APEX Backup Services for Nutanix AHV Workloads (In under 5 mins!)

Updated: Aug 25


APEX Backup Services is a cloud-based data protection solution that ensures predictable, controllable costs without increasing complexity. It deploys in minutes and provides unlimited on-demand scaling to ensure growing data volumes are always protected. A web-based experience provides centralized visibility and management across workloads and users, ensuring your data is always protected.


There are three flavours of APEX Backup Services

  • APEX Backup Services for SaaS apps (Think Office 365, Salesforce etc)

  • APEX Backup Services for EndPoints (Desktops, Laptops, Mobiles etc)

  • APEX Backup Services for Hybrid Workloads (Automated disaster recovery and long-term retention for hybrid workloads (Think VMware, Hyper-V, AHV vm's, Databases, Files Servers and NAS)

This post covers APEX Backup Services for Hybrid Workloads focusing on AHV vm's which can be offered though Dell Technologies XC Core Portfolio, covered here


Overview

Firstly, APEX Backup Services for Hybrid Workloads combines high performance, scalable backup, disaster recovery and long term retention to simplify data protection, reduce costs and improve data visibility for today’s complex information environments.


Nutanix converges server compute, storage, storage networking, and virtualization and lets you manage the entire infrastructure through Prism Elements and Prism Central. APEX Backup Services for Hybrid Workloads help protect all the VMs that are managed by Prism Elements and Prism Central. With Apex Backup Services for Hybrid Workloads you can perform full VM and disk restores (with more features to come). You can restore the full VM with all the vDisks to the original location or an alternate location, you can also just restore vDisks to a selected Prism and Cluster.


Key Features include;

  • Image-based backups

  • Auto-discovery of VMs in your Prism Element or Prism Central

  • Global deduplication

  • Seamlessly scale by registering additional Prisms and backup proxies

Architecture

With APEX Backup Services for Hybrid Workloads, you have a cloud-based offering that protects your organizations virtual machines on-premises and on AWS. The service features a direct-to-cloud deduplication backup with no hardware or software required.



A Backup proxy must be deployed to backup and restore virtual machines in the Prism Elements or Prism Central. The Backup proxy is a client-side component that detects the virtual machines running in your environment and executes the backup and restore requests. The Backup proxy processes the data at its end and sends the deduplicated data to the APEX Backup Services cloud service where it is stored on warm storage.


Installation

Installation along with protecting your workloads is extremely straightforward and is covered in detail here

Firstly, If you deploy a Backup proxy in a Prism Central environment and register it, APEX Backup Services can back up VMs in all supported clusters (AVH only clusters for the moment) managed by the Prism Central. Conversely, if you deploy a Backup proxy in a Prism Element and register it, APEX Backup Services will only backup VMs managed by that Prism Element cluster.


Next, make sure you meet the pre-reqs to successfully install the Backup Proxy VM (listed here). Log into your APEX Backup Services Console,

  1. Select your Organization if Organizations are enabled.

  2. On the menu bar, click Protect > Nutanix AHV.

  3. On the Prism page click Register Prism.

  4. In the Register Prism dialog box, under Deploy Backup Proxy, click Download. This downloads the Backup proxy image installer locally.

The Backup proxy vm is the key component that sits between your Nutanix AHV data center and Druva Cloud and is responsible for performing backup and restore of virtual machines.

To start the installation, launch the installer file and choose Nutanix AHV Proxy

I'm not going to cover the installation steps here, suffice to say they are very straight forward. Provide credential details for Prism/Prism Element, select your cluster(s), provide ip address details and registration key (you generate one from register prism page above. See Deploy Backup Proxy for the installation steps.


One point of note that is not covered in the installation guide but is in the pre-reqs here is to ensure you have an iSCSI Data Services ip address set.



What is the Data Services IP ? The Data Services IP address is used to provide iSCSI access to the cluster storage. It is primarily used by Nutanix Volumes, but is also leveraged by other products such as Calm, Leap, Karbon, Objects, Files etc. In our case it is used by the Proxy VM. More information on where to set this address is available here. Its typically going to be a management ip address.

iSCSI Data Services IP

Secondly, I had to create a dedicated storage container for the proxy vm. I'm not entirely sure why, I cannot find any documentation to this fact, but installation kept failing for me until I created one. I created (a somewhat overkill 1TiB Storage Container - It's thin provisioned so i'm not concerned) - Looking at the pre-req documentation above its recommended to have at least 110 GB free space, so we are good here. The Proxy VM, when first deployed will provision about 60GB of capacity.

Dedicated Storage Container

Once the proxy vm is deployed and activated you can jump over to the APEX Backup Services Console to complete the configuration i.e. setting up a backup policy(s) and assigning these policies to VM's etc.

Verify, configure and test virtual machines for backup

Below is a walkthrough of how to verify your cluster is connected and backups are working successfully. Your are now ready to build your backup policies and start protecting your workloads :)









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