With the eagerly awaited release of Veeam v7, I was looking forward to implementing the Direct Tape support.
For the last few years, I have been using Veeam to create Reverse Incremental backups of my virtual infrastructure and the copying the .vbk files on to tape using Backup Exec. Don’t get me wrong Backup Exec is a wonderful product, but by running two systems not only do I have licensing costs for both (which is quite substantial) but also if I ever need to go back to Tape for a Veeam restore, I need to follow this well documented procedure by Ricky El-Qasem (here’s one for ArcServe too)! Basically the .VBK needs to restored from Tape to disk, and then Imported into the current Veeam instance – only after this can you then do any form of recovery. The integration of Direct Tape support removes this multi-step procedure and keeps Veeam aware of other recovery points in multiple locations (if you also incorporate Replication or Copy-Backup).
I only have three physical servers in my Infrastructure, one Backup server and one Windows 2008 Domain controller at each of my two Data Centres. The Backup server is a HP Dl380 G7 with an LSI SAS attached HP 1/8 G2 AutoLoader – this server is running Veeam v7 and Backup Exec 2010 R2. Whilst running Backup Exec (with the Symantec Tape Drivers) I had no problem managing the AutoLoader. In order to test Veeam v7 Tape Support, I first stopped the Backup Exec services (as I may have wanted to revert back if my tests were unsuccessful).
Following a reboot I was hoping to magically see the Tape Icon appear in the Veeam Infrastructure Panel. Unfortunately, nothing appeared. After reading a few posts, I decided to check Device Manager in Windows 2008. As the logic is that if Windows can’t see it then the Applications cant see the device either!
Device Manager was no use, as I could not Find the AutoLoader – one post suggested that the SAS controller may not support direct access to the external Auto Loader and that you needed a specific HP SAS controller. I discounted this as Backup Exec previously had no problems detecting the device.
What I thought was going to be easy, just update the Device Driver, proved much harder than I thought. HP’s web site is often very difficult to navigate and today was proving very frustrating. First I went to update the AutoLoader drivers, after downloading a number of what the website classed as the “latest drivers”, I eventually stumbled across CP020353.exe dated June 2013. This correctly found my device and upgraded a number of HP Tape devices.
Again I rebooted the server and again the Tape Device was not displaying in Device Manager nor Veeam v7. I decided to look at the AutoLoader itself to see if it could help with its identification. Once logged in to the AutoLoader (via it’s web interface) I found the Firmware version was v3.0, back to HP website to try to find the latest firmware. The HP website tried to avoid giving me any useful information, but persistence was worth while and I found ltt_msl_g2_g3_20130610.exe (dated June 2013). This successfully updated the HP AutoLoader to firmware v4.1 – almost immediately Windows 2008 Device Manager automatically discovered the SAS attached AutoLoader.
Veeam v7 Tape Support
As you can see below, the Tape Device is now listed, and correctly identified as a HP 1/8 G2 AutoLoader (firmware 4.10) – success at last! A quick Tape test, which simply involves selecting a current Backup Job, File or Backup Repository and choosing a schedule and you are done. Finally back to a happy Systems Engineer again!