CommVault – VMware backup best practices

CommVault Simpana 9 has a really good en scalable VMware VADP integration.
This document describes the best practices to succesfully implement VMware backups.

Backup level

Disk level
This level is designed to backup and restore a complete VM. This level is also called a container backup.
Volume level
This level enables volume backups, with the great feature to restore to different formats, a VMDK volume can be restored as VHD, or even a physical volume.
This level is only supported with the Microsoft operating system running in the VM.
File level
This level only stores the files from within a VM, so you cannot restore the complete VM, only individual files.
Best practise:
Your restore need determines the level needed, when in doubt, choose disk level, this enables full VM recovery and individual files.

Transport

There are several ways to get the data from VMware to your backup device.

Auto: CommVault determines the best transport available
SAN: Lan-free backup (Luns must be exposed to the MediaAgent
Hot-Add: Virtual solution, adding the disk to a virtual MediaAgent
NBD (ssl): Transport (encrypted) over the network
NAS: Direct backup from NFS datastores

Best practise:
SAN mode is the most efficient and quickest way to backup your VM’s, with Hot-Add you can accomplish a completely virtual solution. NDB should only be used in small environments or when no other option is available.

Block size
Deduplication
Etc