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  • Veeam backup (agent) free for Linux passes its first test

    Posted on Ascaris Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Non-Windows operating systems Linux – all distros Veeam backup (agent) free for Linux passes its first test

    This topic contains 8 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Ascaris 6 months ago.

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    • #982267 Reply

      Ascaris
      AskWoody_MVP

      I’ve written about Veeam backup for Linux before, and while I’ve successfully imaged a few drives, I hadn’t yet tested the restoration function.  I wrote that I might test it on my Inspiron… well, I did just that.

      First, Veeam doesn’t have a version for Arch/Manjaro.  I’d previously put Manjaro KDE on the Inspiron to try it out, and it was still on there as of yesterday.

      Well, out Manjaro went.  I replaced it with KDE Neon, then installed Veeam, which I used to create a backup of the eMMC drive.

      I wiped the eMMC from a live session, then booted the rescue USB drive.  It didn’t recognize the eMMC drive as a potential restore target!  The user manual says the rescue media includes all the drivers that are built into the kernel image, and certainly that one would be a part of that, right?

      I started a terminal window from the Veeam rescue media, and sure enough, the eMMC drive wasn’t there under /dev.

      I tried to start a live session and update the ISO image for the rescue media from there, since then it would have been built on the very PC I intended to restore, but it didn’t work.  It just hung during the process.  I should have done that before wiping the drive, but I really didn’t think the eMMC driver wouldn’t be in there.  That’ll teach me to think!

      I put Lubuntu on the Inspiron, as I wanted to see how it looks with Qt (the last one I tried was still GTK+) anyway.  I installed Veeam and updated the .iso once again, and that time it was able to finish the process.

      Booted into the rescue media, and the eMMC drive was recognized.  I selected the backup set on my backup server, and told it to begin the restoration.  It went really quick (as it should, with only a basic Linux installation), and told me the restore had been successful.

      I rebooted, and… Neon started without any drama, just as it should.

      I had initially tried the restoration with the unmodified rescue media as downloaded from Veeam directly.  Using that, I was able to see all of the SCSI (including SATA) and NVME drives in my G3 (I chose that one because it’s the only one I have that uses NVMe).  I had wondered if it was going to do the same thing with NVME, requiring me to build the media on that PC first, but it worked in unmodified form.

      Once the drivers for eMMC were added to the image, the restore went really easily.

      One strange thing is that Veeam will only offer to modify the .iso for the rescue media on the first run.  You’ll need to install the packages xorriso and isolinux if you wish to have the rescue media bootable with UEFI.  Once those two are installed, or if you are okay with it only booting using legacy/MBR, you can tell Veeam to download and modify the .iso for you, and the file it produces will have all the drivers for everything running on the PC that created it.

      If you want to modify the iso after that, it has to be done via the command line.  I have no idea why they do it that way, but they tell you the command to use on their site, so all you need to do is cut, modify (to put in the name/path of the file you want to use), and paste.  Once you’ve got the .iso duly modified, you can use that to make as many USB bootable drives as you wish, of course, so it’s a good idea to be ready to do this on the first run of Veeam.

      The bottom line is that the backup and the restore processes worked as they were supposed to.  I don’t trust a backup program until I’ve put it to the test, and it worked.

       

      Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.2).

      5 users thanked author for this post.
    • #991302 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Plus

      Does this mean that you have to be running Lubuntu to build a proper rescue drive with Veeam?

      • #1000415 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        Not at all!  There’s no reason it should not work with any version of Linux for which Veeam has a version.  I just was not able to get it to work with the live session when I tried it.

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.2).

        2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1002498 Reply

      OscarCP
      AskWoody Plus

      I will be interested in learning about experiences people have had using Veeam to recover a Linux (Mint) partition — for a PC with Mint in double-boot with Windows 7 — from a disk image also created with Veeam. So: from a DVD and not from a bootable USB memory stick.

      Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

      • #1022440 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        I will be testing the recovery on my Asus F8Sn Laptop with Mint 19 and Windows 8.1 in a single-drive dual boot configuration.  This setup uses MBR partitioning, as the laptop is an older one with BIOS rather than UEFI.  I don’t expect things to be any different, though.  Mint is Ubuntu under the hood, as is the Neon that I used to create the backup, and so is the Lubuntu that I used to create the rescue USB.  It’s the same program (all of them use the same version of Veeam), using the same operating system, with relatively minor differences.  Mint 19.1 is based on Ubuntu 18.04, as is the version of Neon I used, and Lubuntu was 18.04 as well.  I’m using the newest version of the 4.18 kernel that is available from Ubuntu for all of them (currently 4.18.0-18).

        In terms of the recovery, again, it’s the same image being written to the DVD or the USB drive, though the laptop does have an optical drive, so I suppose I can test it from that.  Once you’ve demonstrated that it is indeed possible to boot from the DVD or CD, there’s no reason to think it would be any different than using a USB drive.   You can (and should) test the ability to boot from the created rescue disc on your own system regardless of what results anyone else gets, so that you can iron out any problems that appear before it matters.  You can begin the process in terms of getting it to recognize the image you’ve created but stopping before you actually give it the final go-ahead to start.  I did that as far as making sure it would recognize the backup image on my backup server on the LAN, but I didn’t make sure it could see the target drive on the laptop that only had an eMMC drive, which was a mistake.

        I assume you mean using the optical drive for the bootable rescue disc, not the actual backup set, right?  I’d have to use way too many DVDs for that to be reasonable!

        As far as the dual boot setup: Do you intend to back up the entire drive(s) of the system using Veeam, Windows and all, or are you simply going to be doing the Linux volumes from Veeam and use something Windows-based for the Windows stuff?  You can restore entire drives or selected partitions in Veeam, but which you would use depends on your setup and your intended backup setup.

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.2).

    • #1043570 Reply

      Ascaris
      AskWoody_MVP

      Okay, I’ve now tested Veeam on my Asus F8Sn laptop.  It is a Core 2 Duo laptop that uses BIOS, so the partition system uses MBR.  The partitions consist of, in order from start of disk to end of disk:

      SDA2, primary partition, NTFS, Windows 8.1 boot/root
      SDA3, primary partition, EXT4, Linux Mint 19 boot/root
      SDA5, extended partition, EXT4, Linux /home
      SDA6, extended partition, NTFS, Windows data volume
      SDA7, extended partition, Linux Swap

      There are no SDA1 or SDA4.

      The weird partition setup as such is a function of the previous restore I did, from Aomei Backupper. This laptop previously had a 1TB SSD in it, but when I bought the Dell G3 gaming laptop, which came with a 1TB HDD, I swapped the SSD into the G3 and the G3’s HDD into the Asus. I then used Aomei backupper to restore the backup image I’d made on the SSD when it was in the Asus.

      Even though I had created the backup image from a PC that is only capable of booting from MBR partitions, as far as Windows is concerned, and I’d performed that backup from rescue media that had been booted in MBR mode, Backupper managed to somehow convert the entire HD to GPT during the restore process. Needless to say, it was not able to boot in that condition, and repair was necessary. (This was also when Backupper came off my “recommended” list, but I haven’t had the cause to mention it until now).

      I converted the system back to MBR, using Gdisk from the Linux terminal (command line). The unneeded /efi partition was initially SDA1, as you might expect, so it’s no surprise that SDA1 is missing after that was removed. Why SDA4 is missing, I do not know, but it doesn’t matter… my fstab specifies the disks by UUID, so the partition numbering makes no difference.

      For this test, I had backed up SDA3 and SDA5 from Mint. The backup target was my backup server, using SMB. A local external hard drive would have worked just as well, though it would have been slower having to go through a USB 2.0 port. Rescue media was a CD-R, at Oscar’s request, with the .iso patched on the Mint 19 installation prior to the restoration.

      To make it more interesting, I let the system update its various files (I had not used the laptop for a while, so the updates had stacked up, and I didn’t update before the first Veeam image was made), then performed another Veeam backup, which created an incremental backup in addition to the initial full backup.

      I made a few changes to Mint after I performed the second backup so that I would know if nothing happened, in each of the two partitions that were to be restored. I then rebooted and pressed Esc to bring up the boot options menu, from which I selected the optical drive. The Veeam media booted without a hitch, and soon I was able to point it at the backup set on the server and begin the restore of those two Linux partitions from the most recent backup image (the incremental one).

      The restoration went without any issues, taking about 50 minutes to restore the 260GB of Linux data in the two partitions. This would no doubt have been much faster on a SSD, but it was still pretty good for a 5400 RPM HDD. As always, I had encryption enabled for the backup set, which did not appear to slow things down at all.

      After the restore operation completed, I rebooted, and everything worked just fine. The changes I’d made after the last backup was made had been reverted as expected. It works just as well as it did before, and I am using the F8Sn to write this reply now.

      I would have used Mint 19.1 on the F8Sn, but there appears to be an incompatibility between Mint 19.1 and the nVidia series 340 driver I am using. The discrete graphics card in the F8Sn is too old to use current nVidia drivers, so nVidia has been (sort of) maintaining the 340 driver for these older cards. That’s coming to an end, though, and the most recent 340 driver, nearly a year old, produces visual artifacts with Mint 19.1. It would be nice if nVidia would at least publish all of the info needed for the open-source community to be able to make a comparable driver in this ten year old design that nobody would ever want to copy now, since they’re no longer willing to make one themselves, but I won’t hold my breath. The open-source Nouveau driver is painfully slow compared to the nVidia driver.

      I also booted Windows 8.1 to ensure it still works, and it does.

      As you can see, Veeam performed well once again.

      Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.2).

      3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #1047759 Reply

        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Ascaris, thanks for testing a Veeam recovery using as media a DVD. As to your question:

        As far as the dual boot setup: Do you intend to back up the entire drive(s) of the system using Veeam, Windows and all, or are you simply going to be doing the Linux volumes from Veeam and use something Windows-based for the Windows stuff?  You can restore entire drives or selected partitions in Veeam, but which you would use depends on your setup and your intended backup setup.

        I have yet to decide which way. Right now I am up to my … neck in alligators, something quite unplanned and that, fortunately, does not happen often to me. But once I have overcome this reptilian problem of problems, I’ll be looking seriously into resizing the partitions, to give more space to Linux’s main partition at the expense of Windows 7, that I think has more than enough already while Linux has probably too little. Somehow, doing this makes sense to me, now that I am doing more of my heavy duty, data intensive work, in practice, in my speedier Mac, that has in its favor the benefits of an SSD and some of the other advances of modern science that have taken place after 2011, when my Win 7/Linux Mint PC first saw the light of day.

        I believe, perhaps in a totally off-the-wall way, that an alternative to increasing the Linux partition could be, after reducing the Windows one, to create an additional partition for Linux and then spread the volume that holds my data and applications over the old and new partitions, starting with the new partition quite blank and putting in there more and more things gradually, as needed.  So it would be, from the day to day use point of view, the same as having increased the size of the old partition without actually changing it at all. Which would be worth doing only if this made things easier than otherwise. And always assuming that this idea makes any sense at all, of course. Ladies and gentlemen, if you please, do comment on this weird idea of mine.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

        • #1647405 Reply

          Ascaris
          AskWoody_MVP

          Didn’t see this question before, sorry!

          I believe, perhaps in a totally off-the-wall way, that an alternative to increasing the Linux partition could be, after reducing the Windows one, to create an additional partition for Linux and then spread the volume that holds my data and applications over the old and new partitions,

          You could do that, but why not just add the extra space to the existing Linux partition?  Even if the partition you want to increase is not contiguous with the Windows partition, Gparted will still move them for you non-destructively.  It’s a bit more of an annoyance when using MBR and having to deal with the extended partition and logical volumes, but not impossibly difficult.

          If you want to do it the new partition way, though, there’s nothing wrong with the idea.  If you’re like me, though, you will not just cut back Windows and add to Linux once.  I did it three times, I think!

          Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.2).

          1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1043902 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Plus

      Well Veeam certainly sounds like a player! 🙂

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