My Wish List for NetWorker Virtualization Support

Posted: December 18, 2009 in EMC Networker, VMware

For some time now there have been a number of changes I’ve wanted to see in NetWorker to better support customers with VMware.

Over at, Preston de Guise has done a wish list for NetWorker features he hopes to see in 2010 and while we both blog about NetWorker Prestons blog is far superior in terms of NetWorker content, my NetWorker posts these days tend to be mainly focused around virtualization support, so having said that im going to take his idea and do my own version of a wish list.

Dear EMC.

Could you please add to your NetWorker New Years Resolution the following items?

1. To release as soon as possible a version of NetWorker: Which utilizes the new vSphere API’s which replace the VCB framework to allow incremental backups of the FULLVM export using CBT (Change Block Tracking)

2. To improve the way which NetWorker allows clients to be created: When the “Virtual Client” box is checked,  by default NetWorker only allows a client to be configured if it can resolve the name of the system via a DNS  (even an entry in the hosts file will do the trick). This makes life difficult when you want to perform VCB backups of virtual machines which are not configured in DNS and requires an entry in the hosts file to be able to create the client.

3. To improve the way NetWorker maps client name and virtual machine name: To be fair NetWorker has been around for a LONG time and until recent years has always operated using the Server/Client model which relies heavily on DNS in order to be able to connect and perform backups via  the backup agent. Now NetWorker assumes that all clients configured are done so using either short name or the fully qualified domain name, which causes the following problems in a VMware environment.

A. If you configure the virtualization hypervisor support in NetWorker Management Console you’ll see you have a well constructed map showing which virtual machines are configured in NetWorker groups (This is a really great way of identifying which systems are not protected). The trouble here is NetWorker talks to Virtual Center to generate the list of virtual machines and then maps this with clients configured in groups, but assumes the virtual machine name as it exists in Virtual Center  is the same as the “clientname” as configured in NetWorker which means a number of systems show as not being part of a group.

B. The VCB framework currently allows us to configure two methods for looking up virtual machines, Name (as exists in Virtual Center) and IP, If you leave the setting to the default value of IPADDR: then VCB backups work perfectly, but if you configure the framework to use NAME: then NetWorker once again assumes the client name configured in NetWorker  will also exist in Virtual Center as “clientname” which doesnt work when customers have created or renamed virtual machines using some kind of meaningful description eg. “clientname (sql server)”.

In my honest opinion both these issues could be overcome if when creating a client instance (and having ticked the “virtual client” check box) an additional field could be populated with the name of the client as configured in virtual center and this could only apply when the “VCB” proxy backup type was selected from the apps and modules tab.

4. Allow VCB Backups to be encrypted: NetWorker has a nice feature which allows a password phrase to be configured at backup server level, any client with the encryption directive applied has its data encrypted using AES 256bit encryption before its written to tape. Historically VCB clients with any kind of directive applied would fail and as of NetWorker 7.6 there is only a single supported directive which allows Microsoft Windows system folders to be excluded from backup. In my honest opinion an enterprise backup system should be able to encrypt all backup data.

  1. […] On a more local front, Brian over at Going Virtual has just done his wish list for updates to NetWorker for 2010 in relation to virtualisation support. […]

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