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sql backup to avamar Expand / Collapse
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Posted Wednesday, August 28, 2013 8:50 AM
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We are using Avamar succesfully in our environment.

We use it to do our Full backups and we backup t-logs with native backups to the file system, then sweep those up with Avamar's Windows File system backup.

Yes, the databases take longer to back up due to the de-duplication I'm guessing, but since that overall saves us on storage I'm for it.

As far as copy-only, yes you can still take your back up with SSMS or script, and use copy-only.

Scheduling:
Our backups are scheduled to start when it makes sense for our business, and they occur somewhere between the start time and the Avamar black out window start time.

*We dont back up dev and test unless our developers request it, and we have a separate data set for those environments.


Customization:
We have separate data groups based on the retention, frequency, and exclusions for the database sets (i.e. SharePoint db servers do not need SQL backups if using the SharePoint plug-in so we exclude those). We also have some servers that need special settings so they are in their own data set.

Apparently (we have not tried this) you can Script your Avamar backup. This gives you total control over over how it executes on your db server, and you can run your integrity checks, etc. prior to the backup, probably along with your performance throttling if you so desire.


Problems:
We have had backups time out due to ghosted Avamar processes (avtar.exe) on the database server because of multi-channel backups, but we catch that with our alerts and SQL policy checks, kill the processes that are ghosted, and re-run the backups.

We would like to see Avamar do a db integrity check before starting the job as part of the built-in options to the backups.

VMDK backups. The snapshot agent available with Avamar freezes the I/O on the vmdk, so to some applications this is problematic and we have had to discontinue automatic scheduling of these snapshots. Instead we use our NetVault snapshot agent and manually schedule maintenance windows to do Avmar vmdk snapshots.
*Note: I would not trust a vmdk snapshot to backup your database, it is not database transactionally aware.

Finally, I would like to know how to sync msdb with the actual backup files in Avamar so it knows when the backup files are gone. If anyone knows how to make this happen I would really appreciate a ping back.

Hope this helps, and if anyone knows how to sync msdb I'd really appreciate your comments!
Post #1489275
Posted Wednesday, August 28, 2013 9:10 AM
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Have to post on this, although my opinion of this product is it is @#$%^. So that said you still have to do backups and if you are mandated to use, it, just be careful. So yes there are plenty of ways to throttle Avamar backups, because it will take over and cause you grief. I have it throttled by CPU to 20%. and that takes care of most issues. I also only use the avamar file backup, not the plugin. after 3 failures on using the plugin, it just was not worth it.

create a Avamar.cmd file and place it in the C:\Program Files\avs\var. i use the --cpu switch to limit CPU. I found it was taking 100% cpu overnight and causing my report server to not service reports.

you can limit what it backs up by file type and location, but be careful.

William
Post #1489287
Posted Wednesday, January 21, 2015 7:20 AM
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I've had a long discussion with EMC about the Avamar backups. They ensured me that there are no DBCC commands and suggested I run this on my own for the data integrity. It may have changed since that discussion back in Sept. 2014.

It seems as though Avamar is making adjustments to the product every time we would have meetings. At one point, we couldn't see the backups in the error log, then we could. Then after asking when a database was restored, they wrote more code to write this into the error log as well.

I feel as though they (Avamar) are making a best effort to make the product work but are making changes along the way. I've since left that company that implemented Avamar on the backups and happily working with someone that isn't using the product.

All I can say, if you are forced to use Avamar, best of luck to you, you'll need it!
Post #1653177
Posted Friday, March 27, 2015 12:57 PM
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Avamar SQL plugins have issue with Transaction Log backup, the smallest time gap between 2 T-Log backup will be an hour--- (EMC confirmed it) -- horrible for us, cause our production RPO is 10 mins.
Post #1672301
Posted Thursday, June 25, 2015 12:34 PM
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We use Avamar 7.1 for our SQL Server Backups. I have implemented Command Line Backups scheduled through our enterprise scheduler. At random times the backups seem to hang or pause requiring someone to kill the avtar.exe and avsql.exe and restart the backup.
Has anyone else experienced this issue?

Thanks
Post #1697848
Posted Wednesday, September 23, 2015 10:29 AM
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How's EMC Avamar for SQL backups? Researching issues, concerns on this product in real DBA world. Environment is heavy I/O, physical sql servers with clusters on SQL 2008R2.Any input is highly appreciated. Thanks.
Post #1722299
Posted Wednesday, September 23, 2015 1:15 PM
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I'd suggest to backup to a local disk and have EMC back that up, clearing the local backups to purge every 2-3 days or so, whatever your space will allow you to save. Worst case, you have to restore at the file level, then run a restore from the file level.
Post #1722358
Posted Wednesday, September 23, 2015 1:39 PM
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I have been using avamar for SQL about 2 years. Initially we used the Avamar with the built in grid storage.
We didn't use the avamar scheduler to run SQL backups but used our enterprise scheduler to run batch scripts on each SQL client. Avamar has a Command Line interface in addition to the GUI. Our environment consists of SQL 2005 on Server 2003 to SQL 2012 on Server 2012 and everything in between.
For almost two years we experienced issues where the backup executables would hang and not complete. This required us to have to kill the processes and restart. This could happen couple times a week or a night.
Recently we migrated the storage off of the avamar grid to our Data domain storage. The ablility to do this was a recent addition to avamar software. After doing this the performance is much better and the hangs seem to have disappeared.
I only perform FULL backups using avamar. I use native scripts for the transaction log backups and back them up directly to our Data Domain.
Let me know if you have any other questions.

Thanks
Mark
Post #1722365
Posted Tuesday, January 26, 2016 9:08 AM
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This is an old thread but I just thought I would post my comment:

I just had a discussion with our SAN Admin and I told him that my team leader won't listen to me anyway but we are probably wasting space backing a SQL backup directly through Avamar. We have a 150 GB database and through native compression it gets down to 33 GB if we do it locally. SAN Admin mentioned that he "doesn't worry" about space because of the dedup functionality - so according to him Avamar backups a 150 GB file but then after, the dedup tool come into picture and it shrinks the file by comparing it to the previous day backup file.

Restore scenario - From SQL, if we take a differential backup, it won't be of any use if the full backup is lost. In Avamar, it doesn't save the whole file every time, but when you try to restore, it "somehow" know of the "FULL" (the first file) even though through the dedup it only stores the "differential" changes. How does this actually work?

I appreciate your response.
Post #1755757
Posted Tuesday, January 26, 2016 9:44 AM
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Hello.
As I understand it the dedup in Avamar is based on your entire backup pool.
So it will use deduplication not only based on the database being backed up but also it can use data from another database not even on that server or platform. This makes it more powerful. So if you have 5 Full backups in Avamar, you really only need to know that you have 5 full backups. In the Avamar Admin Console it will show 5 different full backups while on disk or storage it does not store 5 times the database size. Avamar uses some complex algorithms and processes to store the data in a deduped and compressed fashion leverage data that it already has matching data you are backing up. I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have other questions.

Thanks
Mark
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