Monthly Archives: November 2019

Heading to Tech Field Day 20 #TFD20

I’m currently sitting in my hotel room in sunny sunny San Jose. Today and tomorrow will be spent finishing off preparations for Tech Field Day 20. This will be my second Tech Field Day event following up from Cloud Field Day 5 in April. #TFD20 is the 10th year anniversary of Tech Field day and with that there is special significance being placed on this event which adds added excitement to the fact that I’m presenting with my fellow Product Strategy team members, Michael Cade and Rick Vanover.

Veeam at Tech Field Day 20

Once again, this is an important event for us at Veeam as we are given the #TFD stage for two hours on the Wednesday morning as we look to talk about what’s coming in our v10 release… and beyond. We have crafted the content with the delegates in mind and focused on core data protection functionality that looks to protect organizations from modern attacks and data loss.

For Michael, Rick and myself we will be focusing on reiterating what Veeam has done in leading the industry for a number of years in innovation while also looking at the progress we have made in recent times in transitioning to a true software defined, hardware agnostic platform that offers customers absolute choice.

The Veeam difference also lies in the way in which we release ready, stable and reliable solutions that are developed in innovative ways that are outside of the norm in the backup industry. What we will be showing on Wednesday, I believe, will highlight that as one of our strongest selling points.

Veeam are presenting at 10am (Pacific Time) Wednesday 13th November 2019

I am looking forward to presenting to all the delegates as well as those who join via the livestream.

v10 Enhancements – Downloading Object Storage Data per Tenant for SOBR

Version 10 of Veeam Backup & Replication isn’t too far away and we are currently in the middle of a second private BETA for our customers and partners. There has been a fair bit of content released around v10 functionality and features from our Veeam Vanguard’s over the past couple of weeks and as we move closer to GA, as par of the lead up, I am doing a series on some of the cool new enhancements that are coming as part of the release. These will be quick short takes that give a glimpse into what’s coming as part of the v10 release.

Downloading Tenant Data from SOBR Capacity Tier

Cloud Tier was by far the most significant feature of Update 4 for Backup & Replication 9.5 and we have seen the consumption of Object Storage in AWS, Azure and other platforms grow almost exponentially since its release. Our VCSPs have been looking to take advantage of the MOVE functionality that came in Update 4, but have also requested a way to pull back offloaded data from the Capacity Tier back to the Performance Tier on a per tenant basis.

The use case for this might be for tenant off-boarding, or migration of backup data back onsite. In any case our VCSPs needed a way to get the data back and rehydrate the VBK files and remove the data from Object Storage. In this quick post I’ll show how this is achieved through the UI.

First, looking at the image below you can see that there are a couple of dehydrated VBK files that belong to a specific tenant Cloud Connect Backup job are no bigger than 17MB as they site next to ones that are about 1GB.

To start a Download job, we have the option to click on the Download icon in the Tenant ribbon, or right right clicking on the tenant account and select Download

There will be an information box appear letting you know that there is a backup chain on the performance extent and the disk space required to download the other backup data back to the performance tier from the capacity tier The SOBR Download job progress can be tracked
When completed we can see details of the download from Object Storage to the Performance Tier. In the example below a lot of the blocks that where present in the Performance Tier where used to rehydrate the previously offloaded VBKs. This new feature is leveraging the Intelligent Block Recovery to save on egress and also reduce download time. Going back to the file view, the previously smaller 17MB VBKs have been rehydrated to their previous size and we have all the tenant’s data back on the Performance Tier ready to be accessed.

Wrap Up:

That was a quick look at one of the cool smaller enhancements coming in v10. The ability to download data on a per tenant based from the Capacity Tier back to the Performance Tier is one that I know our VCSPs will be happy with.

Stay tuned over the next few weeks as I go through some more hidden gems.

Disclaimer: The information and screen shots in this post is based on BETA code and may be subject to change come final GA.

vCloud Director is no more… Long Live vCD! [VMware Cloud Director Service for VMC]

There was a very significant announcement at VMworld Barcelona overnight, with the unveiling of a new service targeted at Managed Service Providers. VMware Cloud Director Service (CDS) looks to leverage a hosted SaaS based instance of vCloud Director to offer multi-tenancy on VMware Cloud on AWS. The VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC becomes the provider and MSPs can look to more efficiently consume VMC resources and expand as more capacity is required.

Daniel Paluszek has written a great overview blog post about what the service is, it’s key value points and some questions and answers that those in the VMware Cloud Provider Program may have. I’m personally looking forward to trying out the service myself and start looking at the data protection scenarios that can be supported.

They Said it Would Never Happen:

Back in 2016 when VMware first announced VMware Cloud on AWS, I saw the potential straight away and what it could mean for (at the time vCloud Air) VMware Cloud Provider Partners to extend their Provider vDCs to one that was backed by VMC.

At the time I hacked together what I saw to be the future.

This isn’t quite what this newly announced solution is and it will be interesting to see if VMware eventually allow SP based vCD installs to go out and source a VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC as a Provider of its own. I was told by a number of people that vCD would never be used with VMC…

Further improving on vCloud Directors maturity and extensibility, if the much maligned UI is improved as promised…with the upcoming addition of full NSX integration completing the network stack, the next step in greater adoption beyond the 300 odd vCAN SPs currently use vCloud Director needs a hook…and that hook should be VMWonAWS.

Time will tell…but there is huge potential here. VMware need to deliver to their partners in order to have that VMWonAWS potential realised.

That said, vCloud Director has evolved tremendously since then and delivered on almost everything that I was after at the time. This seems to be the last piece of the puzzle … though given that the actual Cloud Direct Service is delivered aaS does have me worried a little bit in terms of the ghosts of vCloud Air past.

Targeting MSPs over SPs:

I’ve already had some conversations as to who this new Cloud Director SaaS offering might be targeting. While I need to find out more information, it seems as though the main target of the service initially are MSPs. Depending on where you come from the definition of an MSP will differ to that of an SP. In some regions they are one and the same, however in the North American market an MSP would leverage an SP to offer infrastructure or software as a service.

Which every way you look at it, there is now the ability to spin up an instance of vCD that is managed and have that abstract resources that are in VMware Cloud on AWS. In a way this may lead some MSPs to ditch existing reseller relationships with existing VCPPs offering IaaS with vCD and go direct to VMware to have an end to end managed multi-tenant service and a direct reseller agreement with VMware.

Again, I need some more information before passing judgement and seeing how this fits into existing VCPP service offerings. Obviously the ability for existing VCPPs to land and expand into any VMC enabled AWS Region with this new service is significant also… but will they be able to use their existing provisioning and automation tools with the new service… and will the SaaS based version of Cloud Director be first to market with new features, followed by the VCPP versions?

Dropping the little v:

When VMware acquired Lab Manager and turned it into vCloud Director in 2010 it was hard to envision that the platform would still be going strong nearly ten years later. It’s now stronger that ever and set to go through its next evolution with the platform looking to extend beyond traditional vSphere IaaS based platforms… this explains why the little v has been dropped. We are not just talking about vCloud anymore… The premise is that Cloud Director will span multiple cloud and multiple platforms.

Be interesting to see when the name change takes place for the main product line that’s offered to VMware Cloud Providers… for the time being, it will still be vCD to me!

#LongLivevCD
#VCDpowered

References:

https://cloudsolutions.vmware.com/bite-sized-vmc

VMware Cloud Director – A New Day.

Public Beta – Backup for Microsoft Office 365 v4

Overnight at Microsoft Ignite, we announced availability of the Public Beta for the next version of Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365. This is again a much awaited update for VBO with a ton of enhancements and the introduction of Object Storage Support for Backup Repositories. The product has done extremely well and is one of our fastest growing in the Veeam Availability Platform. The reason for this is due to Organizations now understanding the requirements around the backing up of Office 365 data.

Backup for Office 365 3.0 Yes! You Still Need to Backup your SaaS

While we have enhanced a number of features and added some more reporting and user account management options, the biggest addition is the ability to leverage Object Storage to store longer term backup data. This has been a huge request since around version 1.5 of VBO, mainly due to the amount of data that is required to backup Exchange, SharePoint and OneDrive Organizations.

Similar to Cloud Tier in Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 4, the premise of the feature is to release pressure (be it cost, management and maintenance) on local Backup Repositories and offload the bulk of the data to cheaper Object Storage.

There is support in the beta for:

Though similar in name to Cloud Tier in Backup & Replication, the way in which the data is offloaded, stored and referenced in the VBO implementation is vasty different to that of Cloud Tier. As we get to GA for the v4 release there will be more information forthcoming about the underlying mechanics of that.

The Beta is available now and can be installed on a seperate server for side by side testing against Office 365 Organizations. For those looking to test the new functionality before the offical GA later in the year head to the Beta Download page and try it out!

Quick Post: Using Terraform to Deploy an Ansible Control Node on vSphere

In the continuing spirit of Terraforming all things, when I started to look into Ansible I wanted a way to have the base Control Node installed in a repeatable and consistent way. The setup and configuration of Ansible can be tricky and what I learnt in configuring the Ansible Control Node is that there can be a few dependencies that need to be in sync to line everything up. I also wanted to include some other modules and dependancies specifically related to the work that i’ll be doing with Windows Servers.

Requirements:

CentOS Template prepared and ready for deployment form vCenter – see example configuration http://everything-virtual.com/2016/05/06/creating-a-centos-7-2-vmware-gold-template/

The Terraform templates included in this repository requires Terraform to be available locally on the machine running the templates. Before you begin, please verify that you have the following information:

  1. Download Terraform (tested version 0.12.07) binary to your workstation.
  2. Terraform vSphere Provider
  3. Gather the VMware credentials required to communicate to vCenter
  4. Update the variable values in the terraform.tfvars file.
  5. Update the resource values in the main.tf file.

I borrowed some of the steps off Markus Kraus’s great work around configuring his Ansible Development environment. But also had to work against some complications that I had working with my CentOS 7 VMware Template due to Python 2.7x being the default version that comes with that distribution build. I also included the modules for Kerberos authentication when working with Windows Servers connected to Active Directory Domains.

While it wasn’t directly impacting the Playbook’s I was running, I was getting the following warning while running NTLM or Kerberos authentication against any Windows server:

Given that Python 2.7 was set to be unsupported early next year, I was determined to have Ansible running off Python3. The combination and order of Linux packages and dependencies to get that working wasn’t straight forward and as you can see below in the main VM Terraform resource declaration, there are a lot of commands to make that happen.

Terraform Breakdown:

There isn’t a lot to the Terraform code, other than deploying a cloned CentOS 7 Virtual Machine with the configured network setup via the Terraform Guest Customizations. Once the VM has been deployed and configured, the initial package deployment takes place…there are then two seperate configuration scripts which are uploaded and executed via SSH via the remote-exec blocks.

The last remote-exec block is the list of commands that works to install Ansible with PIP and using Phython3.

The final command of the Terraform Plan execution is to list the installed Ansible version.

End to end the deployment takes about 7-8 minutes depending on your storage… Once done we have a fully functional Ansible Control Node ready for automation goodness!

This might seem like a little chicken or the egg… but Terraform and Ansible represent both sides of the IaC spectrum. As I mention in the README.md … time to try work out this Ansible thing out a little more!

References:

Ansible Development environment