MySQL Backup and Veeam Backup & Replication – Part 1

This article will show you how to implement a data protection strategy in MySQL environments.

Let’s start with a consideration.

To create consistent backups from an application point of view, it is necessary that before the copy process is started, the application has written all the data in memory to disk ( flush ).

For example, Microsoft® applications use a technology called Shadow Copy which, through the coordination of VSS drivers , achieves application consistency.

A similar technology is not available on Linux and in addition MySQL does not support it in the Microsoft® environment.

How to remedy?

Through the creation of scripts that automate application consistency before starting the creation of the Snapshot .

Having understood this aspect, let’s return to the scope of the article, introducing the options available for MySQL .

Note 1 : Application consistency occurs before snapshot creation.

  • 1. Logical Backup : The script creates a file with the .sql extension which in case of restore allows the re-creation of the database and its data.

The file . sql is created through the native MySQL command ” mysqldump “ .

The advantages of logical backup can be summarized in:

  • There are no dependencies on third-party software.
  • Backups can be restored to other servers.
  • 2. Physical / Cold Backup : Cold copies of the DB files are created (for example: ibdata, .ibd, .frm, ib_logfile, my.cnf).

To be sure that the backups are made in ” application consistency ” mode, before taking the snapshot, it is essential to stop the MySQL services.

It is a backup strategy typically implemented in environments that do not require 24×7 operations.

Note 2 : The service is stopped only for the time necessary to create the snapshot and not for the entire duration of the backup.

  • 3. Physical / Hot Backup : If the InnoDB engine is running, the script allows the creation of consistent copies without stopping the services (using for example the command mysqlbackup component of the MySQL Enterprise suite ( MySQL Product) ).

Now that we know the scripting options available, let’s see how Veeam solutions can natively integrate with MySQL environments.

The first available option is the Veeam Agent for Linux ( VAL ) which automates the following four steps:

  1. Flush data from memory to disk (application consistency).
  2. Creation of the snasphot.
  3. Release of tables.
  4. Start the Backup process.

Note 3 : As indicated in the first part of the article, if the DB is of the MyISAM type, it is possible to backup with the blocking of all the tables.

The pre-requisites of the VAL are:

  • MySQL version is greater than or equal to 5.8.
  • The operating system is Linux.

Question: Is it possible to backup in Windows environments where the MySQL version is lower than version 5.8?

The answer is yes and the available scenarios are:

Logical Backup -> Hot-Backup Database Online Dump -> Mysqldump command.

Physical / Cold Backup –> Cold-Backup Database Shutdown -> Temporary stop of the Services.

Physical / Hot Backup –> Hot-Backup Database Freeze -> Native mysql commands.

Note4 : There is also the possibility of making Partial Backups . In this scenario, specific tables and databases are backed up. It is useful when different protection strategies have to be implemented on the same Server.

In the next article, we will find out how to create scripts and how to integrate them into Veeam Backup & Replication.

VMCE 2021 – My experience

On January 24th I completed the VMCE 2021 training course.

In this article, I will describe the methodology I used in order to pass the final exam.

The six cornerstones of the preparation were:

1- Pay maximum attention to Veeam Backup & Replication components (Backup Server, Proxy, Wan Acceleration, Gateway) understanding their purpose, operation, and limitations. For example, for proxies to know the usage scenarios of the different transport modes (SAN, Virtual Appliance, Direct NFS, Network).

2- Understand the RPO (Recovery Point Object) and RTO (Recovery Time Object) theme by analyzing:

    • Type and topology of protection (Backup, Replica, and Backup Copy Job)
    • Type of repositories involved (Stand-alone, XFS / ReFS, Immutable, SOBR, capacity Tier and Archive Tier)
    • Backup chain (Forever Forward Incremental, Reversed Incremental and Forward Incremental)

Note 1 : to verify the preparation the advice is to respond to imaginary requests for protection; for example, thegable.it customer requested a daily primary backup of their VMs with an RPO of 31 days, with a GFS retention of 8 Weeks and 12 Months. In addition, the backup data will have to be copied to a second site …

3- Reinforce the knowledge on the available recovery options (VBR manual), through the Veeam Explorer, also in this case paying particular attention to the usage scenarios and limitations.

4- Massively use the laboratory to establish not only theoretical aspects but also real implementation scenarios.

5- Know the Veeam ONE features (Infrastructure, Data Protection, Business View).

Note 2: Laboratories simplify learning by often turning theory into a wonderful game of trial and error.

Preparation time was 42 days roughly divided into 2 hours/day on average during the week and 4 hours/day on average on weekends.

6- To check your progress and for the final review, the following are available:

VMCE 2021 Practice Exam

Concluding note:

Pearson-Vue test platform certifies VMCE-2021 competency.

You can take the exam either at a Pearson-Vue center or from your home and office.

While recognizing that online is a very convenient approach that eliminates all logistical problems, in my case a small problem presented itself.

My method of recalling stored information and its processing to answer questions often requires the use of a pen and inkwell *.

Well, the exam with the “home and office” option does not allow the use of any pencil and sheet of paper while in Pearson-Vue authorized centers it is often possible to use a small white board of the re-writable type.

In addition, by applying to a licensed center, you will also help Pearson-Vue centers pay back their investment.

*: To take and digitize notes, I have been using Remarkable 2 with utmost satisfaction for 6 months, which I highly recommend to all readers.

VMCE 2021 – My experience

On January 24th I completed the VMCE 2021 training course.

In this article, I will describe the methodology I used in order to pass the final exam.

The six cornerstones of the preparation were:

1- Pay maximum attention to Veeam Backup & Replication components (Backup Server, Proxy, Wan Acceleration, Gateway) understanding their purpose, operation, and limitations. For example, for proxies to know the usage scenarios of the different transport modes (SAN, Virtual Appliance, Direct NFS, Network).

2- Understand the RPO (Recovery Point Object) and RTO (Recovery Time Object) theme by analyzing:

    • Type and topology of protection (Backup, Replica, and Backup Copy Job)
    • Type of repositories involved (Stand-alone, XFS / ReFS, Immutable, SOBR, capacity Tier and Archive Tier)
    • Backup chain (Forever Forward Incremental, Reversed Incremental and Forward Incremental)

Note 1 : to verify the preparation the advice is to respond to imaginary requests for protection; for example, thegable.it customer requested a daily primary backup of their VMs with an RPO of 31 days, with a GFS retention of 8 Weeks and 12 Months. In addition, the backup data will have to be copied to a second site …

3- Reinforce the knowledge on the available recovery options (VBR manual), through the Veeam Explorer, also in this case paying particular attention to the usage scenarios and limitations.

4- Massively use the laboratory to establish not only theoretical aspects but also real implementation scenarios.

5- Know the Veeam ONE features (Infrastructure, Data Protection, Business View).

Note 2: Laboratories simplify learning by often turning theory into a wonderful game of trial and error.

Preparation time was 42 days roughly divided into 2 hours/day on average during the week and 4 hours/day on average on weekends.

6- To check your progress and for the final review, the following are available:

VMCE 2021 Practice Exam

Concluding note:

Pearson-Vue test platform certifies VMCE-2021 competency.

You can take the exam either at a Pearson-Vue center or from your home and office.

While recognizing that online is a very convenient approach that eliminates all logistical problems, in my case a small problem presented itself.

My method of recalling stored information and its processing to answer questions often requires the use of a pen and inkwell *.

Well, the exam with the “home and office” option does not allow the use of any pencil and sheet of paper while in Paerson-Vue authorized centers it is often possible to use a small whiteboard of the re-writable type.

In addition, by applying to a licensed center, you will also be helping Pearson-Vue centers to pay back their investment.

*: To take and digitize notes, I have been using Remarkable 2 with utmost satisfaction for 6 months, which I highly recommend to all readers.

Veeam & Google Cloud Platform – Part 2

In the previous article, it was shown how to use VBR (Veeam Backup & Replication) as a framework to protect the instances (VMs) present in the Google Cloud Platform ( GCP ).

The integrated component of VBR that automates backup and restore processes is VBGP (Veeam Backup for Google Platform), now in its second version (January 2022).

VBGP allows you to save Google instances at the image level, but to date, it is unable to restore applications in granular mode.

Note 1: The VBGP allows you to create “Application Consistency” backups of the instances through:

  • le VSS (Windows Volume Snapshot Copy Services ) for Microsoft-Windows operating systems.
  • Customizable scripts for Linux operating systems.

In cases where transaction log backup or granular recovery of application objects is required, the Veeam Agent ( VA ) must be used.

Note 2: At www.gable.it you will find many articles detailing how to implement Veeam Agents.

Note 3: The Backup Server VBR can be installed both in the cloud (for example as an instance in GCP ) and on-premises. Correct connectivity between components must be ensured in all scenarios.

Note 4: VBR version 12 (due out in 2022) will add a number of Cloud enhancements. For example, the ability to manage the deployment and Veeam Agent components, without having to create a VPN between the on-premises VBR and the instances to be protected in advance.

Let’s now see the two main phases to perform the Backup of the instance:

The first phase has the purpose of carrying out discovery and deployment of the Agent on the instance (see image 1) (Inventory menu, Create a Protection Group).

Picture 1

In the second phase, the creation of the Backup job by selecting Veeam Agent for Windows (Image 2)

picture 2

During the Wizard, select the Backup Repository (image 4) under Backup Mode, Entire Computer (image 3), and Storage.

Picture 3

Picture 4

The focus of this article is managing application security (in this MS-SQL scenario).

After enabling the application-aware processing (image 5), it is possible to operate at the Transaction Log level, selecting whether to delete them after each Backup operation (Trunking) or whether to backup only the T-Logs. (images 6-8).

Picture 5

Picture 6

Picture 7

Image 8

After starting the job, we check that at the Disk entry there is at least one restore point (see image 9).

Image 9

We conclude this article by explaining the recovery options of the Veeam Agent for Windows: (image 10)

  • Towards VMware & Hyper-V virtual architectures
    • Instant Recovery
    • Restoring Volumes
    • Exporting Disks (VMDK, VHD, VHDX)
  • Towards Public Cloud architectures
    • AWS
    • Azure
    • GCP
  • The creation of a Recovery Media to perform a Bare Metal Restore
  • File and Folder recovery (image 10, also available with VBGP )
  • Application object recovery (image 11 & 12, available only via VA )

Image 10

Image 11

Image 12

All recovery options using Veeam Explorer for SQL are available at the following site .

Note 5 : In the example, a Scale Out Backup Repository has been chosen which has the advantage of copying data to the Google Object Storage (see image 13). Version 12 of VBR will allow direct writing to the Object Storage

Image 13

See you soon

Veeam & Google Cloud Platform – Part 1

The first article of 2022 is dedicated to how to secure Google instances ( GCPs ).

The flow and protection architecture is shown in image 1 where there are two Veeam components.

  1. The Veeam Backup for Google Platform ( VBGP ) instance is responsible for making backups and restores of GCP instances.
  2. Veeam Backup & Replication ( VBR ) has the responsibility to centrally manage the movement of Backup data to and from the cloud (Data Mobility).

Picture 1

  • Note 1 : VBGP can be installed in stand-alone mode or using the VBR wizard.
  • Note 2: This article will show how to hook a VBGP instance already present in GCP from VBR.

Let’s see the steps in detail:

From the VBR console, we choose the Backup Infrastructure item.

By clicking with the right mouse button, select add server and then Google Cloud Platform (see image 2)

picture 2

The next step is to enter the login credentials to the Google Service Account (image 3)

Picture 3

The wizard continues asking you to enter the name of the VBGP server already created (image 4)

Picture 4

After selecting the type of network present (image 5), the next step is to enter the credentials to access the Repository (image 6).

Remember that the best protection practice is to back up the instance as a snapshot, then pour the snapshot into Google’s Cloud Object Storage.

Thus the 3-2-1 rule is respected, i.e. having 3 copies of data (Production + Snapshot + Object Storage) on two different media (Primary Storage + Object Storage) with an offsite copy (Object storage should belong to another region).

Picture 5

Picture 6

Once the wizard is finished, still from the VBR console we can connect to the console to the VBGP server (image 7) to start creating protection policies.

Picture 7

After entering the login credentials (image 8)

Image 8

it is possible to monitor the environment through an overview of the present instances, of the protected ones (image 9 & 10)

Image 9

Image 10

Manage protection policies through:

The creation of the Backup policies, indicating the name (image 12), selecting the project (image 13), the region (image 14), the resources (image 15), the Backup target (image 16), the schedule, and the type backup (images 17 to 19)

Image 11

Image 12

Image 13

Image 14

Image 15

Image 16

Picture 17

Image 18

Image 19

The last two items indicate the estimated monthly costs to implement the backup policy (image 20) and the setting of retries and notifications (image 21)

Image 20

Image 21

Once the configuration is complete and the monitoring has verified that the policy has been completed successfully, it is possible to proceed with the recovery (image 22).

Image 22

The available options are:

  • Entire Instance
  • Files and Folders

The next images (23-24-25) show the key steps to restore the entire instance.

Image 23

Image 24

Image 25

In the next article we will see how to protect and restore a SQL DB present in a GCP instance

See you soon

Veeam Backup & Replication: License count

Starting July 1, 2022, the sale of perpetual per-socket licenses of Veeam Backup & Replication ™, Veeam Availability Suite ™, Veeam Backup Essentials ™, and Veeam ONE ™ will cease to both new and existing customers.

The products currently in operation will continue to work but it will not be possible to purchase new Socket licenses to upgrade.

The licenses that can be purchased and available are the Veeam Universal Licenses (VUL) which use the single workload as the unit of measure.

The most important advantages of the VUL model can be summarized in:

  1. Ability to protect any supported workload (such as instances in AWS, Azure, and GCP) and not just VMware and Hyper-V virtual machines.
  2. Freedom to move licenses as needed between all supported workloads.

Note 1 : Each instance can be used to protect 500 GB source data of a NAS

Note 2: Let’s take an example to simplify the count: let’s assume we need to protect an environment made of 50 Hyper-V VMs, 30 instances in Azure (or in Aws or in GCP), 10 physical servers, and 5 TB of data.

The total number of instances is the algebraic sum of:

a. 50 (VM-HV) + 30 (Azure) + 10 (Server) + 10 (NAS) = 100 instances = 10 VUL

If 20 Hyper-V VMs will be migrated to Azure, the count changes to

b. 30 + 50 + 10 + 10 = 100 instances = 10 VUL

As you can see, the total number of instances does not change.

The good news is that Veeam has a plan available to help customers migrate their licenses.

Your Veeam Sales Representative will be able to advise you on the best options available.

Note 3 : In this scenario it is essential to provide the Veeam contact with the log files.

The one that describes the licenses used is called VMC.log

See you soon