Veeam v9 – New Feature Annoucements

While the need for backups hasn’t changed, how you use these backups has. Not only that, the speed at which we can recover our data is changing as well. As the cost of downtime continues to grow, having to restore an entire server just to recover one file or a small number of files just won’t cut it. Your backup needs to be backup quickly and restore even faster.

The improvements in Veeam v9 are doing just that. Veeam has been introducing faster and faster ways to backup and restore (and limit the impact on production virtual machines during backups as well) for years and v9 is no exception. There are a few new options I want to touch on that are pain points I’ve experienced in my environments.

1. Backups from Snapmirror/Snapvault destinations.
As a former NetApp admin, I love the idea of minimizing the effect of backups on my virtual machines. By enabling backup from snapmirror destinations, you can get your VMs offsite using built in software on your NetApp array, and then create off-SAN backups that aren’t limited by your snapmirror rentention schedule due to space constraints.

2. Direct NFS Backup Mode
Direct SAN access has been in Veeam Backup & Replication forever, but backing up VMs on your NFS datastores was a different story. A proxied connection was required through an ESXi host to backup these VMs. In v9, a brand new NFS client was written by the engineers at Veeam to connect directly to your NFS volumes and backup VMs without additional host impact, latency, or speed constraints.

3. Per VM-backup File chain
As the size of your backup job grows, the managing of that file gets to be painful. As your backup repository begins to fill up you’re left having to migrate the entire backup file to a new repository. By creating a Per-VM backup file chain, one job can be created for all of your virtual machines, but each VM has its own file chain. This feature is especially useful with the next feature I’ll talk about.

4. Scale-out Backup Repository
Backup repository management has always been one of the largest pain points when managing Veeam backup jobs. I remember my first Veeam setup I was limited to 2TB LUNs on my backup server and I had to create 8 of them to store my backups. As backup jobs couldn’t span repositories, this meant I was creating individual jobs tied to repositories and then rebalancing as repositories began to fill. The Scale-out backup repository feature allows a virtual backup repository to be create on top of your current physical repositories. Now fewer jobs need to be created and you’re able to take advantage of all the space in each repository. Thanks to Luca Dell’Oca for clarifying that maintenance mode and evacuation are also supported. This mean if a repository needs to be taken down (due to SAN maintenance for example) it can be marked as maintenance mode and excluded from the repository during maintenance operations.

For me, these are the 3 big features I’m happy to see in Veeam v9. There are additional features such as explorers for Oracle, Active Directory (support for AD-integrated DNS and GPO restoration!), SQL Server and SharePoint. The entire list of new features can be found at the link below.

Click here for all the feature announcements.

VeeamON 2015

As exciting as VMworld is each and every year, it appears to have lost its charm. Yes, it’s the largest gathering of virtualization people (my people) each and every year, but that is part of the problem. 20,000+ of my closest friends isn’t quite as intimate as it sounds. Oh, we’re close, but that’s more about proximity than the strength of our friendships.

The value of VMworld is the sessions, labs and networking opportunities. With sessions and labs being available after the conference ends, it’s important to maximize those networking opportunities as best you can. Trying to find someone in a crowd of 20,000 is difficult. If you’re not stalking your favorite virtualization professionals on Twitter you’ll likely miss them. Enter VeeamON.

This is the second year for VeeamON and my first year in attendance. Veeam, everyone’s favorite data protection & availability company (or at least mine), holds their annual gathering of data availability experts in Las Vegas (at the Aria hotel this year). What is normally just a function of our jobs is brought to the forefront in this conference. The size of VeeamON which has an expected attendance of 2500+ people will see many more opportunities to get one-on-one time with those in attendance.

VeeamON focuses on community, much like Veeam itself has done over the years. This dedication to educating and enabling the community is what has made Veeam Software successful and respected in the industry. Veeam is bringing out the vBrownbag crew for 19 sessions that will be available live during the conference as well. Its users and the community have helped shaped Veeam and built very passionate advocates.

With vendor sponsored sessions that consist of integration with the various aspects of the Veeam software features (such as Veeam Explorer for Storage Snapshots) as well as a focus on customer and user sessions that describe their use of Veeam solutions in their environment. That’s just the beginning. Other sessions talk about data protection as a whole and the concept of data availability in our modern datacenters. Being a Veeam user or customer isn’t required to walk away with new concepts, ideas and knowledge. Click here to view the agenda.

We’re past the point of just needing backups, we need our data readily available in many different and evolving scenarios. From backups, to disaster recovery, to sandboxes for testing, data availability gets reduced to just having a copy of your data. Veeam is pioneering the data availability movement and has the tools in place to bring data availability to the always-on enterprise. Above all else, Veeam is on your side.

Restore Files & AD Objects From NetApp & Veeam v8

With the release of Veeam Backup & Replication v8 we can restore directly from NetApp Snapshots. Whether it’s an entire VM, individual files, or just some objects in Active Directory, you can do it all from the Veeam console. For a guide on installing and configuring Veeam v8 with NetApp storage, click here

We’ll be testing the restore of individual files and some Active Directory objects for this blog post. In this scenario we have a couple Domain Controllers (2008 R2) and a couple of member servers with some files that we’ll delete. We also have an OU with a couple users, a member server, and a group.

Each of these VMs sit on either of these two volumes, Win_2008 and Win_2012. If you click on “Storage Infrastructure” in the Veeam Backup and Replication console, then expand your NetApp storage you’ll see a list of all the volumes available and their snapshots.
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1. I’ve taken a snapshot in NetApp System Manager of these volumes. To list these snaps, refresh the volume by right-clicking on the volume and choosing “Rescan volume” or right click on the storage array and choose “Rescan Storage” (Since we have 2 volumes to refresh, we’ll rescan storage.
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2. A new window will popup showing the progress
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3. Once completed, we now see the new snapshot I created called “Pre-delete”
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4.I’m going to delete a file from the server “Lab2008” (on the Win_2008 datastore) and “Lab2012” (on the Win_2012 datastore) that are sitting on my desktop.
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5. And let’s also delete the OU “Delete Test” which contains a couple test users, a group they are apart of and the VM “Lab2008”
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6. Now that those files and OU\objects have been delete, let’s go back to the Veeam console and see what we can recover. We’ll start with the files for the “Lab2012” VM.
7. Expanding “Win_2012” datastore in “Storage Infrastructure” view, click on the name of the snapshot I created earlier and we see the “Lab2012” VM
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8. We right-click on “Lab2012”, hover over “Restore guest files” and then choose “Microsoft Windows”
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9. Under the “File Level Restore” screen, click “Customize” in the bottom right corner
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10. As long as you’re restoring to a vCenter/Host that’s already been added to Veeam, choose the host, resource pool (if any) and folder. Click “OK” then click “Next”
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11. Enter a reason for the restore and click “Next”
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12. Click “Finish”
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13. The restore session will open and mount the snapshot/VM to the chosen host
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14. In vCenter, we see these 2 tasks of creating a datastore and registering the virtual machine.
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15. On the host, we see a new powered off VM with the name of “Lab2012” followed by a GUID.
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16. Back at the Veeam console, the Backup Browser window appears and we can browse to the location of the deleted file
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17. From here, we can copy the file to our local machine or restore it directly to the Virtual Machine. Right click on the file and choose “Restore” then “Overwrite”
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18. We’ll pick “Use the following account” and choose my Lab Domain credentials and click “OK”
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19. The restore process will start and you’ll see this output if you click “Show Details”
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20. Logging back in to “Lab2012” we can see the file has been restored
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21. Close the “Restoring files” window in the Veeam console and the “Backup Browser” window. After they’re closed, the VM will be unregistered on the host and the datastore will be unmounted.
22. I’m doing a restore from “Lab2008” but this time I will just copy the file to my local computer instead of restoring to the guest VM. After browsing the datastore snapshots and choosing “Restore Guest Files”, we’ll browse the directory structure, locate the file, right-click and choose “Copy To”
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23. A window will pop up to choose the folder location on your machine and whether to preserve permissions and ownership. Then click “OK”
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24. Now in the root of the C: drive we have the “Lab2008-txt” file
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25. Let’s look at the “Lab2008” VM now. It was in that OU we deleted and after rebooting it and trying to login we receive the message “The security database on the server does not have a computer account for this workstation trust relationship”. We can fix that.
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26. Back in the Veeam console and the “Pre-delete” snapshot for the “Win_2008” datastore, we’ll locate the “Lab-DC01” VM. Right click on the VM, hover over “Restore application items” and then click “Microsoft Active Directory objects”
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27. Our host settings are saved from the last restore we did, so click “Next”
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28. Enter a restore reason and click “Next”
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29. Review the summary and click “Finish”
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30. The Veeam Explorer for Microsoft Active Directory window will appear
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31. Then the VM will be mounted in vCenter
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32. Once the Veeam Explorer window for AD opens, you’ll be able to browse your Domain object. We’ll expand the “LabOU” object where we see “Delete Test” with the same 2 test users, “Lab2008” server and the group those users belong to.
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33. Right click the “Delete Test” OU and choose “Restore container to LabDC.local”
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34. Enter the credentials for the account with access to add objects to the domain and click “OK”
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35. You’ll see the progress of the restore and then the summary of how many objects were restored
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(In order for this to work your Veeam server will need network access to the live domain controller)

36. If we refresh the screen for Active Directory Users and Computers on “Lab-DC01” we’ll see the OU is back with all of it’s objects
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37. In the properties for the users, we can see that group membership was retained. The group “Email Group” is located in another OU and that membership was restored as well
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38. And now when we try to login to “Lab2008” with domain credentials it works with no issues.

 

How fast can this restore happen? From the time I opened the Veeam console until the time the OU reported as being restored took 3 minutes and 34 seconds. In an emergency where someone accidentally deletes an entire OU, a user account, a server, or anything else, they can all be restored in under 5 minutes time without the need to reset any passwords and everything will work without anyone ever noticing. Veeam is awesome and just keeps getting better and better.

Veeam v8 Install With NetApp Config

Veeam has released v8 of it’s Backup and Replication software. As a long time Veeam user this is a release I have been waiting for. Previously, Veeam had released support for storage snapshots on HP storage arrays, but with my environments being primarily NetApp over the last few years I wasn’t able to take advantage. Now in v8, we can restore and backup directly from snapshot. This speeds up the process and limits the impact on the Virtual Machines in the environment.

This guide walks you through a brand new installation of Veeam Backup & Replication v8 on Server 2012 and how to add your NetApp storage array as an object to browse existing snapshots. This is a high-level guide and in the future I’ll do a more in-depth backup/restore from Storage. For my guide on installing Veeam v7 with Windows 2012 R2 Data Deduplication, click here.

If you’re not interested in a custom SQL Express installation as well, pick up the guide at step 15. Steps 1-15 show how to install SQL Express to the secondary drive to prevent growing databases from affecting the main OS partition.

Prerequisites:

1. Dedicated server for installing Veeam
2. License file for Veeam (copied out to the server)
3. Latest version of Veeam v8 downloaded and mounted on the server (the installer is in an .ISO)
4. A service account for running the Veeam services (Optional, but my preferred method)
5. Username/password with admin rights to vCenter
6. Username/password for NetApp array (for this post I’ll be using the ‘root’ account)

Steps:

1. Right click the DVD drive and click “Open”
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2. Navigate to Redistr -> x64. Locate SQLEXPRx64.exe, right click and choose “Run as administrator”
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3. Click “Yes” to run the installer if prompted
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4. Under the “Installation” section, click “New SQL Server stand-alone installation”
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5. Click the check box for “I accept the license terms” and decide if you want to send feature usage data to Microsoft then click “Next”
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6. Ensure the check box for “Include SQL Server product updates” is checked and click “Next”
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7. Updates and setup files will install…
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8. Choose the features to install (Database Engine Services is the only thing required). Choose the install directory (I always choose the secondary drive of the machine and click “Next”
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9. Choose a name for the instance or leave as default (SQLExpress), choose the instance root directory (secondary drive again) and click “Next”
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10. Enter a service account for running the SQL DB engine (or leave it as local system) and click “Next”
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11. Choose “Mixed mode” for the authentication type then enter a password for the “sa” account (Immediately save this password somewhere). Choose the groups/users that will be SQL Server administrators
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a. Be default, only users/groups added here will have access to the Veeam console. If you don’t want to grant permissions to the SQL instance, you can grant access to these users/groups for the Veeam database after it has been created

12. Click on the “Data Directories” tab and ensure all the directories are pointing to the secondary drive and click “Next”
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13. Choose whether to send error reports and click “Next” and the installation will begin
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14. Once the installation completes, click “Close”
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15. Close the “SQL Server Installation Center” window. Navigate back to the root of the DVD drive. Right click on “Setup.exe” and choose “Run as administrator”
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16. Click “Yes” to run the installer if prompted
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17. Click “install” for “Veeam Backup & Replication”
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18. Click “Next”
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19. Read and accept the license terms and click “Next”
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20. Click “Browse” and locate your license file then click “Next”
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21. Choose the features to install and the install directory then click “Next”

a. To install to a different location (like a secondary drive), the folders need to be created ahead of time
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22. If any features are missing, click “Install”
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23. Once the system configuration check passes, click “Next”
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24. Review the default configuration and if no changes need to be made, click “Install”
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25. Once the install completes, click “Finish”
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26. Close the setup window and restart the server
27. After the server finishes rebooting, login and view the services to ensure the Veeam and SQL services that are “Automatic” have started
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28. Open “Veeam Backup & Replication”
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29. Click “Managed servers” on the left side and then click “VMware vSphere”
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30. Enter the name or IP of the vCenter Server and click “Next”
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31. Click the “Add” button and then enter the username/password of an account with permissions on the vCenter server. Click “OK” then click “Next”
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32. Click “Finish”
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33. To add your NetApp storage systems to Veeam, click on “Storage Infrastructure” and then click the “Add Storage” button
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34. Click “NetApp Data ONTAP”
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35. Enter the Name or IP of the storage system and click “Next”
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36. Click “Add” to add credentials to connect to the NetApp then choose the protocol and port. Click “Next”
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37. If the name/IP and credentials work, click finish and discovery of VMs and LUNs/Volumes will begin.
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38. Once storage and VMs have been discovered, click “Close”
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39. In the “Storage Infrastructure” view, expand “NetApp”, then the storage system. Choose a volume with virtual machines and current volume snapshots. Expand the volume, choose a snapshot and see what VMs are inside.
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a. From this view you can delete existing snapshots, create new storage snapshots, and rescan the volume for new snapshots. At the VM-level, you can instantly recover the VM from snapshot, restore guest-OS files, and even restore objects from Active Directory, Exchange, SQL or SharePoint.
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40. Click on “Backup & Replication” then expand “Backups” and click on “Storage snapshots.” You’ll see a list of all the volumes that have snapshots, what VM’s are in those snapshots, and how many restore points are available.
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This is the basics of installing Veeam v8 and connecting to your vCenter Server and NetApp Storage. The process is incredibly simple and like every else from Veeam it just works. In the future I intend to add more restore scenarios such as application item recovery and VM recovery from storage snapshots.

Veeam 7.0 Install on Windows 2012

Veeam Backup & Replication is one of my favorite piece of software I get to work with. I’ve been working with B&R since 2010 (v5) and it has always been easy to install, easy to configure, and quick to start taking backups and protecting my environment. And that is just the software, the company itself is even better. Their support forums are full of employees and users that are knowledgeable and quick to help. The best way to describe Veeam is a company that is on your side as an Administrator. They listen to their community, their users, their customers and are developing solutions that make our jobs easier.

The following guide walks you through installing SQL Express, Veeam, connecting to vCenter 5.5 and configuring deduplication for a secondary drive on Windows Server 2012 R2. I have a preference for installing all software to a secondary drive instead of the OS (C:\) drive so this documentation shows how to install each component to that secondary drive in the event you have the same preference as me.

Veeam’s site contains best practices regarding backup types, sizing of your Veeam server, deduplication recommendations, and everything else that goes into the planning of your Veeam Backup & Replication deployment. This guide is more just to show how to configure the components and an example of what I’m seeing for deduplication rates.

 

Prerequisites:
1. Windows Server 2012 R2 patched, joined to domain, with 2 additional drives (one for Veeam to be installed on and the other for backup data)
2. A user or group defined for Veeam administrators (required when doing a standalone SQL Express install in order to use Veeam, the service account used to run veeam must be a member of this group or added as a SQL Administrator in step 8)
3. A domain user account with admin rights to the vCenter server
4. Mount the Veeam B&R ISO
5. Turn off User Account Control (SQL Express install will fail without this)

Install:
1. Open “This PC”, located the Veeam disc, right click and choose “Open”
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2. Browse to “Redistr\x64”, locate and double-click on “SQLEXPR_x64_ENU.exe”
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3. Once the “SQL Server Installation Center” windows appears, click on “New installation or add features to an existing installation”
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4. Accept the license terms and click “Next”
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5. After Setup Support Files are loaded the SQL Server 2008 R2 Setup window will appear. Choose the features you’ll need (just Database Engine Services usually), change the Directories to the secondary drive (D:\ for this writing) and click “Next”
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6. Enter the name of the instance and change the root directory to the secondary drive and click “Next”
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7. You can run the SQL database engine as Network Service, but I prefer running as a named service account. Enter the domain\username, password, and click “Next”
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8. Choose “Mixed Mode” for authentication type. Enter the “sa” password and immediately save it somewhere.
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  • a. For “SQL Server administrators”, only users/groups added here will be able to open and run Veeam. Add all users that will need to access Veeam or create a group.
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  • b. Click “Data Directories” tab and ensure all the directories are pointing to the secondary drive and click “Next” (For organization I prefer to create folders for each file, but it isn’t necessary)
    veeam7061614-step8b

9. Choose if you want to send error reports to Microsoft and click “Next”
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  • a. Install will now begin to run

10. Once Installation completes, click “Close”
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11. Navigate back to the root of the disc drive then locate and run “Setup.exe”
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12. Click on install for “Veeam Backup & Replication”
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13. Click “Next” through the initial setup screen
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14. Read and accept the license agreement and click “Next”
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15. If you have a license key add it now, otherwise click “Next”
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16. Choose the program features to install. Click “Browse” button to change the installation to the secondary drive (you will have to make a new Folder name “Veeam” followed by “Backup and Replication” inside of it). Click “OK” then click “Next”
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17. If any of the components that are required show a status of “Failed”, click the “Install” button
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  • a. Once the installation completes the status will change to “Passed” then click “Next”
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18. Enter the domain\username and password of the account Veeam will use to access vCenter and click “Next”
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  • a. This user should be a local administrator on the server running Veeam or you’ll receive this message
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19. Choose “Use existing instance of SQL Server”, select the Server\Instance and then enter a name for the Veeam database. Click “Next”
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  • a. If the domain\veeam account isn’t in the Veeam Admins group, you will receive the following error that the user account “lacks CREATE ANY DATABASE permission”
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20. Note the ports for Backup service and Catalog service and click “Next”
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21. Change the “vPower NFS” directory to the secondary drive by clicking “Browse”, then navigate to the D:\Program Files\Veeam\Backup and Replication” then create a new folder inside named “NfsDatastore” and click “OK”.
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  • a. For Guest file system catalog, click Browse and create a new folder named “VBRCatalog” under the D:\ drive. Click OK then “Next”
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22. Review the configuration and then click “Install”
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23. Once installation completes, click “Finish”
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24. Now that Veeam is installed, let’s upgrade it to the latest patch. On Veeam’s website, download the latest patch for the version you’re running (Patch 4 for this writing) and copy it out to the server running Veeam.
25. Run the executable for this patch
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26. Click “Next” through the first screen of the patch wizard
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27. Click “Install” to begin the installation
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28. Once the patch is installed, click “Finish”
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29. Now that Veeam is installed and fully patched, locate Veeam Backup & Replication and open
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30. You will receive a message about components that need to be updated (vPower NFS, Transports, Installer, etc). Click the check box next to the server and click “Next”
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31. Click “Finish” once the components have been updated
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32. Click the menu button and then click on “Options”
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33. Click the check box for “Enable e-mail notification” and then enter your SMTP server, from email and to email. Click “OK”
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34. Click on “Virtual Machines” towards the lower-left of the window and click “Add Server”
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35. Click on your Server type (VMware vSphere for this writing)
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36. Enter the name or IP of the vCenter server and click “Next”
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37. For credentials, click “Add” then enter the domain\username and password for the Veeam account used to connect to vCenter. Click “OK” then click “Next”
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38. Once the server has been added, click “Finish”
39. By default, the folder all VM backups are stored in is “C:\backup”. To change this before you create any backup jobs is to click on “Backup Infrastructure” towards the lower left of the window then click on “Backup Repositories”
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40. Click the “Add Repository” button towards the top-left
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41. Name your Backup Repository and click “Next”
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42. Choose the type of repository (Microsoft Windows server) and click “Next”
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43. Click the “Populate” button then select the backup drive and click “Next”
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44. Enter the folder name (I took the default of D:\Backups) and click the populate button to see the capacity and free space of the drive. Limit the max concurrent tasks and/or data ingestion rate and click “Next”
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45. Ensure vPower NFS is enabled and click “Next”
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46. Review the settings and click “Next”
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47. Once it completes, click “Finish”
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48. Once the new repository appears, click the Menu button in the top-left corner and then click “Configuration Backup”
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49. Change the Backup repository to the newly created repository and click “OK”
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50. Right click on the “Default Backup Repository” and click “Remove” and click “Yes” to confirm delete
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51. Now that a new repository is created, we need to enable deduplication on that folder. Open Server Manager, click on “Manage” then choose “Add Roles and Features”
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52. Click “Next” through the “Before you begin” screen
53. Choose “Role-based or feature-based installation” and click “Next”
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54. Choose “Select a server from the server pool” and select the current server then click “Next”
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55. Expand “File and Storage Services”, then “File and iSCSI Services” and then check the box next to “Data Deduplication” and click “Next”
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56. Click “Next” through “Features”
57. Click “Install”
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58. Once installation is complete, click “Close”
59. Back in “Server Manager”, click on “File and Storage Services”
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60. Click on “Volumes”, right-click the drive that we’ll be enabling dedupe for and choose “Configure Data Deduplication”
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61. Set data deduplication from “Disabled” to “General purpose file server”, change “Deduplicate files older than (in days)” to 0.
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  • a. To exclude folders from being deduped on that disk, click the “Add” button, expand the “Z:\” drive, and select each folder to prevent deduplication. In our setup, only backups are going to the Z:\ drive so we’ll skip this
  • b. Click “Set Deduplication Schedule” and then check the box for “Enable throughput optimization”. You will set the schedule for when dedupe runs. This should run when your backups are NOT running. My backups run OUTSIDE business hours, so dedupe should run DURING business hours. Click “OK” when finished and “OK” again
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Now that Veeam is setup and connected to vCenter and we have a backup repository created with dedupe enabled, let’s take a look and see what kind of savings we get when we take our backups. One thing to note is that you won’t see much dedupe savings on a single backup file, but on a long backup chain and multiple backup jobs is where the real savings starts to come into play.

I have configured backups of 2 of my Exchange 2013 servers to run every 6 hours and keep 28 restore points (7 days). This backup job is set to “Reverse incremental” and Veeam is performing inline dedupe, compression set to “Optimal” and optimized for “Local target”. My first full backup was 36.3GB. Over the next 3 days, I have taken 12 more backups for a total of 75.1GB.
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After dedupe ran over the last 3 days, we see the size as 75.1GB, but Size on disk is only 10.5GB
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This is where it gets a little interesting though. In powershell, running the command “Get-DedupStatus” only shows a savings of 14GB. I’m not sure which one is accurate, but even a savings of just 14GB in one backup job is an improvement. Since Windows Server 2012 deduplication runs across all files on a volume, you will see increased savings for every new backup file that’s created for every job that writes to that backup repository.
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