Monthly Archives: January 2019

Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 4 – What’s In It For Service Providers

For ten plus years Veeam has continued to develop new innovative features and enhancements supporting our Cloud and Service Provider partners. As I posted earlier this week, there is a proven track record built upon a strong foundation of Veeam technology that backs up our strong leadership position in the Service Provider space. This accelerated in v7 with vCloud Director support…continued with Cloud Connect Backup in v8, Cloud Connect Replication in the v9 release and even more through the Backup and Replication 9.5 releases and Updates.

In my initial v9.5 Update 4 Top New Features post I covered off new core features and enhancements that are included in Update 4. Specifically there are a number of new features that VCSPs can take advantage of…

Over the next few weeks I am going to deep dive into each of the features listed above as they all deserve their own dedicated blog posts. With a release as huge as this, there is no shortage of content that can be created off the back up Update 4!

Beyond the core enhancements, there are also a significant number of general enhancements that are referenced in the What’s New Document. I’ve gone through that document and pulled out the ones that relate specifically to Cloud and Service Provider operations for those running IaaS and B/R/DRaaS offerings.

  • Maximum supported individual disk size and backup file size have been increased 10 times. With the default 1MB block size, the new theoretical VBK format maximums are 120TB for each disk in backup. Tested maximum is 100TB for both individual disks and backup files.
  • Optimized backup job initialization and finalization steps, resulting in up to 50% times faster backups of small VMs
  • Added experimental support for block cloning on deduplicated files for Windows Server 2019 ReFS
  • vPower NFS write cache performance has been improved, significantly improving I/O performance of instantly recovered VMs and making a better use of SSD drives often dedicated by customers to write cache.
  • vPower NFS scalability has been improved to more efficiently leverage expanded I/O capacity of scale-out backup repository for increased number of VMs that can be running concurrently
  • Support for Paravirtual SCSI controllers with more than 16 disks attached
  • Added JSON support
  • Added RESTful API coverage for viewing and managing agent-based jobs and their backups
  • Added the ability to export the selected restore point of a particular object in the backup job as a standalone full backup file (VBK)
  • Added ability to instantly publish a point-in-time state of any backed-up database to the selected SQL Server for dev/test purposes by running the database directly from the backup file
  • Added the ability to export a point-in-time state of any backed up database to a native SQL Server backup (.BAK file) to simplify the process of providing the database backup to SQL developers, BaaS clients or Microsoft Support
  • Added the ability to schedule Active Full backups on a particular day of the month, as opposed to just weekdays
  • Instant recovery of agent backups to a Hyper-V VM now support Windows 10 Hyper-V as the target hypervisor. This is particularly useful for managed service providers by enabling them to create low-cost all-in-one BCDR appliances to deploy at their clients’ premises.

What I pulled out above is just a small subset of all the general enhancements in Update 4. For Cloud Connect, there is a Post in the Veeam Forums here that goes through specific new features and enhancements in greater detail as well as fixes and known issues.

Stay tuned for future posts on the core new features and enhancements in Update 4 for Veeam Cloud and Service Providers.

References:

https://www.veeam.com/kb2878

http://www.veeam.com/veeam_backup_9_5_whats_new_wn.pdf

http://www.veeam.com/veeam_backup_9_5_u4_release_notes_rn.pdf

Veeam for Service Providers…Ten Plus Years of Innovation!

I remember the day I first came across Veeam. It was mid 2010 and I was working for Anittel at the time. We had a large virtualisation platform that hosted a number of high profile sites including a well known e-commerce site. There had been a serious data breach on one of those site and we were required by the Australian Federal Police to restore the website logs from a couple weeks back when the breach had first taken place.

We were using a well known product at the time to backup our vSphere platform and from the outside everything seemed ok. All backup reports where green and we thought the backups where verified. To cut a long and painful story short, when we came to restore the website logs we found that the backups had not worked as expected and we couldn’t retrieve data off a secondary partition due to a huge unknown bug in the software.

That was the end for that backup application (and interestingly enough they went out of business a few years later) and that afternoon we downloaded Veeam Backup & Replication v4 and went to work pushing that out into production. We (and I have) never looked back from there. Veeam did in fact Just Work! At that stage there were enough features in the software to cover all of the requirements for a VMware based hosting platform, and over the years as v5 and v6 were released more and more features and enhancements were released that made Veeam even better service providers.

By the time I left Anittel and headed to Zettagrid, Veeam had introduced more innovative features like Instant VM Recovery, vCloud Director Support, Cloud Connect Backup, the Scale Out Backup Repository just to name a few. In fact Veeam impressed me so much with their Service Provider features that I joined the company where I now focus my time on working with Service Providers as part of the Veeam Product Strategy Team focusing on our cloud and service providers products and features.

While I could bang on about all the features that Veeam has released over the years to enable us to become a significant player in the Cloud and Service Provider space, a picture tells a thousand words…and an interactive timeline showing just how innovative and focused Veeam has been on enabling our Cloud and Service Provider partners to succeed is priceless!

No other vendor has this track record of producing specific Cloud and Service Provider features and enhancements over the years and as you can see over the last three to five years we have moved with the industry to continue innovating in the cloud space by accelerating feature development and bringing great technology to the market.

If you are a Cloud and Service Provider and not using Veeam…what are you waiting for?

https://anthonyspiteri.net/veeam-vcsp-reverse-roadmap/

Update 4 Launch Event Video and Recap Links

Yesterday we officially launched Update 4 for Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 along with Veeam ONE and updated Veeam Agents for Windows and Linux. We had a live launch event streamed from our Velocity partner event which can be viewed below. For those interested in what is contained within this release, it’s worth a view to get an understanding of some of the key features of Update 4 as as well as see a couple of live demos we did on main stage.

3:57 – Ratmir Timashev Intro
11:20 – Danny Allan and Anton Gostev Intro
20:30 – Anthony Spiteri Cloud Tier Demo
38:06 – Michal Cade Staged and Secure Restore Demo
47:35 – Rick Vanover Veeam ONE Demo

Michael Cade and I also where guests on the Virtually Speaking podcast yesterday where we went into a little depth around Cloud Tier, Datalabs and Service Provider enhancements in Update 4.

https://blogs.vmware.com/virtualblocks/2019/01/22/vspeaking-podcast-veeam-availability-suite-9-5-u4-for-vmware/

Other Launch Posts:

Veeam Executive Blog – Danny Allan

My Top Three Favorite Veeam 9.5 Update 4 Features – Melissa Palmer

Storage Review

TechTarget

Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 4 – Top New Features

Today Veeam made Generally Available Update 4 for Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 (Build 9.5.4.2615) and with it comes a ton of very anticipated new features and enhancements. Don’t let the Update part fool you…this is a very significant release for us and is worthy of a full new version release. There is a huge focus on cloud and service providers in Update 4 and in my opinion this release contains some of the most innovative technology we have released in years.

Together with Update 4 we have also released:

As mentioned Update 4 is a significant update and contains a number of enhancements and fixes with a lot of those enhancements aimed at improving the scalability of our flagship Backup & Replication platform. However it’s the new features of the platform that steal the show.

The biggest and most anticipated feature is Cloud Tier…which is an extension of the Scale Out Backup Repository that takes advantage of Object Storage which ultimately looks to increase the scalability of backup repositories while reducing a lot of the headaches that come with managing the ever increasing growth of data. Note that this isn’t an archive solution…we have extended SOBR to be a tiered storage platform that intelligently moves blocks of data from local to offsite storage and back

Next, we have extended our Direct Restore technology to now enable recovery of workloads into Amazon EC2 and Azure Stack. The Amazon EC2 restore functionally has been eagerly anticipated and it works towards achieving our goal of enabling our customers with Cloud Mobility. Together with N2WS, we now can complete the loop (albeit through seperate platforms for the moment) for the backup and recovery of EC2 workloads. Cloud Mobility also allows for the migration of workloads between platforms

Further to those headline features we have added offical support for vSphere 6.7 Update1 and vCloud Director 9.5 as well as Windows Server 2019.

Below are the other major features and enhancements included in Update 4.

When is comes to the agents you can now do backup mapping for seeding and restore from backup copies. For VMware there is a significant fix for a condition which reset CBT data for all disks belonging to a VM rather than just the resized disk and there is support again for non encrypted NDB transport.

With regards to the new features and enhancements for VCSPs…as listed above, there are some huge additions in Update 4 which is worthy of a What’s In it For Service Provider Post. i’ll put that together over the next few days and I will be deep diving into a number of features over the upcoming weeks. I did touch on a few of them in the Update 4 RTM post here.

For a full list check out the release notes below and download the update here.

References:

https://www.veeam.com/kb2878

Veeam Velocity 2019 – Update 4 Launch and Innovation Awards

This time next week we will be well into Veeam Velocity 2019. In previous years, this event acts as our global sales kick off however this year we have incorporated partners into the event and will be using it as a platform to launch the next major version of our Veeam Availability Suite. Specifically we are launching Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 4 which includes a ton of new features and enhancements to our platform and I can truly say that we have raised the bar when it comes to innovation in the availability space.

There are a number of internal and partner related sessions happening over the three days with the highlight being the offical Launch Event for the Veeam Availability Suite 9.5 Update 4. This will be live streamed from the event and you can register to view the stream here. During the event I will be on stage with other members of the Veeam Product Strategy team where we will be showing live demo’s of some of the key new features of Update 4.

For those attending, you can view all sessions and build your session schedule through the Velocity 2019 app. You can find the app on the Google Play or Apple App Store by searching “CrowdCompass AttendeeHub” in the store. Download the app then search for Velocity 2019!

You can access the online version of the app here.

Veeam Innovation Awards @ Velocity 2019

At Velocity 2019 will host the second edition of our VIAs for partners. The Veeam Innovation Awards program seeks to celebrate Veeam partners who are thinking differently about IT as a key strategic component to meet the demands of today’s business. Similar to the first VIAs held at VeeamON 2018 last year, the second iteration of the awards heavily features VCSPs who consistently lead the way when it comes to pushing the boundaries of innovation in our space.

This time around we have already announced the main prize winners:

  • iLand
  • Offsite Data Sync
  • PhoenixNAP
  • Zettagrid

What we are doing for Velocity is announcing a best of show by way of having the public vote on each of the winners video submission which effectively go through each of their own innovative technology solutions and pitch their solutions to the voting audience. The voting is only open until this Friday, so I would encourage all people who work in and around Veeam to cast their vote.

References:

https://www.veeam.com/blog/join-veeam-launch-event.html

https://go.veeam.com/innovation-awards-2019

What Services Providers Need to Think About in 2019 and Beyond…

We are entering interesting times in the cloud space! We should no longer be talking about the cloud as a destination and we shouldn’t be talking about how cloud can transform business…those days are over! We have entered the next level of adoption whereby the cloud as a delivery framework has become mainstream. You only have to look at what AWS announced last year at Re:Invent with its Outposts offering. The rise of automation and orchestration in mainstream IT also has meant that cloud can be consumed in a more structured and repeatable way.

To that end…where does it leave traditional Service Providers who have for years offered Infrastructure as a Service as the core of their offerings?

Last year I wrote a post on how the the VM shouldn’t  be the base unit of measurement for cloud…and even with some of the happenings since then, I remain convinced that Service Providers can continue to exist and thrive through offering value around the VM construct. Backup and DR as a service remains core to this however and there is ample thirst out there in the market for customers wanting to consume services from cloud providers that are not the giant hyper-scalers.

Almost all technology vendors are succumbing to the reality that they need to extend their own offering to include public cloud services. It is what the market is demanding…and it’s what the likes of AWS Azure, IBM and GCP are pushing for. The backup vendor space especially has had to extend technologies to consume public cloud services such as Amazon S3, Glacier or Azure Blob as targets for offsite backups. Veeam is upping the ante with our Update 4 release of Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 which includes Cloud Tier to object storage and additional Direct Restore capabilities to Azure Stack and Amazon EC2.

With these additional public cloud features, Service Providers have a right to feel somewhat under threat. However we have seen this before (Office 365 for Hosted Exchange as an example) and the direction that Service Providers need to take is to continue to develop offerings based on vendor technologies and continue to add value to the relationship that they have with their clients. I wrote a long time ago when VMware first announced vCloud Air that people tend to buy based on relationship…and there is no more trusted relationship than that of the Service Provider.

With that, there is no doubting that clients will want to look at using a combination of services from a number of different providers. From where I stand, the days of clients going all in with one provider for all services are gone. This is an opportunity for Service Providers to be the broker. This isn’t a new concept and plenty of Service Providers have thought about how they themselves leverage the Public Cloud to not only augment their own backend services, but make them consumable for their clients via there own portals or systems.

With all that in mind…in my opinion, there are five main areas where Service Providers need to be looking in 2019 and beyond:

  1. Networking is central this and the most successful Service Providers have already worked this out and offer a number of different networking services. It’s imperative that Service Providers offer a way for clients to go beyond their own networks and have the option to connect out to other cloud networks. Telco’s and other carriers have built amazing technology frameworks based on APIs to consume networking in ways that mean extending a network shouldn’t be thought of as a complex undertaking anymore.
  2. Backup, Replication and Recovery is something that Service Providers have offered for a long time now, however there is more and more completion in this area today in the form of built in protection at the application and hardware level. Where providers have traditionally excelled at is a the VM level. Again, that will remain the base unit of measurement for cloud moving forward, but Service Providers need to enhance their BaaS, R/DRaaS offerings for them to remain competitive. Leveraging public cloud to gain economies of scale is one way to enhance those offerings.
  3. Gateway Services are a great way to lock in customers. Gateway services are typically those which a low effort for both the Service Provider and client alike. Take the example of Veeam’s Cloud Connect Backup. It’s a simple service to setup at both ends and works without too much hassle…but there is power for the Service Provider in the data that’s being transferred into their network. From there auxiliary services can be offered such as recovery or other business continuity services. It also leads into discussions about Replication services which can be worked into the total service offering as well.
  4. Managed Services is the one thing that the hyper-scalers can’t match Service Providers in and it’s the one thing that will keep all Service Providers relevant. I’ve mentioned already the trusted advisor thought process in the sales cycle. This is all about continuing to offer value around great vendor technologies that aims to secure the Service Provider to client relationship.
  5. Developing a Channel is central to be able to scale without the need to add resources to the business. Again, the most successful Service Providers all have Channel/Partner program in place and it’s the best way to extend that managed service, trusted provider reach. I’ve seen a number of providers not able to execute on a successful channel play due to poor execution, however if done right it’s one way to extend that reach to more clients…staying relevant in the wake of the hyper-scalers.

This isn’t a new Differentiate or Die!? message…it’s one of ensuring that Service Providers continue to evolve with the market and with industry expectation. That is the only way to thrive and survive!

vExpert 2019 – Why The vCommunity is Still Important to me.

Overnight, applications for the 2019 VMware vExperts where opened up and as per usual it’s created a flurry of activity on social media channels and well as private communications such as the vExpert Slack. There is no doubting that IT professionals still hold the vExpert award in high regard…though it’s also true that others have bemoaned (included myself at times) an apparent decline of its relevance over the past few years. That said it still generates lots of interest and the program is still going strong more than a decade since its inception in 2009.

The team running the program within VMware are no doubt looking to re-invigorate the program by emphasising the importance of being thorough in the 2019 application and to not do the bare minimum when it comes to filling out the application. The Application Blog Post clearly sets out what is required for a successful application in any of the qualification paths and there is even an example application that has been created.

Getting back to the title of the post and why the vExpert Award is still important for me…I think back over the years as to what the program has allowed me to achieve both directly and indirectly. Directly, it’s allowed me to network with a brilliant core group of like minded experts and with that allowed me to expand my own personal reach around the vCommunity. It’s also allowed me to grow as an IT Professional through the interactions with others in the program which has enabled me to expand my skills and knowledge on VMware technologies and beyond.

In additional to that, as I work in the vendor space these days and help with an advocacy program of our own…I’ve come to realise the importance that grass roots communities play in the overall health of vendors. When you take your eye off the rank and file, the coal face…whatever you want to call it…there is a danger that your brand will suffer. That is to say, never underestimate the power of the vCommunity as major influences.

And for the knockers…Those that have been in the program for a long time should try to understand that there are others that might have had failed applications, or others that are just learning about what being in a vCommunity is all about and are applying for the first time. Just because one may feel a sense of entitlement due to longevity in the program there are others that are desperate to get in and reap the rewards and for this, I still see the program as being absolutely critical to those that work in and around VMware technologies.

VMware technology is still very much relevant and therefore the communities that are built around those technologies much remain viable as places where members can interact, share, contribute and grow as IT professionals.

To that end, being a member of the vExpert program remains critical to me as I continue my career as an IT professional…have you thought about what it means to you?

References: 

https://blogs.vmware.com/vexpert/2019/01/07/vexpert-2019-applications-are-open/

VCSP Important Notice: 9.5 Update 4 RTM Is Out…With vCloud Director Replication Support and more!

Today, Veeam has made available to our VCSP partners the RTM of Update 4 for Backup & Replication 9.5 (Build 9.5.4.2399). Update 4 is what we term a breaking update, meaning that if a Cloud Connect tenant upgrades from any previous 9.5 version before VCSPs this will break backup or replication functionality. With that in mind the RTM has been made available for our VCSP partners to ensure it is installed and tested before being pushed out to production before the GA release.

Veeam Backup & Replication releases from 9.0 (build 9.0.0.1715) can write backups via Cloud Connect to a cloud repository on 9.5 Update 4. For Cloud Connect Replication, existing Hardware Plan based replicas can go to a cloud host on 9.5 Update 4. To take advantage of the new vCloud Director based replication, tenants need to also be on Update 4.

As I detailed yesterday, there are a number of updates that need to be applied to Veeam ONE, Veeam Availability Console and Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365.

VCSP Features and Enhancements:

Update 4 is a very significant update and contains a number of enhancements and known issue fixes with a lot of those enhancements aimed at improving the scalability of the Backup & Replication platform that VCSPs can take advantage of. One important note is around the new Instance-based licensing model that all VCSPs should be aware of. There is an initial guide here, information in the VCSP Forums and there will be emails sent to explain the changes.

  • vCloud Director support – Massive Feature Enhancement! Simplifies setting up Veeam based DRaaS for Service Provides with vCD, and enhances tenants experience with additional capabilities provided by vCD
  • Capacity Tier – Move tenant’s backup files as they age out of operational restore window to a cheaper storage – AWS S3, Azure Blob or on premises object storage
  • Gateway pools – Create and assign pools of cloud gateways to the tenants
  • Tenant to tape jobs – Cloud Connect backups can be written to tape with the hand of GFS media pool and Backup to Tape jobs
  • Tenant-driven password change – Tenants can now change the password they use to connect to the service provider by editing one on the registered service provider
  • Platform Support – vCloud Director 9.5, VMware 6.7 Update 1 and Windows 2019 (1809) support.

There has also been a lot of work to improve and enhance scalability in the Backup & Replication Cloud Connect functionality to accomodate the increasing usage of Veeam Agent for Windows and Linux of which there is a new version (3.0) coming at the same time of Update 4 GA. For Veeam Availability Console, Update 4 will be taken advantage of fully in the upcoming major release a little later after the Update 4 GA.

Conclusion:

Once again, Update 4 for Veeam Backup & Replication is an important update to apply for VCSPs running Cloud Connect services in preparation for the GA release which will happen in about two weeks at our Velocity event. Once released I’ll link to the VeeamKB for a detailed look at the fixes but for the moment, if you have the ability to download the update do so and have it applied to your instances. For more info in the RTM, head to the VCSP Forum post here.

Important Updates for VAC, VBO and Veeam ONE … Update 4 is Coming!

Things are moving here at Veeam with the impending release of Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 4. In preparation for the release there have been a number of update patches released for our supporting platform products. Importantly for our Veeam Cloud and Service Providers who are expected to receive RTM details any day now, it’s important to understand that the following patches need to be applied ASAP before your main IaaS Veeam or Cloud Connect instances are updated to Update 4.

https://www.veeam.com/kb2832 – Veeam ONE
https://www.veeam.com/kb2835 – Veeam Availability Console
https://www.veeam.com/kb2809 – Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

For Veeam ONE there is a little manual work to be done by way of an MSSQL script. If not executed before Update 4 is deployed, Veeam Cloud Connect monitoring and reporting in Veeam ONE 9.5 Update 3 will stop working.

For Veeam Availability Console,

the patch update is a Cumulative Patch for Update 1 of 2.0. This adds immediate compatibility support for Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 4 as well as Cloud Connect 9.5 Update 4 compatibility support which is how VAC does it’s communicating between the server instance and remote sites for monitoring and management of remote Backup Servers and Agents. Note that there are new features in Update 4 which will not be supported in this version of VAC…the next major release of VAC will add supportability for those features not supported.

As well as the Update 4 compatibility, there are also a number of resolved issues, the full list of which can be viewed in the VeeamKB. To apply the patch, head to the VeeamKB and follow the instructions. You need to have at least VAC 2.0 Update 1 Build 2.0.2.1750 as shown below.

From there, make sure you have a backup of the database, close down the Web UI and execute all three MSI packages as administrator on the server.

Once completed the patches are applied and VAC 2.0 Update 1 is up to date running on version number Server Version 2.0.2.1913. Note that updated Windows for Agent Builds have been pushed out and can be upgraded as per my post a few months back.

For Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365,

It’s important to note that standalone instances and also those installed ontop of instances with Veeam Backup & Replication Update 4, which would be most VCSPs who are utilising the Self Service feature through Cloud Connect need to be updated. DO NOT install on those running Update 3 or 3a. You need to running at least 2.0.0.567 or 2.0.0.594 before installing this cumulative patch before updating.

Like the Update patch for VAC, this is a Cumulative Patch and also includes a number of important resolved issues relating to SharePoint and OneDrive, Exchange Online, restore operations and general server fixes. The full list can be found in the Resolved Issues section of the VeeamKB. For those with tenants that run the Explorers for Exchange or SharePoint seperate to an installation of Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 or those running pre Update 4 versions, there are also upgrades for both contained in the patch release.

All set for Update 4!

With all that in place, VCSPs should be ready to deploy the RTM of Update 4 when it becomes available. Stay tuned for more information on that front. There is lots to love about Update 4 for Service Providers and customers alike!