In my last post I discussed Veeam SureBackup and why you should use it. I then described the process of creating and configuring a Virtual Lab which is the cornerstone piece of SureBackup. In this post I’ll look at the remaining two pieces – Application Groups and the SureBackup job.
Configure Application Groups
Application Groups are “groupings” of related VM’s that should be spun-up together when you run a particular SureBackup job. Application Groups ensure that needed services or resources are available to VM’s that require them. A great example is having a Domain Controller spun-up along with an Exchange or SQL server. Exchange and SQL get pretty upset if they don’t “see” domain services. Application Groups also allow you to identify the “role” a VM has such as Domain Controller or Web Server. Identifying the role is important as it opens up access to testing scripts and other features that you may want to use. Identifying Domain Controllers is critical! There are additional steps involved in spinning up a DC in an isolated lab environment.
You create an Application Group by clicking on Application Groups under Backup Infrastructure then click the Add Group wizard:
A standard Veeam dialogue will start:
Name it anything you like.
Click on the Add VM button to start selecting VM’s.
The order VM’s are listed is the order they will be spun-up inside the Virtual Lab. Keep this in mind if services in one VM are required for another (eg a DC). Highlight each VM then click Edit in order to set the Role and other parameters.
The first VM selected is a Domain Controller. Select appropriate settings for a DC. NOTE: If you have more than one DC in an Application Group make sure only ONE is selected as Domain Controller (Authoritative Restore).
Startup Options sets initial parameters according to the selections on the Role tab. A DC is generally given 100% memory but you may want to change this based on the resources available on the Virtual Lab host. If the “production” VM is set at 8GB of RAM then setting memory to 50% will result in the Lab VM being spun-up with 4GB of RAM.
The Startup Time settings are critical and you should leave the suggested settings in place unless there is a good reason to tweak them. The same thing is true of the Boot verification options. Startup time settings will vary by role; Domain Controllers will have the longest times.
Test Scripts allows you to specify scripts to run against specific services. Veeam provides a number of “canned” test scripts tied to the selected Roles. You can also create your own scripts and link them here.
Credentials allows you to select the appropriate creds to use when running the VM and test scripts.
You should make all your edits then move on to Finish which saves the application Group.
You can have as many Application Groups as you require to perform all of your required SureBackup testing. As a general rule of thumb it’s a good idea to keep the number of VM’s in an Application Group at 5 or lower. VM’s are synthesized and run out of the Veeam datastores. There is a heavy load placed on datastore, network and Virtual Lab host server. Keeping numbers in check will ensure the Virtual Lab can do its job without hitting performance limits.
Configure SureBackup Job
A SureBackup job brings together the Virtual Lab and Application Group and sets the parameters for a SureBackup process. A SureBackup job is created using the SureBackup Wizard from the Jobs Home screen:
Running the Wizard presents a standard set of Veeam prompts:
I have two Virtual Labs in my config so I select the one appropriate to the job I want to create. The Lab will need to “match the VM’s in the Application Group I am going to use.
The tick box allows you to specify that I would like to keep the lab up and running after all tests are completed. If it is unticked then the lab will shutdown and all resources will be unmounted/unlocked once the job has completed.
You can link in VM’s specified in Veeam Backup jobs from this screen. This is totally optional and not required if the VM’s you want to test are part of the specified Application Group.
Job Result settings are self explanatory.
Backup file integrity check is an important item. Selecting this will cause Veeam to run a very thorough check against the actual backup data contents of the Application Group VM’s in the Veeam datastore. This is an intensive process that can take quite a bit of time. It LOCKS the backup data so other Veeam processes cannot access the data until the process is complete. Scheduled backups may fail if the integrity check is still running when the backup job kicks off. The time it takes for an integrity check will vary considerably depending on the amount of data involved, the type of datastore involved and the performance of the Veeam server. Data stored in a high-performance SAN or NAS is likely to verify far quicker than data stored on a set of mirrored SATA drives.
Scheduling follows normal Veeam standards. Set your desired schedule then click Apply. Verify your settings then click Finish.
Run SureBackup Job
You can run a SureBackup job at any time or let the scheduler handle it for you. Running a SureBackup job is juts like running any other Veeam job. Keep in mind that SureBackup jobs can take quite a bit of time to run. It may even look like the job has stalled, just give it time to complete.
Clicking on the VM itself gives specific information.
SureBackup has run, no errors found. The lab is powered down and all resources are released.