ISO on a CD/BD (who uses CD these days?!) or simple create a bootable USB and boot from that one.
For my home lab I will go for the first option as per screenshot below.
Let’s change the boot order from the virtual machine BIOS to boot from USB and the Veeam Recovery Media will start. The Veeam Recovery Media is based on the Microsoft Windows RE. In addtion it also packs the Veeam goodies!
From the “Tools” section we have different options we can use primarily for troubleshooting, reset password, collect logs, install drivers (useful for Mass Storage Controllers and Network cards) and last but not least also the option to run custom commands from a prompt.
For example in the case of “Command Prompt” we can launch this one to add net shares from where to read our Backups. So a simple net use command will do the trick:
“net use * \\ServerName\ShareName /USER:name”
And we can use this mapped share later on to browse the Backups to restore from.
So when starting the wizard with Bare Metal Recovery we have two options to start with the Backup Location: Local Storage or Network Storage. Even in this case we have the ability load drivers for “unknown” mass storage controllers and network cards.
In the case of the virtual machines the drivers are already injected into the Veeam Recovery Media upon it’s creation.
For this scenario let’s use the second option with Network Storage.
In this step we can opt for the location where to find the Backup files. In this example this will be a folder on a CIFS share. From the same menu we can also use other types like Veeam Backup repository, Veeam Cloud Connect repository and also a Microsoft OneDrive.
As a next step I would suggest to configure the network settings.
The Veeam Recovery Media will show the detected network cards by mean of the injected Drivers. Let’s click on the properties and edit the Network configuration as desired. I tend to assign static IP addresses for an easier control.
In the Shared Folder section we can now specify the location of the Backup files. With the credentials naturally we can also use domain and workgroup related credentials. When not set up correctly the wizard will show an error from the browse button.
An alternative is to use the “net use” command from the command prompt to map already such shares and eventually see the error types. Commonly errors 67 and 53 which mean network or permission issues.
At this point let’s select the Backup Image we need for the Bare Metal Recovery.
According to the Backup Job schedule we’ll be also able to see additional restore point in time restores. The wizard also shows the content of the Backup in terms of volumes.
As a side note please consider that only “local volumes” are part of the backup. The other ones presented through iSCSI and owned by Failover Cluster Manager need to be protected separately.
Of course additional volumes mounted though iSCSI will be included into the Backup plan as owned from Operating System.
Let’s choose to restore the entire computer.
As per message in the screenshot let’s choose a manual restore process and review the volumes.
The following table shows the volumes layout. On “Disk 0” which is the only disk available at the moment we can restore the “System Reserved and C:” partitions as per screenshot below.
So let’s select the Partitions as per screenshot below.
A new message will inform us the existing volumes will be overwritten. Of course let’s proceed and continue.
The wizard is now showing a quick summary with the main details. Let’s review them and click on Restore to perform the Bare Metal Recovery process.
The Veeam Recovery Media will now start the process and show an updated progress for the operations.
The Bare Metal Recovery process is now done and took rougly 5 minutes to complete. Not bad for a full restore. Of course we can improve speed even more depending on other components like the Backup network and location.
At this point the wizard is now completed and all we need to do is disconnect the Veeam Recovery Media ISO file from the virtual machine (or the USB device from a physical server) and reboot.