Data Domain VE running on VxRail / vSAN

Recently I was asked to help size and design a Data Domain Virtual Edition (DDVE) on VxRail or vSAN. So is it a good idea to run a virtual backup appliance on vSAN / VxRail?

There are many vendors that offer such solutions today but one of which that comes to mind is Data Domain VE (DD-VE), the software-only version of DELL EMC's Data Domain.

It is definitely something worth considering given that a full blown hardware-based Data Domain solution would have cost a fair amount of coins. With Data Domain software wrapped in an OVA, sitting on a bunch of dense drives and commodity kit, it will be a fraction of the cost. From a scale perspective, DD-VE is not shabby too, with a maximum capacity of 96 TB RAW, which could mean hundreds of TB of data, after deduplication and compression. This can be further extended in to the public / private cloud via Data Domain's Cloud Tiering capability.

Deployment on premise and extension in to public clouds

A solution like DD-VE is also very suitable for small remote office and small / medium enterprises, which requires a data centre-in-a-box type solution. Compute, storage and backups all-in-one, and potentially replicated back to HQ somewhere. This could potentially be very popular in the sub-region of APAC I'm working in.

Intrigued... Decided that I will try and deploy DD-VE in the lab and use it as my backup repository for Veeam. Would be nice to see how the industry's #1 Purpose Built Backup Appliance can help maximise my limited storage. 

Here’s my little journey… keep scrolling down if you are keen on the setup.

Install & Deploy Data Domain VE

Step 1: The DDVE "Try & Buy" software is easily obtained when you register on DELL EMC's site or your DELL EMC Sales Teams. It is packaged in an OVA format for easy deployment. Go to vCenter and deploy it as you would any OVA.

Step 2: Once completed, add an additional VMDK for 250 GB (because with the FREE licenses, we are limited to 0.45TiB). This will be used to create the Active Tier. Power on the appliance

Step 3: Once booted up, open up the console and login with Username & Password (sysadmin/changeme). It will prompt you through changing your password, IP addresses and etc. It is recommended that DHCP is used for now.

Step 4: Add the newly created 250 GB drive to the system. Run the following commands.

#storage show all     (this will show you which device you need to add)

For my setup, its coming up as Dev5. Run the command below to add.

#storage add dev5

Identify the 250GB drive and Dev5

Run the command to add it to Active Tier

Step 5: Connect to the GUI via a browser. Upon login, it will prompt you for the license file. You should have a license file together with your download package previously.

Step 6: Almost immediately, you will be prompted by a wizard to setup your static IP Addresses, hostname and DNS. The wizard will also allow you to create the filesystem and enable some other features. You can skip it for now.

Step 7: Go to Data Management > File System. Select "Create". You will see that Dev5 is listed as an addable Active Tier. Go "Next"

Select "Create"

Select the checkbox for the Active Tier and go "Next"

Step 8: The next screen would prompt you to do an assessment. The assessment is to check if the environment is suitable for DDBoost or CIFS/NFS. This is optional.

Decided to see if the environment was good for DDBoost...

Looks like DDVE approves vSAN's performance numbers... :)

Step 9: Click "Next" and the screen will provide you the calculation of the actual usable in TiB less the overheads.

Step 10: It will take a little bit of time while it creates and enables the file system. Once its done, you can validate it via Data Management > File System

Happy days... Created the file system successfully

Ended up with a tad bit more usable capacity. Can't complain I guess...

Step 11: Next we will go under Protocols > DD Boost. We will ENABLE it and create a new admin user. Lets call my user cchow and assign it "admin" priviledge's.

Click the "Enable" button if not already done so, then "+" to add new user.

To give it Admin (optional) access, go to Administration > Access > Modify

Select "Admin" from the pulldown

Step 12: We will also need to create a Storage Unit under Protocols > DD Boost. After this, we are all set. All we need to do is add this in Veeam as a Backup Repository.

Configuring Veeam to use DDVE

Step 1: Go to Backup Repositories and add a new repository. The rest is really self-explanatory. I have put in the screenshots for your reference.

I would just call it DDVE

Pick Deduplicating storage appliance

Pick Data Domain

Make sure DNS is all working before filling up the FQDN & punch in credentals

Select the Storage Unit we created earlier

Validate & apply the changes

From the first backup, I must say the performance and savings have been pretty impressive, 4.1x from a single VM. I have just configured to have more VM's backed up to it, and will update the posts in a few days.

Not bad for a single VM

Hopefully you guys found the above useful. Surely, something worth exploring if you are looking into a solution as such.