Quick review: NAKIVO Backup & Replication 6.2

We are proud to welcome yet another sponsor to our blog: NAKIVO!

Thanks for supporting Cloudfix! The least we can do is write a introductory  blog about their backup & replication solution for VMware. So this is not a full review of all the features of the product, but I hope it gives you a good glimpse of the product and I get’s you interested to do some further investigation into their products.

Besides a backup solution for VMware environments, NAKIVO is also offering a solution for backing up AWS-instances, so if you’re looking for a solution for backing up and recovering your company’s EC2 instances, please give their website www.nakivo.com a visit.

naviko-backup-replication-boxshot

Deployment

NAKIVO Backup & Replication for VMware  can be deployed in a couple of ways:

  • Virtual Appliance (OVF)
  • NAS
  • AWS Amazon Machine Image
  • Linux-/Windows installer

In my CloudFix lab I used a standard script to deploy the OVA to my lab-infrastructure via PowerCLI, which can be found below. I decided to put the DATA-vmdk (which NAKIVO uses for it’s repository) on a seperate (USB) datastore, so the backup data is seperated from the production data :).

& 'C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\Infrastructure\PowerCLI\Scripts\Initialize-PowerCLIEnvironment.ps1'
 # Defines the used credentials to connect to the vCenter
 $Deploy_Username_VC = 'administrator@vsphere.local'
 $Deploy_Password_VC = 'VMware1!'

# Defines the datastore to which to deploy the VM
 $Deploy_To_Datastore_VM = 'NAS-VM'

# Defines the datastore to move the data-VMDK to
 $Deploy_To_Datastore_Data = 'NAS-USB-02'

# Defines the VM-name to use for this NAKIVO B&R Appliance
 $Deploy_To_Name = 'TH-NAKIVO-02'

# Defines the Port-Group to connect the VM to
 $Deploy_To_PG = 'RV-Prod'

try{

$ViServer = Connect-VIServer -Server $Deploy_To_VC -User $Deploy_Username_VC -Password $Deploy_Password_VC
 $OVF_Config = Get-OvfConfiguration -Ovf $Naviko_OVF_Location

# Set network to deploy to this network
 $ovf_config.NetworkMapping.VM_Network.Value = $Deploy_To_PG

# Import OVF
 Import-VApp -OvfConfiguration $OVF_Config -Source $Naviko_OVF_Location -VMHost $Deploy_To_Host -Datastore $Deploy_To_Datastore_VM -DiskStorageFormat Thin -Name $Deploy_To_Name

# Move Data disk to other datastore if needed
 if ($Deploy_To_Datastore_VM -ne $Deploy_To_Datastore_Data)
 {
 Get-HardDisk -VM $Deploy_To_Name -Name "Hard disk 2" | Move-HardDisk -Datastore $Deploy_To_Datastore_Data -Confirm:$false
 }

# Start VM
 $vm = Start-VM -VM $Deploy_To_Name

# Wait for guest heartbeat
 while ( (get-vm -Name $Deploy_To_Name | Get-View).GuestHeartbeatStatus -ine 'green')
 {
 Write-Host "Waiting for VM to respond to heartbeat"
 Start-Sleep -Seconds 5
 }
 }
 finally
 {
 Disconnect-VIServer -Force
 }

VMware Backup

NAKIVO runs all backup jobs in a incremental-forever fashion to a backup repository. This backup repository can be located on a storage local to the assigned transporter (which moves the data to the backup repository), a remote CIFS / NFS share or Amazon EBS (Elastic Block Storage) via a transporter deployed as Amazon EC2 instance.  The inital transporter is included with the installation of the virtual appliance.

These backup repositories can be setup to :

  • Compression
  • Global (data)-deduplication
  • Encryption for the data at-rest.

 

naviko-backup-replication-backup-01

The VM data can be accessed by the transporters in three ways:

  • Direct SAN mode
    The SAN mode leverages VMware VDDK library to mount the LUN’s directly to the transporter). This allows you to directly read the VM data from the source-LUN via the FC / iSCSI storage network.
  • Hot-Add
    When using the virtual appliance as a transporter, hot-add mode can be leveraged to attach the (snapshotted) vmdk directly to the transporter and reading directly from the VM’s VMDK.
  • LAN
    If the methods above are not available, data can be read via NBT (Network Block Device Transport), reading the data via the LAN (VMkernel interface which is assigned for NFC (Network File Copy).

The primary backup jobs can be setup to use GFS rotation scheme directly (so no backup copy jobs needed to set this up).

naviko-backup-replication-backup-02

Backup copy jobs can then be used to create a additional copy of the backup data (for example for offsite storage).

Recovery Options

NAKIVO Backup & Replication offers the following options to recover data using the VMware VM Backups:

naviko-backup-replication-backup-03

  • Flash VM Boot
    Flash VM boot allows to spin-up the VM directly from the backup repository by letting the transporter expose the VM via iSCSI to a vSphere-environment. When you start a job you select the datastore to which the VM writes the changes of the active VM. This feature can also be leveraged to do backup verification or as a lab-environment for testing application patches. Also it’s possible to Storage vMotion the VM back to it’s original location while it’s being run from the backup repository while using iSCSI. When discarding the VM (when ending the Flash VM Boot session it will only remove the snapshot it created when starting the VM from the backup repository).
  • Instant File Recovery
    Using a web-based file recovery wizard files can be recovered by forwarding it via email / downloading it (as a zip-file) from the web browser and recovering it manual to it’s original location or whatever you want to do with the files.
  • Instant Active Directory / Exchange Objects Recovery
    For supported application databases (AD via ntds.dit and Exchange) application-item level recovery can be done. For Active Directory these objects can be forwarded via email or downloaded as a zip file (which then contains a ldif, which can be imported into the AD to recover the selected products). Unfortunately I have to Exchange environment currently in my lab-environment, but my guess is the restore works the same way. So selecting the objects you want to recover and them forward them by mail or download to then manually recover them on the specific application.

For both the instant file recovery and the instant application-item level recovery I would to love to be able to restore it directly back to the VM (using guest credentials if needed) and to be able to search through multiple restore points for specific files and versions of these files.

Replication

NAKIVO Backup & Replication also support replication of VM’s and even allows you to keep 30 restore points to revert your replica to and apply GFS (GrandFather – Father – Son) logic to it. So these replicas can also be used as an additional source for recovery of backup data. These replication jobs can also leverage VMware features like CBT and VMware Tools quiescing, just like the backup jobs. Ofcourse these replicas can be used for DR-purposes (with Failover and Failback capabilities built into the product). Also basic verification can be set up (just as for the other jobs) which sends you a screenshot of the booted VM (with network detached from the VM).

naviko-backup-replication-backup-04

Also the replica’s can be pre-seeded using removable media and resume the replication with incremental replication afterwards.

If we use an additional transporter for these jobs we can also apply network encryption and network acceleration to the data while in transit.

Conclusion

I like the ease of deployment of this product and the clean interface it has, which allows you to have the product setup and running in no time.

I would really encourage you to give NAKIVO Backup & Replication 6.2 a go, if you’re looking for a easy to implement solution for your (small to medium-sized) VMware environments.  You can sign up at https://www.nakivo.com/vmware/vmware-backup-trial.html for a free trial and give it a go yourself to see if the feature-set is sufficient for your backup and replication needs.

Hope you liked this quick review.

Happy holidays!

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Robert Verdam

Consultant at bConn ICT
My main focus is infrastructure (Storage, Networking and Computing), but I'm also very interested in designing and implementing VDI and Server Based Computing-environments.
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