cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

BackupExec Agent Licensing Confusion

Hi Folks,

I would really appreciate it if someone could clarify my queries regarding mechanisms & backups of vSphere 4, AD & Exchange 2010.  I've been reading up lots of blogs and forum posts on this over the last few days; all the information seems to be similar yet slightly conflicting, so at this point it's fair to say I'm quite confused...

Here's a quick environment overview:

Physical Hosts (x3) - ESXi v4 (VMware Essentials Bundle, to be precise).  DAS SAS 15kRPM Storage (No SAN).  Gb Ethernet transport throughout.

Backup Server - Win Server 2008 R2 Std, Backup Exec 2010 R2, vCenter v4, VCB Framework, LTO4 Tape Drive (SAS 3G I believe).  BackupExec licensed for core product only - 20 days remaining on Agent trial licenses.

Virtual Guests (the ones that matter) - DC1 & DC2 running WinSrv 2008 R2 Std, and a single Exchange 2010 Std running on WinSrv 2008 R2 Ent.

 

Here are my jargon-related queries...

a) I've read about RAWS, Agent for Active Directory, Agent for Exchange Server - are these different installable binaries, or are AD & Exchange Agent functionalities just included within the RAWS Agent?  Also, where does the "Restore Agent for Microsoft AD" fit into this?

b) If the above agents are all separate programs; why can I not seem to find the Agents on the BackupExec 2010 R2 install ISO, and how do I get my hands on them for trial purposes?  I also can't seem to push-install them from BackupExec (all I can seem to deploy from here is "Symantec Backup Exec", "Remote Agent for Windows Systems", "Desktop & Laptop Agent ", and "DLO Maintenance Service").

c) Am I correct that vStorage API for Data Protection (VADP) is an entirely new successor to VCB; VCB is NOT just a different type of vStorage API?

d) Am I also correct in saying the BackupExec 2010 R2 prefers VADP over of VCB?  From BackupExec I can either connect to my vCenter server (effectively the localhost) to select VMs for backup, or connect directly to my ESXi hosts - I presume VCB the likely connection method between BE &  vCenter, and VADP is the connection method between BE & physical ESXi hosts direct?

 

 

Here's how I'm thinking of carrying out backups of this environment...

BackupExec is licensed with VMware Infrastructure Agent.  Use this Agent to backup directly from the separate ESXi hosts (not via vCentre in hope of increasing performance) to a B2D folder on backup server (this B2D is then put to tape afterwards to save wear on the tape drive).  All via Gb Ethernet.  Full VMDK backups are taken weekly, and full backups of the VM AD and Exchange instances are taken daily (via GRT?).

Some queries about this setup:

e) Would this be considered "good practice"?  Quick tests of the VMware Infrastructure backup shows maximum throughput of only 1.2GB/min maximum so far...

f) What licensing will be required?  A single VMware Infrastructure Agents, or three?  Will each VM also require a RAWS license, or will they require a full Exchange or Active Directory Agent and/or RAWs license?

g) If I chose to backup via vCentre (instead of directly from ESXi hosts), would I only require a single VMware Infrastructure Agent?

h) How does BE handle licensing; I presume scheduled backups would fail if VMware, RAWS, or Exchange/AD etc Agents were not correctly licensed on each VM, when the trials expire, for example?

i) Would Advanced File Open be required for any of the GRT/VSS backups of the AD/Exchange instances?

 

 

I'm really sorry about all the queries, but I'm hoping this results in a single forum post which clarifies many of the confusing aspects of BE Agents & licensing, which will straighten my own head and prove helpful to others experiencing the same confusion!

 

Many thanks in advance,

Alistair

1 Solution

Accepted Solutions
Accepted Solution!

Answers to jargon-related

Answers to jargon-related queries:

a)On remote server, all you install is Remote Agent, a common software for all these applications. On media server, you add licenses for different agents.

b)Look at above and all you do is push "Remote Agent".

c) You are right. vstorage API is new. VCB still exists, but they might phase it out in later versions.

d) There is no question of preference. We use Vstorage API only and no VCB from BE 2010 onwards. For older version we used VCB.

Answers to queries about setup:

e) Looks good.

f) Its one Vmware Agent per ESX host, irrespective of number of virtual machines. In addition to this get Exchange Agent license per exchange server and similar for SQL and AD.

g) Even for Vcenter, license is per ESX host. The rule does not change.

h) Scheduled backups would fail.

i) AOFO is not required. It is optional. For Vmware agent backups, it would make no difference. For Exchange Agent/SQL Agent level backups, you may choose to use AOFO. You will need to go through documentation as there are pros/cons of using AOFO with agents. Avoid using it for older version of Exchange. Newer versions, would force it any ways. So, selection of AOFO can be safely ignored, unless you are backing up files on a Windows 2003 machine.

Hope this answers your question, mark it a solution if it does.

Thanks

View solution in original post

4 Replies
Accepted Solution!

Answers to jargon-related

Answers to jargon-related queries:

a)On remote server, all you install is Remote Agent, a common software for all these applications. On media server, you add licenses for different agents.

b)Look at above and all you do is push "Remote Agent".

c) You are right. vstorage API is new. VCB still exists, but they might phase it out in later versions.

d) There is no question of preference. We use Vstorage API only and no VCB from BE 2010 onwards. For older version we used VCB.

Answers to queries about setup:

e) Looks good.

f) Its one Vmware Agent per ESX host, irrespective of number of virtual machines. In addition to this get Exchange Agent license per exchange server and similar for SQL and AD.

g) Even for Vcenter, license is per ESX host. The rule does not change.

h) Scheduled backups would fail.

i) AOFO is not required. It is optional. For Vmware agent backups, it would make no difference. For Exchange Agent/SQL Agent level backups, you may choose to use AOFO. You will need to go through documentation as there are pros/cons of using AOFO with agents. Avoid using it for older version of Exchange. Newer versions, would force it any ways. So, selection of AOFO can be safely ignored, unless you are backing up files on a Windows 2003 machine.

Hope this answers your question, mark it a solution if it does.

Thanks

View solution in original post

BEsymc, thanks very much for

BEsymc, thanks very much for this, very helpful indeed.  Just a couple of final clarifications...

f) Its one Vmware Agent per ESX host, irrespective of number of virtual machines. In addition to this get Exchange Agent license per exchange server and similar for SQL and AD.

 

So, in short:

  • VMware Agent License = flat-file VMDK backups from ESXi - nothing else.
  • VMware + RAWS Licenses = flat-file VMDK + in-guest file-level backups
  • VMWare + Exch/AD Licenses = flat-file VMDK + file-level backups + Exch/AD-aware information stores?

 

Sound correct?

Almost correct, not

Almost correct, not exactly.

Correction:

  • VMware Agent License = flat-file VMDK backups from ESXi - and file/folder GRT, no RAWS license required for that. For one ESX server, any number of VM's, file folder GRT will be available. Just during restore, you need to have Remote agent installed on the virtual machine.
  • VMware + RAWS Licenses = Not required. RAWS license would be required only if you are backing up Virtual Machine like a regular machine. If using Vmware Agent, RAWS license is not required for Virtual Machines.
  • VMWare + Exch/AD Licenses = flat-file VMDK + file-level backups + Exch/AD-aware information stores? This is correct.

 Thanks

BEsymc - thank you very much

BEsymc - thank you very much for this, extremely helpful in clearing up my confusion so it's much appreciated!

Unfortunately, in my case, Symantec have priced themselves out of the market with this agent licensing structure.  This is a small environment, 3x ESXi hosts, 2x DCs and a single Exchange server; yet going by what I've been quoted, covering the entire environment could cost up to £4650 in Agent pricing alone, not including what I've already spent on BackupExec core itself!  That's probably more than I spent building the environment in the first place!

In comparison, Veeam will cover my entire VMware environment, including granular backup/recover of Exchange & AD, for around £2700 total...

I would obviously prefer to have all backup & restores covered by the single solution, so I do hope that Symantec will revise their Agent pricing soon; for now the £2k difference is a no-brainer - I'll use Veeam for B2D and BackupExec's sole purpose will be to put these B2D's to tape.

Thanks,

Alistair