How to prevent long datatransfers using rsync and Veeam Backup & Replication v5

Veeam Backup & Replication is an often used backup solution for VMware infrastructures. It is able to create backup’s on disk only; no support for tape libraries. To be able to store the backup data offsite there are several options:

  1. use a tool like Microsoft DPM to either write Veeam backup data to tape or replicate to another location
  2. use a storage provider in the cloud
  3. replicate the Veeam backup files to another location using rsync

Rsync is very often used to replicate data. It is originally developed for Linux but has a Windows port as well. It is open source, has lots of features. The most important feature of rsync is being able to replicate the changed data (delta) only. So while tools like Robocopy copy the whole file over when 1 byte has changed, rsync will only copy the 1 byte. This makes it a perfect solution when replication of large files  is done over WAN-connections.

Veeam writes it’s backup data to a file with the extension .VBK. This files holds all of the backup data and is used to restore the most recent state of virtual machines. This file needs to be replicated to another location frequently for diaster recovery reasons.

The problem when replication is done is that the filename of the VBK file is changed after the completion of the backup job. This means when rsync is used, the newly created .VBK file on the protected site  is tranfered as a whole. This while most of the data is already at the secondary site. As the VBK file will often be many gigabytes in size this is not wanted behaviour. In some cases the replication will take so much time it disturbs users during office hours.

The solution is simple. You wil need to have at least version 5.0.1 of Veeam Backup & Replication. Mind the following  taken from this thread:

Changing VBK naming behavior affects two things:

1. Performing active (real) full backup manually or on schedule messes up backup set. The hotfix will disable active fulls altogether when this registry key is enabled, to make sure no one can initiate active full accidentally.

2. Import Backup does work when you are importing produced VBK alone, but does not work if you are importing whole backup set (i.e. VBK with one or more VRBs next to it). This is not a problem if you are syncing VBK alone to DR site, but it will pose problems if you are syncing the whole backup set with things like NAS replication. The hotfix will make sure import works well in any scenario.

Start the registry editor on the  server which has Veeam Backup & Replication 5.0.1 or later installed

1. browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\VeeaM\Veeam Backup and Replication
2. Create DWORD = DisableVBKRename
3. Set Value = 1
4. Restart Veeam Backup Server 

Perform a new full backup and then the filename of the VBK will  not change anymore.

I understand the replication in version 6 of Veeam Backup & Replication will solve this issue.

Disclaimer: I have not tested the solution myself yet.

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About Marcel van den Berg
I am a technical consultant with a strong focus on server virtualization, desktop virtualization, cloud computing and business continuity/disaster recovery.

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