Saturday, June 11, 2011

Simple VCB: a tool For Vmware Consolidated Backup

I have written and would like to share with the world a groovy script that can be used to drive VCB backups without additional third party software.
One of the most common gripes with VCB is that it doesn't integrate naturally into the VMWare management solution. Of course one can always buy a license for the integration module of his backup software, but that costs additional money.

Some people then resort to script VCB so that additional licenses are not necessary but that, of course, requires scripting skills. Which also means reinventing the wheel just another time.

This has happened to me too recently and I decided that ok, I would reinvent the damn wheel, but this time I would also make sure that the blueprint goes public!

So I wrote this groovy script which I creatively named Simple VCB which does some nice things like:
  • handles more than one esx, vcenter or vsphere server so that you don't have to split your configuration and schedules in more than one script (the vcb host must then be able to mount all the volumes used by these servers)
  • allows you to specify the list of vms to be backed up for each server
  • allow you to specify backup interval and/or protection per server or per single vm
    • interval: is the number of days after which a new backup must be done. I.e. 1 means every day, while 7 means after one week since last backup. In this way you can still take frequent backups for vms that change often and conserve resources usage by widening backup cycles for those that are mostly static (a proxy server, a dns, a reverse proxy)
    • protection: the number of backup copies that should be kept online. Older backups with an index higher than protection are deleted. Protection, like interval, can be set per single vm to allow for finer tuning
The backups are kept in a tidily organized folder structure where the root is defined in the configuration file and can be anything. I currently use a CIFS folder shared by a DataDomain 630 which will online dedupe the vm images.
Each vm then gets its own folder where all backups are stored, with each backup in its own subfolder with a human-readable timestamped name so that restore operations can be readily performed by whatever mean you like. The timestamps are then used to calculate the next backup interval and whether protection has expired and the folder should be automatically removed.

You can get the script on my GitHub page.

This is the configuration file that ships with the software which I believe should quite be self-explanatory.

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