Mark III Systems Blog

Archiving data to the cloud with Veeam

It's been a couple of months since the release of Veeam Backup & Replication version 11. There are dozens of enhancements and new features, but one that caught my eye is the Archive Tier feature.

Within a Scale Out Backup Repository (SOBR), you can integrate either AWS Glacier or Microsoft Azure Archive Storage into Veeam. This ultimately reduces cloud storage costs, especially for data assigned to long-term retention policies. 

In order to better understand how Archive Tier is leveraged, let's take a step back and look at how a SOBR works...

Veeam provides the option to aggregate local storage (repositories) into a single logical repository called a SOBR. Within the SOBR, the local storage comprises what's referred to as a Performance Tier.  

You also have the option of adding object storage to a SOBR.  This is known as a Capacity Tier.  It can be an AWS S3 bucket, Azure Blob Storage, or any target that speaks the S3 protocol.  You then create policies on the SOBR that determine when data gets copied or moved between tiers.

Utilizing a Capacity Tier can be more cost efficient than adding storage to your Performance Tier.  It is also an excellent way to fulfill any compliance requirements for sending backups offsite ("3-2-1 rule").  Keep in mind that retrieving data from archive storage is usually more expensive than egressing from a warmer storage tier.  Archive Tier makes the most sense for data that has a low chance of needing to be accessed. 

Unlike other methods of copying or replicating backup data, control over the data movement within the SOBR is maintained by the repository itself.  The automated process is pretty seamless behind the scenes.  It's quite a bit less headache than having to configure and monitor a whole set of separate Backup Copy jobs, for example.  However, there are a couple of restrictions worth noting:

  1. You cannot backup data directly to Glacier or Azure Archive Storage.  It must specifically target a SOBR.  The data hits the Performance Tier first, followed by the Capacity Tier. From there, it's tiered out to the Archive Tier.
  2. In this current release of VBR, you must use either AWS S3 or Azure Blob storage in order to utilize Glacier or Azure Archive Storage, respectively.

If you aren't using AWS or Azure for your Capacity Tier, you won't be able to use Archive Tier at this time.  Veeam has a great track record of adding and updating features, so I wouldn't be surprised if the Archive Tier feature eventually gets some enhancements.