Category Archives: Backup

VCSPs Please Note: Veeam 9.5 RTM to GA Upgrade

A couple of weeks ago Veeam released the RTM Build of Backup & Replication 9.5 to it’s Cloud and Service Provider partners. This was to ensure that any keen early adopters who have Cloud Connect services with VCSP providers are able to backup and replicate without issue when the GA dropped. The GA (build 9.5.0.711) was officially released yesterday and I know of a few keen early clients and partners that have already updated production which is a great testament to the trust people have in the product.

<UPDATE> 

The team have released the Zero Day Update:

This update is provided to enable upgrading existing installations of Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 RTM partner preview (build 9.5.0.580) to generally available version of Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 GA (build 9.5.0.711). This update addresses a number of issues reported by our partners on the preview build.

All new installations should be performed using Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5.0.711 ISO that is available for download starting November 16th, 2016. Please, delete the partner preview build ISO to ensure you don’t accidentally use it in the future.

https://www.veeam.com/kb2189

</UPDATE>

There is a small catch for those VCSPs that have upgraded to the RTM build in that you won’t be able to upgrade directly to the GA build that’s currently on the download site.

There is an important note about this release that specifically affects VCSP partners with Cloud Connect deployments. The GA build (9.5.0.711) is different than the RTM build (9.5.0.580). An update should be available in the next few days for service providers to upgrade their Cloud Connect environments from the RTM to the GA build. In the meantime, these service providers can continue to run the RTM build in their production Cloud Connect environments.

If you try to upgrade you will get the following splash screen. As you can see, there is no upgrade option.

So as mentioned above, there will be a patch update shortly which will be communicated through the VCSP channels and I will look to update this post when it becomes available.

 

Veeam 9.5 – RTM Build Available for VCSPs

Last week (we at) Veeam dropped the RTM build of Veeam 9.5 to it’s Cloud Service Provider partners. As a VCSP partner you need to be ready for the v9.5 GA date (at this stage set for mid November) to ensure that any keen early adopters who have Cloud Connect services with providers are able to backup and replicate without issue. VSCPs should upgrade their Veeam B&R 9 platforms to v9.5 as soon as possible.

To start with it’s best to have Veeam B&R updated to the latest patch release which is Update 2 Build 1715 and before upgrading to v9.5 it’s best to restart all Veeam services or better yet reboot the Veeam Management Servers…as an extra measure before beginning the upgrade you should disable all jobs and call an outage window so that your customers can pause their jobs.

If you have Enterprise Manager installed you will need to upgrade that first…notice below that the only available option is to upgrade Enterprise Manager.

This is a very easy upgrade and there isn’t really any gotchyas to get from v9 to v9.5 and the following components will be upgraded.

As this is a point release you will not be asked for a new license and the installer will detect the current license as shown below.

Next, dependancies will be checked and you will be able to install any that are missing.

Once Completed you now have the option to upgrade Backup & Replication. Running through the next next install you get prompted again for the license and the service account password and get warned that the database will be updated.

Once done you are set to update the Cloud Connect components via the updated console interface. On first login it will prompt you to upgrade all components to the their respective 9.5 versions. Any Cloud Gateways, Veeam Proxies, Repository Servers and Network Extension Appliances will be upgraded.

To validate the install and make sure everything is working as expected when its comes to Cloud Connect you should run a test job and make sure it goes through without issue. With full v9 backward compatibility Cloud Connect is ready for the GA release. Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks as I run through the best new features of Veeam 9.5 for VCSPs…there are significant new features and enhancements that extend the platform for VCSPs to take advantage of and offer more services to customers.

Veeam Forums:

I would encourage all VCSPs to keep track of what’s happening in the Veeam Cloud & Service Provider forums as there are already a number of useful posts in there related to the RTM.

https://forums.veeam.com/veeam-cloud-service-providers-forum-f34/

IMPORTANT NOTE:

The product team have built in an important warning that VCSP customers will see if their Service Provider endpoints are not version 9.5. It will show the warning below that the Cloud Connect platform version is not up to date and that performing the update will backup and replication jobs will stop working. Again, this is why it’s critical that all VCSPs upgrade ASAP.

Veeam Top 15 Easy Performance Optimizations

A couple of week ago I participated in the APAC leg of the Top 15 Easy Performance Optimization with Rasmus Haslund looking at how to make Veeam Backup & Replication work more effectively and unleash the full power of the the Veeam platform by working through 15 performance tips that sometimes can be overlooked if left unchecked or not configured out of the box. These included how to use all your CPU power, how to schedule jobs in the right way, taking advantage of scale out backup repositories and other performance optimizations customers can achieve as they deploy new environments or upgrade their existing ones.

At Zettagrid we have been using Veeam as the backup product of choice since going live in 2010 and in that time have been working with Veeam to offer our Image Archive Service which back’s up 1000’s of VMs each day. To keep the backup window in check most of the performance optimizations mentioned in the webinar have been implemented and, together with Rasmus I go through some examples of the impact on individual jobs and the overall efficiencies that allow Veeam to scale as Zettagrid has grown.

View the recording below:

The Slide Deck can be downloaded here.

Like any software, what you get out of the box isn’t always going to offer you optimal performance…Veeam Backup & Replication does work great out of the box, but where is really shines is when you look just under the covers and give it a few tweaks along the way.

There isn’t any doubt that it can scale!

Veeam’s Next Big Thing – Veeam has Arrived!

Today Veeam has made a number of huge announcements around their plans for the future of availability in the form of a live 90 minute keynote where they unveiled their product vision. No less than five huge major products and features where announced that will be released around the time of Veeam 9.5 and anchored by the Veeam Availability Platform for the Hybrid Cloud which focuses on Enterprise Continuity, Workload Mobility and Compliance and Visibility.

Taking a look at the platform stack above it’s clear to see that Veeam is clear in it’s direction in that for the first time there is a clear solution stack that is shown. This signals Veeam’s coming of age and for me, signals that they finally have grown up to be a true leader in the virtualisation, backup and platform management spaces. What is also pleasing to see is that Veeam Cloud Connect underpins the stack to break out backup and replication to public and private clouds.

Key Features and Announcements:

As mentioned there are a number of key features and announcements that where announced.

  • New Veeam Agents: Previously Veeam Endpoint there are new Veeam Agents for Windows and Linux that ensures availability either on premises or offsite to a cloud repository. Having a look at the table below you can see that there are three editions being released that include enterprise features such as application aware processing, flexible scheduling and retention options all while being able to backup directly to Cloud Connect repositories. One of the key points here is that this covers physical workloads as well by way of the Server version!
  • Veeam Backup for Office 365: Yep, backup Office 365 Mailboxes! Mitigate the risks of loosing access to your email data and ensures availability to your users.
  • Enterprise Scalability Features: Scale effectively regardless of the size of your environment or the number of VMs with enhanced processing engines leading to backup and restore acceleration.
  • Advanced ReFS Integration: Greater performance and capacity efficiency for large scale datasets which allow for shorter backup windows, lower storage load, reduced consumption and more reliable forever forward incremental archiving.
  • Veeam One 9.5: Includes new chargeback function for Veeam Cloud Service Providers with the ability to charge for consumed resources that covers vSphere, vCloud Director and Hyper-V.
  • Veeam Availability Orchestrator: Disaster recovery orchestration for the enterprise doing this via defined recovery plans, automated DR Testing for non disruptive disaster recovery testing all while being compliant through built in documenting and and reporting.
  • Veeam Availability Console: A cloud enabled platform for Service Providers and enterprises enabling management of remote offices and giving partners the ability to launch new business through DRaaS and BaaS managed services.
  • V10 Preview: Finally a tease of a v10 feature with IBM storage integration.

A lot of these features attempt to hit the enterprise market directly, while retaining focus on the current addressable market. I’ll update this page a over the next few days with some of the announced release dates for the products and features listed above.

Make no mistake this is huge and Veeam continued to enable customers to consume backup and replication with ease and continues to innovate around brilliantly simple products that just work! As shown below, Veeam has a strong track record of innovating and being first to market.

Looking forward, this is set to continue with the release of Veeam 9.5 and beyond.

Rubrik: Firefly for Physical, RoBo and Multi-Cloud

Rubrik have today announced an expansion to their existing Converged Data Management Backup Appliances adding Cloud Data Management that leverages Rubrik’s data protection that is “Cloudy” and topology agnostic. They have also announced the ability to backup more physical workloads and an virtual appliance for remote or branch offices. They also announced the raising of $61 million in Series C funding led by Khosla Ventures which takes their total in raised funding to $112 million since early 2014 and adds to the impressive list of investors in the startup.

The four main features being added in Firefly are:

  • Physical MSSQL
  • Physical Linux
  • Virtual Appliance
  • Erasure Coding

These additions are now fairly standard in the industry and great to see Rubrik adding them to their arsenal. The MSSQL features installs a connector service that becomes an endpoint that handles communications between the Rubrik brick and MSSQL server. The Linux feature actually covers both physical and virtual Linux severs and provides the ability to restore file systems, paths or files.

The Edge appliance is an OVA deployment of Rubrik for remote or branch offices which can be used to replicate and archive to a physical appliance. Azure blob storage has also been added as an archival location. The erasure coding will deliver approximately 2x capacity and increase storage utilization and efficiency.

This new release builds on the features added in 2.0 like Role Based Access Control which was sorely missed from the original releases. There is also enhanced compliance reporting and log and audit monitoring and have built on their encryption and security features.

Overall more good news from Rubrik and looking forward to seeing them continue to improve and add features during and after VMworld. If you want to know more about Firefly you can book a one on one at the Rubrik booth here.

 

Veeam 9 Update 2 Released – Cloud Connect Enhancements

A couple of weeks ago Veeam Cloud Service Provider would have received an email informing them that Update 2 for Veeam 9 Backup & Replication had been RTM’ed and was available to download for Cloud Connect partners and selected Veeam customers with outstanding support cases. The update introduces a couple of significant feature enhancement for Cloud Connect Replication and a few outstanding bug fixes as well as some updates to the core Backup & Replication product. Update 2 is now generally available and can be downloaded here.

Unlike previous patch releases services providers don’t have to upgrade right away as no matter what…versions of V9 Build 9.0.0.902 or 9.0.0.1491 are compatible with server or client versions of Build 9.0.0.1715 and vice versa. I’d still recommended that VCSPs upgrade as soon as their change processes allows to gain the extra functionality.

Before heading into the Cloud Connect enhancements and fixes, great news for VCSPs running vCloud Director or/and VSAN, with this update bringing compatibility for vCD SP 8.10 and VSAN 6.2.

General Cloud Connect:

Enhancements include improved cloud service stability under heavy load, license expiration grace period functionality works correctly for rental licenses and licensed VM count is now correctly enforced, instead of issuing errors. Update 2 also introduces usage reporting for rental licenses directly from the user interface. This functionality lays groundwork for automated usage reporting in the future and is to be used as a beta initially. VCSPs should if possible, submit usage reports through the user interface and provide feedback. Automated usage reporting functionality is enabled by selecting the “Update license key automatically” check box in the License Information window.

Please note that on the first day of the month, each backup server upgraded to 9.0 Update 2 and operating with a service provider rental license will generate a usage report for the previous month. The report is saved on the backup server (or Enterprise Manager server, if present) for your reference. It can be reviewed and modified as necessary in the first 10 days of the month. After that, if the “Update license key automatically” check box is selected, the backup server (or Enterprise Manager server) will send the report to Veeam. See KB article 2144 for more information).

Cloud Connect Replication

Enhancements include support for Planned Failover functionality whereby tenants can now perform planned failovers to achieve zero data loss for when a disaster can be predicted in advance. There is support for the Network Extension Appliances on Hyper-V and the ability to exclude IP addresses in the service provider side NEA firewall. There where a number of issues addressed for both partial and full site failover functionality and the Network mapping functionality now works correctly when VMware Distributed Virtual Switch are in use.

Overall another solid Update from Veeam that further enhances the industry leading Backup & Replication platform and it’s Cloud Connect Backup and Replication technology.

References:

https://www.veeam.com/kb2147

Sneak Peek – Veeam 9.5 vCloud Director Self Service Portal

Last month Veeam announced that they had significantly enhanced the capabilities around the backup and recovery of vCloud Director. This will give vCloud Air Network Service Providers the ability to tap into a new set of RESTful APIs that adds tenanted, self service capabilities and be able to offer a more complete service that is totally controlled and managed by the vCloud tenant.

As part of the Veeam Vanguard program, I have been given access to an early beta of Veeam v9.5 and have had a chance to take the new functionality for a spin. Given the fact this is an very early beta of v9.5 I was surprised to see that the installation and configuration of the vCloud Director Self Service functionality was straight forward and like most things with Veeam…It just worked.

NOTE: The following is based on an early access BETA and as such features, functions and menu items are subject to change.

Basic Overview:

The new vCloud Director integration lets you back up and restore single VMs, vApps, Organization vDC and whole Organization. This is all done via a web UI based on Veeam Backup Enterprise Manager. Only vCD SP versions are compatible with the feature. Tenants have access to Self-Service web portal where they can manage their vCloud Director jobs, as well as restore VMs, files and application items within their vCloud Director organization.

The Service Provider exposes the following URL to vCD tenants:

https://Enterprise-Manager-IP/vcloud/OrgName:9443

As shown in the diagram below Enterprise Manager than talks to the vCloud Director Cells to authenticate the tenant and retrieve information relating to the tenant vCloud Organization.

Configuring a Tenant Job:

Anyone who is familiar with Veeam will recognize the steps below and the familiar look of the menu options that the Self Service Portal provides. As shown below the landing page once the tenant has authenticated is similar to what you see when logging into Enterprise Manager…in fact the beauty of this portal is that Veeam didn’t have to reinvent the wheel…they just retrofited vCD multi-tenancy into the views.

To configure a job click on the the Jobs Tab and hit the Create Button.

Give the Job a Name and set the number of restore points to keep.

Next select the VMs you want to add to the Job. As mentioned above you can add the whole Org, vDC, vApp and as granular as per VM.

Next select any Guest Processing you want done for Application Aware backups.

And then set the Job Schedule to you liking.

Finally configure email notification

Once that has been done you have the option to Run the Job manually or wait for the schedule to kick in. As you can see below you have a lot of control over the backup job and you can even start Active Full Jobs.

Once a job has been triggered you have access to view logs on what is happening during the backup process. The details is just as you would expect from the Veeam Backup & Recovery Console and keeps tenant’s informed as to the status of their jobs.

More to Come:

There is a lot more that I could post but for the moment I will leave you all with that first sneak peak. Once again Veeam have come to the party in a big way with this feature and every service provider who run vCloud Director should be looking at Veeam 9.5 so as to enhance the value of their IaaS offering.

#LongLivevCD

Veeam Update: Community Podcast from VeeamOn London + Agent for Linux

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be in London attending the Veeam Vanguard Symposium organised and hosted by the Veeam Evangelist Team headed by Rick Vanover. The week was book-ended by the VeeamOn Forum at which I was invited to be part of a panel with other Vanguards hosted by Rick. The discussion was varied and the panel discussed a number of topics relating to backups, cloud, certification and all things Veeam covering multiple technologies ranging from VMware, Microsoft to Hyper-Scale clouds and certifications.

The session was recorded and is now available as a podcast which is embedded below.

Thanks to @Cragdoo @DaveKawula @SuperCristal1@Lost_Signal for making the panel fun and engaging.

Veeam Agent for Linux:

Big news also this week with Veeam releasing the eagerly anticipated public beta for their Linux backup product. This was first announced at VeeamOn in Las Vegas last year and the Vanguards got the low down on the product during the London week..including information about the change of name from Endpoint to Agent. It’s exciting for Veeam to have this as an offering as it acts to complete their existing product set to include native physical or virtual Linux platforms.

Veeam Agent for Linux is a solution that is able to perform image-based backups from inside the guest, both at the file level and the volume level. True incremental backup is enabled by Veeam’s proprietary CBT (change block tracking) driver, a dynamically loadable kernel module

I literally just downloaded and installed in the last five minutes and already have it running on one of my Lab Ubuntu VMs. There are some great applications of this agent when you think about futures around extending the backup repository out to Cloud Connect Backup endpoints. You can’t backup to a Veeam Backup & Repository Server just yet in this beta.

For more information head to the Veeam Blog Post here. And head here to join the public beta.

References:

https://www.veeam.com/blog/veeam-backup-for-linux-beta-is-available.html

https://go.veeam.com/linux

CBT Bugs – VMware Can’t Keep Letting This Happen!

[UPDATE] – VMware have released an official KB for the CBT issue.

Sadly if you recognize the title of this post it’s because this isn’t the first time I’ve felt compelled to write about the continued industry frustration with some repeat ESXi bugs. In February I wrote in general around the recent history of bugs slipping through VMware QA. Four months later and there has been another CBT bug slip through the net…just to reaffirm the core message of my last post I talked about the fact:

There are a number of competing vendors (and industry watchers) waiting to capitalize on any weakness shown in the VMware stack and with the recent number of QA issues leading to a significant bugs popping up not abating, I wonder how much longer VMware can afford to continue to slip up before it genuinely hurts its standing

The one area of absolute concern is the amount of Change Blog Tracking bugs that seems to slip into new builds of ESXi. This time it’s Express Patch 6 for ESXi 6 (Build 3825889) that contains an apparently new symptom of our old friend the CBT Bug. The patch it’s self is a fairly critical one for those running VSAN and VMXNET3 NICs as it addresses some core issues around them but if you use quiesced snapshots duing a VM Backup may have issues with CBT. The vmware.log of a VM being backed up will contain:

vcpu-0| xxxx: SNAPSHOT:SnapshotBranchDisk: Failed to acquire current epoch for disk /vmfs/volumes/
vmdk : Change tracking is not active for this disk xxx.

For a detailed explanation of the issue go to: http://www.running-system.com/take-care-express-patch-6-esxi-6-can-break-backup-cbt-bug/ 

[UPDATE]

VMware Support is aware of this issue and are currently working on it.
This KB article will be updated once the fix for this issue is released.

To work around this issue, apply one of these options:

Again as a Service Provider the CBT bugs are the most worrying because they fundamentally threaten the integrity of backup data which is not something that IT Operation staff or end users who’s data is put at risk should have to worry about and most backup vendor’s use CBT to make backups more efficient. In this case…specifically if you use Veeam the lack of CBT will extend backup windows and increase the chances of VMs not being backed up as expected.

VMware need to continue to nail ESXi (and vCenter) as well as keeping focus on the new products. VSAN, NSX and everything that VMware offers runs on or off of ESXi and though hypervisors are not as front of mind anymore, everything that VMware does relies on ESXi and VMware partners who create products to work with ESXi need it to be stable…especially around backups. Everyone needs to backup with absolute confidence…the more these CBT bugs appear the less confident pundits become…I already hear of people not wanting to go to ESXi 6.0 because of issues like such as this latest one.

That’s not a good place for VMware to be.

Note: I had sat on this post since Friday, but reading through Anton’s Veeam Community Forums Digest this morning where he lamented the lack of QC and repeat issues. He suggest’s that this is the new normal…and that maybe the thing to do is wait and hope for vSphere 6.5…not a good situation. However, like me he also believes that this can be fixed…but it needs to happen before the next release.

References:

https://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2144685

 

 

New Rubrik r528 – Targeting Encrypted Backup Market

Rubrik have today announced an expansion to their existing Converged Data Management Backup Appliances adding the secure backup focused r528 to the rXXX appliances. They have also released version 2.2 of their hardware plus software backup platform which introduces a couple new features to the Rubrik Management UI. The r528 is a targeted shift for Rubrik aimed at looking to secure what was historically a niche part of the backup market but one that has become a more sort after feature so that backups can not only be there for recoverability…but also for security and encryption at rest.

The r528 comes in a 2U Appliance Brik and has 2 nodes per appliance. Each node contains 1xSSD and 6xHDDs of which the drives are rates for FIPS 140-2 L2 Self encryption and U.S Government NIST validated. In addition to that the r528s have all the same great features and interface goodness of the existing Rubrik Briks. Encryption at rest is done via Self-Encrypting Drives (SED) and is completely secure if a drive is removed. The Rubrik Cryptographic Library that secures the data will be certified via the Common Criteria at the EAL2+ level.

Converged Data Management 2.2

As mentioned above, Rubrik have also announced version 2.2 of their software platform which adds a bunch of new features.

  • Enhanced Auto Protect and SLA Inheritance
  • Enhanced Performance Based Throttling Detection
  • Increased Scalability
  • Cluster Policy Enhancements
  • Proxy Connection Support
  • NAT Support for Public Replication
  • Enhanced UI and Management

The new enhancements in 2.2 are more tweaks than new features as you would expect in a point release however it shows that the Rubrik team are listening to their customers as many of the new enhancements where direct requests from existing clients such as the proxy and NAT support as well as the ability with the Cluster Policies to achieve more granular SLAs and set blackout windows and have the ability for a global pause of cluster activity for maintenance tasks.

In terms of scale, Rubrik are now claiming 40 nodes capable of backing up 10,000 VMs under vSphere 6.0 and quicker live mount performance which includes Storage vMotion of VMs to primary storage. They have also introduced better latency monitoring thresholds to avoid possible impact to production workloads.

Overall more good news from Rubrik and certainly an interesting play releasing a specific use case type of appliance in the r528. Looking forward to seeing them continue to improve and add features in the lead up to VMworld.

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FIPS_140-2

http://csrc.nist.gov/groups/STM/cmvp/documents/140-1/140crt/140crt1451.pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evaluation_Assurance_Level#EAL2:_Structurally_Tested

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