Demo: ESXi Backup with Nutanix Snapshots with HYCU

In addition to the support of Nutanix clusters that use Nutanix native AHV hypervisors, HYCU introduces the support for Nutanix environments that use VMware ESXi hypervisors. By using the native Nutanix storage layer snapshot technology, VMware snapshot stuns are avoided.


HYCU – Backing up virtual machines from Replicated Nutanix Snapshots

In remote office/branch office (ROBO) environments, HYCU allows you to back up virtual machines from their replicas on the central site Nutanix cluster. Backing up data from replicas without having to transfer the virtual machine data twice frees up WAN bandwidth for other business processes.

To be able to back up virtual machines from their replicas, make sure that the replication retention on the Nutanix cluster is adjusted to the backup policy’s RPO. This allows HYCU to use the Changed Region Tracking (CRT) feature to get a list of changed data since the last snapshot and perform an incremental backup. For example, if the Nutanix schedule interval is two hours and the RPO of the HYCU backup policy is eight hours, the retention policy for the remote site must be set to 4 or more snapshots (that is, at least the last four snapshots must be kept).


    The Wish List for Nutanix Centric Enterprise backups?

    I was asked today what I would look for for in a solution that was Nutanix focused for backup. Just quickly spit balling I came up with the following list:

    Backup vendor must use ABS to eliminate the needs for multiple proxies or solve this using a similar method.

    Backup vendor must support or show a road map of supporting AFS change file tracking? Minimum of supporting NAS backup

    Backup vendor must support backing up volume groups.

    Backup vendor must support backing up Nutanix snapshots that have been replicated from a remote site to a primary DC.

    Backup vendor must support Change Region Tracking for AHV. ESXi is a plus.

    Backup vendor must support synthetic full backups.

    Backup vendor must have native support for X APP, list your App like SQL.

    Backup vendor must have an open API.

    Got any others to add?


    NetBackup Got Upgraded: Modern Workloads use Parallel Streaming.

    A new capability in NetBackup 8.1 is its ability to protect modern web-scale and big data workloads like Hadoop and NoSQL that generate massive amounts of data. With the new Veritas Parallel Streaming technology, these modern scale-out workloads can be backed up and protected with extreme efficiency by leveraging the power of multiple nodes simultaneously. The result is that organizations can now adopt these modern workloads with confidence, knowing that their data, even in massive volumes, will be protected. And since new workloads can be added via a plug-in rather than a software agent, organizations can add new workloads without having to wait for a next NetBackup software release. NetBackup Parallel Streaming also supports workloads running on hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) from Nutanix, as Nutanix and Veritas have partnered to certify protection of those workloads on HCI.


    Netbackup takes care of utilizing all of the Nutanix storage controllers. NetBackup will mount using NFS of the local storage controller for each node removing the need for a proxy host.

    For some general best practices with the first release of this plugin:

      * Apply limit to backup maximum n*4 VMs concurrently, where n is number of nodes in the Nutanix cluster. 16 node cluster than would have 64 VMs being backed up concurrently.

      * Use Media Server as Backup Host if possible.

    Note: If VMs are powered off, then Prim element VIP will be used.


    Automatically Snap, Clone and Backup AFS (Acropolis File Services)

    I wrote a script on the Next community site that automatically snaps, clones and then you can use any backup product that can read off a SMB share. The script can be used to always have the latest backup copy and avoid impacting your production users.

    Automatically https://next.nutanix.com/t5/Nutanix-Connect-Blog/24-Hour-Backup-Window-with-Nutanix-Native-File-Services/ba-p/23708

    Hope you find it useful.


    HYCU v1.5 – Nutanix AHV Backup gets new features

    HYCU v1.5 has been released by Comtrade.

    The biggest one for me is ABS support! Know you can use cheap and deep storage and drive all of the storage controllers. Remember that ADS works with ABS so its a great solution.

    The following new features and enhancements are available with Hycu version 1.5.0:

    Backup window
    It is now possible to set up a time frame when your backup jobs are allowed to run (a backup window). For example, this allows you to schedule your backup jobs to run on non-production hours to reduce loads during peak hours.

    Concurrent backups
    You can now specify the maximum number of concurrent backup jobs per target. By doing so, you can reduce the duration of backups and the amount of queued backup jobs.

    Faster recovery
    Hycu enables you to keep snapshots from multiple backups on the Nutanix cluster. Keeping multiple snapshots allows you to recover a virtual machine or an application quickly, reducing downtime. If your know Commvault Intelisnap, very similar benefits

    iSCSI backup target
    A new type of backup target for storing the protected data is available—iSCSI, which also makes it possible for you to use a Nutanix volume group as a backup target. You can use the iSCSI backup target for backing up the Hycu backup controller as well.

    Improved backup and restore performance
    Hycu now utilizes Nutanix volume groups for backing up and restoring data, taking advantage of the load balancing feature offered by Nutanix. Therefore, the new version of Hycu can distribute the workload between several nodes, which results in increased
    performance of your backup and restore operations, and reduced I/O load on the Nutanix cluster and containers.

    Support for AWS S3-compatible storage
    Hycu enables you to store your protected data to AWS S3-compatible storage.

    Shared location for restoring individual files
    You can now restore individual files to a shared location so that recovered data can be accessed from multiple systems.

    Support for Active Directory applications
    In addition to SQL Server applications, Hycu can now also detect and protect Active Directory applications running on virtual machines. You can view all the discovered applications in the Applications panel.

    Expiring backups manually

    If there is a restore point that you do not want to use for a data restore anymore, you can mark it as expired. Expired backups are removed from the backup target within the next 24 hours, resulting in more free storage space and helping you to keep your Hycu system clean.

    Support for Nutanix API changes

    Hycu supports Nutanix API changes introduced with AOS


    SRM and Commvault Health Check

    The NCC health check pds_share_vms_check verifies that the protection domains do not share any VMs. It would be good practice to run this healh check after configuring either SRM or using Intellisnap from Commvault. It’s one of over 200 hundred checks NCC provides.

    This check is available from the NCC 2.2.5 release and is part of the full health check that you can run by using the following command:

    nutanix@cvm$ ncc health_checks run_all

    You can also run this check separately by using the following command:

    nutanix@cvm$ ncc health_checks data_protection_checks protection_domain_checks pds_share_vms_check

    A protection domain is a group of VMs that you can replicate together on a desired schedule.

    A VM can be part of two protection domains if the following conditions are met:

    A protection domain (Async DR or Metro Availaibility) is created, and the VM is added as a protected entity of this protection domain. The vstore containing the VM is protected by using ncli or by an external third-party product such as Commvault or SRM. Protecting a vstore automatically creates a protection domain. These protection mechanisms are mutually exclusive, which means that the backups of the VM might fail if the VM is in 2 protection domains.


    If the check returns a FAIL status, the reported VMs need to be removed from some of the listed protection domains, so that they remain only inside one protection domain.
    If your using metro availability you may have move the VM to another container or stop protecting the vstore.


    Updated Best Practices – Nutanix DR and Backup & vSphere + Commvault

    Two best practices have been updated on this week. The Nutanix DR and Backup Best Practices is located in the Support Portal.

    <DR and Backup Best Practices>

    The update was around bandwidth sizing and added a link to Wolframalpha which spits out the sizing formula for you.

    The vSphere and Commvault Best Practice Guide added some guidance around IntelliSnap and sizing. At this time IntelliSnap and Metro is not supported but streaming is a fully supported option.



    Commvault IntelliSnap and Nutanix Video

    A quick how to video and it even shows how you could restore to Amazon if needed.


    Commvault Intellisnap Hypervisor Native Backup and Restore For Nutanix

    As of today Nutanix and Commvault Intellisnap support both ESXi and Hyper-V. IntelliSnap backup enables you to create a point-in-time snapshot of the data used for backups. An effective way to back up live data is to quiesce it temporarily, take a snapshot, and then resume live operations. This avoids the pain of hypervisor based snapshot getting in the way of your backup. Why is this big deal? Extra IO would have to used collapsing the hypervisor based snapshot while the full backup would take place. The hypervisor snapshot still happens but it brief.

    How does it work?


    1) CommServer Requests the Proxy Agent to backup a VM.
    2) VSA Proxy Agent requests the host to create the snapshot of the VM. (The Media agent is also installed with the VSA but your don’t need to size for it.)
    3) Host uses VMware Tools to take an App-consistent snapshot of the selected VMs
    4) Proxy Agent requests the Nutanix to take the storage snapshot of the associated containers. (IntelliSnap). VMware’s VM Snapshot is removed and consolidated.
    5) Proxy Agents mounts the container snapshot, performs the indexing. Metadata relationship between commvault snapshot and Nutanix snapshot/PD is maintained.
    6) Commvault backup policies determines to backup the VMs from the snapshot to media, and/or retain the snapshot without backing up.
    Intellisnap is VADP snapshot aware.

    Notes for Step 2 – you need to install the Media Agent component where the proxy agent (VSA) is. That doesn’t need to be the same media agent that’s storing the data, but it’s the package that needs to be installed to facilitate the snapshot functionality for the agent. This is because the media agent contains the code and add-ons that facilitate the snapshot management.

    Notes for Step 5 – its optional to do the indexing, but you don’t lose the ability to do a granular restore of files within the guest. You can choose to index the data from the hardware snapshot, OR you can perform the indexing “live” when you need to perform a restore. The tradeoff for the latter is waiting a few minutes to mount the VM and open the disk to browse the contents rather than looking at it from a pre-built index. The recommendation (and default) is the latter option, especially with Nutanix since NFS makes this a much quicker process, and you save some time during the backup by not having to do the indexing of the files within the virtual machine. One great benefit of both indexing options is that there is no need for any agents – not even temporary ones, which means less headaches administering VM credentials etc.

    Thanks to Damian Andre from Commvault and Jerome Joseph from Nutanix in helping me understand some of the nuances.

    Check back here because this story will get even better in a couple of weeks, wink wink.