IBM Data Protection for VMware

No one knows when a (computer) crash is coming. Don’t get caught without backup.
 

IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) is a “classic” backup solution for some time also for virtual environments which has continued to evolve new functionality as the technology advances.

Little history

The original and most basic method for protecting a virtual machine data is to install the Tivoli Storage Manager agent directly into the guest environment (see fig. 1).

TSM with agents

Fig. 1 – TSM with agents

Not many use cases for this approach, with main advantage that backup operations are progressive-incremental.

The disadvantages are that this approach requires an individual agent in each guest, and there is no integration with VMware, making management a challenge.

TSM with VCB

Fig. 2 – TSM with VCB

The next stage in the evolution of TSM for Virtual Environments removed the agent from the guest and placed it instead on a proxy server (fig. 2). Both VMware and Hyper-V supported this ability.

Although this approach provided a more robust backup solution, it required the data to be transferred to the proxy server before it could be backed up or restored. This extra “data hop” was less than ideal.

TSM with vStorage API

Fig. 3 – TSM with vStorage API

VMware introduced the vStorage API, also referred to as vSphere or vStorage API for Data Protection (VADP), in 2009. This new technology allowed the proxy server to access the data directly on the ESX host storage, eliminating the need for the extra “data hop” thus streamlining backup and recovery operations.

TSM for Virtual Environments (fig. 3) support file level backup operations using the vStorage APIs.

What’s now

virtual_env_71_qsg

Fig. 4 – Data Protection for VMware system components and user environment

The most recent enhancements to TSM for Virtual Environments leverage the vStorage API Change Block Tracking (CBT) mechanism to provide an incremental forever backup methodology.

Supported virtual machine backup operations include:

  • CBT with incremental forever backup and periodic full backups

Supported virtual machine recovery operations include:

  • File level
  • Volume level
  • Disk level
  • Full VM

By utilizing CBT, only the blocks of data that have changed since the previous backup operation are transferred to the storage pool, minimizing the impact on network and storage resources.

Data Protection for VMware eliminates the impact of running back-ups on a VM by offloading backup workloads from a VMware ESX or ESXi-based host to a vStorage Backup server. Data Protection for VMware works with the Tivoli Storage ManagerBackup-Archive Client (installed on the vStorage Backup server) to complete full, incremental, and incremental forever snapshots of VMs. The client node installed on the vStorage Backup server is called the Tivoli Storage Manager data mover node. This node “moves” the data to the Tivoli Storage Manager server for storage, and for VM image-level restore at a later time. In addition, instant restore is available at the file level or the disk volume level.

Data protection plugin
Using VMware vSphere Web Client interface along with the Tivoli Data Protection for VMware Plug-in GUI, a VMware administrator can configure scheduled and ad hoc backup operations to protect critical data on virtual machines, leveraging existing Tivoli Storage Manager implementations. This is accomplished with nominal knowledge of Tivoli Storage Manager and requires minimal collaboration with the TSM administrator.

 Let’s try it

If you want try yourself how to create initial configuration, schedule backups and perform restores using, I recommend to take VMware Hands-on Lab HOL-PRT-1302 – IBM Tivoli Storage Manager for Virtual Environments.

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Gica Livada

Technical Consultant at IRIS Luxembourg SA
Gica is working in Luxembourg and is former member of the VMware Centre of Excellence team from IBM Delivery Center in Brno, Czech Republic. He is passionate about virtualization and cloud technologies, holds multiple industry certifications from IBM, VMware, Citrix, Microsoft and he is also vExpert 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Latest posts by Gica Livada (see all)

About Gica Livada

Gica is working in Luxembourg and is former member of the VMware Centre of Excellence team from IBM Delivery Center in Brno, Czech Republic. He is passionate about virtualization and cloud technologies, holds multiple industry certifications from IBM, VMware, Citrix, Microsoft and he is also vExpert 2014, 2015 and 2016.
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