Use PowerShell to randomly stagger Veeam backup schedules

In previous posts “Randomize your Veeam backups via PowerShell” and “Fixing Veeam Backup v8 Periodic Scheduling” I discussed the unwanted and unexpected changes Veeam Backup and Replication 8 made to is Periodic Scheduling.

In summary, Periodic Schedules could no longer exceed a 24-hour period (e.g. you could no longer configure jobs to run every 30 hours) and that all Periodic Schedules were reset at midnight (causing all periodically scheduled backup jobs to run at the same time, right after midnight).

My desire is to have backup jobs evenly distributed throughout each day, with only a few running at a time. I also don’t want to manually tweak and manage all of my backup job schedules to avoid undesired concurrent operations. When a new backup job gets created, I don’t want my team to waste time trying to figure out when it should be scheduled to run.

My solution was to create a PowerShell script that will use Get-Random to randomly stagger all of the scheduled features of each backup job — leaving it to random chance to automatically schedule my backup jobs to avoid running all at the same time.

Veeam 9 made a some changes and additions to its PowerShell cmdlets to warrant a re-write of the scripts that I wrote to randomize the schedules of my backup jobs. My script modifies backup job schedules, but does not enable or disable if those schedules are used (meaning, you’ll see some settings below that are grayed out, but have settings that the script will change).

Scheduled Settings Before running Script

There are many settings in a backup job that are scheduled, and Veeam 9 introduced a few new ones. These screen shots are of a test/sample backup job and graphically illustrate the settings that my script could randomize for you.

Backup Job > Storage > Advanced > Backup

My script could randomize the following for you:

  • Create synthetic full backups periodically (currently set for Saturday)
  • Create active full backups periodically
  • Monthly on (currently set for First Friday)
  • Weekly on selected days (currently set for Saturday)

veeam-a-storage-backup

Backup Job > Storage > Advanced > Maintenance

These settings are new to Veeam 9. Depending on your architecture/storage, they likely require a lot of IOPS. Having these maintenance tasks staggered among jobs is ideal.

  • Perform backup files health check
  • Monthly on (currently set for Second Sunday)
  • Weekly on selected days (currently set for Tuesday)
  • Defragment and compact full backup file
  • Monthly on (currently set for Third Tuesday)
  • Weekly on selected days (currently set for Saturday)

veeam-a-storage-maintenance

Backup Job > Schedule

Modifying the periodic schedule is the primary purpose of the script. Simply state how many backups you want performed each day and the script will randomly stagger in minutes how often the job should run.

  • Periodically every (currently set for 354 Minutes)
  • Wait before each retry attempt for (currently set for 32 minutes)

veeam-a-schedule

Backup Job > Schedule > Time Periods

Preventing all backup jobs from running at midnight is the secondary purpose of the script. By using Permitted and Denied options, the script will automatically Deny jobs from running up to 4 hours after midnight (again, a offset that is randomly selected per day per job across all jobs).

  • Denied (note the pattern and that some days there is no delay, while other days have a 4-hour delay)
  • Start time within an hour (currently set for 42 minutes)

veeam-a-schedule-timeperiods

Scheduled Settings After running Script

After running my script, all of those settings have been semi-randomly modified.

Backup Job > Storage > Advanced > Backup

  • Create synthetic full backups periodically (currently set for Wednesday)
  • Create active full backups periodically
  • Monthly on (currently set for First Saturday)
  • Weekly on selected days (currently set for Wednesday)

veeam-b-storage-backup

Backup Job > Storage > Advanced > Maintenance

  • Perform backup files health check
  • Monthly on (now set for Last Friday)
  • Weekly on selected days (now set for Sunday)
  • Defragment and compact full backup file
  • Monthly on (now set for Last Tuesday)
  • Weekly on selected days (now set for Saturday)

veeam-b-storage-maintenance

Backup Job > Schedule

  • Periodically every (now set for 451 Minutes)
  • Wait before each retry attempt for (now set for 34 minutes)

veeam-b-schedule

Backup Job > Schedule > Time Periods

  • Denied (note the pattern and that some days there is no delay, while other days have a 4-hour delay)
  • Start time within an hour (now set for 20 minutes)

veeam-b-schedule-timeperiods

Veeam PowerShell Script to randomize backup schedules

I’ve added enough comments to my script that I think it sufficiently explains itself. I hope you find it useful.

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# This script will randomly stagger Veeam 9 backup schedules for one or more jobs 
# Only schedule-related settings are modified. The script does not enable or disable job options.
# Run this on a Veeam Backup and Replication version 9 server
# You could even copy and paste it into Veeam Backup and Replication > Menu > PowerShell
# Written by Jason Pearce of www.jasonpearce.com in September 2016
# Use at your own risk, freely share, and comment on improvements
 
##############################################
# ENABLE Veeam PowerShell Snap-In ############
##############################################
 
# Add Veeam snap-in if required
if ((Get-PSSnapin -Name VeeamPSSnapin -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue) -eq $null) {add-pssnapin VeeamPSSnapin}
 
 
##############################################
# DEFINE User Preferences ####################
##############################################
 
# Target: Using the names of backup jobs (wildcards, prefix, suffix), define which jobs this script should target
#$Jobs = Get-VBRJob -Name "ExampleJob" #(one specific job)
#$Jobs = Get-VBRJob -Name "Prefix-*" #(one or more jobs)
#$Jobs = Get-VBRJob -Name "*-Suffix" #(one or more jobs)
$Jobs = Get-VBRJob -Name "TestJob"
#$Jobs = Get-VBRJob -Name "*" | Where-Object { $_.IsBackup -eq $true -and $_.IsScheduleEnabled -eq $true } | Sort Name #(all enabled backup jobs)
#$Jobs = Get-VBRJob -Name "*-by-folder" | Where-Object { $_.IsBackup -eq $true -and $_.IsScheduleEnabled -eq $true } | Sort Name
 
# Frequency: How many times per day should each job run? (e.g. minum frequency of backups)
$BackupFrequencyPerDay = 4
 
# Retention: How many days of restore points should be retained? (e.g. the oldest restore point). Leave black if you do not want it modified.
$BackupRetentionInDays = 7
 
# --------------------------------------------
# Decide what to Randomize (set $True or $False). 
# The script will randomize each schedule, but does not Enable or Disable the backup job option.
# --------------------------------------------
 
# Randomize Synthetic Full Backups Periodically schedule?
$RandomizeSyntheticFull = $True
 
# Randomize Active Full Backup schedule (both Monthly On and Weekly On)?
$RandomizeActiveFull = $True
 
# Randomize Storage-Level Corruption Guard schedule (both Monthly On and Weekly On)?
$RandomizeStorageLevelCorruptionGard = $True
 
# Randomize Full Backup File Maintenance schedule (both Monthly On and Weekly On)?
$RandomizeFullBackupFileMaintenance = $True
 
# Randomize Periodically Every X Minutes schedule? (this is the main purpose of the script)
$RandomizePeriodicallyEvery = $True
 
# Randomize Time Periods schedule? (this adds a random Denied offset to each day to prevent all Periodic jobs from running at midnight)
$RandomizeTimePeriods = $True
 
# Randomize Start Time Within An Hour schedule? (instead of starting at :00, jobs will stagger start at :09, :17, :41, etc. minutes after the hour)
$RandomizeStartTimeWithinHour = $True
 
# Randomize Automatic Retry Wait in minutes (wait before each retry attempt for X minutes)
$RandomizeAutomaticRetryWait = $True
 
##############################################
# CALCULATE User Preferences #################
##############################################
 
# Frequency Quantity Calculation: Create a range of how many times per day each job should run (e.g. +-0.9)
$MinNumBackupsPerDay = $BackupFrequencyPerDay - 0.9
$MaxNumBackupsPerDay = $BackupFrequencyPerDay + 0.9
 
# Frequency Minutes Calculation: Converting the quantity range into minutes (e.g. backup every 200 to 300 minutes)
$MinutesInADay = 1440
$MinBackupRangeInMinutes = [math]::Round($MinutesInADay/$MaxNumBackupsPerDay)
$MaxBackupRangeInMinutes = [math]::Round($MinutesInADay/$MinNumBackupsPerDay)
 
# Retention Calculation: Should be ($BackupFrequencyPerDay x $BackupRetentioninDays)
# GUI > Edit Backup Job > Storage > Retention Policy > Restore points to keep on disk
$RetainCycles = $BackupFrequencyPerDay * $BackupRetentioninDays
 
 
##############################################
# BEGIN Script ###############################
##############################################
 
 
##############################################
# BEGIN Random variables                     #
##############################################
 
# RandomFullPeriod: Variable for Schedule > Run the job automatically > Periodically every XX minutes. Must be a value between 0 and 1440.
$RandomFullPeriodMinimum = $MinBackupRangeInMinutes
$RandomFullPeriodMaximum = $MaxBackupRangeInMinutes
 
# RandomHourlyOffset: Variable for Schedule > Run the job automatically > Periodically every > Schedule > Start time within an hour. Must be a value between 0 and 59.
$RandomHourlyOffsetMinimum = 0
$RandomHourlyOffsetMaximum = 59
 
# RandomRetryTimeout: Variable for Schedule > Automatic Retry > Wait before each retry attempt for. Must be a value between 0 and 59.
$RandomRetryTimeoutMinimum = 30
$RandomRetryTimeoutMaximum = 59
 
# RandomMidnightDelay: Variable to prevent all periodic backup jobs from running at midnight (Schedule Denied).
$RandomMidnightDelay0Hours = "0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0"
$RandomMidnightDelay1Hours = "1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0"
$RandomMidnightDelay2Hours = "1,1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0"
$RandomMidnightDelay3Hours = "1,1,1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0"
$RandomMidnightDelay4Hours = "1,1,1,1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0"
$RandomMidnightDelay5Hours = "1,1,1,1,1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0"
$RandomMidnightDelay6Hours = "1,1,1,1,1,1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0"
 
# RandomPermitDeny: Default schedule settings for documentation purposes.
#$RandomPermitDenyDefault = "<scheduler><Sunday>0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0</Sunday><Monday>0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0</Monday><Tuesday>0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0</Tuesday><Wednesday>0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0</Wednesday><Thursday>0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0</Thursday><Friday>0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0</Friday><Saturday>0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0</Saturday></scheduler>"
 
# Every Day Number in the Month
$EveryDayNumberInMonth = "First","Second","Third","Fourth","Last"
 
# Every Day of the Week
$EveryDayOfWeek = "Sunday","Monday","Tuesday","Wednesday","Thursday","Friday","Saturday"
 
# Every Month of the Year
$EveryMonthOfYear = "January","February","March","April","May","June","July","August","September","October","November","December"
 
# Random Day Number in the Month (mostly here for copy/paste reference in the foreach loop, because we'll want uniquely random results each time)
$RandomDayNumberInMonth = Get-Random -Input "First","Second","Third","Fourth","Last"
 
# Random Day of the Week (mostly here for copy/paste reference in the foreach loop, because we'll want uniquely random results each time)
$RandomDayOfWeek = Get-Random -Input "Sunday","Monday","Tuesday","Wednesday","Thursday","Friday","Saturday"
 
# Random Month of the Year (mostly here for copy/paste reference in the foreach loop, because we'll want uniquely random results each time)
$RandomMonthOfYear = Get-Random -Input "January","February","March","April","May","June","July","August","September","October","November","December"
 
# Script Name
$scriptName = "RandomizeBackupJobSchedules"
 
# Start Time
$starttime = Get-Date -uformat "%m-%d-%Y %I:%M:%S"
 
# Report Header
Clear-Host
Write-Host "********************************************************************************"
Write-Host "$scriptName`t`tStart Time:`t$starttime"
Write-Host "********************************************************************************`n"
 
 
##############################################
# BEGIN foreach loop                         #
##############################################
 
# Make the following changes to all backup jobs
foreach ($job in $jobs) {
 
	# Notice: State which job is being updated
	Write-Host "Setting job options on "$job.Name -ForegroundColor Yellow
 
	#--------------------------------------------------------------------
	# Retention Policy
	if ($BackupRetentionInDays -ne $null) {
 
	# BEGIN Job Options ######################
 
	# Read current job settings
	$jobOptions = Get-VBRJobOptions -Job $job
 
	# Set Job Advanced Backup Storage Options 
	$jobOptions.BackupStorageOptions.RetainCycles = $RetainCycles
 
	# Apply these additional Backup Mode settings
	$jobOptions = Set-VBRJobOptions -Job $job -Options $jobOptions
 
	}
 
	#--------------------------------------------------------------------
	# Randomize Synthetic Full Backups Periodically
	if ($RandomizeSyntheticFull -eq $True) {
 
		# Set-VBRJobAdvancedBackupOptions: Customizes advanced job backup settings.
		Set-VBRJobAdvancedBackupOptions -Job $job -TransformToSyntethicDays (Get-Random -Input "Sunday","Monday","Tuesday","Wednesday","Thursday","Friday","Saturday") | Out-Null
 
	}
 
	#--------------------------------------------------------------------
	# Randomize Active Full Backup
	if ($RandomizeActiveFull -eq $True) {
 
		# Set-VBRJobAdvancedBackupOptions: Customizes advanced job backup settings.
		Set-VBRJobAdvancedBackupOptions -Job $job -FullBackupDays (Get-Random -Input "Sunday","Monday","Tuesday","Wednesday","Thursday","Friday","Saturday") -Months $EveryMonthOfYear -DayNumberInMonth (Get-Random -Input "First","Second","Third","Fourth","Last") -DayOfWeek (Get-Random -Input "Sunday","Monday","Tuesday","Wednesday","Thursday","Friday","Saturday") | Out-Null
 
	}
 
	#--------------------------------------------------------------------
	# Randomize Storage-Level Corruption Guard
	if ($RandomizeStorageLevelCorruptionGard -eq $True) {
 
		# Set-VBRJobOptions: Applies custom job settings. Acts like a catch all for settings not in other Veeam 9 PowerShell Cmdlets.
 
		# Get current job settings
		$jobOptions = Get-VBRJobOptions $job
 
		# Define new randomized job settings
		$jobOptions.GenerationPolicy.RecheckDays = Get-Random -Input "Sunday","Monday","Tuesday","Wednesday","Thursday","Friday","Saturday"
		$jobOptions.GenerationPolicy.RecheckBackupMonthlyScheduleOptions.DayNumberInMonth = Get-Random -Input "First","Second","Third","Fourth","Last"
		$jobOptions.GenerationPolicy.RecheckBackupMonthlyScheduleOptions.DayOfWeek = Get-Random -Input "Sunday","Monday","Tuesday","Wednesday","Thursday","Friday","Saturday"
		$jobOptions.GenerationPolicy.RecheckBackupMonthlyScheduleOptions.Months = $EveryMonthOfYear
 
		# Apply these additional Backup Mode settings
		Set-VBRJobOptions -Job $job -Options $jobOptions | Out-Null
 
	}
 
	#--------------------------------------------------------------------
	# Randomize Full Backup File Maintenance
	if ($RandomizeFullBackupFileMaintenance -eq $True) {
 
		# Set-VBRJobOptions: Applies custom job settings. Acts like a catch all for settings not in other Veeam 9 PowerShell Cmdlets.
 
		# Get current job settings
		$jobOptions = Get-VBRJobOptions $job
 
		# Define new randomized job settings
		$jobOptions.GenerationPolicy.CompactFullBackupDays = Get-Random -Input "Sunday","Monday","Tuesday","Wednesday","Thursday","Friday","Saturday"
		$jobOptions.GenerationPolicy.CompactFullBackupMonthlyScheduleOptions.DayNumberInMonth = Get-Random -Input "First","Second","Third","Fourth","Last"
		$jobOptions.GenerationPolicy.CompactFullBackupMonthlyScheduleOptions.DayOfWeek = Get-Random -Input "Sunday","Monday","Tuesday","Wednesday","Thursday","Friday","Saturday"
		$jobOptions.GenerationPolicy.CompactFullBackupMonthlyScheduleOptions.Months = $EveryMonthOfYear
 
		# Apply these additional Backup Mode settings
		Set-VBRJobOptions -Job $job -Options $jobOptions | Out-Null
 
	}
 
	#--------------------------------------------------------------------
	# Randomize Periodically Every X Minutes
	if ($RandomizePeriodicallyEvery -eq $True) {
 
		# Create a new job schedule
		$jobScheduleOptions = Get-VBRJobScheduleOptions -Job $job
 
		# Disable Other Schedules
		$jobScheduleOptions.OptionsDaily.Enabled = $false
		$jobScheduleOptions.OptionsMonthly.Enabled = $false
		$jobScheduleOptions.OptionsContinuous.Enabled = $false
 
		# Enable Periodically Schedule
		$jobScheduleOptions.OptionsPeriodically.Enabled = $true
 
		# Configure Periodic Schedule in Minutes (0 = Hours, 1 = Minutes)
		$jobScheduleOptions.OptionsPeriodically.Kind = 1
 
		# Generate random number for FullPeriod (Minimum and Maximum variables are defined above)
		$RandomFullPeriod = Get-Random -Minimum $RandomFullPeriodMinimum -Maximum $RandomFullPeriodMaximum
 
		# Create a random FullPeriod offset
		$jobScheduleOptions.OptionsPeriodically.FullPeriod = $RandomFullPeriod
 
		# Do some math to randomly stagger the NextRun (future), while correctly calculating the FullPeriod difference
		$RandomlyStagger			= Get-Random -Minimum 1 -Maximum $RandomFullPeriod
		$jobScheduleOptions.NextRun	= ($jobScheduleOptions.LatestRunLocal).AddMinutes($RandomlyStagger)
 
		# Apply the new job schedule
		Set-VBRJobScheduleOptions -Job $job -Options $jobScheduleOptions | Out-Null
 
	}
 
	#--------------------------------------------------------------------
	# Randomize Time Periods schedule (e.g. midnight "run all jobs" avoidance)
	if ($RandomizeTimePeriods -eq $True) {
 
		# Create a new job schedule
		$jobScheduleOptions = Get-VBRJobScheduleOptions -Job $job
 
		# Generate random Midnight Delay (Schedule Denied) for each day. Variables up to $RandomMidnightDelay6Hours are already created above.
		$RandomMidnightDelaySun = Get-Random $RandomMidnightDelay0Hours,$RandomMidnightDelay1Hours,$RandomMidnightDelay2Hours,$RandomMidnightDelay3Hours,$RandomMidnightDelay4Hours
		$RandomMidnightDelayMon = Get-Random $RandomMidnightDelay0Hours,$RandomMidnightDelay1Hours,$RandomMidnightDelay2Hours,$RandomMidnightDelay3Hours,$RandomMidnightDelay4Hours
		$RandomMidnightDelayTue = Get-Random $RandomMidnightDelay0Hours,$RandomMidnightDelay1Hours,$RandomMidnightDelay2Hours,$RandomMidnightDelay3Hours,$RandomMidnightDelay4Hours
		$RandomMidnightDelayWed = Get-Random $RandomMidnightDelay0Hours,$RandomMidnightDelay1Hours,$RandomMidnightDelay2Hours,$RandomMidnightDelay3Hours,$RandomMidnightDelay4Hours
		$RandomMidnightDelayThu = Get-Random $RandomMidnightDelay0Hours,$RandomMidnightDelay1Hours,$RandomMidnightDelay2Hours,$RandomMidnightDelay3Hours,$RandomMidnightDelay4Hours
		$RandomMidnightDelayFri = Get-Random $RandomMidnightDelay0Hours,$RandomMidnightDelay1Hours,$RandomMidnightDelay2Hours,$RandomMidnightDelay3Hours,$RandomMidnightDelay4Hours
		$RandomMidnightDelaySat = Get-Random $RandomMidnightDelay0Hours,$RandomMidnightDelay1Hours,$RandomMidnightDelay2Hours,$RandomMidnightDelay3Hours,$RandomMidnightDelay4Hours
 
		# Create a random Midnight Delay (Schedule Denied) for the full week
		$RandomMidnightDelay = "<scheduler><Sunday>" + $RandomMidnightDelaySun + "</Sunday><Monday>" + $RandomMidnightDelayMon + "</Monday><Tuesday>" + $RandomMidnightDelayTue + "</Tuesday><Wednesday>" + $RandomMidnightDelayWed + "</Wednesday><Thursday>" + $RandomMidnightDelayThu + "</Thursday><Friday>" + $RandomMidnightDelayFri + "</Friday><Saturday>" + $RandomMidnightDelaySat + "</Saturday></scheduler>"
 
		# Apply the random Midnight Delay (Schedule Denied)
		$jobScheduleOptions.OptionsPeriodically.Schedule = $RandomMidnightDelay
 
		# Apply the new job schedule
		Set-VBRJobScheduleOptions -Job $job -Options $jobScheduleOptions | Out-Null
 
	}
 
	#--------------------------------------------------------------------
	# Randomize Start Time Within An Hour schedule
	if ($RandomizeStartTimeWithinHour -eq $True) {
 
		# Create a new job schedule
		$jobScheduleOptions = Get-VBRJobScheduleOptions -Job $job
 
		# Generate random number for HourlyOffset (Minimum and Maximum variables are defined above)
		$RandomHourlyOffset = Get-Random -Minimum $RandomHourlyOffsetMinimum -Maximum $RandomHourlyOffsetMaximum
 
		# Create a random HourlyOffset
		$jobScheduleOptions.OptionsPeriodically.HourlyOffset = $RandomHourlyOffset
 
		# Apply the new job schedule
		Set-VBRJobScheduleOptions -Job $job -Options $jobScheduleOptions | Out-Null
 
	}
 
	#--------------------------------------------------------------------
	# Randomize Automatic Retry Wait in minutes
	if ($RandomizeAutomaticRetryWait -eq $True) {
 
		# Create a new job schedule
		$jobScheduleOptions = Get-VBRJobScheduleOptions -Job $job
 
		# Generate random number for RetryTimeout (Minimum and Maximum variables are defined above)
		$RandomRetryTimeout = Get-Random -Minimum $RandomRetryTimeoutMinimum -Maximum $RandomRetryTimeoutMaximum
 
		# Create a random RetryTimeout
		$jobScheduleOptions.RetryTimeout = $RandomRetryTimeout
 
		# Apply the new job schedule
		Set-VBRJobScheduleOptions -Job $job -Options $jobScheduleOptions | Out-Null
 
	}
 
	# Report which jobs received these changes
	Write-Host "Changed settings for" $job.Name
 
}
# END foreach loop ###########################
# END Backup Settings Script #################
 
 
#--------------------------------------------------------------------
# Outputs
 
Write-Host "`nProcessing Complete" -ForegroundColor Yellow
 
 
$finishtime = Get-Date -uformat "%m-%d-%Y %I:%M:%S"
Write-Host "`n`n"
Write-Host "********************************************************************************"
Write-Host "$scriptName`t`tFinish Time:`t$finishtime"
Write-Host "********************************************************************************"
 
# Prompt to exit script - This leaves PS window open when run via right-click
Write-Host "`n`n"
Write-Host "Press any key to continue ..." -foregroundcolor Gray
$x = $host.UI.RawUI.ReadKey("NoEcho,IncludeKeyDown")

Lastly, if you want to further stagger your jobs, you could create a Windows Schedule Task to run this script once a month or quarter to further keep your jobs and their settings randomly staggered.