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Media Agent as a Virtual Machine

Last post 09-23-2014, 5:57 AM by Brennus. 39 replies.
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  • Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 08-30-2010, 10:14 PM

    Are there any issues with installing a Media Agent as a virtual machine in an ESX 4.x environment?

     

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 08-30-2010, 10:52 PM

    Hi Mike,

    There are a number of things that you will need to do in order to get a VSA/MA running the environment.

    The rule of thumb is 50-100 Virtual Machines per VSA with the MA function installed. If you are using vSphere it is recommended that you use VADP as it gives you hot-Add capbility and will reduce your backup window for guests.

    I have set this up before and the biggest thing you need to watch out for is the VM hardware version level as well as the registry settings required to configure the right bits to work. I have attached a PDF which will assit I hope.

    Lastly I have attached the latest info fro ComMVault about the  latest available patch that needs to be applied to your system if your gioing to work with a VSA.

    AK

    Attachment: CV-VADP info.pdf
  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 08-30-2010, 10:57 PM

    And here is the patch document... sorry I ca only attch 1 file per post GRR....

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 08-31-2010, 7:47 AM

    Hello Mike M.,

    There are no issues with your Media Agent being a virtual machine as long as the storage devices can be seen by the operating system.

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 08-31-2010, 10:49 AM

    Thank you. I was interested in using a VM Media Agent to backup physical clients and to run synthetic fulls.  Are there any storage devices that are not supported such as SAN Tape Library? CDL? Data Domains?

     

     

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 08-31-2010, 11:05 AM

    We can write to almost any media. Tape, Magnetic, NETAPP, DD, USB attached devices, DVDs and I *think*we still have platter support Laughing.

     

    What OS will you be using on your VM?

    Here is a link to our Hardware compatibility matrix for your review.

    https://services.commvault.com/mainadv/hardware_compatibility_matrix.asp

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 11-30-2010, 2:28 PM

    I'm thinking of switching our Media Agent from Physical to Virtual Machine, how is the performance for you so far?

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 11-30-2010, 7:21 PM

    creyes:

    I'm thinking of switching our Media Agent from Physical to Virtual Machine, how is the performance for you so far?

    I haven't built it yet. We tend to move slowly around here ;)

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 12-01-2010, 9:38 AM

    Something to remember,  if you place your MA on a VM host make sure to place the MA on a host that does not host any other mission critical VM's. The amount of traffic across the network during the backups could play havoc on some apps.

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 12-01-2010, 10:08 AM

    David Overton:

    Something to remember,  if you place your MA on a VM host make sure to place the MA on a host that does not host any other mission critical VM's. The amount of traffic across the network during the backups could play havoc on some apps.

    One of the reasons why we steared away from virtual MA's.  Hassle of direct attached SAN devices limiting us in respect of VMotion, additional affinity rules, memory/CPU usage of each vsbkp process using VADP... figured it was easier to stick with physical MA's.

    Our Commserve is virtual though! Laughing

     

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 12-02-2010, 2:38 PM

    Hey Mort...

    With your virtual commserve... have you used fault tolerance?

    Where are your indexes placed?

    WE will be virtualizing our commserv soooooonnnn

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 12-03-2010, 4:24 AM

    No we haven't used FT, but that's because our primary VMware cluster doesn't support it.  Chipset isn't new enough, though when we get the replacement servers and move to 10G NIC's FT will be investigated further, though still not sure if the limitations outweigh the benefits for the Commserve.

    Indexes are spread around our WAN, remote sites use local Index Cache, SAN resources use clustered shared index cache on the SAN for high availability and performance.

    At the moment we have a clone of the Commserve and Hourly DR backups, which is good enough for us.

    Commserve was originally clustered with media agents, but we wanted to remove it from the media agents and the SQL DB, and isolate it from hardware faults.

    Side Note : when we upgrade VM Clusters I'm hoping we can bin the VTL (please god let us get rid of the VTL). Tongue out

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 01-05-2011, 6:02 PM

    We're actually going to move back from a VM to a physical machine because on the LUN size limitation (which is more of an issue with VM and not CV).

    There is a 2TB LUN restriction and the amount of DeDupe, non DeDupe and Archive data we store is well beyond the 2TB mark, even with Data Aging rules set.

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 01-06-2011, 12:12 AM

    hmm interesting thread, from my viewpoint and all the people we have discussed with the best practice is still in some cases to have powerful physical MAs and virtualize the commcell, this is what we did over a year ago and its working well for us.

    Obi - re the comment on the 2TB LUN restriction, your right in ESX but if you go back to physical the max we were recommended for dedupe replicated LUNs was 2TB by commvault, so your not going to gain any advantage.  I could try and dig out the email with the reason why if you need me to.

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 01-06-2011, 12:35 PM

    sssstew, I agree. Looking at the whitepapers when I took this project on, that was what was recommended by CommVault. The problem is that the LUNs on 2 of our Media Agents is at 98% capacity. I would have to read more to see if this is normal. These are not shared LUNS between the 2 machines, they both have individual dedicated LUNS assigned to them and currently DeDupe and non Dedupe data is being stored on them.

    I took over the System Admin position a couple of months ago and have been tasked to get the CV backup system in order, so I'm trying to start from scratch and get this system built correctly.

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 01-06-2011, 12:47 PM

    Obi,

    I would recommend checking your companies compliance policy for how long you need to keep the data if the volumes are almost to capacity.  From there you can adjust the retention on the storage policy to meet these legal requirements and go from there.  On the other hand, if the retention is set correctly, and you are simply out of space, and hardware refresh may be in order.

    Adopting an already running environment is tough because things can be set for any reason under the sun, so I would start there (with retention) and work your way from there. 

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 01-06-2011, 12:50 PM

    Vincenzo_Basolino, thanks for the advice. I will start there hopefully get this system where it needs to be in the next week or so.

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 01-06-2011, 6:12 PM

    I would be looking at the free space threshold, and what is actually on those drives.  Maybe your retention is set to high?  Maybe theres some old data from some decomissioned servers which havent aged off.

    On a side note we have 2 physical MAs with 10 x 2TB LUNs.

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 01-06-2011, 6:27 PM
    Wow, that's a lot of space. We have 2 physical MA with 2.5TB LUNS. One VM with only a 2TB LUN.
  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 01-06-2011, 7:58 PM

    wow, thats not much space at all.  presume you dont backup much data then?

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 01-31-2011, 10:42 PM

    I am finally actually getting ready to do this right now. From the original responses, the documentation is for Simpana 8. We are still running Simpana 7.0. Is virtualizing a media agent in 7.0 an issues?

    We are also looking at professional services for upgrading to 8.0 SP5 though I wonder if we should just jump to 9.0 if its at SP1 yet.

     

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 01-31-2011, 10:57 PM

    Mike, virtualizing in 7.0 shouldnt be an issue, essentially the application is not virtualization aware so it will not be able to tell any difference.

    With regards to what version to upgrade to i would recommend you wait just a month or so, as v9 SP2 should be out at somepoint in Feb i believe.  v8 SP5 is a good stable base to upgrade to, but if you can hold off and go to v9 SP2 as it has several benefits which will also require you to not upgrade again so soon.  I would not recommend you upgrade to v9 SP1 from a great deal of personal experience it is has alot of issues and would recommend you wait until SP2 which is due very shortly.

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 02-04-2011, 10:35 AM

    Could you summarize some of the bigger issues with SP1? My account rep is recommending I go to it and I wanted to have some reasons as to be pro or against waiting for SP2.

     

     

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 02-04-2011, 11:27 AM

    Mike M.:

    Could you summarize some of the bigger issues with SP1? My account rep is recommending I go to it and I wanted to have some reasons as to be pro or against waiting for SP2.

     

     

     

     Nevermind, I just read your thread on this. Thanks for posting Stewww.

    http://forum.commvault.com/forums/thread/6382.aspx

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 02-06-2011, 7:47 PM

    No worries Mike :)  Still hold off is still my recommendation.

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 08-16-2011, 12:36 AM

    This thread is a bit old now but wondering how those of you that virtualized your MA got on and if you are still using it that way. I am concerned virtualizing our MA as it is currently protecting 50TB and houses 4 Global Dedupe Databases which are sensitive to IOPS. Does they Hyper-visor add any latency that can affect the speed of access of these volumes?

    I am picking we can use RDM's to get around the LUN size limitation as we have 10TB LUNs in our environment which is currently physical MA virtual CS.

    I am more inclined to wait for vSphere 5 as it offers increased performance through the hyper-visor and is better equipped to handle an MA.

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 08-16-2011, 2:09 PM

    I virtualized an MA on an ESX 4.0 host for a satellite office backing up to local storage. CV 7.0 update 4 at the time with 2003 server. Worked fine, I upgraded to CV 8.0 update 5 and it is still working fine. I plan to upgrade the 2003 server to 2008 in the near future to see what gains I can get.

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 08-17-2011, 3:24 AM

    All of our satellite sites consist of an ESXi server or a small ESX Cluster, a virtual linux media agent utilizing Data Interface Pairs across an internal Virtual Switch to isolate backup traffic from production Network Interfaces.  Works great.

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 05-17-2012, 1:48 PM

    So, I have been running that virtual MA for some time on Windows 2003 Server Simpana 8.5 and its been fine thus far.

    I am now looking at Simpana 9 and doing the same thing.

    what are the recommended specs for a Media Agent VM with 2008 R2 in ESX 5.0i without dedup or dash copies? I read the Simpana 9 High Performance "Appliance" Specifications and its quite robust.

    Are there tweaks/settings I need to applly to the Virtual MA I didnt in 8.0? 

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 05-19-2012, 9:42 AM
    I have been thinking about moving my commserver to vm as well. Can anyone tell me how much ram and cpu's you gave your virtual commserver. Had anyone went vm and found you have to give it way to many resources?
  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 05-19-2012, 6:44 PM

    We recently moved back to a physical commserve for a number of reasons,

    1. CommServe eventually had 4 Cores and 16Gb of RAM assigned and was consistantly in the top 5 VMs in terms of CPU/RAM/Disk activity.

    2. We looked at our DR situation, and as our virtual center was virtualised as well and we realised that, in order to get our environment back from a total disaster we needed 4 things before we could start to perform restores for a lot of critical systems.

    A. VMWare environment restored.

    B. SQL Cluster restores (it holds the Virtual Center DB)

    C. Virtual Center Restored.

    D. Commserve restored.

    All of these kind of depend on each other in our environment and DR was a little clunky in terms of what we did first, now there are workarounds but by taking the commserve back to a physical we eliminated some of the catch-22 situations that we faced, and improved our RTO massively.

    Before virtualising your commserve, I would recommend that you look at each element of your environemnt and ask yourself "What impact would a virtual commserve have if we lost this?".

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 02-28-2014, 8:13 PM

    mort:

    Before virtualising your commserve, I would recommend that you look at each element of your environemnt and ask yourself "What impact would a virtual commserve have if we lost this?".

    Surely losing a virtual commserve, would have the same impact as losing a physical commserve (ie to fire or flood etc). In either case you would need to build a new commserve. Reverting to physical doesn't gain you anything if you completely lose the machine (unless i'm missing something).

    You would of course need to ensure (with either a virtual or physical Commserve) that you are exporting the DR sets to somewhere easy to access (I copy mine to my physical MA in our DR site), as you'll need these to rebuild the new Commserve.

     

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 03-01-2014, 5:46 PM
    Your definition of Disaster is very 'natural disaster'. And for many people a disaster isn't just fire, flood & earthquake. I wasn't talking about losing the commserve completely but losing one or more parts of your environment; I.e. Network switch(es), SAN, storage, virtual centre, etc. As an example, if our virtual environment was down for just 30 minutes, we would lose a lot of transaction log backups from our many SQL & Oracle instances if our commserve were virtual, however with a physical commserve we wouldn't and I wouldn't have to explain our failure to meet SLA to our IG leads. I was merely trying to point out that a virtual commserve isn't the best solution for everyone and care should be taken before making that decision.
  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 03-24-2014, 1:59 PM

    I am actually using a virtual commserv on the east coast with another virtual DR commserv on the west coast standing at the ready. I offsite my DR backup to a 3rd site and to my DR commserv at the same time. I only need to ensure I keep my DR commserve patched to the same level as production. I have 90% virtual SQl and run trans logs hourly as well.

    Your physical commserv can suffer any number of "disasters" that would at best require 4 - 6 hr turn around due to some hardware failure that would prevent post. A DR commserv would save you in that instance and there is no reason not to make it virtual except to say it probably wouldnt perform as well as a physical server with the same resources. I think its like 60% performance hit you have to compensate for which in a virtual world isnt a big deal. Just give it more resource shares.

     

     

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 09-22-2014, 5:22 AM

    Hi Guys,

    Due to several issue i've been having with Commvault regarding Commvault Upgrades as well as Windows Patches i've decided to set up an test environment. Is it possible to setup a test environment with only virtual components ?

    Media Agent - Virtual
    Commserve - Virtual
    Cache Index - Virtual
    Disk Lib - Share

    Also would anyone know if there is a way to configure this without utilizing the current license ?

    Thanks, 

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 09-22-2014, 4:00 PM

    Hi Sleven,

    Are you going to use your production DR backup or build a test CommCell with a different CommCell ID altogether?

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 09-23-2014, 3:21 AM

    Ali, thank for your reply. 

    That's what i'm trying to figure out. 

    I'd rather not have the production DR pushed towards a test Commserve. I would like to build a seperate environment for the only purpose of testing after upgrades and windows patches.

    The way I see it :
    Commserve
    Media Agent
    Index Cache
    1 datastore
    max 10 clients

    I'm still not sure if i would have to run them under a schedule or just do everything manual when updates are available. I would like to have this environment totally seperate from production, i don't want to see a single component in my  CommCell.

    Testing would consist out of : backup, restore, Q&I tracking, throughput measurement . 

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 09-23-2014, 4:12 AM

    It is totally possible to virtualize all of this. We have a virtualized CV environment running for testing purposes as well.

    I would suggest asking your CV rep for a NFR license for testing purposes only.

    If you want to see any decent troughput though I would recommend putting an SSD in a hypervisor and making sure the MA's index and DDB disks are located on that SSD.

    regards,

    Brenn

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 09-23-2014, 4:21 AM

    Hi Brenn,

    Noted, currently still in the proces of getting my production DDB's on SSD. They changed the recommendation to requirement a while back unfortunately not when we were implementing Commvault. 

    The NFR license is always a trial license correct ? so available for a limited time.

    Thanks,

  • Re: Media Agent as a Virtual Machine
    Posted: 09-23-2014, 5:57 AM

    Hi,

    The NFR license we have is not a trial license but perpetual. obviously with the side note that it is not to be sued for anything other then testing purposes.

    Speak to your CV sales guy to see if you can get something like that. To me it makes sense, they can't expect you to upgrade production and 'hope it goes ok' no matter how good their QA is...

    Believe me, you will be amazed by the performance improvement once the ddb is on SSD's, especially for those clients that can't do client side deduplication (like storage systems)

    regards,

    brenn

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