I was recently involved with a Veeam deployment that was running into problems during testing, their only performance tier had run out of space. Though this wasn’t unexpected as the disk provisioned was undersized and just temporary until testing was finished, it was preventing new backups from finishing successfully.
The full performance tier belonged to a Scale-Out Backup Repository that was also configured with a capacity tier (copy + move mode) backed by an immutable AWS S3 bucket. Worth mentioning those backup files in the capacity tier were still within the immutability retention period.
According to the user guide“If you use the scale-out backup repository, keep in mind that the Delete from disk operation will remove the backups not only from the performance tier but also from the capacity and archive tier. If you want to remove backups from the performance tier only, you should move those backups to the capacity tier instead. For details, see Moving to Capacity Tier.”
Attempting to perform a “Delete from disk” operation was failing with the error “Error: Unable to delete backup in the Capacity Tier because it is immutable”.
Sending Veeam backups to object storage such as Azure Blob has become a hot topic in the last few years. According to Veeam’s quarterly report for the end of 2021, Veeam customers moved over 500 PB of backups just into the top 3 cloud object storage vendors alone.
With many organisations starting to dip their Veeam toes into object storage I thought I would write a bit more about the subject. This blog post is aimed at helping backup administrators who wish to better understand from a Veeam perspective working with public cloud object storage, specifically Azure Blob.
Compared to the traditional NAS or disk-based block storage Object Storage is a completely different shift in how data is stored and accessed. For example, in object storage, it’s intended that files are not modified. In fact, there is no way to modify part of an object’s data and any change requires deletion and replacement of the whole object.
In Azure terminology, objects are stored in a ‘Blob’, which can be thought of as similar to a volume on a disk but far more scalable. Blob storage is a pay-per-use service. Charges are monthly for the amount of data stored, accessing that data, and in the case of cool and archive tiers, a minimum required retention period. In case you haven’t realised, Blob storage is Microsoft’s object storage solution.
There are numerous methods we can utilise to leverage Microsoft Azure Blob with Veeam Backup & Replication. For example, Azure Blob can be used as an Archive Tier target within a SOBR (Scale-Out Backup Repository) for long-term retention of backups, an archive repository for Veeam NAS Backups and some readers may even be familiar with the external repositories function.
The most popular method is using Blob as a Veeam Capacity Tier which is configurable within a Veeam Scale-Out Backup Repository.
Archive Tier was announced back at VeeamON 2017 New Orleans alongside a raft of new features scheduled for release with Veeam Backup & Replication v10. Archive Tier would enable Veeam administrators to easily add regular disk-based backup repositories, object-based storage repositories or even tape as an archive extent to a SOBR (Scale-Out Backup Repository) which could then be configured to copy any backup or move sealed backup files from the SOBR across to said archive extent.
The ability to archive backup files to a particular archive extent such as tape or cheaper disk was a great addition, but the significant improvement was the native integration with object storage which has been a highly requested feature for several years now. During VeeamON it was announced that AWS S3, AWS Glacier, Azure BLOB and Swift compatible object storage to be supported.
Copying Veeam backup files to object storage has always been possible through the use of third-party vendor storage gateways, such as the AWS Storage Gateway or Azure StoreSimple but speaking from my own experiences, these tools don’t always deliver what they promise and require additional skills to support.