Category Archives: General

The Reality of Disaster Recovery Planning and Testing

As recent events have shown, outages and disasters are a fact of life in this modern world. Given the number of different platforms that data sits on today, we know that disasters can equally come in many shapes and sizes and lead to data loss and impact business continuity. Because major wide scale disasters occur way less often than smaller disasters from within a datacenter, it’s important to plan and test cloud disaster recovery models for smaller disasters that can happen at different levels of the platform stack.

Because disasters can lead to revenue, productivity and reputation loss, it’s important to understand that having cloud based backup is just one piece of the data protection puzzle. Here at Veeam, we empower our cloud and service providers to offer services based on Veeam Cloud Connect Backup and Replication. However, the planning and testing of what happens once disaster strikes is ultimately up to either the organizations purchasing the services or the services company offering Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) that is wrapped around backup and replication offerings.

Why it’s Important to Plan:

In theory, planning for a disaster should be completed before selecting a product or solution. In reality, it’s common for organizations to purchase cloud DR services without an understanding of what needs to be put in place prior to workloads being backed up or replicated to a cloud provider or platform. Concepts like recovery time and recovery point objectives (RTPO) need to be understood and planned so, if a disaster strikes and failover has occurred, applications will not only be recovered within SLAs, but also that data on those recovered workloads will be useful in terms of its age.

Smaller RTPO values go hand-in-hand with increased complexity and administrative services overhead. When planning ahead, it’s important to size your cloud disaster platform and build the right disaster recovery model that’s tailored to your needs. When designing your DR plan, you will want to target strategies that relate to your core line of business applications and data.

A staged approach to recovery means that you recover tier-one applications first so the business can still function. A common tier-one application example is the mail server. Another is payroll systems, which could result in an organization being unable to pay its suppliers. Once your key applications and services are recovered, you can move on to recovering data. Keeping mind that archival data generally doesn’t need to be recovered first. Again, being able to categorize systems where your data sits and then working those categories into your recovery plan is important.

Planning should also include specific tasks and controls that need to be followed up on and adhered to during a disaster. It’s important to have specific run books executed by specific people for a smoother failover. Finally, it is critical to make sure that all IT staff know how to accessing applications and services after failover.

Why it’s Important to Test:

When talking about cloud based disaster recovery models, there are a number of factors to consider before a final sign-off and validation of the testing process. Once your plan is in place, test it regularly and make adjustments if issues arise from your tests. Partial failover testing should be treated with the same level of criticality as full failover testing.

Testing your DR plan ensures that business continuity can be achieved in a partial or full disaster. Beyond core backup and replication services testing, you should also test networking, server and application performances. Testing should even include situational testing with staff to be sure that they are able to efficiently access key business applications.

Cloud Disaster Recovery Models:

There are a number of different cloud disaster recovery models, that can be broken down into three main categories:

  • Private cloud
  • Hybrid cloud
  • Public cloud

Veeam Cloud Connect technology works for hybrid and public cloud models, while Veeam Backup & Replication works across all three models. The Veeam Cloud & Service Provider (VCSP) program offers Veeam Cloud Connect backup and replication classified as hybrid clouds offering RaaS (recovery-as-a-service). Public clouds, such as AWS and Azure, can be used with Veeam Backup & Replication to restore VM workloads. Private clouds are generally internal to organizations and leverage Veeam Backup & Replication to replicate or back up or for a backup copy of VMs between datacenter locations.

The ultimate goal here is to choose a cloud recovery model that best suits your organization. Each of the models above offer technological diversity and different price points. They also plan and test differently in order to, ultimately, execute a disaster plan.

When a partial or full disaster strikes, a thoroughly planned and well-tested DR plan, backed by the right disaster recovery model, will help you avoid a negative impact on your organization’s bottom line. Veeam and its cloud partners, service-provider partners and public cloud partners can help you build a solution that’s right for you.

First Published on veeam.com by me – modified and updated for republish today  

In Defence of Qantas Dreamliner’s Premium Economy

I don’t usually use this blog to write about things other than technology but seeing as though a big part of my professional life is spent in the air flying, I felt compelled to write a quick post in rebuttal of this article on Channel News Australia. The blog post in my opinion unfairly paints the Premium Economy seats on the Qantas 787 Dreamliner’s in a bad light and I wanted to share my experience traveling in the seats while countering some of the claims made by the author.

Updated: Qantas Dreamliner Premium Economy Seating Should Face ACCC Probe

Indeed it is a bit dramatic to be calling for ACCC intervention in a case where it is more about ones personal experience over what myself and many think to be one of the best flying experiences that exists in global aviation today. The author has every right to his opinion but the fact is that he was a little short sighted in his review and I felt unnecessarily harsh on the seat… which in turn painted the whole Qantas Premium Economy experience, not as advertised and substandard.

My Experience:

JetItUp tells me that I have been on eight Qantas Dreamliner flights totalling nearly 64 thousand KMs of distance travelled. Of those eight flights, six have been in Premium Economy, one in Business and one in Economy. I’ve sat in a number of different rows and seats on those Premium Economy flights with the latest (flying Perth to London on QF9) being in a similar bulkhead seat (20F) to the one complained about in the article.

While it is not a 100% positive experience being in the Bulkhead seats of the Qantas 787’s… compared to other carriers and other aircrafts, the seats are amazing and allow for maximum comfort for any long haul flight. The service on the Dreamliner’s is impeccable, the food is above average for airline food, the cabin and seats are modern and comfortable. Unlike the other Premium Economy seats I was able to almost sleep flat for most of the 17 hour journey from Perth to London at the bulkhead with the extra leg room.

SeatGuru also lists the bulkhead seats as being highly sought after… of which the only downside on the wings is the proximity to the baby bassinet.

Directly Addressing Some Comments:

Instead of a Premium Economy seat with a screen in front of you and above all a footrest that allow one to stretch out I got bulkhead seat with no screen, along with nowhere to put a pair of headphones or tablet other than on the floor.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that a bulkhead seat doesn’t have a screen in front of it and that it is stowed away inside the seat… this is true of any bulkhead seat in any airline around the world. It is also incorrect that there is no footrest in the bulkhead row (more about that below) and there was more than enough room for me to slide a 13″ MacBook Pro plus some other bits and bob in the pocket at the front

The so called leather and very flexible footrest that the bulk of other Premium Economy passengers are afforded is a footrest which is a hard metal fixture that has a simple extender and a soft mesh centre that results in one having to try and sleep with your knees bent while at the same time trying to prevent the metal bar at the top of the fixture cutting into your feet as you try to sleep.

This is the one section that made me want to write this post. I felt that the flexible footrest at the bulkhead was the best feature of the seat and allowed me to relax at an almost business class level. With the added leg room, you are able to almost lie flat (I am 178cm and of average build) once the Premium seat is reclined (38 inches of pitch) and settled into a comfortable spot.

In addition to that I was able to stow some items below my feet, however this is not as secure or safe as a non bulkhead… but that is a minor thing (see below).

I was not even given a choice of accepting or declining a bulkhead seat when checking in.

This is completely false as any Qantas customer can choose their seating online up to three hours before the flight takes off. As soon as the author knew he was in Premium Economy he should have checked the seat allocation and chosen to his liking. It’s true that at checkin there might not have been the option to change as every other Premium seat in the cabin might have been pre-allocated, but even the most basic flyer would have the option to choose.

A Few Cons:

The one downside I will agree on is the lack of room to stow personal items and drinks. The bulkheads need to remain clear for takeoff and landing meaning need to place most items in the bag holders above. This was highlighted to me on one of my more recent flights on the Qantas A380 Premium Economy upper deck (Seat 24J) which is an isle, emergency exit seat. There was literally no bulkhead, no place to store anything and I must admit this was frustrating… similar experience might be had on the same 747 Premium Economy seats… however every bulkhead on the 787 Dreamliner has the footrest and at least minimal space to stow items. As I mentioned above, I was able to stow the laptop in front of me no worries.

Final Word:

Don’t take my word for it… I’ve embedded a YouTube review below that looks at the Premium Economy seats and talks about the pros and cons of the bulkhead and rear seats of the Premium Cabin.

Overall, my experience of the Premium Economy Dreamliner cabin is that it is up there with the best flying experience in the world. The ChannelNewsAU article is grossly inaccurate and in fact sensationalist in its review of the bulkhead seats… the seats which should be, and are most coveted by any frequent flyer who travels for a living.

Disclosure: I travel for business regularly and obtain upgrades through Qantas Classic Points Rewards.

References:

Updated: Qantas Dreamliner Premium Economy Seating Should Face ACCC Probe

https://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Qantas_Airways/Qantas_Airways_Boeing_789.php

VeeamON 2019 – Highlighting theCUBE Show Wrap

Hard to believe that another VeeamON has come and gone… for us in the Product Strategy Team the lead up and the week is immensely busy… but this is what we live and breath for! Everyone came away from the conference extremely pleased with how it panned out and we believe it also was a success based on what we heard coming out of media, analysts and the general IT community through social media.

In this post, I want to comment on a great Show Wrap from theCUBE hosted by Dave Vallante and Peter Burris which I think highlights exactly where Veeam is currently placed (Act I)… and where we are going in the industry (Act II).

Veeam is not about bragging rights and lots of flashy announcements…

This is a great quote from theCUBE Show Wrap (video embedded below) which speaks to what we at Veeam are trying to achieve. We are not restrained by the pressures of potential IPOs and we are confident enough to continue to be aggressive in the market while delivering on our core values of Simplicity, Reliability and Flexibility.

To comment a little more around what was talked about in theCUBE show wrap; It was interesting to hear perspective from the hallways about how people where talking about solving problems… Veeam is creating opportunities to solve problems with the focus on the customer. That is what successful companies focus on!

The messaging that theCUBE talked about from what they saw at the event was that Veeam is all about Data Protection across wherever your data lives… Backup is where is starts! Veeam still believes this and is focused…while not over rotating on the larger vision. Lots of their competitors are going hard after data management… modern architecture… Veeam is not legacy, but growing… if not flourishing due to the focus it has.

It’s a big, complex market and everyone is going to fight hard for it. Focused R&D is a very important concept to focus on… Veeam isn’t looking to be everything to everyone which can result in a wide but potentially shallow feature set. We see this with our newer competition… the concept of fast iterative development can have its flaws and though at times we don’t release as often as others in the market, when we do release new features and enhancements they are focused and reliable… you only need to look at the Cloud Tier that came as part of Update 4 for Backup & Replication 9.5.

Veeam has done a great job of keeping their finger on the Pulse… Veeam has done a good job of navigating what can customers really do (around data protection) and not getting too far ahead.

It’s all about our ecosystem and who we partner with… giving our customers the freedom of choice through our agnosticity. If we can nail the ecosystem partnership and make it seamless then Dave Vallante believe that Veeam has the advantage moving forward. This is where our Veeam Cloud Data Protection Platform centred around Backup & Replication and our Storage APIs will come into play.

Veeam is taking an almost Apple like approach…give customer what they can handle… then give them a little bit more.

Some really interesting thoughts in the Show Wrap from beginning to end… it’s worth a watch and I believe backs up the general feeling of a VeeamON show well executed which backs our shift into Act II.

This tweet sums it up well:

https://twitter.com/jpwarren/status/1130955342177685504

The whole stream of what was recorded at VeeamON 2019 by theCube can be found here:

Tribalism in IT… Why It is in our nature to not all get along!

When I was a boy, I started following the Essendon Australian Rules Football club…I was drawn to their colours and I was also drawn to the fact they had just completed back to back premierships. Since then, I have been engaged in running battles with my father, family and friends…all who support different AFL sides. I chose my tribe early on in life and that has resulted in battle lines being drawn every since.

People, by nature are tribal creatures…most of us strive to belong to groups that carry similar values, shared beliefs and also, the most primal desires of all…the feeling of belonging, security and safety. People form tribes… they always have… they always will. We all fight for our tribes and in what we believe in. Whether it be Coke or Pepsi, Burger King or McDonalds, Nike or Reebok, Apple or Samsung… the list goes on!

Work Tribes:

When it comes to work, tribalism becomes even more apparent. Even within work places we see tribes form between departments and even within the same groups… each tribe with their own agenda…their own political motives… but ultimately each person in their respective tribes wants to see that tribe succeed.

I watched a TED Talk a long while back around Tribal Leadership… it’s worth a watch for those that want to understand how people tick when it comes to tribalism. David Logan suggests that there are 5 Stages of Tribal culture… most of the population fall into stages two, three or four with the majority falling in Stage 3:

Stage Three: Tribal members are selfish at this stage. They are in it for themselves, and they are extremely averse to collaboration. Their attitude is “I’m great . . . and you’re not.”

Each stage has it’s own description but ultimately when it comes to Work Tribes, we are very good at taking that attitude of, I am great and you are not. Your software sucks…mine is better. We outperform your storage array.. etc etc

Vendor Wars, FUD, Trolling and the Notion of Can’t we all Get Along?

Anyone who operates in and around IT vendors knows of instances where things have been posted on social media that escalates to popcorn worthy viewing. Trolling is also something that happens quiet often and I will be the first to admit that I have been involved at times and also witnessed petulant behaviour that has a lot to do with protecting ones tribe.

We all walk a fine line when it comes to supporting our tribes… and for those who are passionate by nature, the line can sometimes be easily crossed. I have observed those who claim to be non tribal, less passionate and see themselves as neutral observers when it comes to trolling, arguments or FUD throwing. These are the people that will ironically join the argument while standing on their soapboxes and shout… “Why can’t we all get along!” … themselves showing Stage 1 or 2 tribal characteristics.

When it comes to defending our tribes… the tribes that put food on the table for our families… the tribes that help us achieve a sense of belonging and accomplishment in life … the tribes who we currently root for 100%… it should not be of surprise to anyone that competitive behaviour exists. There are always lines that are crossed, but that is one hundred percent due to the belief in our own tribes and the desire for them to survive and prosper.

I’m not excusing any behavior. I’m not condoning some of the stuff I have seen, or been a part of… but what I am trying to say is that as long as people exist, we will form tribes… it’s a very reptilian instinct that makes us want to defend our patches.

I know this is controversial to some… and that some people don’t like or condone the behaviour that we see sometimes, but the reality of the world in which we live in… especially in the IT vendor space… is that tribes will be at war… and people will do what they need to do to win. It’s not always desirable and sometimes the level of FUD is amazingly mind blowing. However, the one thing to remember… and the irony that is obviously apparent in the world of IT is that people change tribes often… people who where once your enemy are now your tribe members… this is something that needs consideration as we are always ultimately accountable for our actions.

At the end of the day, it is almost impossible for everyone to play nice…We are… and always have been tribal!

For those interested… the TED Talk by David Logan is embedded below:

Infrastructure as Code vs RESTful APIs …Terraform and Everything in Between!

While I was a little late to the game in understanding the power of Infrastructure as Code, I’ve spent a lot of the last twelve months working with Terraform specifically to help deploy and manage various types of my lab and cloud based infrastructure. Appreciating how IaC can fundamentally change the way in which you deploy and configure infrastructure, workloads and applications is not an easy thing to grasp…there can be a steep learning curve and lots of tools to choose from.

In terms of a definition as to what is IaC:

Infrastructure as code (IaC) is the process of managing and provisioning computer data centers through machine-readable definition files, rather than physical hardware configuration or interactive configuration tools. The IT infrastructure managed by this comprises both physical equipment such as bare-metal servers as well as virtual machines and associated configuration resources. The definitions may be in a version control system. It can use either scripts or declarative definitions, rather than manual processes, but the term is more often used to promote declarative approaches.

As represented above, there are many tools that are in the IaC space and everyone will gravitate towards their own favourite. The post where I borrowed that graphic from actually does a great job or talking about the differences and also why Terraform has become my standout for IT admins and why Hashicorp is on the up. I love how the article talks about the main differences between each one and specifically the part around the Procedural vs Declarative comparison where it states that declarative approach is where “you write code that specifies your desired end state, and the IcC tool itself is responsible for figuring out how to achieve that state.”

You Don’t Need to Know APIs to Survive!:

The statement above is fairly controversial… especially for those that have been preaching about IT professionals having to code in order to remain viable. A lot of that mindshare is centred around the API and the DevOps world…but not everyone needs to be a DevOp! IT is all about trying to solve problems and achieve outcomes… it doesn’t matter how you solve it… as long as the problem/outcome is solved/attained. Being as efficient as possible is also important when achieving that outcome.

My background prior to working with IaC tools like Terraform was working with and actioning outcomes directly against RESTFul APIs. I spent a lot of time specifically with vCloud Director and NSX APIs in order to help productise services in my last two roles so I feel like I know my way around a cURL command or Postman window. Let me point out that there is nothing wrong with having knowledge of APIs and that it is important for IT Professionals to understand the fundamentals of APIs and how they are accessed and used for programatic management of infrastructure and for creating applications.

I’m also not understating the skill that is involved in being able to understand and manipulate APIs directly and also being able to take those resources and create automated provisioning or actual applications that interact directly with APIs and create an outcome of their own. Remembering though that everyones skill set and level is different, and no one should feel any less an IT practitioner if they can’t code at a perceived higher level.

How IaC Tools Bridge the Gap:

In my VMUG UserCon session last month in Melbourne and Sydney I went through the Veeam SDDC Deployment Toolkit that was built with various IaC tooling (Terraform and Chef) as well as PowerShell, PowerCLI and some Bash Scripting. Ultimately putting all that together got us to a point where we could declaratively deploy a fully configured Veeam Backup & Replication server and fully configure it ready for action on any vSphere platform.

That aside, the other main point of the session was taking the audience through a very quick Terraform 101 introduction and demo. In both cities, I asked the crowd how much time they spent working with APIs to do “stuff” on their infrastructure… in both cities there was almost no one that raised their hands. After I went through the basic Terraform demo where I provisioned and then modified a VM from scratch I asked the audience if something like this would help them in their day to day roles… in both cities almost everyone put their hands up.

Therein lies the power of IaC tools like Terraform. I described it to the audience as a way to code without having to know the APIs directly. Terraform Providers act as the middle man or interpreter between yourself and the infrastructure endpoints. Consider it a black box that does the complicated lifting for you… this is the essence of Infrastructure as Code!

There are some that may disagree with me (and that’s fine) but I believe that for the majority of IT professionals that haven’t gotten around yet into transitioning away from “traditional” infrastructure management, configuration and deployment, that looking at a IaC tools like Terraform can help you not only survive…but also thrive!

References:

https://blog.gruntwork.io/why-we-use-terraform-and-not-chef-puppet-ansible-saltstack-or-cloudformation-7989dad2865c

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrastructure_as_code

Cloud Field Day 5 – Recap and Videos #CFD5

Last week I had the pleasure of presenting at Cloud Field Day 5 (a Tech Field Day event). Joined by Michael Cade and David Hill, we took the delegates through Veeam’s cloud vision by showcasing current product and features in the Veeam platform including specific technology that both leverages and protects Public Cloud workloads and services. We also touched on where Veeam is at in terms of market success and also dug into how Veeam enables Service Providers to build services off our Cloud Connect technology.

First off, I would like to thank Stephen Foskett and the guys at Gestalt IT for putting together the event. Believe me there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes and it is impressive how the team are able to setup, tear down and setup agin in different venues while handling the delegates themselves. Also to all the delegates, it was extremely valuable being able to not only present to the group, but also have a chance to talk shop at the offical reception dinner…some great thought provoking conversations where had and I look forward to seeing where your IT journey takes you all next!

Getting back to the recap, i’ve pasted in the YouTube links to the Veeam session below. Michael Cade has a great recap here, where he gives his overview on what was presented and some thoughts about the event.

In terms of what was covered:

We tried to focus on core features relating to cloud and then show a relatable live demo to reinforce the slide decks. No smoke and mirrors when the Veeam Product Strategy Team is doing demos… they are always live!

For those that might not have been up to speed with what Veeam has done over the past couple of years it is a great opportunity to learn about what we have done innovating the Data Protection space, 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. We like to say that Veeam was born in the virtual world…but is evolving in the Cloud!

Summary:

Once again, being part of Cloud Field Day 5 was a fantastic experience, and the team executed the event well. In terms of what Veeam set out to achieve, Michael, David and myself where happy with what we where able to present and demo and we where happy with the level of questions being asked by the delegates. We are looking forward to attending Tech Field Day 20 later in the year and maybe as well as continue to show what Veeam can do today…take a look at where we are going in future releases!

References:

Cloud Field Day 5

Heading to Cloud Field Day 5 #CFD5

I’m currently on the first leg over from Perth to San Fransisco where I’ll head down to Silicon Valley to present at Cloud Field Day 5. This will be my first Tech Field Day event which some may find surprising given my involvement in and around the virtualisation community prior to joining Veeam. I often got asked why I never applied to be a delegate… to be honest I’m not able to answer that question, however I’m really looking forward to presenting with my fellow Product Strategy team members, Michael Cade and David Hill as a sponsor.

cloud field day

Veeam at Tech Field Day Cloud 5

It’s an important event for us at Veeam as we are given the #CFD stage for two hours, first up on the Wednesday morning to talk about how Veeam has evolved from a backup vendor covering vSphere and Hyper-V to one which now offers a platform that extends into the public cloud backed by an incredibly strong Cloud and Service Provider ecosystem.

There is no doubt that the backup industry is currently hot with a number of large investments made into a number of vendors, including us here at Veeam who recently had a $500 million injection for us to pursue acquisitions and increase our development capabilities. There are a number of backup vendors presenting at the CFD#5, including vendors who are not historically backup focused but now, more and more offering inbuilt protection.

For Michael, David 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.

Veeam are presenting at 8.30am (Pacific Time) Wednesday 10th April 2019

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

Top vBlog 2018: Thoughts, Notable Representation and Thanks

Last week the Top vBlog for 2018 where announced based on votes cast late last year on content delivered in 2017. Similar to last year Eric Siebert continued the new voting mechanisms that delivers a more palatable outcome for all who where involved. The mix of public votes and points based on number of posts and Google Page speed works well and delivers interesting results for all those active bloggers listed on the vLaunchpad.

The one thing I wanted to highlight before taking a look at the results was to talk about the ongoing importance of this vote in the face of some strong backlash over recent years it. It was pleasing to see a number of new entrants and those that made significant jumps go on social media and talk about how humbled and excited they where to make the list. This is an important reminder to those that might be feeling a little over it and cynical of the process to understand that there are always up and comers who deserve a shot at being in the spotlight. It still means a lot to those people…so don’t spoil it for them!

The Results:

As expected, the top two spots remained the same as last year with William Lam taking out the #1 spot with Vladan Seget, Cormac Hogan, Scott Lowe and Eric Siebert himself rounding out the top 5. There was lots of movement in the top 25 and I managed to climb up into #15 spot which is again…extremely humbling and I think those that voted for me again this year.

Aussie Representation:

As with previous years I like to highlight the Aussie and Kiwi (ANZ) representation in the Top vBlog and this year is no different. We have a great blogging scene here in the VMware community and that is reflected with the quality of the bloggers listed below. Special mention to Rhys Hammond who debuted at #146 and to Jon Waite who does amazing technical deep dive posts around vCloud Director and debuted at 205.

Blog Rank Previous Change Total Points Total Votes Posts 2017
VCDX133 (Rene Van Den Bedem) 10 11 1 2596 323 48
Virtualization is Life! (Anthony Spiteri) 15 19 4 2173 251 88
Long White Virtual Clouds (Webster) 36 20 -16 1151 169 12
CloudXC (Josh Odgers) 48 29 -19 1037 167 22
Penguinpunk.net (Dan Frith) 102 106 4 744 63 114
Rhys Hammond 146 N/A N/A 546 50 21
Virtual Tassie (Matt Allford) 150 190 40 529 41 25
Kiwicloud.ninja (Jon Waite) 205 N/A N/A 413 49 12
ukotic.net (Mark Ukotic) 217 201 -16 393 29 15
Ready Set Virtual (Keiran Shelden) 254 N/A N/A 285 31 16
Veeam Representation:

My follow colleagues at Veeam made it into the list with four of us in the top 20 which is a great effort and four of the Product Strategy team are included in the top votes. Special should out to Melissa Palmer who cracked the top 10! We have a strong community feel at Veeam and it’s reflected in the quality of the blogging we generate…There was also a sizeable representation from our Veeam Vanguard’s as well.

Blog Rank Previous Change Total Points Total Votes Posts 2017
vMiss (Melissa Palmer) 6 16 10 2635 326 49
Virtualization is Life! (Anthony Spiteri) 15 19 4 2173 251 88
Jorge de la Cruz Mingo 16 30 14 1635 159 184
Notes from MWhite (Michael White) 17 31 14 1618 193 115
vZilla (Michael Cade) 29 44 15 1189 138 41
Domalab (Michele Domanico) 33 N/A N/A 1159 98 78
Virtual To The Core (Luca Dell’Oca) 45 38 -7 1045 138 32
Tim’s Tech Thoughts (Tim Smith) 110 48 -62 704 78 17
David Hill 127 107 -20 632 72 15
The Results Show:

Again a massive thank you to Eric for putting together the voting and organising the whole thing. It’s a huge undertaking and we should all be in gratitude to Eric for making it all happen.

Creating content for this community is a pleasure and has become somewhat of a personal obsession so it’s nice to get some recognition and I’m happy that what I’m able to produce is (for the most) found useful by people in the community. I’m a passionate guy in most things that I am involved in so it’s no surprise that I feel so strongly in being able to contribute to this great vCommunity…especially when it comes to my strong passion around Hosting, Cloud, Backup and DR.

The whole list and category winners can been viewed here.

VMUG UserCon – Sydney and Melbourne Events!

A few years ago I claimed that the Melbourne VMUG Usercon was the “Best Virtualisation Event Outside of VMworld!” …that was a big statement if ever there was one however, over the past couple of years I still feel like that statement holds court even though there are much bigger UserCons around the world. In fairness, both Sydney and Melbourne UserCons are solid events and even with VMUG numbers generally struggling world wide, the events are still well attended and a must for anyone working around the VMware ecosystem.

Both events happen a couple of days apart from each other on the 19th and 21st of March and both are filled with quality content, quality presenters and a great community feel.

This will be my sixth straight Melbourne UserCon and my fourth Sydney UserCon…The last couple of years I have attended with Veeam and presented a couple of times. This year Veeam has UserCon Global Sponsorship which is exciting as the Global Product Strategy team will be presenting a lot of the UserCons around the world. Both the Sydney and Melbourne Agenda’s are jam packed with virtualisation and automation goodness and it’s actually hard to attend everything of interest with schedule conflicts happening throughout the day.

…the agenda’s are listed on the sites.

As mentioned, Veeam is sponsoring both events a the Global Elite level and I’ll be presenting a session on Automation and Orchestration of Veeam and VMware featuring VMware Cloud on AWS which is an updated followup to the VMworld Session I presented last year. The Veeam SDDC Deployment Toolkit has been evolving since then and i’ll talk about what it means to leverage APIs and PowerShell to achieve automation goodness with a live demo!

Other notable sessions include:

If you are in Sydney or Melbourne next week try and get down to Sydney ICC and The Crown Casino respectively to participate, learn and contribute and hopefully we can catch up for a drink.

More Than Meets the Eye… Veeam Backup Performance

Recently I was sent a link to a video that showed an end user comparing Veeam to a competitors offering covering backup performance, restore capabilities and UI. It mainly focused on the comparison of incremental backup jobs and their completion times. It showed that the Veeam job was taking a significantly longer time to complete for the same dataset. The comparison was chalk and cheese and didn’t paint Veeam in a very good light.

Now, without knowing 100% the backend configuration that the user was testing against or the configuration of the Veeam components, storage platforms and backup jobs vs the competitors setup…the discrepancy between both job completion times was too great and something had to be amiss. This was not an apples to apples comparison.

TL:DR – I was able to cut the time to complete an incremental backup job from 24 minutes to under 4 minutes by scaling out Veeam infrastructure components and tweaking transport mode options to suit the dataset from using the default configuration settings and server setup. Lesson being to not take inferred performance at face value, there are a lot of factors that go into backup speed.

Before I continue, it’s important for me to state that I have seen Veeam perform exceptionally well under a number of different scenarios and know from my own experience at my previous roles at large service providers that it can handle 1000s of VMs and scale up to handle larger environments. That said, like any environment you need to understand how to properly scope and size backup components to suite…that includes more than just the backup server and veeam components… storage obviously plays a huge role in backup performance as does the design of the virtualisation platform as well as networking.

I haven’t set out in this post to put together a guide on how to scale Veeam…rather I have focused on trying to debunk the differential in job completion time I saw in the video. I went into my lab and started to think about how scaling Veeam components and choosing different options for backups and proxies can hugely impact the time it takes for backup jobs to complete. For the testing I used a Veeam Backup & Replication server that I had deployed with the Update 4 release and had active jobs that where in operation for more than a month.

The Veeam Backup & Replication server is on a VMware Virtual Machine running on modest 2vCPU and 8GB of RAM. Initially I had this running as an all in one Backup Server and Proxy setup. I have a SOBR repository consisting of two ReFS formatted local VMDK (underlying storage is vSAN) extents and a Capacity Tier extent going to Amazon S3. The backup job consisted of nine VMs with a footprint of about 162GB. A small dataset but one which was based of real world workloads. The job was running Forward Incremental, keeping 14 restore points running every 4 hours with a Synthetic Full running every 24 hours (initial purpose of was to demo Cloud Tier) and on average the incremental’s where taking between 23 to 25 minutes to complete.

The time to complete the incremental job was not an issue for me in the lab, but it provided a good opportunity to test out what would happen if I looked to scale out the Veeam components and tweak the default configuration settings.

Adding Proxies

As a first step I deployed three virtual proxies (2vCPU and 4GB RAM) into the environment and configured the job to use them in hot-add mode. Right away the job time decreased down by ~50% to 12 minutes. Basically, more proxies means more disks are able to be processed in parallel when in hot-add mode so it’s logical that the speed of the backup would increase.

Adding More Proxies

As a second step I deployed three more proxies into the environment and configured the job to use all six in hot-add mode. This didn’t result in a significantly faster time to what it was at three proxies, but again, this will vary depending on the amount of VMs and size of those VMs disks in a job. Again, Veeam offers the flexibility to scale and grow with the environment. This is not a one size fits all approach and you are not locked into a particular appliance size that may max out requiring additional significant spend.

Change Transport Mode

Next I changed the job back to use three proxies, but this time I forced the proxies to use network mode. To read more about Transport modes, head here.

This resulted in a sub 4 minute job completion to read a similar incremental data set as the previous runs. A ~20 minute difference after just a few tweaks of the configuration!

Removing Surplus Proxies and Balancing Things Out

For the example above I introduced proxies however the right balance of proxies and network mode was the most optimal configuration for this particular job in order to lower the job completion window. In fact in my last test I was able to get the job to complete consistently around the 5 minute mark by just using the one proxy with network mode.

Conclusion:

So with that, you can see that by tweaking some settings and scaling out Veeam components I was able to bring a job completion time down by more than 20 minutes. Veeam offers the flexibility to scale and grow with any environment. This is not a one size fits all approach and you are not locked into a particular appliance size that will scale out requiring additional and significant spend while also locking you in by way of restricted backup date portability. Again, this is just a quick example of what can be done with the flexibility of the Veeam platform and that what you see as a default out of the box experience (or a poorly configured/problematic environment) isn’t what should be expected for all use cases. Milage will vary…but don’t let first/misleading impressions sway you…there is always more than meets the eye!

Sources:

https://bp.veeam.expert/

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