Workload VM backup solutions

Protecting application data in virtual machines (VMs) is a key requirement for business critical applications running on Google Cloud VMware Engine. You can continue to use the same backup tools that you use on premises to back up your VMware VM and data in VMware Engine. This page provides different options and considerations for backup infrastructure that protects VMs and data in VMware Engine.

Supported backup solutions

Google provides Backup and DR Service as a backup solution for workloads on Google Cloud. Third-party agent-based backup solutions can interoperate with VMware Engine if they provide application-level backups and are certified by application vendors (for example, RMAN for Oracle).

Backup solutions that can interoperate with VMware Engine must comply with the VMware vStorage API for Data Protection (VADP) protocol standard and be certified by VMware for vSAN. VMware Engine has validated the following backup solutions for compliance:

Backup solution considerations

Consider the following questions before you design your backup solution and implement a deployment model in VMware Engine.

Deciding on a backup technology

You can use either an agent-based or a VADP-based backup approach. We recommend using a VADP-based approach when migrating workloads from on-premises environments because it requires fewer changes. It also provides flexibility in the choice of location for backup repositories.

An agent-based backup approach for migrated VMs requires additional configuration if a Layer 2 network is stretched from an on-premises environment to VMware Engine or if you want to change the location of the primary backup repository during migration.

Determining the number of data copies to store

You must assess the overall backup requirements, objectives, and your enterprise policies. Include the requirements for storing backups in specific locations like on premises, off premises, your recovery time objective (RTO), and recovery point objective (RPO).

Determining where to store backup data

There are several places where you can store backup data (backup repository). Each location offers a different combination of storage cost, recovery time objective (RTO), number of copies, and network outbound data transfer charges. Base your choice on the application requirements, costs, and capabilities of your backup software.

Consider the following main choices and their key aspects relevant for storing backups of VMs and data:

  • Use persistent disks as backend storage of a Compute Engine instance. The Compute Engine instance exports an NFS mount to the backup server. A benefit of this approach is that the persistent disks are regional and can also be replicated across regions.
  • Use Filestore to export NFS volumes for use as backup repositories. This approach provides lower management overhead because Filestore instances are managed instances. It also delivers a consistent performance. Filestore instances are zonal, and data is not replicated across zones or regions.
  • Use Cloud Storage to store backup files. Cloud Storage stores data across zones and regions for higher redundancy. Data is stored and moved between storage tiers based on user-defined triggers. Cloud Storage helps to optimize costs by keeping frequently used data in faster storage tiers and older data in lower-cost storage tiers. Refer to your backup solution vendor documentation for Cloud Storage integration.
  • Use NetApp Cloud Volumes Service for Google Cloud to export NFS and SMB volumes for use as backup repositories. This fully managed service eliminates operational overhead of network-attached storage (NAS), like Filestore. Cloud Volumes Service volumes are regional, and data is not replicated across zones or regions. For more information, see Regions where Cloud Volumes Service is currently available.

You can also store backups in a different cluster of the same private cloud, in a different VMware Engine private cloud, or in on-premises storage.

Using a different cluster on the same private cloud or a different private cloud in VMware Engine provides the lowest RTO, but it can potentially have high storage costs. Cloud Storage offers higher RTO at a lower price than using different clusters. Compute Engine with persistent disk and Filestore provides an RTO and costs that are between the two options.

The performance tiers of Cloud Volumes Service are dynamic and a volume can be upgraded to a higher tier during recovery to meet your RTO and then changed to a lower tier to optimize costs. On-premises storage incurs network outbound data transfer charges, but it preserves existing backup storage.

IAM and vSphere permissions

Backup administrators and users must have the required permissions to do the following:

  • Deploy Compute Engine instances in a project and VPC network
  • Connect the VPC network to VMware Engine
  • Configure firewall rules on the VPC network

For more information about Google Cloud roles and permissions, see IAM.

vSphere users with the default Cloud-Owner-Role role have the required privileges to deploy backup solution components (virtual machines and appliances) in VMware Engine. If a backup software component requires additional vCenter privileges that are not available to the default Cloud-Owner-Role role, use a solution user account.