Oct 7

I have been trying to move as much as possible to vApp containers recently. I just like the idea of a vApp, it makes sense.

vApp is basically two or more virtual machines that make up a system or application. Like a web server with PHP that connects back to a MySQL database server. You would put both of these together in a vApp. vApp allows for some more detailed configuration that you may benefit from as much as I have. Start Order is what sold me on vApp. Now I can say out of a group of vm’s that I want one to start first and do not start the second until x number of seconds have elapsed or VMware Tools are ready.

This week we moved from VCB to VADP. We have found an issue that we did not expect. VADP and vApp are not supported together. The VADP proxy does not see the virtual machines that are in a vApp. We did go the extra mile and try to backup the vApp as a whole as well as individual machines. For now we will be forced to back our vApp’s up using VCB.


Oct 4

I’ve been researching Tivoli Storage Manager a bit lately and have some good information to report. VMware API for Data Protection, or VADP for short, is VMware’s replacement for VCB. In some ways this is completely new and in others it is going to be very familiar.

You have to still use a proxy both ways. For full images you use a hardware proxy and vcb. For file level you can use a Windows Virtual Machine with the 6.2.1 client to backup other Windows VM’s. The last row in this table is incredibly vague in all honesty. http://www-01.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg21426059.

If you are only interested in file level backups of your vm’s, you will likely be happy with TSM’s integration to date with VADP. You’ll want the 6.2.1 windows client loaded on a windows VM. I used Windows 2008 R2. In this proxy machine you have to do some configurations. You cannot use the GUI to do the actual backup. The backup has to be ran just like VCB “dsmc backup vm”. At this point in vCenter you should see a snapshot made for the machine you are backing up. You also will soon see the proxy machine reconfigured with that machines vmdk mounted. To see some of the configs in the GUI open the 6.2.1 GUI (i’m using windows). Click on Edit, client preferences, vm backup. You will see on the right where you point it to virtual center. List vm’s to backup and select the style. Once this is done you can operate this new proxy vm just as you did your VCB box. Some nice features are backup all windows vm’s and then the ability to do a minus vm “-vm ” to exclude some vm’s.

Some missing features are things like auto detecting new VM’s and backing them up. The “All-Windows” selection in TSM will catch the new VM’s but it will fail to back them up because they do not have a node in the TSM server. Also your proxy node has not been granted access to back them up in TSM server. I am playing with some ways to script this but hopefully this is already on Tivoli’s roadmap.

Now if you want image level backups you are in for a surprise. TSM does not currently support VADP for image level backups. I currently do not do image level backups for production (that’s what replication is for I always said). I am now thinking of doing them simply to have another method to protect data.

If you have any issues please feel free to post a comment. I would love to hear how others are using TSM and VADP.