• Abhishek Shukla

Protection of VMware Workloads with Dell EMC IDPA

This article is successor of my previous article in which I walked you through the simple procedure to deploy IDPA DP4400.

IDPA uses Dell EMC Avamar as backup solution for the workloads and Avamar is proven backup and recovery software that delivers secure data protection for cloud, remote office and data centers. It has tight integration into VMware interfaces which made Avamar a great solution for protecting any workloads running in a VMware environment.

Since with IDPA, everything is integrated in one solution, you can manage the appliance and its associated components through single UI though you can access those components by their respective UIs. To protect VMware workloads, you have to register/add vCenter and then VM client needs to be added. Because, IDPA uses Avamar as its backup solution, you deploy Proxy to perform VM backups and restores. So lets see how it is done.

Navigating Avamar UI

Login to IDPA system manager using default idpauser credentials and then under "System Management" pane on the left, you see different components like DD (Data Domain), AV (Avamar), DPA (Data Protection Advisor) and DPS (Data Protection Seach). Click on three dots next to AV to expand it. Open Avamar UI by clicking on "Avamar UI". AV UI will be opened in next window. (Though AV UI can be opened by putting IP address of AV directly but this was to demonstrate the single UI options of IDPA system manager and how the components can be managed)

Adding vCenter

To protect, you have to add/register vCenter with IDPA for backup and restore VMs. When you open Avamar UI, you see Dashboard which tells about Assets, capacity, Events, backup and replication activities. On the left pane, you have Asset management, policy, administration and monitor. So to add vCenter, you navigate to Asset Management. See this small demo video

Note : I did not check the "Enable Dynamic VM import by rule" because I will add the VMs manually and left the optional information blank

Hence, the vcenter is added to IDPA. The next step is to create dataset and associate to the VM to be protected. The Dataset is basically the identification of the content of the backup i.e. dataset could be a filesystem or a directory. Default dataset is inherited from the Avamar group but can be overridden with a specific dataset.

Add Client to be protected and Dataset

For demo purpose, I chose one VM as client to be protected. Below clip demonstrates the procedure.

In this demo, I chose SQL VM as a client to be protected and created the dataset that defines what you would to backup from this VM for example I chose Windows VMware image plug-in and checked few check boxes like it should use CBT to increase performance, index vmware backups (this actually uses data protection search to index the backups and can be restored easily). The dataset will be used later when you will create backup policies (discuss later in this article)

Proxy Deploymement

Avamar Proxy plays the most important role in backup and restore. It is actually the machenism behind the backups/restore process. When Avamar initiates the backup process, the proxy comes in action. Avamar talks to vCenter API to get the snapshots done of the VM being backed up. Once the snapshot is completed the disk of the VM (VMDK) becomes read only meaning no data is being written on that disk at that time and VMDK can be mounted to the proxy. Avamar then tells proxy to initiate the backup of that VMDK. Proxy then communicates to the storage nodes and copies the data to storage. When this entire process is finished, the VMDK is dismounted from the proxy and the snapshot is deleted. Lets see how proxy is created with Avamar.

Hence the policy is created and it is residing on the ESXi host which is managed by the vCenter (vcsa01.demo.local)

Creating Backup policies

Backups and restores need declarative policies and the schedule works accordingly. Now to create backup policy, you need to take care of few things i.e.

1. Client (VM) to be backed up and its domain

2. Dataset should be defined

3. Schedule of the backup

4. Retention policy (how long the backup should stay)

5. Cloud DR (This opion is used when the cloud tiering is being used and the data is saved at cloud, hence this is optional)

Lets see how you can set up backup policy

The backup schedule is successfully created and can be retrieved/restored any moment of time when required.

So this was the brief article on "How to" protect VMware workloads using Dell EMC IDPA. Hope this was informative article. You can leave your comments to add/delete/edit any piece of information, I would love to work on it.

Thanks for your time . Stay safe and keep reading.


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