Our 96+TB Storage Repository Server ($17K) self.Veeam

8 Feb

Our 96+TB Storage Repository Server ($17K) self.Veeam

Submitted by touchytypist

I thought some of you might be interested in how we built our own high capacity backup repository which we needed for long term backup retention. We had looked into a few deduplication appliances but they were $40K+.

We currently backup 30TB of VMs which takes up about 13TB of disk space as Veeam Backup Files (with Veeam dedupe and compression) + Daily Incrementals at 400GB (x6) for a total of 15.4TB of data per week.

We wanted to retain 31 daily and 12 monthly backups for archival recovery purposes. Our Nimble Storage SANs (yay for Veeam 9.5 integration) provide snapshot and offsite replication, as well as another restore option if needed.

Here are the specs:

  • Dell R730xd
  • 2 x 2.5″ 250GB SATA Disks in FlexBay (System Disks)
  • 16 x 3.5″ 8TB SAS 12Gbps Disks (Storage Disks)
  • H730P RAID Controller
  • 2 x Dual Port 10Gb NICs (For LAN and iSCSI)
  • Dual Xeon E5-2630
  • 64GB Memory
  • Windows Server 2012 R2

Disk setup:

  • 2 x 250GB Disks RAID1 (System Virtual Disk)
  • 15 x 8TB Disks RAID6 (Storage Virtual Disk)
  • 1 x 8TB Hotspare

Storage partitions:

  • 38TB Backup Partition (Primary Backup Repository, Windows Dedupe Disabled)
  • 56TB Archive Partition (Archive Backup Repository, Windows Dedupe Enabled for any file over 0 31 days old)
  • [Note: Must keep partition size under 64GB to allow for VSS snapshots which is required by Windows deduplication]


  • The Primary Backup Repository stores 7-14 restore points. Allowing fast restore (and Instant VM restores) from recent backups. 95% of our restores come from the last backup, while 98% come from up to the past week.
  • The Archive Backup Repository stores 31 daily and 12 monthly backup copies of the primary backup repository.
  • Direct SAN Backup Enabled
  • Drives were formatted with recommended block size and large size file records:Format <volume pathname> /A:64K /L

Results after one month:

Backup Drive stays between 50% and 15% free (15TB to 5TB free). Archive Drive has 40TB of data and is currently using 14TB for 70% reduction of storage space, on top of Veeam’s dedupe and compression, currently 80% free space. Expecting higher percentages as more monthly backup copies are written to archive drive. It appears that the server dedupes about 300GB per hour on average when running. Looking forward to Windows Server 2016’s multi-threaded dedupe.

We currently have SAN snapshots and replication between sites and plan to add the same backup repository server setup at the DR site for a copy of the long term backup data.

Happy to answer any questions.

Edit/Update 1/17/2017:

So far it’s going well. Currently have 7-14 Daily backup files on Backup partition, and 31-62 Daily and 7 Monthly backup files on Archive partition. Set dedupe on Archive Partition to files after 31 days so we can have fast restores on backups up to 31 days. May need to lower to meet the 12 month retention, we’ll see.

  • Backup Partition: 11% (4.13TB) Free
  • Archive Partition: 37% (21.0TB) Free

Seeing 61% savings in Windows 2012 R2 dedupe (90TB of file data taking up 35TB of space) which doesn’t count Veeam’s dedupe savings. Savings should continue to increase with each monthly full.

  • Active Fulls: ~300MB/s
  • Incrementals: ~150MB/s

Just had a disk fail last week, hot spare spun up automatically, no noticeable performance issues. Replaced bad disk this morning so it’s rebuilding.

*Edit/Update 1/18/2017:

  • Rebuild to hotspare after disk failure: 34 hours
  • Rebuild from hotspare to replacement disk: 14 hours