Category Archives: VAC

Veeam Availability Console 2.0 Update 1 Important Patch Release

Earlier this month a patch was released for Veeam Availability Console 2.0 Update 1. Contained in the list of fixes is an important note about those that manage Windows Agents through VAC that are sending backups via backup copy jobs. In short there was an issues with the reporting and billing leading to some incorrect value for the tenant quota usage.

There are also a number of other resolved issues including some monitoring and alarm fixes as well as for those using the ConnectWise Plugin. The patch is advised to be deployed to all VCSPs running VAC especially those with tenants sending backup copy jobs as mentioned above.

To apply the patch, head to the VeeamKB here 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 both MSI packages as administrator on the server.

The first one updates the VAC server.

The second one updates the ConnectWise Manage Plugin. Once completed the patches are applied and VAC 2.0 Update 1 is up to date running on version number Server Version 2.0.2.1807. Note that updated Windows for Agent Builds have been pushed out and can be upgraded as per my post a few months back.

References:

https://www.veeam.com/kb2694

Released: Veeam Availability Console Update 1

Today, Veeam Availability Console Update 1 (Build 2.0.2.1750) was released. This update improves on our multi-tenant service provider management and reporting platform that is provided free to VCSPs. VAC acts as a central portal for Veeam Cloud and Service Providers to remotely manage and monitor customer instances of Backup & Replication including the ability to monitor Cloud Connect Backup and Replication jobs and failover plans. It also is the central mechanism to deploy and manage our Agent for Windows which includes the ability to install agents onto on-premises machines and apply policies to those agents once deployed.

What’s new in Update 1:

If you want to get the low down from the What’s new document can be access here. I’ve summarised the new features and enhancements below and expanded on the key ones below.

  • Enhanced support for Veeam Agents
  • New Operator Role
  • ConnectWise Manage Plugin
  • Improved Veeam Backup & Replication monitoring
  • New backup policy types
  • Sub-tenant Accounts and Sub-tenant Management
  • Alarm for tracking VMs stored in cloud repositories
  • RESTful APIs enhancements

RESTful APIs enhancements: VACs API first approach gets a number of enhancements in Update 1 with more information stored in the VAC configuration database accessible via new RESTful API calls that include:

  • Managed backup server licenses
  • Tenant descriptions
  • References to the parent object for users, discovery rules and computers

As with the GA, this is all accessible via the built in Swagger Interface.

Enhanced support for Veeam Agents: VAC Update 1 introduces support for Veeam Agents that are managed by Veeam Backup & Replication. This adds monitoring and alarms for Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows and Veeam Agent for Linux that are managed by a Veeam Backup & Replication. One of the great features of this is the search functionality which allows you to more efficiently search for agent instances that exist in Backup & Replication and see their statuses.

New Operator Role: While not the Reseller role most VCSPs are after this new role allows VCSPs wanting to delegate VAC access to their own IT staff to take advantage of the new operator role without granting complete administrative access. This role allows access to everything essential to remotely monitor and manage customer environments, but restricts access to VAC configuration settings.

ConnectWise Manage Plugin: ConnectWise Manage is a very popular platform used by MSPs all over the world. VAC Update 1 includes native integration with ConnectWise Manage. The integration allows VCSPs to synchronize and map company accounts between the two platforms, integrated billing, enabling you to use ConnectWise Manage to generate tenant invoices based on their usage and the plugin allows you to create tickets based on triggered alarms in VAC. The integration is solid and based on VACs strong underlying API driven approach. More importantly, this is the first extensibility feature of VAC using a Plugin framework…the idea is for it to just be the start.

Alarm for tracking VMs stored in cloud repositories:  A smaller enhancement, but one that is important for those running Cloud Connect is the new alarm that allows you to be notified when the number of customer VMs stored in the cloud repository exceeds a certain threshold.

Scalability enhancements: Finally there has been a significant improvement in VAC scalability limits when it comes to the number of managed Backup & Replication servers for each VAC instance. This ensures stable operation and performance when managing up to 10,000 Veeam Agents and up to 600 Backup & Replication servers, protecting 150-200 VMs or Veeam Agents each.

References and Product Guides:

https://www.veeam.com/vac_2_0_u1_release_notes_rn.pdf

https://www.veeam.com/documentation-guides-datasheets.html

https://www.veeam.com/availability-console-service-providers-faq.html

https://www.veeam.com/vac_2_0_u1_whats_new_wn.pdf

Upgrading Windows Agents with Veeam Availability Console

One of the Veeam Availability Console’s key features is it’s ability to deploy and manage Veeam Agent for Windows. This is done through the VAC Web Console and is achieved through the connectivity of the providers Cloud Connect Gateway to the tenant’s Veeam Backup & Replication instance. Weather this is managed by a service provider or by the tenant, VAC also has the ability to remotely upgrade Windows Agents.

The way that this works is by the Veeam Availability Console periodically connecting to the Veeam Update Server and checks whether a new version of the agent software is available. If a new version is available, VAC displays a warning next to the agents saying that it is outdated as shown below.

Updating the backup agents from the Veeam Update Server is performed via the master agent that sits on-premises. This agent is deployed during the initial Service Provider configuration form the Veeam Backup & Replication server. The master agent downloads the backup agent setup file from the Veeam Update Server and then uploads this setup file to systems selected via the update scope and initiates the update.

To initiate the upgrade, select the agents from the Backup Agents Tab under Clients -> Discovery. Once selected click on the Backup Agent dropdown and click upgrade.

Note: Once you click Upgrade the process will be kicked off…there is no further confirmation. There is also a Patch option which allows you to apply patches to the agents in between major build releases.

Once initiated, all agents will be shown as updating as shown below.

Taking a look at the Resource Monitor of one of the endpoints being updated, you can see that the machine is receiving the update from the local server that has the master agent and that the agent is talking back to the VAC server via Cloud Connect Port 6180.

And you can see the Windows Installer running the agent update msi.

Back to the VAC console, and after a while you will see the update deployment status complete

And the endpoint now has the updated agent version running.

Which is reflected in the VAC Console.

Conclusion:

That’s the very straight forward process of having the Veeam Availability Console upgrade Veeam Windows Agents under it’s management. Again, this can be done by the service provider or it’s a task that can be executed by the tenant through their own console login given the correct permissions. There are a few other options for those that deployed the agents with the help of a 3rd party tool and also for those doing it offline…for a run down of that process, head to the help pages linked below.

References:

https://helpcenter.veeam.com/docs/vac/provider_admin/update_backup_agents.html?ver=20

Veeam Availability Console now available from Azure Marketplace

Last week the Veeam Availability Console Azure Marketplace appliance went live. This allows Veeam Cloud and Service Providers to easily deploy VAC into any Azure region. In it’s previous incarnation the Managed Backup Portal was only available as an Azure marketplace appliance and not available to install by a VCSP. Now that VAC 2.0 is out, VCSPs who don’t have the ability to host Cloud Connect or VAC on their infrastructure can deploy it in Azure and have the service up and running within fifteen minutes.

There are some limitations that come along with deploying VAC into Azure and it won’t be for everyone. The biggest caveat is that you can only have one Cloud Connect Server per VAC instance and as part of the deployment, Cloud Connect services is installed on the same Virtual Machine. You can’t offer Replication services from the Azure instance, and if offering Cloud Connect backup you need to understand it’s own scalability and performance bottlenecks. That said, as a remote management, monitoring, reporting, billing and self service platform there is a lot to like about having VAC in Azure.

Marketplace Deployment Steps:

You can start the deployment by searching for Veeam Availability Console in the Azure Marketplace or you can go direct to the product page here.

Click on Create to start the configuration steps.

The Basics includes VM name, hard disks type, username and password as well as selecting the subscription, the ability to use a new or existing resource group and finally the Azure location you want to deploy into.

In Step 2 you need to choose the Size of the Azure instance. The template provides the recommended configurations. The sizes are relative to the amount of agents and/or Backup & Replication instances you are going to be managing from this instance. You can find sizing guides here for larger environments.

I ended up going with an A2 standard for my instance which removes the load balancing functionality from the configuration and offers a little less IOPS. Step 3 contains some optional extra’s to ensure a higher level of availability for the VM instance and lets you configure the networking. Once that’s done you can review your configuration settings and start the deployment. It took just over 8 minutes for the deployment to succeed.

If you click on the Virtual Machine object in the Azure Portal you will see an overview of the VM and it’s configuration.

Addition Azure Configuration:

If you notice in the image above, a DNS name is listed in the overview. This was something that I had to set manually after the deployment. You set this by going into the Networking of the resource pool and click on IP Configuration. Here, you can enter in a DNS name relative to the Azure zone you are in. You can then use this to connect to the VAC Console, Cloud Connect Service and to RDP to the VM and helps in the event of having a dynamic, rather than a static Azure IP.

Speaking of networking and ports, below is a list of the default port rules created during the deployment. Note that WinRM is open as well.

Finalizing Deployment:

After deploying the Azure Marketplace appliance you can RDP into the VM and complete the setup that includes configuring Cloud Connect and VAC it’s self. A few things have been done for us as part of the deployment, however the first thing you need to do is get a license. This is a BYO license situation, so once you have deployed the Marketplace appliance you will need to source a VAC license from the Veeam Licensing Portal and apply.

Head to the VAC Web Portal and Install the License.

Once done the last step is to configure Cloud Connect from the Backup & Replication Console. Again, you will need a valid Cloud Connect license as you are greeted with the Free Edition when you connect to the console for the first time. As per normal with Cloud Connect, you need to configure the SSL Certificate first and then configure a new Cloud Gateway. Configure the Networking as shown below using the DNS name that was created in the steps above.

Once this is completed you can go into the VAC Console and work through the normal Configuration steps. The only thing you don’t need to do is add the Cloud Connect Server to the VAC instance as this has already been done during the initial deployment process.

It’s worth noting that the versions of Backup & Replication (9.5.0.1536) and Availability Console (2.0.1.1343) are up to date and include the latest Hot-Fixes for VAC. The intent is to have the templates as up to date as possible, however once deployed you can upgrade as per usual.

Conclusion:

So there you have it…within fifteen minutes you can have a fully working Veeam Availability Console instance running in Azure and ready to be used to offer all the goodness that VAC offers our Cloud and Service Provider partners. For an overview as to what VAC offers, click here and have a read of my GA post on What’s in It for Service Providers.

Links:

https://azuremarketplace.microsoft.com/en-us/marketplace/apps/veeam.veeam-availability-console?tab=Overview

 

Cloud Connect and VAC Portal Maintenance Modes

Lately i’ve been digging deeper into the Veeam Availability Console and have been wrapping my head around it’s extended feature set. With that I thought it would be good to start a series of short blog posts pointing out examples of how certain parts are configured and what is happening under the covers. To kick things off I am going to talk about Maintenance Modes in VAC and also how it translates back to Cloud Connect Maintenance mode and also start off by covering that new Update 3 feature.

Maintenance Mode for Cloud Connect in Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 3

In Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 3 we introduced a Maintenance Mode feature for Cloud Connect. In a nutshell this makes the Service Provider cloud resources unavailable for tenants to perform backup or backup copy job operations. This is true for jobs running on Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 3, Agent for Windows 2.1 and Agent for Linux 2.0.

To enable Maintenance Mode from the VBR console Right Click on the Cloud Connect top level tree item and click on Maintenance Mode

Read the message and click Yes

Once completed you should see the following status in the Cloud Connect menu tree

You can also set and check this state in PowerShell

Once triggered, any running jobs are gracefully stopped. Within that the current task is allowed to complete but all subsequent jobs will fail. In the case of an agent the whole job is allowed to complete. Any new backup or backup copy job that tries to start after Maintenance Mode has been initialed will fail with an error which is shown below.

Tying this into the Veeam Availability Console you can also trigger Maintenance Mode from the VAC UI. To enable maintenance mode for Veeam Cloud Connect, log in to Veeam Availability Console as a Portal Administrator and at the top right corner click Configuration and under Portal Configuration click Cloud Connect Server and click Enable Maintenance Mode.

Click Yes to confirm the operation.

The message isn’t 100% correct based on what I talked about earlier. The current job task will be completed and not dropped as suggested here.

You can disable Maintenance Mode by clicking on the menu option if it’s enabled.

Maintenance Mode for Veeam Availability Portal UI

For those times when you may need to perform configuration changes or OS updates to the system hosting the VAC Portal you have the ability to put the portal its self into maintenance mode. When enabled, all users will not be able to login to the portal remotely and you will see a message on the welcome page as shown below.

To toggle this setting go to the top right of the VAC console and click Configuration and then under Server Settings click on Settings and go to the Maintenance Mode Tab. Set the toggle to on or off to enable or disable and click save.

Once in Maintenance Mode you can only log back into the portal from the local console of the server hosting the VAC UI role. Note that while under Maintenance Mode you can only modify the SQL Server Configuration or toggle Maintenance Mode off.

Conclusion:

I’ve gone through the Maintenance Mode options for both Veeam Availability Console and Cloud Connect and how each one is enabled and what their purpose is. For the moment, in Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 3 the Maintenance Mode is limited to Backup and Backup copy job operations. There are a other operations that are not currently impacted by this mode such as vCloud Director backups or Cloud Connect Replication operations however this will be looked at in upcoming releases.

To read more about Maintenance Mode head to the Veeam Help Documentation page here.

References:

https://helpcenter.veeam.com/docs/backup/cloud/cc_maintenance_mode.html?ver=95

https://helpcenter.veeam.com/docs/vac/enterprise_admin/enable_disable_vac_maintenance_mode.html?ver=20