How do I configure backups of VMs through Nutanix?

  • 26 July 2016
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I am new to our environment and have been tasked with backing up our VM Servers. The backups are scheduled hourly but have not been configured properly (I believe we are missing a backup location, but I have not been able to find where to configure that item). Any help would be appreciated.

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Nutanix offers snapshots under the 'Data Protection' area of prism. Those are point in time storage based snapshots, not full backups proper. You can get NGT tools integration for flushing application IO in a consistent manner. Those snaps can be replicated to another cluster for site level protection.

At least in my world, snapshot != backup. If you want to keep 100% independent backups (which is what most people want), you'll be using a backup vendor (Commvault, Backup Exec, Veeam, etc) to store backup data on a something else, whether its another Nutanix cluster or backup repository.
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To add on to what Tim said, we use Nutanix Protection Domains for our primary disaster recovery/business continuity solution, but that's still not what I'd consider a "backup" in the sense I might want to recover a file from days, weeks, or months ago...which from what I can gather, really isn't the purpose of Nutanix PD's anyway. We use a third party backup software solution combined with a deduplicating backup appliance for what I'd call "backups" and could technically rely on that for DR as well if something went awry with what Nutanix had replicated.

If you're referring to Nutanix Protection Domains, the "backup location" will likely be a remote site paired with your primary site in Prism, but you can do local only snapshots too. Configure your Protection Domains based on an RPO level (i.e. hourly, 6 hours, 24 hours, etc) by creating multiple Protection Domains with varying snapshot schedules and drop the VM's into them as appropriate. I believe you can only have 50 VM's in a single Protection Domain (that was the case whenever we set it up about a year ago, maybe that's changed) so depending on how many VM's you're replicating, you may have multiple Protection Domains for a particular RPO grouping. Then, set a retention schedule for snapshot expiration. We try to keep 1 to 3 days worth of retention on the Protection Domain snapshots to keep the overhead lower, with the lower RPO groupings having less retention (say, 1 hour RPO gets 1 day worth of retention, whereas 24 hour may get 3 days).

Even if you do leverage Protection Domains, still have your data on something else, somewhere else (3-2-1 backup methodology).

Since we use Veeam for backups proper, there isn't really anything special we're doing with the backup software configuration as it pertains to Nutanix, but if you're using Commvault or something like that which offers tighter integration with Nutanix there will probably be specific things you'll need to do in your configuration.

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