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Welcome to Avamar Fundamentals.

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Revision Date: March 2017

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Copyright © 2017 Dell Inc. Avamar Fundamentals 1

This course covers an introduction to Dell EMC Avamar. It includes an overview of Avamar terminology,
features, and components, including Avamar backup and restore functions. The course reviews Avamar
tools for monitoring and maintaining an Avamar system.

Copyright © 2017 Dell Inc. Avamar Fundamentals 2

This module focuses on introducing the Avamar solution, its key benefits, and support and interoperability.

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Consider the data at a typical corporation. There are a large number of laptop machines used by the
employees containing many important files. Employees will often share files among themselves, leading to
multiple copies being stored across their machines. Additionally, many users keep multiple versions of
files that they are currently working on. Many of these files differ only slightly from other versions, but are
seen by backup applications as new data that must be protected. There is also a NAS-based file server
which stores many files, some of which are also stored locally on individual employee laptops. An email
server contains email messages and attachments, many of which are also stored locally on employee
laptops. As you can see, there is a lot of duplicate data distributed in the environment.

To meet service level demands, the corporation performs daily backups of their data to a server. But
because a large amount of that data is redundant, the backups are very inefficient. Everyday during the
backup period, multiple copies of the same data are sent over the network using up bandwidth. Also,
multiple copies of the same data are stored on the backup server using up storage space. Since much of
the data is unchanging, it gets transmitted and stored again and again every day. Repeatedly sending and
storing the same data is not an efficient way to run backups.

These inefficiencies lead to even more problems with the increasing amount of data that corporations want
to store and protect. Also, with increasing backup requirements, the backups must complete in a shorter
amount of time. The corporation wants to back up larger amounts of data, in a smaller amount of time.

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Dell EMC Avamar is a comprehensive, client-server network backup and restore solution which addresses
the data protection challenges in today’s IT environments. An Avamar backup is a point-in-time copy of
client data that can be restored as individual files, selected directories or entire file systems. A key feature
of Avamar is its unique global data deduplication technology, which ensures that data objects are only
backed up once across the backup environment.

Avamar differs from traditional backup and restore solutions by identifying and storing only unique, sub-file
data objects. If a piece of data has already been stored on the Avamar system, it will not be stored a
second time. Not only that, but redundant data is identified at the source, meaning that duplicate data is
never even sent over the network if it already exists on the Avamar. This results in a dramatic reduction in
the amount of data that is moved across the network and stored in backup storage. The same data is
backed up as in traditional backup systems, but consumes significantly less network and backup
resources as only unique data is stored. And, by using standard IP network technologies, dedicated
backup networks are not required. Daily full backups are possible using existing networks and

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In addition to global data deduplication, the Avamar solution includes the following key features:

Systematic fault tolerance, using RAID, RAIN, checkpoints and replication, provides data integrity and
disaster recovery protection. It ensures that backup data is not lost.

Highly reliable, inexpensive disk storage is used for primary backup storage. The random-access nature
of disk makes deduplication possible and also provides speed and reliability.

Scalable server architecture provides security and expandability. Additional storage nodes can be added
to an Avamar multi-node server to accommodate increased backup storage requirements.

Flexible deployment options include Avamar Virtual Edition and Avamar Data Store. Avamar supports a
wide-variety of client operating systems and applications, including: Windows, Linux, Unix, NDMP,
Microsoft SQL, Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, and Oracle. With its global deduplication technology,
Avamar is an efficient backup choice for VMware and remote office backup environments.

Centralized management is also provided. Avamar Administrator and Multiple Systems Management
interfaces enable remote management and monitoring of Avamar servers from a centralized location via
internet access. Avamar can also integrate with Data Protection Advisor for further monitoring capabilities.

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Global deduplication makes it possible to perform full backups of clients every day. When a client
performs a backup, any data that already exists on the Avamar is not transmitted, but it is referenced as a
part of the backup. In this way, Avamar is able to have full backups with the performance of an
incremental backup.

Let’s take a look at an example of how this works on a new system. When a client performs a backup to
an Avamar server for the first time, most of the data will be new to the Avamar and will need to be
transmitted and stored. Typically, about 35% of initial file system data and 65% of initial database data is
unique and needs to be sent. This first backup to the Avamar server is known as the initialization
backup. The initialization backup will usually take longer to complete because more data needs to be sent
over the network.

But the next backup only needs to send the changed data. This causes a dramatic increase in
performance since most data tends to stay the same. In fact, the typical database server will have only 3%
of its data change over the course of one day. For a file system, only about 0.3% of the data is changed
per day. This means that on a day to day basis, only these small changes in data need to be sent to the
Avamar server.

But Avamar does not store these small changes in isolation to the previously stored data. It organizes the
backup by referencing the all the data that exists on the client. This makes the second backup become a
full level backup, even though only the changed data was sent.

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There are three levels of deduplication commonly used in the backup industry: File Level, Fixed Block
Level, and Variable Block Level.

With File Level deduplication, a file will be backed up to the server as long as it has not changed. Any
repeated backup of an unchanged file will not store any new data. However, if there is any change to the
file, no matter how small, the entire file needs to be backed up and stored again. Unless the backup client
contains mostly static files, this is not a particularly efficient level of deduplication.

With Fixed Block Level deduplication, each file is first broken into equal length blocks of data. These
individual blocks of data are backed up and stored. The backup server keeps track of how to reassemble
the file in the event that a restore is needed. With this level of deduplication, only changed blocks of data
need to be stored. If there is a change in one bit of a large file, only the block containing that bit is stored
on the backup server - there is no need to restore the unchanged blocks. As a result, deduplication rates
are much higher. However, Fixed Block Level deduplication does has an inefficiency in the event that data
is inserted into or deleted from a file. Inserting or deleting data causes a shift in all the data after the point
of insertion or deletion. This causes all the blocks after that point to be different. The data is the same, but
the blocks get cut at different points. So a small insertion of data near the beginning of a file can cause
the entire file to be backed up and stored again.

Variable Block Level deduplication solves this inefficiency. Instead of creating blocks of fixed length, the
file is scanned and blocks are cut whenever the data matches a pattern. The pattern is determined by a
mathematical algorithm that will consistently find the same boundary points within the data. In the
example on the screen, a simplified algorithm is used: blocks are divided after any vowel letter (A, E, I, O,
or U). This way, if any data is changed, inserted, or deleted, the boundary points do not change. The
algorithm will find the same boundary points. Only the block of data that has changed needs to be
backed up and stored again. This level of deduplication is the most efficient and is the level that is used by

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Let’s take a look at the Avamar deduplication process in more detail.

During a scheduled backup, the Avamar server generates a work order. The server then either pages the
client agent or the client agent checks in with the server to pick up the work order.

On the client, the Avamar agent traverses each directory in the backup and checks it against its local file
cache. This file cache is a listing of all the files that have been previously backed up. If the file is listed in
the file cache and is unchanged, then the Avamar agent does not spend any more time processing that file
and moves on to the next one.

No match in the file cache means that the file is new or modified. The file is then divided into variable-
sized data objects or chunks. The Avamar agent compresses the chunks and calculates hashes for each
one. These hashes serve as fingerprints for each chunk of data and are used to quickly identify a data
chunk. To determine whether the client has previously backed up a chunk, the agent compares the
hashes against its local hash cache. The hash cache is a list of all the chunks that have been backed up
by the client. If there is a match, then the chunk has already been backed up and does not need to be sent
over the network. Notice that by using the local file and hash caches, the Avamar agent has been able to
identify a large amount of duplicate data without using any network bandwidth or involving the Avamar

If there is no match in the local hash cache, then the chunk has not been previously stored by this client,
but may still exist on the Avamar server if another client has backed up similar data. The client sends only
the small hash to the Avamar server to ask if the hash is present. If there is no match on the Avamar
server, the hash and the corresponding data are transferred to the Avamar server and stored. The client
cache files are updated accordingly.

This process is repeated for the rest of the files included in the backup.

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Hashes are used not only to identify data chunks, but also to store and find them on the Avamar system.
When a data chunk is stored, part of the number of its hash is used as an address to identify where the
data chunk is stored. This type of hash, created directly from a data chunk, is called an atomic hash. By
knowing an atomic hash, the Avamar server can locate the data chunk.

However, it is not enough to simply store data chunks. The Avamar needs to be able to reassemble the
data chunks into the correct files and associate them with a point-in-time backup. Avamar does this by
taking the atomic hashes of related data chunks and packaging them together in another data object,
called a composite. By reading the atomic hashes stored in a composite, Avamar is able to reassemble
the original data. Each backup will create many composites. Since composites need to be stored, they are
also hashed to create composite hashes, which are used to address the composite data objects.

This process repeats again by taking all of the composite hashes relating to one backup, and storing then
in a third type of data object called a composite-composite. The composite-composite is also hashed into
a single root hash. The root hash serves as an identifier for the entire point-in-time backup.

This type of hash based address is called an “object address.” It eliminates the need for a separate file
level catalog. Once an object has been stored, it cannot be deleted until the specified retention period has
expired and it is not used by any current backup. Storing data on disk, rather than on tape, streamlines the
process of searching for stored objects.

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Because all data objects are addressed and stored based on their hash value, and hash values are by
their nature evenly distributed, data is automatically evenly distributed across all available storage nodes
and disks within an Avamar server. Also, addressing data based on its hash value ensures that no data
object is stored twice. Two identical chunks of data would have the same address, so only one of them
could be stored.

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Data objects, such as data chunks, composites, and composite-composites are stored on Avamar disk
storage in special files called data stripes. Each data stripe is created with some pre-allocated space, and
is then filled with data. A single data stripe can hold approximately 30,000 objects.

There are a few different types of stripe files. Data chunks are stored in atomic stripes. Composites are
stored in separate composite stripe files. Root hashes, as well as information about the origin of the files (
such as which client or domain), are stored in the accounts stripes. On a multi-node Avamar system,
additional parity stripe files contains parity data that is used to reconstruct data in the event of a failed

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A restore is an operation that retrieves one or more file systems, directories or files from an existing
backup and writes it to a designated location. For restore, Avamar presents a full backup as of a single
point-in-time. A backup administrator or end user can select a backup and then browse the backup
directory structure in order to choose individual files to restore. The Avamar server will then use the root
hash to find the backup data, and the composite hashes and atomic hashes to locate the desired file data.
To restore the data, the Avamar server contacts the client agent, and sends the data to the agent. The
chunks are collected in the client’s memory, ordered, uncompressed and written to disk.

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Avamar is ideally suited for protecting clients in virtual environments by reducing the amount of backup
data within and across the virtual machines. Both VMware and Hyper-V virtual machines are supported.
Avamar provides the flexibility of implementing a virtual machine backup solution in two ways. With guest
level backups, Avamar agents are installed in the virtual machine. This allows the agent to directly backup
the files in the virtual machine. Image level backups are also available to create a backup of the entire
virtual machine at once by backing up the virtual disk files.

Avamar provides a high level of integration with VMware for backing up virtual environments. VMware
backups can be centrally configured, scheduled and managed with the Avamar Administrator GUI.
Avamar Administrator also has the ability to browse the virtual machines in the environment and display
information for each machine.

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EMC Data Domain is a deduplicated storage system that can be integrated with Avamar. In this type of
configuration, Avamar is used to manage backup clients, schedules, datasets, and other policies, while the
Data Domain is used as a storage device. Backup data is sent directly from the client to the Data Domain
system using Data Domain’s DD Boost technology. Backup metadata used to identify files and backup is
stored on the Avamar. Backups can then be managed through the Avamar system. The backup process
uses Data Domain deduplication methods rather than Avamar’s which can provide faster backup and
recovery, especially for large active databases. Data Domain integration can also provide flexibility since
the Data Domain storage can be shared with other Avamar servers or other applications.

Maintenance activities that are performed on the Avamar server are also performed on any data stored on
the Data Domain. This means that a backup that has expired or been deleted on the Avamar server will be
deleted from the Data Domain. Avamar garbage collection, checkpoints, rollbacks, and HFS checks and
replication trigger similar processes on the Data Domain system. More information on these maintenance
activities are discussed later in this course.

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Backing up NAS data can be a challenge. NAS devices typically store large amounts of files. They also
have native operating systems that do not always allow backup software to be installed. Network Data
Management Protocol (NDMP) was developed to address these concerns. The Avamar NDMP
accelerator provides support for NAS appliances by interfacing between the appliance and the Avamar

The NDMP Accelerator is used to backup and restore EMC Isilon, Unity, and VNX IP storage systems,
Network Appliance filers, and Oracle ZFS. The NDMP accelerator is a dedicated Avamar client, that when
used as part of an Avamar system, provides a complete backup and recovery solution for supported NAS
systems. The NDMP accelerator hosts a special version of the Avamar client and acts as a “pass through”
conduit from the NAS device to the Avamar server. The accelerator accepts NDMP data from the NAS
appliance, performs data deduplication, then forwards the data to the Avamar server. Data streams
through the NDMP accelerator; no user data is stored on the NDMP accelerator. When performing
backups of remote sites to a primary data center, the recommended backup solution is to place an NDMP
accelerator at each remote site.

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Backing up distributed environments can be a challenge. Deploying multiple backup servers at each
location means managing multiple, isolated environments, each with separate policy definitions. On the
other hand, backing up to a single central server means sending large amounts of backup data over a
slower wide area network.

Because Avamar architecture is extremely flexible and scalable, Avamar is an ideal solution for
distributed enterprises. Unless recovery time objectives cannot be met, an operational best practice is to
backup clients to a large, active, centralized Avamar server. As a centralized backup system, Avamar
protects critical branch data without the addition of hardware or specially trained personnel at branch office
sites. Corporate backup policies can be implemented, enforced, and managed throughout the organization
from this central location. Avamar supports both local area network and wide area network connections.
There is minimal impact to network traffic and performance because, after initialization, only changes
travel over the networks. To provide disaster recovery, Avamar data can be replicated to another offsite
Avamar server.

For sites that require fast recovery time objectives (RTO), a local Avamar system may be employed to
backup local data at the site and then automatically replicate the backup data to a large, centralized
Avamar server. The primary advantage of backing up to a local Avamar backup server is that restores can
be done directly from that server across the local area network to the client.

All backup and replication activity is managed from the central data center using the Multiple Systems
Management and Administrator interfaces. Employing Avamar disk-based backup eliminates the need to
manage a complex tape system for backups, restores, and offsite security.

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This module covered Avamar solution, its key benefits, and use cases.

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This module focuses on Avamar architecture, terms, and system components.

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The three major components of an Avamar system are the Avamar server, Avamar backup clients, and
the Avamar Administrator.

The Avamar Server stores client backups and provides essential processes and services required for
client access and remote system administration. Avamar Administrator Server (mcs) and Avamar Data
Server (gsan) run on the Avamar server.

Avamar Backup Client software runs on each computer or network server that is being backed up. Avamar
provides client software for various computing platforms. Each client consists of a client agent and one or
more plug-ins.

Avamar Administrator is a user management console software application that is used to remotely
administer an Avamar system from a supported Windows or Linux computer.

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There are several terms used when discussing Avamar.

When data is stored on an Avamar, it is first broken up into pieces called objects or chunks. These
chunks are variable sized units of deduplicated data, meaning that identical chunks will never be stored
twice on the Avamar server.

When chunks of data are stored on an Avamar, they are placed onto disk in stripes. Stripes are units of
disk space that stores data chunks and are managed by an Avamar. An Avamar server will have many
stripes containing all the data that is backed up to it.

These stripes are stored on disk on an Avamar node. A node is a self-contained, rack-mountable network-
addressable computer consisting of both processing power and hard drive storage. Nodes run Avamar
server software on the Linux operating system.

Usually, multiple nodes will work together as one server, although a server can consist of a single node as
well. A server functions as a single managed unit that stores and manages all backup data across its
nodes. A server is also sometimes called an Avamar grid.

An Avamar system is one or more servers that interact with one another, and the clients that send backup
data to them. Systems can be geographically dispersed due to Avamar’s IP network architecture.

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If we take a look inside an Avamar server, we see that it contains multiple nodes and switches. All these
components operate together as one server. For this reason, it is called a multi-node server. There are
two main types of nodes: utility and storage.

At the bottom of the rack is one utility node. This node is dedicated to providing internal Avamar server
processes and services, such as the scheduling and management of backups, external authentication,
and web access. The hostname and IP address of the utility node is the identity of the Avamar server for
access and client-server communication.

Above the utility node are multiple storage nodes. Notice that they have more disks than the utility node.
This is because these nodes are dedicated to providing backup storage and keeping all the chunks of data
organized. When backup data is sent to an Avamar server, it is distributed across the storage nodes and
protected by parity data.

Storage nodes can be added to a server to increase its capacity. An Avamar server can have anywhere
between 3 and 16 active storage nodes. A spare storage node is also often included in a configuration
and can be enabled in the event of a node failure.

An Avamar server is often referred to according to number of active storage nodes. For example, this is a
DS12, meaning it has 12 active storage nodes. If two more storage nodes are added, it would become a

At the top of the rack, there are two internal switches. These switches provide communication between all
of the nodes in an Avamar server. Each node is connected to both switches so that a switch failure does
not result in lost communication.

Another type of Avamar server is the single-node server. In this configuration, one node performs the roles
of both the utility and the storage nodes. Because data is not distributed across multiple nodes, as it was
in a multi-node server, the failure of a single-node server will result in the unavailability, or even loss of
data. For this reason a single-node server must provide some other means of data protection. It must
either have its data replicated to another Avamar server, backup its checkpoint data to an integrated Data
Domain, or use RAID 6 protection as in the Avamar Business Edition single-node server.

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The NDMP Accelerator is an optional specialized node that, when used as part of an Avamar system,
provides a complete backup and recovery solution for NAS devices via the Network Data Management
Protocol (NDMP). Avamar supports EMC Isilon, VNX, and Celerra and NetApp filers with the NDMP

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The two Avamar server editions provide the flexibility to meet different customer requirements. Avamar
can be deployed either as physical hardware or as a virtual machine.

The Avamar server runs on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES). The Avamar server is capable of
operating on server hardware with multiple processors.

Beginning with Avamar generation 4S hardware, three sizes of storage nodes are supported: 2.0 TB, 3.9
TB, and 7.8 TB of licensable capacity. Licensable capacity includes deduplicated data plus RAIN parity
protection. All storage nodes within an Avamar server must be of the same size.

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Avamar Data Store simplifies the purchase and deployment of Avamar by delivering a pre-packaged
solution consisting of Avamar server software installed onsite on pre-configured and pre-tested Avamar-
certified hardware. Deployment time at customer sites is reduced since hardware stress tests and initial
benchmark tests are performed before the hardware is shipped. Avamar Data Store is available in several
configurations as listed in the slide, including multi-node and single-node servers. Multi-node servers can
be expanded by adding new nodes. Avamar Data Store is deployed by EMC-trained personnel.

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The EMC Avamar Virtual Edition (AVE) allows the Avamar solution to be standardized on virtual
infrastructure. AVE is supported on VMware, Hyper-V, Azure, and KVM environments. It is ideal for small,
remote offices or small data centers, by lowering the total cost of ownership through sharing the server
and storage infrastructure and reducing the cost of hardware support and maintenance.

AVE is a single-node non-RAIN Avamar server running as a virtual machine on a virtualization host
server. The licensed capacity sizes include: 0.5 TB, 1.0 TB, 2.0 TB, and 4.0 TB. Each of these capacity
versions has a set of requirements for memory, I/O, and storage. The choice of AVE version to be
deployed depends on the type of data in the environment to be backed up and the expected daily change

The host server is supplied by the customer. Installation of AVE on a virtual machine is performed by
EMC-trained personnel. The AVE benchmark test can be run to ensure that server hardware and the
virtual environment meet expected I/O performance benchmarks. Also, the benchmark test helps to
determine the impact of AVE on other virtual machines running on the same physical server.

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This module covered Avamar architecture, terms, and system components.

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This module focuses on introducing the features and capabilities of Avamar, including backup and restore,
Desktop/Laptop, and system integrity.

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Avamar backup clients are the machines that contain the data to be backed up to the Avamar server.
They are networked computers or workstations accessing the Avamar server via a network connection.
Avamar clients are usually the file servers and database servers in an IT environment or employee

Avamar Client software is installed and running on each client. Avamar provides client software for various
computing platforms.

For backing up databases, the Avamar client and a specialized database plug-in are installed and run on
the same machine. Databases supported with Avamar client software include: Microsoft Exchange, Lotus
Domino, Microsoft SQL, SharePoint, DB2, and Oracle.

System State can also be backed with Avamar using a specialized module that is utilized by the backup
client. This captures system settings, software installations, registry, networking information and shares,
and more. The backup of the system state can save time if a bare metal recovery needs to be performed.

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Avamar provides two backup types: scheduled and on-demand.

Scheduled backups are run automatically according to specifications that can be customized by the
administrator using the Avamar Administrator interface.

On-demand backups can be initiated from the Avamar Administrator interface and the Management
Console command line interface (MCCLI). On-demand backups can also be run from a client machine
using the Avamar Desktop/Laptop interface and with the avtar command from the command line.

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Avamar uses groups to implement various policies for automating backups and enforcing consistent rules
across a collection of clients. Backups are scheduled to run automatically by configuring and enabling
groups. A group consists of one or more clients that will be backed up, and a group policy that is used to
configure settings for the backup. The group policy specifies a dataset, schedule, and retention for that
group. Once a group is configured, the Avamar server will automatically perform backups of the clients
within the group according to the schedule that was set for the group. The dataset settings for the group
determine the data from each client is backed up, and the retention settings determine how long each
backup from the group is retained.

Avamar groups should not be confused with Avamar domains. Groups are used to create automated
backups for a set of clients, while domains are used to grant Avamar administration rights to a set of
clients and to organize and manage sets of clients.

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Clients inherit the group policy settings by means of their membership in a specific group. An Avamar user
with Administrator privileges can configure persistent backup selections by creating, modifying and
deleting datasets, schedules and retention policies, assigning them to a new or existing group, and then
assigning clients to the group.

Datasets define the persistent backup selections for the file systems, directories or files to be included in a
backup. You can also narrow the scope by specifying certain content, such as file types, to exclude or
include. Datasets can be created at any domain level and can be assigned to one or more groups and
clients within the assigned domain.

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The Schedule for a group determines when and how often a backup will automatically be run. Schedules
can be created at any domain level and can be assigned to one or more groups within the assigned

Retention Policies specify how long each backup from the group will be kept. Any backups older than the
specified retention are automatically dropped from the system. Retention policies can be created at any
domain level and can be assigned to one or more groups and clients within the assigned domain.

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On-demand backups by definition are run manually at the time that the backup request is initiated. Avamar
provides multiple ways for running on-demand backups from either the client or server side. An
administrator can run an on-demand backup using the mccli command line, run a group backup from
Avamar Administrator’s Policy view, or select items to backup from Avamar Administrator’s Backup,
Restore and Manage view, as shown on the slide. An on-demand backup can also be initiated from the
client side using the avtar CLI command or using the Desktop/Laptop interface.

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Desktop/Laptop provides an easy to use graphical user interface to be installed on a desktop or laptop in
use by an end user. This allows the end user to perform on-demand backups and restores without help
desk intervention. Desktop/Laptop is included as an option in the Avamar client installer. It is available for
Windows, Mac and Linux.

End users can initiate an on-demand backup through the Desktop/Laptop interface. This will back up data
using the dataset and retention policies set by the Avamar administrator for the client. The end user must
ensure that the data to be protected resides within the a directory within the backup dataset.
Desktop/Laptop can optionally be configured to allow the end user to create their own dataset and apply
their own schedule. Backups and restores over VPN are supported.

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Avamar supports restoring one or more individual files, directories or file systems from backups stored on
the Avamar server. There are two methods of initiating restores of client data: from the Avamar server or
from theclient. Restores can be initiated from the Avamar server using Avamar Administrator Backup and
Restore or the mccli interface. Initiating the restore from the Avamar client is accomplished by the
Desktop/Laptop interface or the avtar command.

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Using the Avamar Administrator Backup and Restore view, the items to restore for a specific client can
be selected either from a list of all backups for a particular date or of all backups containing a particular
path. Restores can be performed using the Avamar Administrator by a user with Administrator privileges.
Restores can be directed to the original client, or redirected to a different client.

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This video demonstration show how to perform a Desktop/Laptop backup and restore. Click on the
Avamar Client icon on the lower right-hand side of the desktop or laptop computer. Select Back Up from
the menu. The Desktop/Laptop client interface will open. On the left-hand side are options that the user
can select. The first icon allows the user to Search for specific files. The Browse icon allows the user to
browse the file system and choose files or directories to backup. The Backup icon shows the next
scheduled backup and group policies. Lastly, the History icon displays the activity history of the backups
and restores. Clicking on the specific activity will allow the user to view more detail on the bottom pane.

Now let’s take a look at how backups are created. The Desktop/Laptop user can simply click on the
Backup icon. If group policies are already configured, the user can click on the Backup Now button to
initiate a backup. After clicking this button, there is confirmation that the backup job is submitted. The
Avamar client icon on the lower right-hand side of your Desktop/Laptop client machine will show that the
backup process is running.

Restores can be achieved by clicking on the Browse button and selecting the files you would like to
restore. In this demo, we selected a directory called “backup test”, and clicked the Restore button on the
lower left-hand side. After the restore is complete, we can go to the client’s C drive to look for the “backup
test” directory that has just been restored.

This concludes our video demonstration.

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To ensure system integrity, Avamar provides systematic fault tolerance at the following levels:

RAID (redundant array of independent disks) is a method of protection for disk data corruption or failure.
Avamar servers are protected by either RAID-1 or RAID-6, depending on the configuration. Avamar also
has hot-swap capability with minimum system impact for highest failure-rate components.

RAIN (redundant array of independent nodes) provides failover and fault tolerance across nodes. Data is
distributed across each node and parity data is used to provide protection. RAIN provides uninterrupted
functionality during node failure, replacement and reconstruction. In the unlikely event of a node failure,
new backup data will be written onto the remaining nodes; data for recoveries is reconstructed using
parity. RAIN is used to replace the failed node, reconstruct the data on the replacement node, and when
expanding an Avamar server, rebalance the capacity across all nodes.

High Availability Uplink and Dual Switches provide high availability in the event of hardware failure.
Each node has the ability to have dual connections to the customer switch. An Avamar server also has
two internal switches in order to provide hardware redundancy.

Checkpoints protect the server in the event of operational failures. They provide redundancy across time.
Checkpoints are a read-only snapshot of the Avamar server taken to facilitate server rollbacks. They are
created using hard-links to all the stripes. Regular checkpoint validation, including auto-repair capability, is
used to ensure data integrity.

Replication protects against data loss in the event of a server loss. Efficient, scheduled replication (local
or remote) ensures availability and redundancy of data if primary server is lost.

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Avamar Replication is the process oflogically copying backup data from one or more source Avamar
servers to a destination or target Avamar server. As with the backup process, Avamar employs
deduplication methodology at the source Avamar server, transferring only unique data to the target server
and encrypting the data during transmission.

Replication can be configured and run with the Avamar Administrator interface. Replication is most often
run on a scheduled basis, but can also be run on-demand.

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Replication can be configured in multiple ways to meet an enterprise’s unique requirements. For example,
replication can be used to provide disaster recovery protection of data from multiple single-node servers to
a central multi-node server in a remote, branch office to home office scenario. It can also provide peer-to-
peer disaster recovery protection from a single-node to single-node server and multi-node to multi-node

The two basic kinds of Avamar replication are standard, also referred to as normal, and full copy or root-
to-root replication.

Standard replication copies backup data from one or more source Avamar servers to a target Avamar
server. Replicated data is stored within a special REPLICATE domain on the target Avamar. With
standard replication, an Avamar server can be both a replication source and a target for replication. Data
can be restored from replicated backups directly from the replication target Avamar server to a client
activated on that server.

Full copy or root-to-root replication creates a complete logical copy of an entire source server on the
destination Avamar server. Only a one to one configuration is supported with full copy replication. Full
copy replication is best suited for server migrations and high availability environments.

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Avamar uses two operational windows to perform various system activities. These windows can be
customized to start and end at times to meet site requirements.

The backup window is when the majority of backups are performed. Backups should be scheduled to run
during this time. No maintenance activities, such as garbage collection or HFS checks, are performed by
the Avamar server during the backup window.

The maintenance window is reserved for maintenance activities, primarily garbage collection, checkpoint
creation, and HFS check. A limited number of backups may be initiated, but both backup time and
maintenance activities will be impacted. By default, the maintenance window runs during the day from 8
am to 8 pm.

Restores can be performed during any of these windows.

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Daily Avamar server maintenance activities include checkpoints, checkpoint validation and garbage
collection. These server maintenance activities are run automatically.

A checkpoint is a read-only snapshot of the Avamar server taken to enable server rollbacks. Checkpoints
are created using hard-links to all the stripes.

A hash file system (HFS) check is an operation that validates the integrity of a checkpoint. Once a
checkpoint has passed an HFS check, it can be considered reliable enough to be used for a system

Checkpoints are taken twice daily and validated once daily during the maintenance window. Avamar
administrators can also create and validate checkpoints at any time, as well as delete checkpoints that are
not needed in order to reclaim additional server storage capacity.

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Garbage collection is the process of deleting unused chunks from backups that have expired. It deletes
orphaned chunks and composites. This frees up capacity on the Avamar server.

Garbage collection runs once daily starting at the beginning of the Maintenance window.
Beginning with Avamar 7.0, backups can run during garbage collection. However, doing so should be
avoided since it will negatively impact the performance of both the garbage collection and backup

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For added data security, Avamar provides data encryption both in-flight and at-rest.

In-flight encryption occurs during a backup or restore. During backup, data is encrypted by the client
before it is sent over the network. This protects any data from being compromised as it is sent over a
network. Encryption strength can be set to medium, or high, or disabled altogether. It is recommended to
always use encryption, especially if performing a backup over a wide area network.

Encryption at-rest occurs when data is written to the Avamar disk. If encryption at rest is enabled, all data
is stored in an encrypted format, so that even if data on disk were compromised, it would be unreadable.
Encryption at-rest provides a high level of security for backed-up data.

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This module focused on introducing the features and capabilities of Avamar, including backup and restore,
Desktop/Laptop, and system integrity.

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This module focuses on various Avamar management and monitoring tools including, Avamar
Administrator, Multiple Systems Management and Data Protection Advisor.

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Avamar administration tools provide central administrative access to the Avamar system.

Avamar Administrator is a graphical user interface (GUI) used to configure, monitor and manage an
Avamar system from one or more Windows or Linux clients.

The Management Console Command Line Interface (MCCLI) is a Java application providing command
line access to the features and functions that are available via the GUI.

REST API provides a way to develop applications and tools that interact with Avamar systems. For
example, a developer may create a web interface to allow end users to initiate backups.

Multiple System Management (MSM) is an interface that enables centralized management of hundreds of
Avamar servers from a single console.

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When managing an Avamar, administrators log in under an Avamar domain.

Domains are distinct zones within Avamar that are used to organize and manage backup clients. They are
used to manage administration access to groups of clients. By nesting domains within domains to create a
tree structure, you can create a hierarchy for managing organizations and the clients in those
organizations. The highest level domain is the root domain, represented by the Avamar server in the
hierarchy. When an Avamar client is added to the Avamar server, it is assigned to a specific domain within
the domain hierarchy. The real power of domains is that they provide the ability to add specific users to
specific levels on the client tree.

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Security within the Avamar system is implemented through the use of user accounts. Users can be
created at the root, domain, and client levels in the domain hierarchy. The level at which a user account is
added to the Avamar system and the role assigned to the user determine the access and privileges
accorded to that user. Actions performed by users are tracked and maintained in an audit log. The slide
lists the roles that can be assigned to users at the following levels in the domain hierarchy.

Root users are created at the root domain. Root users can perform tasks for all domains in the hierarchy
and the clients within the domains.

Domain users are created at the Avamar domain level. Users at the domain level can perform tasks for
that domain, the clients assigned to the domain, and any domain/client beneath the domain in the domain

Client users are created for an individual Avamar client. The tasks that a client user can perform are
limited to that specific client.

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You can manage backups from the Avamar Administrator Backup, Restore and Manage view. You can list
the backups run for a particular client by first selecting the client in the tree and then choosing to list by
date, date range or retention type. Options available from the Actions menu include changing the backup
expiration date, changing the retention tag, deleting a backup, viewing completed backup statistics, and
validating a backup. Validating a backup initiates a virtual restore of all files in the backup but does not
actually restore any files to the client file system. Deleting a backup permanently deletes the backup from
the system. Note that data referred to by other backups will not be candidates for deletion.

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Avamar provides several ways to monitor backup activity while backups are in progress and to report on
backup status.

The Avamar Administrator Activity view provides a central facility to monitor backup and restore progress
and status. With the Activity Monitor, you can see a listing of all activity for the last 72 hours, up to a
maximum of 5,000 rows. You can also bring up activity logs and cancel an activity in progress. Options
from the Actions menu include filtering the activity results display and viewing statistics for a selected

Status information is also available on a Windows client with the Avamar Progress bar and Work Order

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Client Manager is a graphical user interface which provides many functions for managing large amounts of
clients. It provides the ability to move multiple clients between domains or servers, and to retire or delete
multiple clients and to change backup groups of clients.

It is especially useful in large environments as clients can be found easily through the use of search filters.
Client Manager can also be used to update client software and analyze backup statistics. Activation of
multiple clients can be achieved through this interface. Clients can be discovered through the use of a
directory service such as Active Directory and then activated.

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Avamar activities and operational status are reported as events to the administrator server. Examples of
events include client registration and activation, and backup completion and restore activity. Under the
Event Management, the Event Monitor displays the most recent 5,000 system events during the past 24
hours. The listing can be filtered by event code, category, type, severity, and domain. The report can be
exported to a CSV file.

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The Avamar Administrator Server view is a primary system status monitoring tool. With the functions
within the Server view, you can suspend or resume server activity, check server capacity, review the
health of nodes and disks, and manage checkpoints and hash file system checks. The Server Monitor
presents a summarized view of CPU, network and hard drive performance statistics for each node.

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There are various ways of Monitoring the Avamar Server. Let’s look at a few of the interfaces within the
Avamar Administrator GUI.

When you first log into the Avamar Administrator GUI, you will see the dashboard. Here, you can quickly
see if the system is in a healthy state, its capacity usage, recent backup and replication activities, and any
errors or warnings.

As we can see, this Avamar’s system state is red. This is due to the critical events and the lack of recent
checkpoints. We can also see that the Maintenance activities are suspended, which is most likely causing
the issues.

In the Activities window, we can view recent backups, restores, and replications on this server. The
activities can be filtered. Double clicking an activity will show its log file, which is very useful for
troubleshooting. The log will show a summary of any errors and exceptions at the top, so that you do not
have to scroll through the entire log file to find them.

In the Administration window, we can see system events, warnings and errors. After these events have
been handled, they can be removed from the list by acknowledging them. We can also look at the Audit
log, to see recent changes to the system.

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New bytes are added to the Avamar server through the backup process. Old bytes are removed from the
server through garbage collection of unused chunks from expired or deleted backups. The goal of
managing the capacity of the Avamar server is to achieve a “steady-state” server capacity utilization
where the rate that new data chunks are added to the server is equal to or less than the rate that expired
data chunks are removed from the server.

Factors affecting capacity utilization include the amount of primary storage being protected, the initial and
day-over-day backup commonality, and the length of time backups are retained.

Capacity management is an important task for the Avamar administrator to ensure that the Avamar
system continues to have the capacity to store the required backup information. Avamar provides many
tools and reports to assist the administrator with this task.

For daily monitoring, the Avamar Administrator Dashboard, shown on the slide, provides capacity
management information, including server capacity, forecasts, and warnings. Avamar automatically issues
warnings when server utilization exceeds 80% of user capacity and, at 100%, will go into read-only mode.
Dell EMC Technical Support is available to work with the administrator on all capacity management
issues. If more capacity is needed, multi-node Avamar servers can be expanded with the addition of new

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Avamar maintains logs of client and server activities. Logs are especially useful for investigating issues
and troubleshooting error conditions. The slide shows an excerpt from a client log detailing an on-demand
restore operation from connecting to the server to completion step. Here, the log shows an attempt to
connect to one node of the Avamar Server, and then Secure Session Format is being used. A Restore
session was successfully started, and one file was restored successfully.

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Many standard reports are available with the Avamar Administrator Activity Report and Manage All
Reports features. Shown here is an example of one of the activity reports. You can also create reports
using the read-only views of the Avamar Administrator server database.

Backend Capacity Reports can be generated to show how much capacity is used by a client or a group of
clients after deduplication.

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Avamar provides a plug-in for the VMware vSphere Web Client. This adds a very basic Avamar interface
into the existing vSphere web interface. With this interface, vSphere users can initiate image backups and
restores of virtual machines in their environment. Limited monitoring of backup activity is also available.

The purpose of the Avamar Plug-in for vSphere is to give VMware vSphere administrators the ability to
perform basic backup and recovery tasks without requiring extensive Avamar knowledge. For this reason,
many configuration tasks cannot be performed through this interface and must be performed through
Avamar Administrator instead. The vSphere interface is primarily for monitoring scheduled backups,
initiating on-demand backups, and performing restores.

In addition to the vSphere interface, the plug-in also enables end-users to perform file-level restores from
image level backups. Users who are logged into a virtual machine can use a web interface to select
individual files from a previous backup.

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VMware vCloud environments consist of very large numbers of vApps each consisting of multiple virtual
machines. vApps and VMs are constantly being created and deleted in a typical vCloud environment.
Additionally, vClouds can be extremely large, many times with hundreds of thousands of virtual machines.

If a large vCloud is going to be backed up by Avamar, multiple servers are required. However, managing
multiple Avamar servers is difficult. Administrators have to track which portions of the vCloud are backing
up to which Avamar servers. Avamar servers cannot share policy definitions, so many times policies
would have to be created and managed multiple times on each Avamar.

The Avamar plug-in for vCloud moves Avamar management to the vCloud Director interface. Instead of
managing individual Avamar servers, an administrator views the cloud resources, such as vApps and
Organizations, and directs them to use backup resources. Backup policies can be configured and shared
across the entire cloud, even if multiple Avamar servers are used. As a result, managing a large vCloud is
much easier.

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Data Protection Advisor is a customizable backup reporting, alerting, monitoring, and correlation analysis
software tool for EMC and third-party backup software products. Without Data Protection Advisor,
administrators must rely on a mix of reporting and analysis tools to manage the backup environment and
provide a complete picture of the infrastructure.

Reports with Data Protection Advisor can be customized extensively to suit the demands of any business.

DPA can be used in Avamar environments to provide increased monitoring abilities. DPA provides the
ability to monitor the entire backup environment in addition to Avamar servers. It is able to predict future
trends in order to prevent problems before they occur.

DPA provides a single view of the entire infrastructure through data discovery, analysis, and reporting that
leverages this data for key backup management functions. DPA incorporates backup solutions, replication
technologies, virtual environments, tape/VTL storage, SAN and NAS systems, and the business
applications protected by the infrastructure.

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This module covered various Avamar management and monitoring tools including Avamar Administrator,
Multiple Systems Management, and Data Protection Advisor.

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This course covered an introduction to Dell EMC Avamar. It includes an overview of Avamar terminology,
features, and components, including Avamar backup and restore functions. The course reviews Avamar
tools for monitoring and maintaining an Avamar system.

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