If you're using only block storage in your organization and NFS isn't your your choice, you might possibly store your Installation ISOs and other files on one of your iSCSI datastore. This always works, but it's certainly cheaper to store such a files on other than high-end 15000 SAS disks placed in probably very expensive SAN which is used for shared storage in your organization. Or perhaps you're already using some Windows server for sharing your ISOs and just want to make them available to your ESXi hosts. In case you're using Veeam Backup, you can use the built-in vPower NFS service to mount NFS share which will become visible to your ESXi hosts and have that NFS share as location for your ISOs. How-to use Veeam Backup NFS used for storing ISOs is today's post.
NFS is a file sharing technology pretty much the same like CIFS. NFS is used primarily by Unix and Linux systems. It is technically possible for Windows to access an NFS file share directly via the “Client for NFS” feature for Windows 2008/2008R2/2012/2012R2. During the installation Veeam does installs NFS server so why not using it to share some ISOs as well?
Veeam's vPower technology is used to enable the following features:
- SureBackup: Recovery Verification (VMs starts up and check if services are running and pings reaching the destinations)
- Instant VM Recovery (VM started from Backup location > sVmotion back to production datastore)
- Multi-OS File-Level Recovery (mounting Veeam's backup files in order to recover files from within VMs)
- Universal Application-Item Recovery (U-AIR) – SQL, AD, Exchange, SharePoint items…
Current location of ISOs
I'll be showing through the lab environment. In my case the volume resides on my shared storage. The Veeam VM is connected via iSCSI to the volume, so it appears through the Windows machine as it was a local disk G:
Note that it's the same VM which has Veeam installed as well. The 2Tb volume stores all bunch of ISOs there…..
Change the default settings for vPower NFS if necessary.
The default location vPower NFS technology uses for caching is on c: drive (see below) and you might want to change if you think that you're a bit short on storage space at that location.
You can't do the change it when only single backup repository is configured. You must first add at least one more backup repository. (if not it's grayed out) Then only you can go to the Backup Repositories > Right click on the repository and change the path to your ISOs.
And after the change….
The easiest way to attach NFS datastore to a host is to go through Instant VM Recovery wizard
This mounts the NFS datastore and publish a VM which is stored at the backup server. Even if you unpublish the VM afterwards, the nfs datastore remains connected to the host.
01. Connect to your Veeam Backup server > Backup and Replication > Restore Button > Instant VM recovery
Then, choose restore to new location radio button > pick up a host
You can unpublish the VM immediately after the publish, but the datastore stays in place…. And if you can check that the ISOs are there.
Very quick. The steps takes just seconds….
But you should also not forget about performance. By doing so you might lose some performance as locally attached disks gives better performance and throughput. Sure it depents how Veeam Backup is installed (physical server, VM…) and which underlying storage is used, but it's just to keep in mind that the performance depends on that.
It's quite convenient for environment without NFS. Many shops are just full Windows shops and why not using a solution which is “baked” into Veeam's product for such a situation? Convenient and usefull? Yes.
You can also check the documentation at Veeam which talks about vPower NFS settings here.