First look at NAKIVO Backup and Replication 6.2


Recently I was approached by NAKIVO to review thier backup and replication product.  Detals of the product can be found on their website here.  To review this I will deploy it in my lab and see how it fairs up to other products on the market.  NAKIVO uses VMware vSphere Storage APIs – Data Protection to provide agent free backups leveraging snapshots and uses VMware’s Change Block Tracking, the stand out features of the product for me are

  • Data compression and deduplication across the entire backup repository.
  • Synthetic full backups and built in backup verification.
  • Backup copy jobs off site and to Amazon Cloud.
  • LAN free SAN attached backups.
  • Granular backup copy jobs for only certain restore points.
  • Built in VM replication with fail-over and fail-back options.
  • Can be installed directly on NAS devices.
  • Instant VM recovery.
  • In-flight and at rest data encryption.
  • Full VM recovery and instant file / object recovery (support for AD ad Exchange),
  • Single click integration with Amazon Cloud
  • vCloud Director Support.
  • Self service and custom branding with multi tenant support.
  • HTTP API provided for automation.

Very competitive feature set to whats out there.  It is licensed per socket for your ESXi host and is competitively priced, for details on licensing costs see here.

Before I deploy NAKIVO I want go over the architecture.  Backup and replication are made up of the following components, the following information and diagrams can be found on NAKIVO’s website here.

  • Director
  • Transporter
  • Backup Repository

The Director is the central management instance of the product: it provides the web user interface, discovers and maintains the inventory of a virtual infrastructure, enables the ability to create and run jobs, manages backup repositories as well as Transporters, and so on

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One instance of the Director can manage multiple geographically distributed vCenters, standalone ESX(i) hosts, backup repositories, and Transporters.

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The Transporter is the product component that does all of the heavy-lifting: it performs backup, replication, and recovery, as well as data compression, deduplication, and encryption.  An instance of the Transporter is automatically installed along with the Director to enable backup, replication and recovery out of the box. The default Transporter is called “Onboard Transporter”.  A single Transporter can back up, replicate, and recover multiple VMs from multiple vCenters and standalone ESX hosts.

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A Backup Repository is a folder used by NAKIVO Backup & Replication to store VM backups. When you add a Backup Repository to the product, NAKIVO Backup & Replication creates a folder named “NakivoBackup” in the specified location and keeps all the VM data and Backup Repository metadata in that folder.  This can be a CIFS share or a locally attached drive to the backup server.  A single Backup Repository can store u to 128TB of data and you can have unlimited amounts of repositories.  Each Backup Repository is managed by a single Transporter (called Assigned Transporter).

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It can be installed on either a Windows server or as a virtual appliance.

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I like the idea of an appliance so for this review I will download Full Solution without Backup Repository.

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Once downloaded I import it into vCenter.

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Choose the folder and resource.

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Choose the storage and networking.

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Review and complete.

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Once deployed I first change the IP address as my DHCP scope doesnt provide the correct DNS settings.  I need to do this from the console, just follow the prompts.

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Once done I browse to.

>https://FQDN_or_IP_ADDRESS:4443

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Choose to configure username and password and add credentials you want to use.

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I first add my vCenter to Inventory.

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If I go to Transporters I can see running transporters in my environment, from here I can also add new ones.

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I now need to add a repository from Repositories menu.  First I will add a CIFS share by simply adding the details in with credentials.

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As this is an appliance I can either deploy it with an attached disk to use for a repository or not, I choose not to but whats cool is I can attach a disk at any time to use.  I simply attach a new VMDK and jump on the console.  From the console I do a refresh and disk appears, I then choose the disk and confirm the appliance can use it.

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Then from the web admin page I can add a local repository.

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Now I have the infrastructure configured I will now run a backup job.  I go to Dashboard – Create.

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I choose the VM to backup.

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I choose the repository, in my case I will choose the CIFS repository.

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I choose a schedule.

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Now I get to pick some of the advanced options.  I can choose whether to use CBT tracking or not, choose Grandfather – Father – Son (GFS) retention, enable application aware processing and whether to truncate logs or not on the guest.  I can choose the data transfer mode – LAN only, SAN mode or Hot-Add only as well as picking which transporter I use.  Once the options have been configured I save and run.

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Once complete I can run a report to get the details.

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To test a restore I will delete the VM and go to Recover – VMs from Backup.

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I choose the VM and restore point.

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I need to choose the restore location for host, datastore and vSwitch.

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I need to choose recovery options such as MAC address options and recovery mode.

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The VM has recovered.

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To replicate a VM I go to Create – VMware vSphere replication job.  Select the VM or VMs to replicate.

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Select a target location, for me its another cluster in my vCenter but this can be another remote vCenter.

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I select a schedule and job options, very similar to the backup job options.

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Finally I will show a backup copy job.  I go to Create – Backup Copy job.

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I pick the VM either by job name or repository.

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I then select a repository to copy it to.

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I pick a schedule and pick further job options such as retention policies.  Notice I can copy the backup jobs or be more specific, for instance I might only want one copy a week to be copied.

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Summary

I thought the deployment was easy and worked well, I love the fact you have a virtual appliance option that can be your full backup solution without the need of a Windows box.  Configuring this appliance was very straight forward and adding and removing local repositories to this was very easy.  The backup web console works well and is easy to manage, not the prettiest of consoles to today’s standards but still works very well which can be changed with custom branding which is worth noting.

Performance was as expected for my lab environment, probably slightly quicker to a competitor I have running in the lab but this is a lab and not really a fair test.  Recovery of the VM was relatively fast and simple to do.

Backup copy jobs were easy to configure as well without any additional components.  What I liked here was how straight forward it was to set the schedule and retention periods, the same settings as the other jobs.

If you havent decided on a backup product for you environment then NAKIVO is worth a look at, from what I can tell its very competitively priced to others on the market with a lot of the same core features.

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