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vSphere Data Protection (VDP) – Removing an External Proxy

It is not particularly clear how to remove a vSphere Data Protection (VDP) external proxy in the vSphere Data Protection (VDP) 5.8 Administration Guide. Before I get into that specifically, I should probably start with what a VDP external proxy is and how it is deployed. The external proxy functionality is currently only available with the Advanced edition of VDP. External proxies are virtual appliances that are typically deployed to locations where the VDP appliance does not have direct access to storage, e.g., another cluster or perhaps even another site such as a branch office or remote office. This reduces the amount of network bandwidth required to transmit backup data across the network. An external proxy will utilize SCSI HotAdd to attach the protected VM’s disk(s) to an external proxy during a backup job. The external proxy will first query the VDP appliance to see if the backup data segment already exists in the VDP appliance’s backup data repository – either in the VDP appliance (GSAN) or on the Data Domain appliance, if Data Domain is being used to store VDP backup data. If the segment does exist, the external proxy will not send it again across the network. Without the external proxy, VDP would have to use the Network Block Device (NBD) protocol to back up remote VMs. In this scenario, all changes to the protected VMs would be sent across the network to the VDP appliance and deduplication would happen within the VDP appliance or on the Data Domain appliance.

When a VDP 5.8 appliance is deployed, the internal proxy is enabled by default. The internal proxy can back up a maximum of eight VMs concurrently. It is worth noting that this number can be reduced if backing up eight VMs simultaneously is putting too much load on the storage. Please see the VDP Administration Guide for more details on that.

vdp_int_proxyFigure 1: VDP Deployed to a Virtual SAN Datastore with the Internal Proxy Enabled

When an external proxy is deployed, the internal proxy is disabled. External proxies can also perform a maximum of eight concurrent backups. However, using external proxies raises the supported number of concurrent backups per VDP appliance from eight to 24. Up to eight external proxy appliances can be deployed per VDP appliance. You would need at least three external proxies to achieve 24 concurrent backups. That being said, the recommendation is to keep things as simple as possible. Just because you can deploy lots of VDP appliances and external proxy appliances does not mean you should. It is better to deploy only what is truly needed when it comes to the number of appliances. Keep it simple! The VDP Administration Guide also has some information and best practices around external proxy deployment.

An external proxy is deployed from the VDP Configure user interface (UI). This UI is accessed by pointing a web browser directly to the VDP appliance: https://<vdp appliance ip address>:8543/vdp-configure. Log in with the username “root” and the appropriate password. On the Configuration tab of the VDP Configure UI, you will find “Proxies” in the middle of the page. The small gear is used to perform various proxy activities such as adding an external proxy.

vdp_add_proxyFigure 2: Add External Proxy

A short wizard will guide you through deploying the external proxy appliance. You will need to supply information such as the host it is being deployed to, IP address configuration, etc. Since the appliance is relatively small – about 21GB in size – the deployment should go fairly quick. After the external proxy has been deployed, you can see these changes on the Configuration tab.

It is easy to add an external proxy, but what is not as clear is how to remove one. Looking at Figure 2 above, note there is no “Remove” or “Delete” option in the menu. To remove an external proxy, you must select the “Manage proxy” menu item. Another short wizard will appear. To remove the external proxy, click the “Please review the information before deleting the virtual machine” check box, click Next, then click Finish.

vdp_delete_proxy_1Figure 3: Manage External Proxy Delete from Disk

vdp_delete_proxy_2Figure 4: Manage External Proxy Ready to Complete

The process above removes the external proxy from VDP and deletes the external proxy virtual appliance. At this point, we have no external proxy deployed. You might think the internal proxy is automatically re-enabled when there are no external proxies deployed. That is not the case. We must now enable the internal proxy to successfully run backup jobs (since we have no other external proxies in this particular scenario). In the VDP Configure UI, click on the gear icon – you will see the menu options have changed. We now have the option to add an external proxy or enable the internal proxy.

vdp_enable_internal_proxyFigure 5: Enable Internal Proxy

Once you have completed the two-step wizard for enabling the internal proxy, you might see a warning message as shown in Figure 6 below. This is normal. Simply wait for 5-10 minutes and click the small, blue circle next to “Proxies” to refresh the proxies’ status.

vdp_proxies_statusFigure 6: Proxies Status and Warning Message

I doubt you will have the need to remove a proxy very often, but I through it made sense to show how it is done, just in case. Again, I encourage you to consult the VDP Administration Guide when it comes to deploying VDP external proxies. Remember: Keep things simple. More proxies does not necessarily mean better results.