Wise and or recommended to Virtualize Media Agents & Commcell?

Last post 04-25-2012, 4:58 PM by PhilippeMorin. 5 replies.
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  • Wise and or recommended to Virtualize Media Agents & Commcell?
    Posted: 04-23-2012, 5:08 PM


    Just a general question and I would really appreciate it those who had infor could tune in. Our Commcell is currently hosted on a Vsphere machine and I am getting the feeling that other individuals with more say in the design aspect of things, want to virtualize the media agents soon as well. My thoughts on having a single platform being used to host, what is basically your lifelilne when a serious disaster/incident happens, is dangerous. Is there anyone that currently has both their Commcell and Media agents virtualized? Could I get an risk/benefit analysis of how the decision came about? My fear is that if the Vsphere environment was destroyed/damaged beyond repair having everything related to backups(minus backend storage) on the same box, its just not a good idea. Thought?

  • Re: Wise and or recommended to Virtualize Media Agents & Commcell?
    Posted: 04-23-2012, 6:40 PM

    As far as the commserver I think VM is just fine. I dont think you would run into any issue there. Media agents are another story. I assume you would want to build out VM media agents to take advantage of VMotion incase of a hardware failure. Some of the issue i would see.

    1. Where would you house the DDB?

    2. If you have a tape libary or tape drive mutile ESX host would need to be attached to it someway.

    3. I am not sure Commvault fully supports VM media agents. I would be afraid to run into issue and Commvault comes back and says your media agent is Virtual and thats the problem

    Have you ever tried to stand up another commserver and media agent as part of a DR recovery plan. We have in about 30 mintues with two different servers and IP addresses. I would suggest you practice this and put a DR plane together for commvault.

    I would say yes to commserver for VM no for media agent. They require too much CPU and ram.

  • Re: Wise and or recommended to Virtualize Media Agents & Commcell?
    Posted: 04-24-2012, 3:10 AM

    You dont want to have your (regular) MediaAgents virtual.

    CommVault doesnt advise it and preformancewise physical is just better.

    Loss of MediaAgents is way better covered with a gridstore deployment (datapath failover)

    For DR its much better to just rebuild the MA instead of recover it.

    (also think about direct attached tape drives if you have those)


    We always virtualise the CommServe since this machine is more complex to restore and there is no big performance penalty to virtualizing it.


    With regards to your vmware cluster going down: just keep your CommServe DR data out of your cluster: that way you can ALWAYS rebuild the commserve if needed.

  • Re: Wise and or recommended to Virtualize Media Agents & Commcell?
    Posted: 04-24-2012, 11:28 AM


    thanks for your reply, in regards to

    1. We currently dont have dedup setup. Maybe in the future so no concerns for the DDB yet.

    2. Yes we do have a tape unit an ADIC i2K but that will be heading out soon.

    3. Do not want that to occur, hence the reason for the initial post.

    4. I could look into have a VM built as a media agent and do a comparison, I dont know the specs on our Vmware unit, but my initial thought is that 7 media agents would hog too much cpu time at night.

  • Re: Wise and or recommended to Virtualize Media Agents & Commcell?
    Posted: 04-24-2012, 11:54 AM


    Virtualizing your Commserve isn't any problem at all... as mentioned, that will function and is supported with Commvault.

    I also agree with the opinion that virtualizing mediaagents is something you do not want. I don't expect CPU constraints because of a virtual mediaagent.

    Even if you only use the MAs for disk based backup, you have to worry about the network load across your virtual infrastructure... You cannot control the network flow good enough with virtual media agents, especially when vMotion is active.

    My main reason to keep mediaagents physical is the need of direct or SAN attached tape libraries.

    Regards, Bart

  • Re: Wise and or recommended to Virtualize Media Agents & Commcell?
    Posted: 04-25-2012, 4:58 PM

    I think most of the good points have already been said here but I just wanted to clarify the virtualized MA support part. It is officially supported by Commvault. See the following link which points to Commvault's CommCell Scalability Guide.


    We use virtual MAs at our small regional offices and it works just fine and avoid us having to support another physical server per location. As the others have mentionned, the main concern will be resources. You want to make sure to have enough resources to run backups within your backup window and you want to make sure not to use all of the ESX's resources (whether it is CPU, RAM, disk, LAN, etc.).

    Unless you're a very small shop, I would also recommend against virtualizing your main media agent(s). I wouldn't worry too much about having it all on an ESX farm as if you're familiar with reinstalling your Commserve and MA in a DR scenario, adding something like 20 minutes to reinstall ESXi first shouldn't be a big deal.

    You don't need your vCenter or a bunch of other servers to start rebuilding your Commserve infrastructure, whether it is virtualized or not.


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