Backup as a Service (BaaS) with Alibaba Cloud and Veeam
By Rohit Gupta, Solutions Architect
When backing up the on-premises virtual machines (VMs) or cloud VMs, customers often face a challenge of handling the backups in a reliable, secure, and cost effective manner. As part of a robust backup and restore strategy, business are often required to answer following questions –
- How can we move a copy of backups to an off-site storage?
- How reliable is the off-site storage?
- How complex is the end to end solution?
- How fast we can restore from the off-site backups?
- What is it going to cost to use a cloud for the off-site storage and archival?
Veeam is one of the leaders in the backup and recovery space with thousands of customers leveraging Veeam products as part of their backup and recovery strategy. However, the above listed concerns have been rendered valid for most of those customers as they look to cut costs and increase efficiencies across their IT domains.
Veeam customers have been looking at cloud options to solve these complex backup and recovery problems, Alibaba Cloud being one of them. Alibaba Cloud offers various storage products, each of which has its own applicability depending upon the customer’s use case. The prominent ones being:
- Block Storage (Cloud disks — block storage for the Elastic Compute Service (ECS) Servers)
- File Storage (Network Attached Storage (NAS) — high performance elastic file system that can be attached to multiple servers)
- Object storage (Object Storage Service (OSS) — cheap and durable object storage with almost unlimited capacity)
So far, the Alibaba Cloud solution for Veeam customers has been around building complex solutions involving a Cloud Storage Gateway (CSG) or using expensive storage options like NAS. Though those solutions are still very much valid and effective, they don’t really tick all the boxes when it comes to building a stable and cost effective backup strategy.
Veeam on Alibaba Cloud
Alibaba Cloud Object Storage Service (OSS) now integrates with Veeam Backup and Recovery 9.5 Update 4 released in January, 2019. This means that Veeam customers can now have access to very fast, durable, and unlimited storage for their off-site storage in public cloud. At the same time, the solution is easy to implement without deploying any cloud gateways to move the data to cloud.
Alibaba Cloud Object Storage Service (OSS)
Object Storage Service from Alibaba Cloud provides storage and archival for unlimited amount of data in cloud. OSS is designed for 99.999999999% (11 9s) durability and 99.99% availability. The prominent features being:
- Storage Classes: OSS provides 3 storage classes in all — Standard, Infrequent Access and Archival. All 3 vary in terms of pricing, ‘Archival being the cheapest.
- Cost: The ‘Standard’ storage comes at $0.0209/GB, which is much cheaper than object storage provided by other public cloud providers.
- Speed and Reliability: The speed of data retrieval from OSS is faster than provided by other cloud providers. Data retrieval from the ‘Archival’ class takes around minutes as compared to hours and days from other public cloud providers.
To learn more about Alibaba Cloud OSS, visit https://www.alibabacloud.com/help/doc-detail/31817.htm?spm=a2c41.12637008.0.0.41f75db9crpNnY
This solution is non-disruptive to your existing backup process. This means that you can continue using your existing backup server and repos on premises and use Alibaba Cloud OSS to offload your data for durability and longer retention.
The following image shows a high level architecture of the Veeam and OSS integrated solution
A generic solution description:
- Create a local backup repository or use the one that you already have
- Create an OSS backup repository i.e the Alibaba Cloud object storage
- Create a scale out backup repository (SOBR) with local repository as the performance tier, OSS repository as the capacity tier and define policies for offloading the data to OSS
- Manage your backup job to move the data to capacity tier
Creating the OSS Backup Repository
Since OSS backup repository is a new feature with the update 4 of Veeam B&R 9.5, here is a step-by-step approach to create an Alibaba Cloud OSS repository
- Add a Backup Repository in the Veeam console
In the wizard, name your new repo and provide a description
- Next, provide your Alibaba Cloud OSS details as shown in the screen. Following parameters will be required
- Service Point — This is the internet endpoint of your OSS bucket and can be found in the Alibaba Cloud OSS console — https://au.alibabacloud.com/?spm=a2c41.12637008.0.0.41f75db9crpNnY
- Region — Where is your bucket located? For ex — region name for Alibaba Cloud Sydney is ‘ap-southeast-2’
- Credentials — Here you will need the ‘access key’ and ‘access key secret’ of your Alibaba Cloud account which hosts this OSS bucket. This information is available in the Alibaba Cloud console (https://au.alibabacloud.com/)?spm=a2c41.12637008.0.0.41f75db9crpNnY) under ‘user info > AccessKey’
On the next screen, provide the name of the OSS bucket and the folder that you want to use
This completes the configuration and you will be taken to the summary page
Creating a Scale-Out Backup Repository (SOBR)
Let us have a look at the process to add a scale out backup repository (SOBR) where we will create the capacity tier using a previously created OSS repository and define the policies to offload the data
First screen of the wizard — provide the name of the SOBR and a brief description
Add a performance tier — Here we will add existing backup repository (ies) that will be offloading data to OSS. These are also called extents
Provide a placement policy — ‘Data Locality’ (if you want all files for the same backup stored in the same extent) OR ‘Performance’ (if you want full and incremental backups on separate extents)
Now create a capacity tier using the OSS repo created earlier. On the same screen, you will see the option of moving backups to OSS as per a specific schedule. Configure these details and click ‘Apply’
Once applied, it will show a summary and click ‘Finish’
The SOBR should appear on your Veeam console
With the integration of Veeam and Alibaba Cloud OSS, customer using or planning to use Veeam for their backup needs are bound to get significant gains in terms of cost, stability and durability of data. Since the solution itself is easy to implement, customers can expect quick ROI and early gains.