Some may have noticed a plethora of ads for Veem lately, and many of them say their product is free. Well what it really is, that you get there full blown software for a trial period, but at the end of the trial you get to keep their "free software" Veeam Zip.
Veeam Zip, is a program to backup VM's into a single file. It cannot be scheduled (at least through the GUI), there is no job log to go back to, one cannot include or exclude files, folders, or drives, it is the whole VM or nothing.
Once the trial period ends, changing the configuration becomes difficult. For instance, I had a test ESXi server up for a while. I cannot remove that test server from the Veeam GUI because it says it is in use by job "backup job1". Ok, so I will just delete the backup job, Oh wait, can't do that because that portion of the program has been been crippled.
It is CPU intensive for the backup server. I had two vCPU's assigned to the backup server and during the jobs it would have both of them at 100% utilized. Upgrading to four vCPU's, made the backup job go faster and all four vCPU's hovered around 80% used. In this test my throughput went from roughly 30Mbps to 38Mbps. At this point Veeam reported that the "source" (meaning the source VM) was the bottle neck, which could be as the VM being backuped up as well as the backup server both live on a set of mirrored SATA drives.
How it works. Once a job is started. 1. A Vmware snapshot is taken of the target VM. 2. The original VMDK for that target VM is mounted to backup server. 3. The backup takes place. 4. Target VMDKs are unmounted, ESX merges the snapshots.
I did play with the compression settings a bit. Veeam does get ride of white space and the swap file, then compresses the backup. Some of the VM's I was backing up saw roughly 30% decrease in space. Switching the compression to maximum added another 5 minutes to a 15 minute job and took the backup file from 7.3gb down to 6.5gb.
Veeam Zip is a cool tool. I forse using it instead of copying VMDK's around, or other ways to migrate VM's to different ESXi servers. Or using it for a monthly backup in addition to another method; I am thinking of some smaller clients who are only using Agent/file based backup programs and aren't willing to spend the money to upgrade their software.
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