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VMware snapshots instead of production data.


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Is there a way to take VMware snapshots instead of production data?

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Best answer by coolsport00 19 April 2023, 22:43

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I think if I have not been out of the game too long :) that that is what Veeam does. You can see VEEAM TEMPORARY SNAPSHOT in your list of snapshots, which should go away but there are times when due to communication issues with vsphere they get stuck.

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Hi @CoreyRM  . Can you be more specific what you're wanting to do? 

 

My apologies what I’m asking, is there a way to backup VMware snapshots rather than actual production data?

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Hi @CoreyRM do you mean you want Veeam to take a backup of a manual snapshot?

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No... Veeam doesn't backup snapshots. Veeam can take a backup of Storage Snapshots though, & can even be used to orchestrate the Storage Snaps too. Doing so significantly reduces the load on your VM production environment. 

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At least I remember people bugging me saying. “what are these, can I get rid of them”.. check if no backup in running first :). 

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That’s right @Geoff Burke Veeam will take a backup of the snapshot it created. I’ve never seen  it take a backup of a user created one. 

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Sorry to disagree @dips / @Geoff Burke  ..Veeam doesn't take a backup of the snap it creates. It backs up the VM, stopping i/o temporarily to do so by creating a snap, then removes /consolidates the snap when done. 

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See points 7 & 8 here (I looked it up for my review as well) 😊

Veeam backs up the read-only (i.e. parent/source) VM disk. 

Wait...you’re saying that if there is a delta disk and then Veeam creates a snap for the backup, it only reads the base disk and doesn’t look for changed blocks in the delta?  Easy enough to test, but I assumed it reads the delta’s as well.

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See points 7 & 8 here (I looked it up for my review as well) 😊

Veeam backs up the read-only (i.e. parent/source) VM disk. 

Shane is right on this one for sure.  👍🏼

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@dloseke  Veeam doesn’t back up any snaps. If you have 6 snaps on a VM (user-created, for ex.), they don’t get backed up...just the point-in-time of the parent disk before the 1st snap was taken.

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So yeah, those snapshots are there to store the changing data in a delta. If you delete them you lose the data that changed since the start of the backup. I guess when they get orphaned they manage to consolidate or something hence no issues deleting them? I mean otherwise if no one checked that thing could grow to be a monster and then you might not be able to consolidate. 

I just consolidated a 140TB Snapshot :) 

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Hi @CoreyRM  . Can you be more specific what you're wanting to do? 

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See points 7 & 8 here (I looked it up for my review as well) 😊

Veeam backs up the read-only (i.e. parent/source) VM disk. 

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At least I remember people bugging me saying. “what are these, can I get rid of them”.. check if no backup in running first :). 

Had someone ask me that yesterday.  Had a string of about 6 snapshots on a VM asking me if it was okay to commit them.

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@dloseke  Veeam doesn’t back up any snaps. If you have 6 snaps on a VM (user-created, for ex.), they don’t get backed up...just the point-in-time of the parent disk before the 1st snap was taken.

Yikes….good to know.

 

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Thanks @coolsport00 I definitely learnt something new today! I’ve always thought it was the snapshot that got backed up rather than the VM but  that makes total sense. 

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No worries @dips ...it was a good reminder for myself as well 😊

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Is the behaviour for taking backups from Storage Snapshots the same @coolsport00 

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ah good call @coolsport00 ! Correct it does state that clearly here “The source Veeam Data Mover reads the VM data from the read-only VM disk and transfers the data to the backup repository in one of transport modes.”

https://helpcenter.veeam.com/docs/backup/vsphere/backup_hiw.html?ver=120

 

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So yeah, those snapshots are there to store the changing data in a delta. If you delete them you lose the data that changed since the start of the backup. I guess when they get orphaned they manage to consolidate or something hence no issues deleting them? I mean otherwise if no one checked that thing could grow to be a monster and then you might not be able to consolidate. 

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Thank you @coolsport00 Massively helpful :) 

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Sure thing @dips 😊

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There is no data loss backing up a VM with a snapshot. You can have many snapshots on a VM and when you run the backup you get the CURRENT stat at the time the backup was run. 

 

 

I am testing this as I write it. 

  1. Creating a file on desktop calling it BEFORE_SNAPSHOT
  1. Take a VMware Snapshot
  1. Renamed the file to AFTER_SNAPSHOT
  2. Run a Veeam backup job containing VM
  3. Do a file level restore for the VM in Veeam
  4. Navigate to C:\Users\XXXXX\Desktop

File shows AFTER snapshot.  (as expected)

 

 

I am using storage snapshots but this is the order.

Veeam tells VMware to take a snap, the SAN does a volume snapshot, then VMware deletes the local snapshot and it retrieves it from the SAN.

No stun and lightning fast. (other than initializing the job)

 

Think about it., If Veeam doesn’t backup the “last” snapshot, why would it be taking a snapshot at all.

 

The terminology is a bit odd, It’s true Veeam doesn’t backup VMware snapshots. . You could have 8 Snapshots on a VM, run Veeam, and you will not backup those 8 snapshots. What you will get is the CURRENT state of the VM the time the backup was run.  You can’t backup a VM “with” the snapshots. As in you can NOT restore a VM and have those 8 snapshots attached. It will only be the state of the VM when the backup was run.

 

Hope this helps.

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I think the existing snapshots are transparent for Veeam. The Veeam Snapshot create a fixed state of the VM including the already existing snapshots. So, the backups should be fine.

Although, the existing snapshots prohibit the usage of changed block tracking (CBT). Therefor the speed of the backup will be slower than without additional snapshots.

And the snapshots will fill up the storage of the cluster...

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Think about it., If Veeam doesn’t backup the “last” snapshot, why would it be taking a snapshot at all.

 

I may have to do my own testing to make sure I understand how it works correctly. I had assumed that CBT included blocks on any delta disks in use as well.  But like I said, easy enough to test.

With that said, in reference to your above, it takes a snapshot in order to free up the base disk for access.  If the VM is attached to the base disk, another VM can’t attach to it to gain read access.  The snapshot offloads the access for the production VM to a delta (snapshot) disk.  This is almost sort-of difference in the case of storage snapshots.

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