Thursday, 17 April 2008

Veeam Backup Install with Remote Database

Even with VMware Consolidated Backup and the release of VMware Site Recovery Manager around the corner, there is still a (gaping) hole left by these 2 products - the ability to failover a single guest to a regularly sync'ed and otherwise offline DR partner.

In the physical world there were 2 main reasons to invoke DR for a single node - physical hardware failure, or a configuration error that couldnt be recovered from fast enough. Virtual hardware obviously doesn't fail however (I know, I know, the underlying host could fail but you've all got HA enabled clusters to allow quick recovery from that don't you!), which leaves us pretty much with the configuration error problem. Whether it be due to OS or application patching, a change request gone pear shaped, rogue developers or administrators, whatever... the probability of a configuration error causing an outage is much greater than that of a datacenter outage (one would hope!). There is definitely a need to offer such a capability, as companies like Platespin (or Novell now I guess), Veeam and Vizioncore know all too well.

Veeam Backup is something I've been messing around with lately, and it certainly impresses in a number or areas, like being able to manage the inventories of multiple VirtualCenters and backup / replicate VM's or ESX host files between them from a single interface. I'm still waiting for someone in this space to eliminate the need for direct ESX host access though, but I digress...

NOTE that the following is pure hackery, and should not be used in production environments!

Anyway, onto the topic of the post. By default, Veeam Backup installs a SQL 2005 Express instance named 'VEEAM' on the box. Thankfully, they have built their product with enterprise scalability in mind (rare for a version 1 product from a small relatively new software company), you just need to know how to configure it. Which would be as follows:

1. Extract the files from the Veeam Backup single install binary.

2. Run 'setuplight.exe'. Make sure you have a generic domain account ready to use for the Veeam Backup service.

3. Go to the install directory, and modify the 'dbconfig.xml' file to point to your remote database host and instance.

4. While you're in the install directory, copy the 'DBcreate.sql' file to the remote database host.

5. On the remote database host, create a login for the generic domain account used in step 2.

6. Create a database named 'VeeamBackup' and set the owner to be the generic domain account login created in step 5. Dont just grant the login the db_owner role - the login should be directly mapped to the dbo account for the VeeamBackup database.

7. Open up the 'DBcreate.sql' file you copied over in step 4, add the following at the start of the file and execute it in Query Analyzer:
USE VeeamBackup

8. Now jump back on the box where Veeam Backup was installed, and fire up the GUI - you're done!

Video coming soon... in the meantime, go grab the bits and check it out for yourselves!

UPDATE The good folk at Veeam got in touch regarding this post... turns out I inadvertently stumbled upon something they're planning for a future Enterprise focused release. So don't deploy this configuration in your production environments just yet, and keep an eye out for the upcoming Enterprise product release. I'll be sure to run that through its paces too :-)