Originally posted by DataEndure Principal Engineer, Brian Herbeck, on linkedin.com
As enterprise environments grow, complexity follows. Many IT departments struggle to adhere to standard processes, maintain documentation and manage change. And significant gaps or changes can lead to backup failures.
Current NetBackup versions allow for significant customization and control surrounding virtual machine protection. This article covers the advantages and use cases for using both manual selection and VMware Intelligent Policy.
Benefits of Manual Selection
Manual virtual machine policies still have their time and place, such as using them for specific critical machines or environments where there is little to no expectation of new devices or name changes.
- The legacy method of manually specifying clients is tried and true. Administrators can type in a virtual machine name or browse a vCenter server to review a list of virtual machines to add to a policy.
- The manual method allows for excellent control and specificity but requires more administrative overhead and maintenance. If new virtual machines are created or moved within different vCenter domains, changes need to be made to the relevant policies to establish or continue protection.
The Expanding Cases for VMWare Intelligent Policy
The last several versions of NetBackup have seen increased automation of policy maintenance, which can significantly reduce the amount of time spent by administrators adding, removing, or validating virtual clients in policies.
- VMware Intelligent Policies (VIP) use a query method with matching and wildcards, which the administrator configures. These queries can target hostnames, words within the virtual machine name, DNS names, or display names to build a list of clients each time the scheduler process runs the policy. For example, with the right set of query statements, a policy might protect all virtual machines with the word ‘prod’ anywhere in the VM hostname and exclude any virtual machines with the words’ test’ or ‘dev’ in the VM hostname. If a developer creates a new virtual machine, all they have to do is make sure the word ‘prod’ appears in the VM hostname, ensuring VIP protects that VM regularly. Database protection of virtual infrastructure is dependent on these VIP technologies to maintain the resiliency of the relevant applications.
- It is important to note that this methodology depends very much on communication between the NetBackup administrators and any other individuals who might be creating or moving virtual machines. If the naming convention is not a standard practice and used each time, it is possible to create virtual machines that will never meet one of the VIP rulesets and thus never be protected.
- Lastly, if numerous virtual machines are provisioned rapidly, capacity planning can be impacted. (However, this is alleviated mainly by the advent of deduplicated storage technologies.)
In summary, as high-tech environments and business requirements innovate and change, so too must the mechanisms to protect and defend them!
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