4 4 3 Grolar:Citrix XenServer Backup

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Docs latest icon.png Welcome to the latest SEP sesam documentation version 4.4.3 Beefalo/5.0.0 Jaglion. For previous documentation version(s), check Citrix XenServer archive.


Overview

This article describes Citrix XenServer backup procedure. For detailed information about Citrix XenServer requirements and configuration steps, see Citrix XenServer Requirements and Configuration.

SEP sesam provides efficient data protection for virtual machines (VMs) running on a Citrix XenServer. Virtual machine-consistent backup requests a snapshot of the VM. After creation, the snapshot is exported to a SEP sesam backup medium. VSS writers on Windows VMs are notified before snapshot creation, so all VSS-aware applications, such as MS SQL, are brought into a consistent state.

CBT
SEP sesam supports changed block tracking (CBT) for Citrix XenServer 7.3 and higher. The XenServer CBT feature provides incremental backup capabilities, making VM backups faster while saving storage space. XenServer backup with CBT is significantly faster than regular backup without CBT and the amount of I/O required for processing is reduced. With CBT, only the blocks that have changed since the last backup are backed up. Note that Citrix XenServer CBT is only available for XenServer Enterprise Edition. For details, see Changed Block Tracking (CBT).
VSS and quiesced snapshots
Note that VSS and quiesced snapshots of Windows VMs are only supported in Citrix Hypervisor 8.0 and earlier versions; they have been removed in Citrix Hypervisor ≥ 8.1' and version ≥ 9.0.x.x drivers. If you want to continue using the quiesced snapshot feature with Windows VMs hosted on Citrix Hypervisor 8.0 and earlier, keep your current 8.2.x.x version of the Windows I/O drivers and do not update to the 9.0.x.x drivers. For more information, see Citrix Hypervisor 8.1 Deprecations and removals.

For a list of supported Citrix XenServer versions, see support matrix.

SEP Tip.png Tip
  • Simplify the backup of multiple VMs by automatically creating tasks for VMs (introduced in v. 5.0.0 Jaglion) that are connected to the same host. You can also automatically create clients for VMs to which the created tasks and ACLs can be assigned. It is recommended to use these features when a new hypervisor is added and many new VMs need to be backed up. For details, see Automating Backup Process.
  • If you prefer to watch a video, you can see all the steps of the backup process in Backup Citrix Hypervisor (XCP-ng/XenServer) with SEP sesam on the SEP sesam YouTube channel.

Backup levels

SEP sesam supports all backup levels for Citrix XenServer backup: COPY, FULL, INC and DIFF.

  • COPY: Back up the entire VM; note that a COPY backup cannot be used as a starting point for INC/DIFF backups and restores.
  • FULL: Back up the entire VM.
    Full backup uses CBT to allow differential and incremental backups. If you use Citrix XenServer lower than 7.3 or the server is not licensed for CBT, only COPY backups are possible.
  • INC: Back up VM data that has changed since the last (FULL, DIFF or INCR) backup.
  • DIFF: Back up VM data that has changed since the last FULL backup.
Information sign.png Note
If you back up via a hypervisor and use an external disk, SEP sesam cannot back up the data on RDM disks or on a VM without attached SCSI controller(s). The data of such disks is silently skipped during the backup, so the backup savesets do not contain data for the external disk, while the backup is successful and no warning about the missing data is issued. If a VM with an external disk is restored with the option overwrite to the original VM, the disk is re-created and all existing data on the restore target is lost.

To back up these hypervisors, you must add one or more SCSI controllers to the VM before performing a backup, even if there are no devices to use SCSI, or you have to install a SEP sesam Client on the virtual machine and perform an additional file or application backup to back up this data.

Backing up the VMs and Xen templates

Create a new backup task for the Citrix Xen client containing the virtual machines. When backing up a Citrix XenServer, you can perform a hot (online) or cold (offline) backup of one VM per task. For details about backup configuration, see Standard Backup Procedure.

SEP Tip.png Tip
You can simplify the backup of multiple VMs by automatically creating tasks for VMs that are connected to the same host. For details, see Automating Backup Process.
  1. From Main Selection -> Tasks -> By Clients, select Citrix client and click New Backup Task. The New Backup Task window opens.
  2. Specify the Source. Click the Browse button (big arrow) and select the VM you want to back up. By selecting the source, the task type and task name are set automatically.
  3. Information sign.png Note
    Citrix XenServer allows you to have more virtual machines with the same name, however, if you select one of these as a backup source, backup fails. The following error appears: Backup failed. A virtual machine with the same name already exists.

    Citrix source Beefalo V2.jpg
    You can also get the name from Xen center or on the XenServer by executing command:

     xe vm-list
    
    Information sign.png Note
    You can only configure one VM per backup task.
  4. In v. ≥ 5.0.0 Jaglion, you can exclude individual virtual disk (VHD) from FULL/DIFF/INCR backup in two different ways:
  5. Information sign.png Note
    You cannot exclude VHDs from Copy backups.
    • Use the big Browse button and deselect the disk you want to exclude from backup in the Client File View window.
    • OR

    • Enter the disk ID in the Exclude list field as follows:
    • -x <device number>
      
  6. If you want to specify other options, such as the pre/post backup and restore commands, encryption, etc., click the corresponding tabs in the New Backup Task window.
  7. Citrix bck task Beefalo V2.jpg

  8. Click OK to create the task.
  9. If you want to start the newly created task immediately, right-click the name of the task and click Immediate Start. If you want to schedule the task, click New schedule under Main Selection -> Scheduling -> Schedules. For more details, see Creating a Schedule.
  10. SEP Tip.png Tip
    You can also add your backup task to an existing schedule by double-clicking the backup task, selecting the tab Schedules and adding it to one or more schedules.
  11. Once you have configured a schedule, you must create a new backup event for it. Go to Main Selection -> Scheduling -> New Backup Event, click the Parameter tab and select FULL, INC or DIFF backup from the Backup level drop-down list. For detailed procedure, see Creating a Backup Event.

The backup is done online. If XenServer tools are installed on the VM, VSS-Writers are executed before the snapshot is created.

Metadata backup

The backup includes the XenServer pool database and the needed metadata of the pool.

Create a new backup task for the Xen master.

  1. From Main Selection -> Tasks -> By Clients, select Citrix client and click New Backup Task. The New Backup Task window opens.
  2. Specify the Source. Use the Browse button (big arrow) and select meta-data. By selecting the source, the task type and task name are set automatically.
  3. Citrix meta data bck Beefalo V2.jpg

  4. If you want to add a comment, enter it in the Notes field.
    Click OK to create the task.
Information sign.png Note
Citrix recommends that you perform metadata backup via Citrix native backup options as often as necessary.

Host data backup

This is a file backup of the Xen hypervisor without the VMs. This is required in special cases for Citrix support. You cannot recover this host backup directly to the hypervisor via SEP sesam.

Create a new backup task for each Xen host.

  1. From Main Selection -> Tasks -> By Clients, select Citrix client and click New Backup Task. The New Backup Task window opens.
  2. Specify the Source. Use the Browse button (big arrow) and select host-backup. By selecting the source, the task type and task name are set automatically.
  3. Citrix host bck Beefalo V2.jpg

  4. If you want to add a comment, enter it in the Notes field.
    Click OK to create the task.

Monitoring backups

You can view the status of your backup jobs in the GUI (Monitoring -> Last Backup State or Job State -> Backups) or SEP sesam Web UI (in v. ≥ 4.4.3 Beefalo V2). The backup status overview provides detailed information about the last run of backup jobs, including the task name, start and stop time of the last backup, backup level, data size, throughput, assigned media pool, etc.