Proxmox Backup Server rocks

In september 2020, shortly after Proxmox announced the Proxmox Backup Server, we launched a BETA service to test how Proxmox Backup Server works and performs. Since then, we’ve grown from a single machine to three Proxmox Backup Servers. We thought it would be nice to share our insights and some statistics.

The hardware

We’re running with three machines, all Supermicro based. We started with pbs001:

Chassis: Supermicro SIS212C7
CPU: Single socket Intel Xeon E5-2620
Disks: 9x 14TB SAS, 3-way mirrors, 2x 960GB SSD as special devices

When the machine filled up nicely, we added pbs002 which we later expanded with a JBOD chassis:

Chassis: Supermicro SSG-6019P-ACR12L + Supermicro CSE-826BE1C-R741JBOD
CPU:Single socket Intel Xeon Silver 4208
Disks:21x 14TB SAS, 3-way mirrors, 3x 960GB Nvme as special devices

After that machine filled up, we added a heavier machine to the mix, with which we can grow even further, thanks to a giant JBOD chassis, pbs003:

Chassis: Supermicro SIS212C7 + Supermicro CSE-847E1C-R1K23JBOD
CPU: Dual socket Intel Xeon Silver 4114
Disks: 9x 14TB SAS + 6x 16TB SAS, 3-way mirrors, 3x 960GB Nvme as special devices

As you can see, we chosen bigger machines with each upgrade. So does pbs001 underperform? No, it doesn’t. We just saw it was possible to add more storage per machine, and to do so, we need to add more CPU and RAM. 

How does it perform?

Before Proxmox Backup Server, backing up Proxmox clusters was suboptimal, to say the least. A backup would trigger vzdump which would just start reading your VM’s virtual disk, compress it (optional) and store it somewhere. We were unable to backup whole cluster each day, let alone multiple times a day.

Proxmox Backup Server solved this issue entirely. Thanks to the dirty-bitmaps in Qemu that are now supported we can backup VM’s multiple times per hour, if we want.

The three machines combined work through 5.7Gbit per second at peek time, with ease. The backup process is pretty efficient, a thing we are less enthusiastic about is the verification that PBS wants to run. We personally feel that, with ZFS as a storage-layer, the verification process is not very useful. It also stresses the storage out, as every bit on disk is being read.



Some statistics

  • Stored backups
    • Hosts: 23
      Backups: 176
    • VM’s: 2208
      Backups: 21260
    • CT’s: 669
      Backups: 5683
  • Processed backups:
    • Last 30 days: 66322
  • Total disk usage:
    • 139TB
  • Total raw disk space:
    • 642TB

How we will proceed

We are very happy what with Proxmox has built, and it is improving every release. The integration with Proxmox VE is sublime, we can even simply restore files from a VM or live-restore a complete VM. We will continue to push PBS-services to both existing and new customers and encourage you to do the same!

Obviously, there is always room for improvement. The proxmox-backup-client you can run inside VM’s is terribly inefficient. There are good technical reasons for that and file backups are not the primary target for PBS, but it makes the tool pretty useless to backup larger containers or filesystems. We hope Proxmox will improve that soon.

We also miss the ability to push datastores to remote datastores. Currently, PBS only supports pulling datastores. That makes replicating PBS’es in a secure environment a whole lot more difficult, and it also causes the configuration of replication to be only available to administrators of the whole machine. We have an open feature request for that.


How we offer Proxmox Backup Server

We sell PBS-accounts with storage per TB (no additional costs) as a service. Any (business) Proxmox user around the world can push their backups to our machines. Thanks to PVE’s built-in encryption, we will never be able to read your backups, so it’s always safe to push them anywhere you like. For payed accounts, we can also configure datastore-pulling to create an offsite backup for your own PBS.

We include the service into our DPS and TCC offerings. Anyone with a DPS or TCC will always be backed up to our PBS servers.

We also sell complete PBS servers, dedicated to your company, sized to your needs.

And then there is the free version, which includes up to 150GB of storage. This is a very popular product amongst Proxmox users from all over the world, as you can see in the list of countries we currently serve:

  • AR Argentina
  • AT Austria
  • AU Australia
  • BE Belgium
  • BR Brazil
  • BY Belarus
  • CA Canada
  • CH Switzerland
  • CN China
  • CY Cyprus
  • CZ Czech Republic
  • DE Germany
  • DK Denmark
  • DO Dominican Republic
  • ES Spain
  • FR France
  • GB Great Britain
  • HR Croatia
  • HU Hungary
  • IE Ireland
  • IL Israel
  • IN India
  • IT Italy
  • KE Kenya
  • LU Luxemburg
  • LV Latvia
  • MD Moldova
  • MX Mexico
  • NL Netherlands
  • NO Norway
  • NZ New Zealand
  • PH Philippines
  • PK Pakistan
  • PL Poland
  • PT Portugal
  • RO Romania
  • SA Saudi Arabia
  • SE Sweden
  • SI Slovenia
  • SK Slovakia
  • SR Suriname
  • TN Tunisia
  • TR Turkey
  • US United States
  • ZA South Africa
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