CA Arcserve 12.5 and vSphere 4 VCB Pt1


Not sure that many people use CA Arcserve but we have been using it since 2001 where I work. The recent release of 12.x has helped raise the bar of the backup solution. CA is getting better at backing up vm guests leveraging Vmware VCB. This provides a backup product which can be used for virtual or physical systems. Version 12.x has also moved to a multi tier approach to backups by adding a central primary server, media servers, and then the clients. Some could argue that this could be done in previous version but believe me it was not the same or as easily managed.

In the is post I will go over how I setup CA Arcserve 12.5 and VCB to backup/restore Vmware vm guests. Here is a high level breakdown of what needs to happen. First thing is to install the Central Management or primary server. The main role as the primary server is to manage all the backup jobs, reporting, and roll up all the backup information into its database. Next is to deploy the Media sever/VCB proxy server which in CA talk is member server. This server will have to have the CA agent for virtual machines install on it as well.  Some may split the roles but I like to have them as one to reduce complexity. I will assume that the VI3 or vSphere environment is already in place with vm guests that needs to be backed up. All the vm guests that are to be protected by CA Arcserve 12.5 should have the CA backup client for windows. The CA backup agent is only need to do file level restores. Here is the logical layout.

CA Arcserver 12.5 and Vmware VCB

On the backup servers I installed the agents and modules listed below: Primary Server (Right) and Media Server (Left)

CA Arcserver 12.5 and Vmware VCBCA Arcserver 12.5 and Vmware VCB2

On the media server you must install the CA Virtual Machine Agent and I also installed the Vmware VCB proxy of the same server. The VCB install is simple enough just make sure to “disable automount” using diskpart.

Both the Primary and Media Servers have access to the Tape Library but only the Media server should have access to the LUNs that ESX has access to if you want to backup over the SAN.

The Media server also has ample amounts of storage so that I can use one of the new features in 12.5 which is Deduplication. This is like a virtual tape library which utilizes local or shared storage for backups. This could speed up backups, provides a local for retaining more data for restore reasons, and the deduplication now helps save on storage space. One draw back is that deduplication only happens at the media server and not at the client so the backup times are not shortened. If 50GB went over the network before 50GB will still go over the network with dedup enabled. But this is very easy to setup, another thing is that an index location is required which needs to be on a separate partition than the dedup location. This part is not required, backups could be set to go directly to tape.

CA Arcserver 12.5 and Vmware VCB3

Next, CA will have to pull the vm guest information from the ESX or vCenter server. For this there is now a GUI app, this used to be command line only in a previous version. The latest version also adds a frequency setting to auto populate the vm guest information so that it is always up to date. The screen shot below shows the information that you will need to provided. This can be done on the Media server. Set the parameters that you may have changed then click “Execute”.

CA Arcserver 12.5 and Vmware VCB4

After it completes, you can go into the CA Arcserve Manager and find vm guests located in “Backup Manager” under the “Source” tab then “VMware VCB Systems”. I have noticed that the vm guests that were on local storage and NOT on shared storage did not show up in the list.

CA Arcserver 12.5 and Vmware VCB5

At this point we are ready to install the client agents, configure the backup jobs, and do a restore which will be continued in part 2.

7 Comments

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  1. Jerry Higgins

    Greetings Antone,

    First GREAT article. It really helped us get a handle on getting our VSphere 4.0 servers to be available via the VMWare VCB Systems tab in the AS 12.5 backup window.

    We are having one difficulty that I can’t seem to overcome. It’s not a big thing, but since our initial install/configuration we have moved and renamed several virtual servers. The old servers continue to show up in the AS backup window, and I can’t find where to go to delete the old (now non-existent)hosts from the backup server window.
    Hopefully that makes sense. In our case BLAKVC4-01 was replaced by say BLAKVC4-02. Now all the VM’s display under the new host, but the original host is still out there as well. That’s what I can’t figure out how to get rid of, shy of considering an uninstall reinstall of the entire product (which I REALLY do not want to do!!
    Any help would be very appreciated.
    Regards,
    Jerry

  2. rvazquez@bluewin.ch

    Dear all,

    Can we backup Exchange 2007 Servers ?
    Are we sure that the database is in a good state ?

    Is is possible now to backup Exchange server with VDDK ?

    Best regards

    • Antone Heyward

      I have not yet tested a full vm guest restore of an Exchange 2007 guest but if you run a prescript to quiesce the db or stop the exchange service, I don’t know why it wouldn’t work and be consistent. We currently use the CA Arcserve exchange agent to backup the database. This way we have the flexibility of brick level and recovery group restores.

  3. Thurein Aung

    Hi,
    When we use VCB + Arcserve to backup VMware VMs to NAS, what will be the backup file format? Will they be backed up as raw .vmdk or as arcserve proprietary file?

    Thanks in advance,
    Thurein Aung

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