Monthly Archives: April 2013

Backing Up NetApp Filer on Backup Exec 2012

The popularity of deduped disk-based backup, coupled with snapshots and other technologies, may render tape backup obsolete. For instance, if you have a NetApp Filer, you can use snapshot technology for backup, and snapmirror technology for disaster recovery. However, there may be some requirements such as regulatory requirements to keep files for several years, or infrastructure limitations such as low bandwidth to remote DR (disaster recovery) site that inhibits nightly replication. In these instances, using tape backup is still the best option.

The proper way to backup a NetApp Filer to tape on Backup Exec 2012 is via NDMP. You can backup your Filer on the network, using remote NDMP. If you can directly connect a tape device to the NetApp Filer, that would even be better, because backup will not go through the network anymore, thus backup jobs will be faster.

However, using NDMP requires a license on Backup Exec. The alternative way to backup the Filer without buying the NDMP license is via the CIFS share. Configuring the Backup Exec 2012 via CIFS shares though can be a little tricky. These are the things you need to do to make it work:

1. Disable NDMP service on the NetApp Filer. This is done by issuing the command “ndmpd off” at the command line.
2. Change the default NDMP port number on the Backup Exec 2012 server. The default port number is 10000. You may use port 9000. This is done by editing the “services” file located at C:\Windows\system32\drivers\etc and adding the line “ndmp 9000/tcp” Reboot server after editing the file.
3. Make sure you have at least one Remote Agent for Windows license installed on your Backup Exec server.
4. Make sure that the “Enable selection of user shares” is checked in the “Configuration and Settings -> Backup Exec Settings -> Network and Security” settings.
5. When defining the backup job, select “File Server” at the type of server to backup.
6. When entering the NetApp Filer name, use IP address or the fully qualified domain name (FQDN).

The backup status for backing up NetApp Filer this way will always be “Completed with Exceptions,” since Backup Exec still looks for remote agent on the client. But this is fine, as long as all files are being backed up.

Easy and Cheap vCenter Server

If your VMware infrastructure contains no more than 5 hosts and 50 virtual machines, you can save some effort and Windows license fee by using the VMware vCenter Server Appliance instead of the vCenter Server on a Windows machine. The vCenter Server Appliance is a preconfigured Suse Linux-based virtual machine, with PostgreSQL for the embedded database.

The vCenter appliance is easy to deploy and configure, and it will save you time and maintenance effort, because unlike Windows, you do not have to install anti-virus and monthly patches. It can join Active Directory for user authentication. It will save you Windows license fee, but you still need to purchase vCenter license.

The vCenter appliance can be downloaded from the VMware site as an ova or an ovf plus vmdk files. You do not need to download the ovf and the vmdk files if you downloaded the ova file. Ova file is merely a single file distribution of ovf and vmdk, stored in tar format.

To deploy the appliance, use the vSphere Client and deploy the downloaded ova file as an ovf template. You can deploy it as a thin provisioned format if you do not want to commit 80GB space right away. Once deployed and powered on, you can continue with the rest of the configuration using the GUI browser based interface at https://vCenterserver:5400/. The vCenter Server Appliance has the default user name root and password vmware.

The wizard will guide you through the rest of the configuration. There are really very few configuration items. The common ones are static IP address (if you don’t want dhcp), and the Active Directory settings. And the best thing is, you do not have to manage/configure the Suse-Linux-based appliance via CLI. Everything can be managed via the GUI browser-based interface.