NAKIVO Blog

NAKIVO Virtual Appliance – Simplicity, Efficiency, Scalability

One of the many strengths of NAKIVO Backup & Replication 6.1 is the ability to be up and running quickly in your environment. One of the key features that make this possible is the NAKIVO Backup & Replication 6.1 Virtual Appliance. The appliance is a fully featured OVA formatted appliance that can be imported into a vSphere environment and quickly provisioned to start backing up critical virtual machines. Also, the appliance is featured as well in the Amazon EC2 marketplace. The process of importing the appliance into a vSphere environment is a straightforward process which follows suite with importing any OVA appliance.

When downloading NAKIVO 6.1, you have the choice of the Windows/Linux installers, as well as the Virtual Appliance as seen below. Why would you choose the Virtual Appliance over the other two options? The Virtual Appliance is a self-contained, ready to power on the appliance that requires little configuration to get up and running. With the appliance, you don’t have to worry about building and configuring the underlying operating system, either Windows or Linux, and then installing the NAKIVO Backup & Replication 6.1 binaries. The appliance also minimizes the risk of configuration errors in the deployment process. Let’s take a look at the vSphere import process using the vSphere web client as well as the initial configuration including network, transporter, and repository configuration.

nakivo installer

When you choose to download the virtual appliance, you are presented with two options:

  • Full Solution
  • Transporter
download virtual appliance

Full Solution – The full solution is an all in one solution that contains all of the pieces to make the NAKIVO product work out of the box – Director, Transporter, and Backup Repository.

Transporter – This solution is a more distributed approach especially in larger environments who want to distribute the workload or have multiple sites that need to have the transporter component local to the site.

The download of the appliance in the full solution trim is around 530 MB and the Transporter only configuration is around 340 MB. So both solutions will take no time to download if you have a healthy broadband or equivalent connection.

Let’s look at deploying the OVA appliance in the vSphere Web Client. First step is to right click on your vCenter server name and select Deploy OVF Template.

deploy ovf template

This launches the Deploy OVF Template wizard. Select the Local file option as we have already downloaded the OVA appliance from NAKIVO. Browse to the location of the downloaded appliance file, select it and click Next.

browse location of downloaded appliance file

The next screen of the wizard displays the details of the appliance.

wizard displays details of appliance

Click Accept, then select Next on the license agreement screen:

click license agreement screen

Next, we select the name and folder of where we want the appliance placed in vSphere:

appliance in vSphere folder

Next, we select our compute resource – choose the target cluster in vSphere:

choose target cluster in vSphere

After selecting the compute resource, we select storage on our particular cluster we choose:

select storage on particular cluster

The final step in configuring parameters to deploy the OVA appliance is selecting our network and then click Next:

configuring parameters to deploy ova appliance

Finally, we arrive at the summary screen. Review the information carefully before deploying as you can make any needed changes if need be. Also, you can select to Power on after deployment which will power the VM on as soon as it is deployed.

power on after deployment

You will see progress on the Deploy OVF Template task in the vSphere web client:

deploy ovf template task in vsphere web client

Virtual Machine Specs

The virtual machine that is deployed when importing the OVA is configured as follows out of the box:

  • Guest OS – Ubuntu Server 12.04
  • Memory – 4 GB
  • CPUs – 2 (2 Virtual sockets, 1 core per socket)
  • (2) Hard drives – 18 GB and 520 GB

As you can see, the process to deploy the OVA appliance is fairly straight forward and is mostly point and click in the vSphere web client. After we have deployed the appliance, let’s power it on and look at some of the initial configuration that takes place in the appliance.

Virtual Appliance Initial Configuration

When you first boot the appliance you are presented with a concise menu for setting up your hostname and network settings.

setting up hostname and network settings

Simply highlight each one and hit {ENTER} to configure each. Hit {ENTER} again once you edit and this submits the change. The {ESC} key will take you back to the parent menu.

highlight each one and hit enter to configure each

The network settings page allows you to enable or disable DHCP, set DNS servers, netmask, gateway, and broadcast. You can refresh your settings with {F5} and use {F10} to save and exit or {ESC} to simply exit.

network settings page

Once you have network connectivity to the appliance, simply open a web browser pointed to:

hostname

You will be prompted to either configure a username and password or simply Log In to bypass username/password configuration and get started configuring.

network connectivity to appliance

Setting up the applicance for backups

The NAKIVO Backup & Replication 6.1 interface is extremely intuitive. When you first log in to the appliance you will be prompted to setup the Inventory, Transporters, and Repositories.

configure username password

The inventory is the connection to the vSphere or Amazon EC2 environment. As you can see above with a vSphere connection, you simply provide an IP and credentials to connect.

The next bit of configuration is the transporter. The Transporter is the product component that does all of the heavy-lifting: it performs backup, replication, and recovery, as well as data compression, deduplication, and encryption. With the appliance you can simply utilize the onboard transporter that is included in the Full appliance install.

setup inventory and transporters and repositories

Finally, we configure the repository which is where data will be stored for our backups. The repository like the transporter can simply use the onboard repository included with the appliance. However, NAKIVO Backup & Replication 6.1 can really scale out as much as needed with remote repositories that can be located virtually anywhere a backup target is needed. Also, just to note, the default onboard repository can be extended as well if need be for more storage.

transporter configuration

Remote SSH access

The Linux-based appliance can also be accessed from SSH remotely if need be. This is especially useful for uploading update files and other maintenance operations. The default user/pass combo is root/root.

repository configuration remote ssh access

Final Thoughts

Working with the NAKIVO Backup & Replication 6.1 appliance is a very intuitive, easy, and painless process. Administrators are not left worrying with an overly complicated backup configuration that requires constant attention. The backup appliance provides real business value in that each instance can be provisioned and configured in minutes from the time it takes to download, power on, and get started making the first backups of critical virtual machines.

The minimal time to configure, the lowered risk of deployment or configuration errors, and the ease of setting up any environment for backup with the appliance makes it an optimal choice for using NAKIVO Backup & Replication 6.1.