Review NAKIVO Backup & Replication v7.5 – Backup and Recovery

In this part of the NAKIVO Backup & Replication review the backup and recovery options will be highlighted.

Backup

To begin with backup and recovery we first need a backup job. Configuring a backup job contains the following five steps:

  • 1. VMs: Select the VMs to backup from the inventory of the vCenter Server or ESXi host.

  • 2. Destination: Select the destination to store the VMs. Select the onboard repository with deduplication and compression enabled for storage space savings.

  • 3. Schedule: Create one or more backup schedules

  • 4. Retention: Define the retention period for each Virtual Machine (VM). Each VM will have one or more recovery points were individual files, application object or the the entire VM can be recovered. A Grandfather-Father-Son (GFS) backup rotation scheme can be used.

  • 5. Options: Select the options for the backup job:
    • App-aware mode: Use this option for applications that require that the data is consistent such as Microsoft SQL and Exchange.
    • Change tracking: Only the blocks that are changed since the last backup will be backup ed. This will increase the backup speed.
    • Screenshot verification: After the backup of each VM it will be recovered (with the network disconnected) and a screenshot will be made after the OS is started. The screenshot will be included in the email notification or in the job report.
    • Email notifications: When the job completes the status is send by Email.
    • Transport Mode: Hot Add, SAN, LAN or automatic can be selected
    • Bandwith throttling: With bandwidth throttling you can control the amount of bandwidth that is consumed by NAKIVO Backup and Replication.

The are more options to configure, refer to the following link for all the options to configure.

In 5 easy wizzard based steps a backup job is be configured.

Reports

There are several reporting functions available such as:

  • Last run report.  Provides the status of the last run backup.
  • Point-in-time report. Provides data on a particular job run.
  • Job history report. Provides data on job runs that occurred during a specified time period.
  • Protection coverage report. Contains information about all VMs and instances protected by backup and/or replication jobs, as well as about all unprotected VMs and instances.

The “last run” report is includes information about the backup such as:

  • Summary
  • Virtual Machines
  • Target Storage
  • Alarms & Notifications

This report can be created manually or in the backup job you can specify the email address of one or more recipient(s) were the report will be send to.

When screenshot verification is used, the screenshot is also included in the report.

Restore / Recover

Appliance backup

The configuration of the NAKIVO Backup & Replication server /appliance can be secured by using the Self-backup feature. When something happen with the NAKIVO Backup & Replication server the configuration can be quickly restored on another server.

After the first backup job is finished there a multiple ways to recover VM data. The following options are available to recover data from the backups:

  • Individual files. You can recover files or folders directly from compressed and deduplicated repository.
  • Microsoft SQL Server objects. Enables browsing, searching, and recovering Microsoft SQL Server objects.
  • Microsoft Active Directory objects. Enables browsing, searching, and recovering Microsoft Active Directory objects.
  • Microsoft Exchange objects. Enables browsing, searching, and recovering Microsoft Exchange emails.
  • Export Backups. This is called “Cross-Platform Recovery” and will be handled in the next paragraph.
  • Flash VM boot. Enables to run VMware and Hyper-V VMs directly from repository without the need to recover the VMs first.
  • VM recovery from backup. Full VM recovery. When you recover a VM, a new VM is created and the “old” VM is retained.

I tested several recover options:

  • Individual files. Individual files per VM can be restored. The files can be recovered on a server (for example on the same location as deleted), downloaded to the browser or emailed. I tested to recover two PowerShell files from a VM and selected the download to browser option. The files recovery is performed in seconds.

  • VM recovery from backup. With this option one or more full VMs are recovered.  The original VM will be retained so the recovering VM will not overwrite the original VM.  The recovering VM name will append “-recovered” in the end. The recovery is fast.

  • VM Flash boot. With the VM Flash boot option it’s possible to boot VMs directly from the compressed and deduplicated repository without recovering the VMs first. This saves time and can be used for example for testing software updates. VM Flash boot uses iSCSI technology to connect VM disks stored in the backup to a target to the ESXi host. In this test I recovered two VMs in isolated network and performed a software update for testing. The changes are not written to the recovery point that i’m using. When i’m finished with testing i can discard the VMs with a single click so that all the changes are lost.

  • Cross-Platform Recovery. Cross-Platform Recovery allows exporting virtual disks to other formats such as:
    • VMDKs for VMware
    • VHD for Hyper-V
    • VDHX for Hyper-V

This allows you to recover VMs in different environments (VMware to Hyper-V and Hyper-V to VMware). In this testI exported a VMware Virtual Machine with two VMDK disks to VHDX disks with the Backup Export Wizard. The “Export backups” wizzard is used and by selecting the VM and recovery point, disks and options to start the export job.

When the export completed, I created a new VM in Hyper-V Manager and pointed to the restored VDHX disks. Then i was able to start a Hyper-V VM with the exported disks attached. Cross-Platform Recovery can be used for recover VM disks from between hypervisor such as VMware vSphere to Hyper-V and to VMware Workstation and VirtualBox.

In this part of the NAKIVO Backup & Replication review I highlighted the backup and recovery features. It was a pleasure to test the backup and recovery features because they were easy, quick and they worked out of the box without any troubleshooting skills needed. In the next review I will highlight the replication feature.

 

Review NAKIVO Backup & Replication v7.5 – Installation

In this part of the NAKIVO Backup & Replication review I highlight the installation and basic configuration.

For the installation of NAKIVO Backup & Replication you have several options. NAKIVO Backup & Replication can be installed as:

  • Windows or Linux installation package
  • Virtual Appliance for VMware (OVF)
  • In the Amazon AWS cloud
  • Directly installed on NAS devices such as QNAP, Synology and NETGEAR

In my test environment I installed NAKIVO Backup & Replication as Virtual Appliance (VA) on my VMware vSphere 6.7 environment. This is the latest available version of VMware vSphere when writing this blog. The installation of the virtual appliance can be deployed using the vSphere Client (HTML5) or the vSphere Web Interface.

After specifying the name, ESXi host/cluster, storage and selecting the right network, the VA is ready to be deployed. The appliance uses the following resources as VM:

OS Ubuntu Linux (64-bit) Virtual Appliance
CPU 2 vCPU
Memory 4 GB
Hard Disk 1 30 GB
Hard Disk 2 520 GB (repository)
Network Adapter 1

After the deployment the appliance is ready to start. In the console of the Virtual Appliance several settings can be adjusted such as: networking, security (SSH and root password), time and services using a menu interface.

The next step is the basic configuration.

Network Attached Storage (NAS) Support

Another test i did is to install NAKIVO Backup & Replication directly on my QNAP NAS. The installation is straight forward. Download the NAKIVO QNAP package and install this using QNAP AppCenter. After the installation you’re ready to perform the basic configuration.

Basic config

After the installation is complete, you can log into NAKIVO Backup & Replication by opening the following URL:

https://<IP_address_of_QNAP_NAS>:4443

The fist time create an user and you’re able to log in. In a three step wizard the following is configured:

  • Inventory: On what virtual/cloud environment are my VMs running (VMware, Hyper-V or AWS)?
  • Transporter: That’s the component that performs the actual backup, replication and recovery as well the data compression, deduplication and encryption of the data.
  • Repository: Where will the data stored.

Inventory

Because I have a VMware vSphere environment, I connect to an ESXi or vCenter Server in the inventory tab.

Transporter

The Virtual Appliance acts as transporter. The maximum load is default 6 concurrent tasks. It’s always possible to add extra transporters when needed.

Repository

For the repository I use the onboard repository (uses hard disk 2) that is attached to the Virtual Appliance. The onboard repository compression and deduplication is configured by default.

Other repositories options are: CIFS, NFS and Amazon EBS.

Updating

When new updates are available they are displayed in the web interface.

For the Virtual Appliance (VA) download the updated installer and upload it the VA (/opt/nakivo/updates) folder. Open the console of the VA and select “Software Update” in the menu. It would be great when the upgrade process of the VA can be automated without any manually actions in feature releases.

This was the last step of the 3 step wizard. After approximately 15 minutes i’m ready with the installation and basic configuration of the Virtual Appliance.  I can conclude the following after the installation and basic configuration of NAKIVO Backup & Replication test:

  • The installation of the Virtual Appliance and NAS option are simple and can be deployed very fast (minutes) without the need of a extra Windows licensing costs.
  • When installing NAKIVO Backup & Replication on a NAS device. There is no need for VM resources or physical hosts which saves money
  • Management via done by Web Browser, no software installation is needed

Review NAKIVO Backup & Replication v7.5 released

NAKIVO announced today that NAKIVO Backup & Replication v7.5 is out of beta and available. This new version includes the following new features:

  • Support for VMware vSphere 6.7: It’s now officially compatible with the latest version of VMware vSphere.
  • Cross-Platform Recovery: With the Cross-Platform Recovery feature, users can export VM data from VMware and Hyper-V backups into VMDK, VHD, or VHDX format. The exported files can then be used for recovery across different hypervisors, cross-platform VM data migration, long-term archival, or sandbox testing.
  • Advanced Bandwidth Throttling: Allow you to set speed limits during data protection jobs to avoid network overload for example during business hours.
  • Dell EMC Data Domain Boost Support: Dell EMC Data Domain: Integrates with the BoostFS plugin, combining benefits of the VM backup software with the source-side deduplication offered by Dell EMC Data Domain Boost. As a result of this integration, VM backup size can be reduced by up to 17X while VM backup speed can be improved by as much as 50%.
  • NETGEAR ReadyNAS VM Backup Appliance:  can be installed directly on NETGEAR ReadyNAS devices, creating a cost-effective VM backup appliance. The ReadyNAS-based appliance is a 5-in-1 solution featuring backup hardware, software, storage, built-in global data deduplication, and backup-to-cloud functionality. This is already possible with QNAP and Synology NAS devices.

NAKIVO develops data protection solutions for VMware, Hyper-V, and cloud environments such as Amazon and Azure. I was asked to do an independent review of NAKIVO Backup & Replication. In a series of blog posts I will look closer to existing and new features of NAKIVO Backup & Replication v7.5. I’ll will be highlight the following topics:

  • Installation and basic configuration, link
  • Backup and Recovery, link
  • Replication, link
  • Multi-Tenancy, editions and licensing and the final conclusion, link.

Update: Augustus 27, 2018: Today version 8 of NAKIVO Backup & Replication is Generally Available (GA). This version includes the Business Continuity and Site Recovery Orchestration Solution. With v8 of NAKIVO Backup & Replication you can automate and orchestrate the entire site recovery process. Perform scheduled non-disruptive disaster recovery testing, planned failover, emergency failover, failback, and datacenter migration.

More information can be found here:

  • NAKIVO VMware Backup, link
  • NAKIVO Hyper-V Backup, link
  • NAKIVO AWS EC2 backup. link
  • NAKIVO Backup & Replication v7.5 full-featured trial download, link
  • NAKIVO Backup & Replication v7.5 release notes, link
  • NAKIVO Backup & Replication v8 release notes,link