Linked Mode separation? Veeam to the Rescue

Let’s suppose that we have a configuration where our VMware data-centres are geographically separated and we use more than one vCenter instance running in Linked Mode. I’m using this type of configuration in lab and production environments with great success, except there is one distinct drawback.

When two VMware data-centres are running with Linked Mode vCenter configuration, we no longer have the ability to run an across the wire clone or Storage vMotion. There aren’t necessarily many reasons to do this, but one situation where I use this tecnique regularly is for separated VMware View environments where I have to synchronize desktop templates.

The process in theory is simple. First we look at our data-centre design:

As we can see we have our Source Server located in DC1, but because it is across the WAN from our target data-centre we are presented with an immediate road block. The solution for this is to put a Veeam Backup instance in place. I’m assuming you’ve done this already so I won’t get into the details about configuration and setup in this example.

Now we want to backup our Source Server using the VeeamZip option.

Once we have our image zipped up to our central location on our Veeam Backup Server instance we can now deploy that VeeamZip VM image to the destination using the same product. It’s really that easy. And yes, it’s also free.

And once we have completed the restore, we now have a completely available VM guest in the target data-centre with the identical configuration. You simply have to attach any additional virtual devices that such as VM Networks or location specific configurations inside the guest settings.

Even better than having the destination in our target data-centre, we now have a backup image of the machine that we can keep for use down the road. If you have a BCP design for an application server that requires a lower RPO, this is another great way to achieve that.

I’m going to illustrate one way to do this with the Veeam Backup Free Edition. What is always great about using a product like this is that this is neither the right way, nor the wrong way to use it, but it very certainly will get you to the goal you are after.

In order to do this task in the Veeam Backup console, we follow a few very simple steps. First we attach to the source data-centre and use the search bar to locate the machine that we need to back up:

Now you right-click the source VM and choose either VeeamZIP… to be able to choose the target location, or VeeamZIP to C:temp to use C:temp as the default location.

I’ve chosen the VeeamZIP… option to see my additional options, but I’ve just chosen the C:temp as the target folder. I’m also choosing the default Compression level of Optimal. It seems like the best option for this, and I haven’t done any specific metrics to analyze gains of using less or more compression just yet.

We click OK and we are off and running. Depending on the size of your machine, and your physical and logical network configuration, results may vary on duration. Luckily we are able to get a nice detailed view of the process while it is running, and as a summary at the end of the backup. This is where VeeamZIP can really stand out as a great product because we can identify potential bottlenecks by looking at the overall backup process.

Here is the mid-process view, and if you hover over the Bottleneck a pop-up will show you the areas where there are contention:

Upon completion you will get the full summary including the timing of each individual task and as I’ve highlighted, the summary of bottleneck issues is shown. In this case, the issue was the source machine performance that was the issue.

This is a simple example of how to use the free Veeam Backup product. There will be more posts coming to delve further into how to leverage this tool in your day-to-day operations and how to add more efficiency to how you can use the product in your environment.

If you haven’t already done so, Go Download the Product and experiment with it and how you can add it to your tookit of awesome!

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