Category Archives: VMworld

Veeam on the VMware Cloud Marketplace Protecting VMware Cloud on AWS Workloads

At VMworld 2018, myself and Michael Cade gave a session on automating and orchestrating Veeam on VMware Cloud on AWS. The premise of the session was to showcase the art of the possible with Veeam and VMware that resulted in a fully deployed and configured Veeam platform. We chose VMware Cloud on AWS for the demo to showcase the power of the Software Defined Datacenter with Veeam, however our solution can be deployed onto any vSphere platform.

Why Veeam with VMware Cloud on AWS:

I’ve have spent a lot of time over the past couple of months looking into VMware Cloud on AWS and working out just where Veeam fits in terms of a backup and recovery solution for it. I’ve also spent time talking to VMware sales people as well as solution providers looking to wrap managed services around VMC and the question of data protection is often raised as a key concern. There is a good article here that talks about the need for backup and how application HA or stretched clustering is not a suitable alternative.

Without prejudice, I truly believe that Veeam is the best solution for the backup and recovery of workloads hosted on VMware Cloud on AWS SDDCs. Not only do we offer a solution that’s 100% software defines it’s self, but we can extend protection of all workloads from on-premises, through to the SDDC and also natively in AWS covering both backup, replication as well as offering the ability to use Cloud Connect to backup out to a Veeam Cloud and Service Provider. I’ll go into this in greater detail in a future post.

Veeam on the VMware Cloud on AWS Marketplace:

At the same time as our session on the Monday there was another session that introduced the VMware Cloud Marketplace that was announced in Technical Preview. As part of that launch, Veeam was announced as an initial software partner. This allows for the automated deployment and configuration of a Veeam Backup & Replication instance directly into a deployed SDDC and also configures an AWS EC2 EBS backed instance to be used as a Veeam Repository.

The VMware Cloud Marketplace will offer the ability to browse and filter validated third-party products and solutions, view technical and operational details, facilitate Bring Your Own License (BYOL) deployments, support commercial transactions, and deliver unified invoices. We plan to open Cloud Marketplace to a limited Beta audience following VMworld and are working on additional features and capabilities for future releases. We envision the Cloud Marketplace will quickly expand, introducing new third-party vendors and products over time and becoming the de-facto source for customers to extend the capabilities of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Provider Partner environments.

Compared to what Michael and I showcased in our session, this is a more targeted vanilla deployment of Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 with Update 3a into the SDDC. At the end of the process, you will be able to access the Veeam Console, have it connected to the VMC vSphere endpoint and have the EC2 Veeam repository added.

This is done via CloudFormation templates and a little bit of PowerShell embedded into the Windows Image.

Being embedded directly into the VMware Cloud Marketplace is advantageous for customers looking to get started quick with their data protection for workloads running on VMware Cloud o AWs. Look out for more collateral from myself, Veeam and VMware on protecting VMC with Veeam as well as a deeper look at our VMworld session which digs into the automation and orchestration of Veeam on VMware Cloud on AWS using Chef, Terraform, PowerShell and PowerCLI.

References:

Introducing VMware Cloud Marketplace

https://cloud.vmware.com/cloud-marketplace

https://marketplace.vmware.com/vsx/solutions/veeam-availability-suite-for-vmware-cloud-on-aws-9-5?ref=search#summary

VMworld 2018 Recap Part 2 – Community and Veeam Recap

VMworld 2018 has come and gone and after a couple of days recovery from the week that was, i’ve had time to reflect on what was a great week and an another great VMworld in Las Vegas. For me, the dynamic of what it is to be at a VMworld has changed. The week is not just about the event, the announcements or the sessions…but more about what myself and my team are able to achieve. While we are participants of VMworld we are also working and need to be adding value on all fronts.

This year I left Las Vegas with a sense of achievement and the belief that the week was extremely successful both personally and from a Veeam Product Strategy point of view. In this post (which is Part 2 of my VMworld 2018 recap) I am going to go over what went down with the VMware community during the event and close off with a quick Veeam roundup.

Community:

I felt like the community spirit was in full effect again at VMworld. Between all the sessions, parties and events my overall feeling was that there was a lot of community activity going on. Twitter it’s self came to life and everyones timelines where filling up with #VMworld media. The grass roots community still fuels a lot of VMware’s success and you can’t underestimate the value of influence and advocacy at this level. Certainly, Veeam and other vendors understand this and cater to supporting community events while looking after members with vendor branded swag.

One important thing I would like to highlight is the power of the local community and how something small can turn into something huge. My good friend from Australia, Tim Carman had an idea last year to create an As Built PowerShell Documentation script. He first presented it at his local VMUG…then a few months later he presented it at the Melbourne VMUG UserCon and last week, he presented it with Matt Allford in front of 500 plus people at VMworld. Not only that, but the session was voted into the daily top ten and is currently the second most downloaded via the online session download page!

Hackathon:

Another amazing thing that happened at VMworld was the team that I was lucky enough to be a member of took out the Hackathon. Aussie vMafia 2.0, lead by Mark Ukotic took out the main prize on the back of an idea to put a terminal in the (H5) Client and running commands. Again, what I was most pleased about with Mark, Tim and Matt’s success was exposure from the sessions and Hackathon win. They are great guys and well deserving of it. It goes down as one of my best VMworld highlights of all time!

Veeam Highlights and Sessions:

Finally to wrap things up, it was a great VMworld for Veeam. I spoke to a lot of customers and partners and it’s clear that our Availability Platform that’s driven through our strong ecosystem alliances is still very much resonating and seen to be leading the industry. Being hardware agnostic and software only carries massive weight and it was pleasing to have that validated by talking to customer and partners during the course of the event.

In terms of our sessions, we had two different breakouts. One covering some of the brilliant new features in Update 4 of Backup & Replication 9.5 presented by Danny Allan and Rick Vanover.

And myself and Michael Cade presented on automation and orchestration of Veeam on VMware Cloud on AWS. Michael talks about the session here, but in a nutshell we came up with a workflow that orchestrates the deployment of a Veeam Backup & Replication Server with Proxies onto a vSphere environment (VMC used in this case to highlight the power of the SDDC) and then deploys and configures a Veeam Linux Repository in AWS, hooks that into a VeeamPN extended network and then configures the Veeam Server ready to backup VMs.

Finally…it wouldn’t be VMworld without a Veeam party, and this year didn’t fail to live up to expectation. Held at the Omnia nightclub on Tuesday night it was well received and we managed to fill the club without the need to pull in a headline act. And as I tweeted out…

Wrap Up:

Overall, VMworld ticked a lot of boxes and was well received by everyone that I came across. IT’s been a good run of three VMworld’s in a row in Vegas, however it’s time to move back to where it all started for me in 2012 in San Fransisco. It’s going to be interesting going back to the Mascone Center and a city that hasn’t got the best reputation at the present moment due to social issues and the cost of accomodation is astronomical compared to Vegas. However, location is one thing…it’s what VMware and it’s ecosystem partners bring to the event. This year it worked! Hopefully next year will be just as successful.

VMworld 2018 Recap Part 1 – Major Announcement Breakdown!

VMworld 2018 has come and gone and after a couple of days recovery from the week that was, i’ve had time to reflect on what was a great week and an another great VMworld in Las Vegas. In this post I wanted to break down what I saw as the major announcements at the 2018 event and highlight some of the cool stuff VMware is bringing out for their customers, partners and technology partners.

VMware have kept up the momentum from last years VMworld and have continued on their pivot from a hyper-visor company to one that truly spans a multi-platform ecosystem of partners and other technologies. This post again is all about VMware at VMworld…i’ll focus on the Veeam happenings and my community experiences at VMworld in part 2.

VMware Cloud on AWS:

I’m a believer! I am personally excited with what VMware have delivered here. The focus of my session on Automating and Orchestrating Veeam was around VMware Cloud on AWS (VMC) utilising a Single Node SDDC for our live demo. Having presented at VeeamON with Emad Younis on VMC and Veeam I have since had my head deeply in the offering. VMware seem to be addressing the pricing concerns myself and others have and are now allowing smaller host deployments (from three to two later down the track) along with more flexible licensing.

The M5 release will feature NSX-T which offers a lot more hard core networking capabilities which will directly connect to AWS Direct Connect. The announcement of high-capacity storage option built into the vSAN cluster using Amazon EBS is an interesting one and an example of the mushing together of VMware and AWS technologies.

With all that said, I’m still not sure where this offering sits when compared to VCPP hosted IaaS and how it has the potential to impact that side of VMware’s business. That maybe a topic for a dedicated blog post…but not now.

Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) on VMware:

This came as a surprise, but is in itself an interesting announcement. Having the ability to run RDS on-premises with the ability to migrate/move the workloads to and from AWS opens up a number of possabilities. With support Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, PostgreSQL, MySQL, and MariaDB databases it’s covering a lot of existing use cases. No doubt this is a mechanism for complete cloud transition, but the choice to run this on-premises or in a hybrid setup is genius.

vCloud Provider Announcements:

Having been on the beta program for the next version of vCloud Director I knew what was coming, but I didn’t think it would be announced at VMworld. Suffice to say the next version of vCD will be another significant one. Version 9.5 continues to build on the momentum of the 9.x releases and continues to enhance the platform as the flagship Cloud Management Platform for Service Providers.

New innovations include cross-site networking improvements powered by deeper integration with NSX and Initial integration with NSX-T. A full transition to an HTML5 UI for the cloud tenant with improvements to role-based access control. There is also going to be a virtual appliance option. I’m looking forward to this dropping later in the year and continuing to #LongLivevCD!

One thing to touch on as well is the native integrated data protection capabilities using Avamar. This is directly integrated into the vCD HTML5 UI via the extensibility plugin. I’ve had a lot of requests from service providers who use Veeam as their trusted availability platform for vCD if we will release similar functionality. At this stage, we can’t make any promises but it’s something getting face time at the top levels of our R&D and Product Management and Strategy teams.

There was also a new VMware Cloud Foundation version announced. Details here.

vSphere and vSAN:

vSAN continues to evolve and improve and there is also a lot to look forward to in the vSphere 6.7 Update 1. There is a new quickstart wizard that walks you through the setup of a cluster that includes a number of tasks that where previously not hard to install…but not as well thought out in terms of ease of use. Operationally, dealing with vSAN Firmware and driver updates has always been painful, but again this update looks to streamline that process by moving the functionality into the HTML5 vSphere Update Manager.

There has also been enhancements to maintenance mode activities, improved health checking and diagnostics as well as TRIM/UNMAP support that uses less storage through the process of automatic space reclamation. This can automatically reclaim capacity that is no longer used, reduces the capacity needed for workloads without administrator interaction.

In terms of vSphere, all administrative functions have been completed for the vSphere Client so in theory there should be no more switching between the old Flex and HTML5 clients. vSphere Platinum is a new edition of vSphere that combines vSphere Enterprise Plus along with AppDefense which is their SaaS based  security product built to alert and remediate against anything that looks out of the norm. It seems like most vendors are releasing SaaS based offerings with Machine Learning behind them in this space as security tools…I do wonder if the market is flooded?

Other Notables:

Project Dimension looked interesting, but as with any VMware project I tend to wait for more concrete announcements closer to release. And it seems as though Edge computing is here to stay as a term. Remote offices are now the Edge!

Project Dimension will extend VMware Cloud to deliver SDDC infrastructure and hardware as-a-service to on-premises locations.  Because this is will be a  service, it means that VMware can take care of managing the infrastructure, troubleshooting issues, and performing patching and maintenance.  This in turn means customers can focus on differentiating their business building innovative applications rather than spending time on day-to-day infrastructure management.

Speaking of the Edge, I did like the sound of the announcement around ESXi on 64bit ARM. VMware demonstrated ESXi on 64bit ARM running on a windmill farm at the Edge. VMware sees an opportunity to work with selected embedded OEMs to scope and explore opportunities for focused, ARM-enabled offering at the edge. This is the current 64bit ARM CPU architecture used on Apple TV 4 so we could have ESXi on AppleTVs in the near future!

References:

https://ir.vmware.com/overview/press-releases/press-release-details/2018/AWS-and-VMware-Announce-Amazon-Relational-Database-Service-on-VMware/default.aspx

https://blogs.vmware.com/virtualblocks/2018/08/27/whats-new-in-vsan-6-7-update-1/

https://blogs.vmware.com/vcloud/2018/08/vmware-vcloud-director-9-5.html

https://ir.vmware.com/overview/press-releases/press-release-details/2018/VMware-Previews-Technology-Innovations-at-VMworld-2018/default.aspx

http://vmblog.com/archive/2018/08/27/aws-and-vmware-announce-amazon-relational-database-service-on-vmware.aspx

Veeam @VMworld 2018 Edition…

VMworld 2018 is less than a week away, and I can’t wait to fly into Las Vegas for my sixth VMworld and second with Veeam. It’s been an interesting year or so since the last VMworld and the industry has shifted a little when it comes to the backup and recovery market. Data management is the new buzz and lots of vendors (us included) have jumped onto the messaging around data growing at more than exponential rates…sprawling to more platforms than ever before and finally…being more critical than ever. The criticality and power of data is real and VMware still have a lot to say about where an how that data is processed and stored!

VMworld is still a destination event and Veeam recognises VMware’s continued influence in the IT industry by going all in at VMworld 2018. The ecosystem that VMware has built over the past ten to fifteen years is emense and though challenged a few years ago, came back with a bang in 2017. I’m looking forward to seeing VMware’s continues evolution at this years event! Like VMware,

Veeam is evolving as well, and we are building out own own strong ecosystem based on a software first, hardware agnostic platform that results in the greatest flexibility in the backup and recovery market. We continue to support VMware as our number 1 technology partner and this year we look to build on that with support for VMware Cloud on AWS and enhanced VMware features sets built into our core Backup & Replication product as we look to release Update 4 of 9.5 later in the year.

Veeam Sessions @VMworld:

Officially we have two breakout sessions this year, with Danny Allan and Rick Vanover presenting a What’s New in Update 4 for Veeam Backup & Replication and Michael Cade and myself presenting a session on Automation and Orchestration of VMware and Veeam on VMware Cloud on AWS. There are also a couple of vBrownBag Tech Talks where Veeam features including talks from Michael Cade and Michael White while Dave Russell will be presenting a Partner Spotlight session.

https://my.vmworld.com/widget/vmware/vmworld18us/uscatalog?search=Veeam

Veeam @VMworld Solutions Exchange:

This year, as per usual we will have significant presence on the floor, with a Main Booth Area doing demo’s prize, giveaways, having an Experts Bar and acting as sponsor of the opening night hall crawl. We also have an in booth Theatre where I will be presenting on our new vCloud Director integration with Veeam Cloud Connect.

Veeam Community Support @VMworld:

Veeam still gets the community and has been a strong supporter historically of VMworld community based events. This year again, we have come to the party are have gone all-in in terms of being front and center in supporting community events. Special mention goes to Rick Vanover who leads the charge in making sure Veeam is doing what it can to help make these events possible:

  • Opening Acts
  • VMunderground
  • vBrownBag
  • Spousetivities
  • vRockstar Party
  • Vanguard Takeover

Party with Veeam @VMworld:

Finally, it wouldn’t be VMworld without attending Veeam’s seriously legendary party. This year we are looking to top last years event at Hakkasan nightclub by taking over one of the hottest club in Vegas… Omnia Nightclub! If it’s anything like the VeeamON 2015 Party that I attended it’s going to go off!! I know how hard it is to plan evening activities at VMworld and there is no doubt that there are a lot of decent competing parties on the Tuesday night…however whatever you do, you need to make sure that you at least stop by Caesars Casino and party in green. RSVP here.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/veeams-legendary-vmworld-party-2018-tickets-45869296300

Final Word:

Again, this year’s VMworld is going to be huge and Veeam will be right there front and center of the awesomeness. Please stop by our sessions, visit our stand and attend our community sponsored events and feel free to chase me down for a chat…I’m always keen to meet other members of this great community. Oh, and don’t forget to get to the party!

Creating a Single Host SDDC for VMware Cloud on AWS

While preparing for my VMworld session with Michael Cade on automating and orchestrating the deployment of Veeam into VMware Cloud on AWS, we have been testing against the Single Host SDDC that’s been made available for on demand POCs for those looking to test the waters on VMware Cloud on AWS. The great thing about using the Single Host SDDC is it’s obviously cheaper to run than the four node production version, but also that you can spin it up and destroy the instance as many times as you like.

Single Host SDDC is our low-cost gateway into the VMware Cloud on AWS hybrid cloud solution. Typically purchased as a 4-host service, it is the perfect way to test your first workload and leverage the additional capability and flexibility of VMware Cloud on AWS for 30 days. You can seamlessly scale-up to Production SDDC, a 4-host service, at any time during the 30-days and get even more from the world’s leading private cloud provider running on the most popular public cloud platform.

To get started with the Single Host SDDC, you need to head to this page and sign up…you will get an Activation email and from there be able to go through the account setup. This big thing to note at the moment is that a US Based Credit Card is required.

There are a few pre-requisites before getting an SDDC spun up…mainly around VPC networking within AWS. There is a brilliant blog post here, that describes the networking that needs to be considered before kicking off a fresh deployment. The offical help files are a little less clear on what needs to be put into place from an AWS VPC perspective, but in a nutshell you need:

  • An AWS Account
  • A fresh VPC with a VPC Networking configured
  • At least three VPC Subnets configured
  • A Management Subnet for the VMware Objects to sit on

Once this has been configured in the AWS Region the SDDC will be deployed into the process can be started. First step is to select a region (this is dictated by the choices made at account creation) and then select a deployment type followed by a name for the SDDC.

The next step is to link an existing AWS account. This is not required at the time of setup however it is required to get the most out of the solution. This will go off and launch an AWS CloudFormation template to connect the SDDC to the AWS account. It creates IAM role to allow communication between the SDDC and AWS.

[Note] I ran into an issue initially where the default location for the CloudFormation template to be run out of was not set to the region where the SDDC was to be deployed into. Make sure that when you click on the Launch button you take not the the AWS region and change where appropriate by change the URL to the correct region.

After a minute or so, the VMware Cloud on AWS Create an SDDC page will automatically refresh as shown below

The next step is to select the VPC and the VPC subnets for the raw SDDC components to be deployed into. I ran into a few gotcha’s on this initially and what you need to have configured is the subnets configured to size as listed in the user guides and the post I linked to that covers networking, but you also need to make sure you have at least three subnets configured across different AWS Availability zones within the region. This was not clear, but I was told by support that it was required.

If the AWS side of things is not configured correctly you will see this error.

What you should see…all things being equal is this.

Finally you need to set the Management Subnet which is used for the vCenter, Hosts, NSX Manager and other VMware components being deployed into the SDDC. There is a default, but it’s important to consider that this should not overlap with any existing networks that you may look to extend the SDDC into.

From here, the SDDC can be deployed by clicking on the Deploy SDDC button.

[Note] Even for the Single Instance Node SDDC it will take about 120 minutes to deploy and you can not cancel the process once it’s started.

Once completed we can click into the details of the SDDC, which allows you to see all the relevant information relating to it and also allows you to configure the networking.

Finally, to access the vCenter you need to configure a Firewall rule to allow web access through the management gateway.

Once completed you can login to the vCenter that’s hosted on the VMware Cloud on AWS instance and start to create VMs and have a play around with the environment.

There is a way to automate a lot of what i’ve stepped through above…for that, i’ll go through the tools in another blog post later this week.

References:

Selecting IP Subnets for your SDDC

VMworld 2018 – #vGolf Las Vegas

#vGolf is back! Bigger and better than last years event. This is the third year of the event having had the inaugural #vGolf at VMworld 2016.

Last year we had 34 participants and everyone who attended had a blast at the brilliant Bali Hai Golf complex. This year, Bali Hai is closed during the VMworld weekend so we are moving the event to the Royal Links Golf Club which is approximately 8 miles from the Las Vegas Strip.

This year the event will expand with more sponsors and a more structured golfing competition with prizes going out for the top 2 placed two ball teams. Yes, this year we will be competing between foursomes.

Details will be updated on this site and on the Eventbrite page once the day is finalised and sponsors confirmed. For the moment, if you are interested please reserve your spot by securing a ticket. At this stage there are 40 available…depending on popularity that could be extended.

Last year the golfing fee’s where heavily subsidised to $40 USD per person (green fees usually $130-150). Once registered, I will be reaching out to ask that an advance payment is made via PayPal so that the morning of the event is a cash free zone…always hard to count early on a Sunday morning in Vegas!

The cost will include green fees plus buggy and club hire. The clubs also come with 6 brand new Callaway Golf balls. Shoe hire is extra on the day for those that wish to wear proper footwear. My intention is to fund some cold drinks on the day depending on the final sponsorship numbers.

Registration Page

There is a password on the registration page to protect against people registering directly via the public page. The password is vGolf2018. I’m looking forward to seeing you all there bright and early on Sunday morning!

Take a look at what awaits you…don’t miss out!

Sponsorship Call:

If you, or your company can offer some sponsorship for the event, please email [email protected] to discuss arrangements. I am looking to subsidise most of the green fee’s if possible and for that we would need four to five sponsors.

vBrownBag TechTalks at VMworld 2018 – The Power to Catapult!

VMworld 2018 is fast approaching and in the last 24 hours, notifications where sent out to those lucky enough to have their session submissions accepted. Having been on the wrong side of that email multiple times I understand the disappointment that comes with not having a session accepted. The great news about VMworld is that there is another way to get your session seen and heard…and that is through the vBrownBag Techtalks.

The TechTalks have been a staple at VMworld’s (and other industry conferences) for a number of years now. Last year saw a stepping up of the vBrownBag game by having the TechTalks listed in the VMworld Content Catalog. I’ve had the pleasure of presenting tech talks at three VMworld’s over the years. The first one was back in 2014 but I remember it being a significant milestone in my career…regardless of the fact it was just a TechTalk it meant a lot to present at VMworld.

Make no mistake…these talks have the power and potential to catapult careers!

While the TechTalks offer the opportunity for folks that have not had sessions accepted, the real power of the talks is in offering a platform for the community to step up and present relevant, thought leading content that generally isn’t driven by marketing. In many ways I see more value in these sessions than in the VMworld sessions proper and there is a lot that can be taken away from the sessions.

That said, it’s great to see a number of vendors sponsoring the TechTalks and as per usual, Veeam is leading the way in our support of community at VMworld. As of last week there where around 50 TechTalks submitted and the team expects to have space for over a hundred TechTslks between the both VMworld conferences.

There is still plenty of time to submit your session, more information is in this post.

Here is a Playlist of the 2017 VMworld TechTalks. For those interested, there is a blog post by the vBrownBag team on what it takes to get get a presentation up live streaming and onto YouTube so fast…I found it a fascinating read.

Setting up vSAN iSCSI and using it as a Veeam Repository

Probably one of the least talked about features of vSAN is it’s ability to serve out iSCSI volumes. The feature was released with vSAN 6.5 and was primarily focused on physical workloads and is easily configurable via the vSphere Web Client. iSCSI targets on vSAN are managed the same as any other vSAN objects using Storage Policy Based Management (SPBM). Deduplication, compression, mirroring, and erasure coding can be utilized with the iSCSI target service as well as CHAP and Mutual CHAP authentication.

Of late, i’ve been asked by service providers about using Object Storage platforms as Veeam Backup & Replication repositories. There are a lot of options out there but someone asked specifically about using vSAN. In theory you could just use a VMDK on a vSAN datastore but I thought it would be interesting to look at using iSCSI to mount a volume and use it as a repository.

Initial iSCSI Configuration for vSAN:

First thing we need to do is enable the iSCSI Target service from the vSphere Web Console. Under the Cluster Configuration tab and in the iSCSI Target menu you need to enabled the iSCSI service. Select the default iSCSI Network kernel interface and then modify the iSCSI port and add security if desired. Take note of the info message around using the Storage Policy for the home object.

From there we setup a new iSCIS Target. From here you will be given the IQN and we will give the target an alias. This window also lets us create the first LUN to the iSCSI Target. The LUN id can be specified along with the alias and finally the size. Just like creating a new VMDK on a vSAN datastore we are given the storage consumption of the object depending on the Storage Policy chosen.

Once completed under the iSCSI Target pane we see the details of the Target and LUN just created. Take note of the I/O Owner Host as that is what we will be using later on as the iSCSI Target from the Veeam repository server.

Configuring Host access and setting iSCSI Access Permissions:

On the creation of a LUN there is a default policy that allows all initiator sources to connect to it. To create specific permissions for host access and to also create access groups you need to first enable the iSCSI initiator at the hosts. For that, I’ve got a Windows VM (note only physicals are officially supported) that’s got Veeam Backup & Replication installed on it. To connect to the iSCSI network we have to add an additional vNIC that’s hooked into a PortGroup that’s configured with the vSAN iSCSI VLAN.

Below we can see the VMKernel configuration and IP address of the I/O Owner hosts.

I’ve created a new PortGroup for the new vNIC to be attached to and added it to the VM.

From there we need to start the Microsoft iSCSI Initiator service which will give us the Initiator name we need to configure host access in the vSphere Web Client. Note that we should also install and enable MPIO for iSCSI if not installed as a Windows Feature.

Under the iSCSI Initiator Groups menu in the Cluster Configuration tab you can add the initiator to a new group. This can contain one or many hosts as you would expect in any iSCSI initiator group configuration.

Once that’s been done we have to allow that new group access to the target where the LUN is contained. Under the iSCSI Target menu and under Target Details in the lower pane click on the + icon and add the group as an allowed initiator.

From here we can go back to the Windows VM and connect to the iSCSI Target. We are using the IP Address of the Host was was highlighted above in the initial configuration.

Once done we should have a connected disk that’s visible in the Devices configuration of the isCSI Initiator.

Configuring new iSCSI Volume as Veeam Repository:

From here the process to setup a Veeam Repository based on the vSAN iSCSI LUN is straight forward. Firstly we need to bring online the volume and create a partition. As you can see below, the disk is of Bus Type iSCSI and Name is VMware Virtual SAN.

As for the partition configuration, I’ve set it up as shown before. ReFS being used as the file system.

From here we can head into the Backup & Replication console and create a new Repository with the new volume selected.

Performance and Limitations:

Once configured I was interested in seeing how a vSAN iSCSI connected object performed against a vSAN disk. The results below show that there is a significant performance hit in going one way or the other. This seems logical as in addition to iSCSI overheads a native VMDK on vSAN is hooked into the ESXi kernel directly and should get line speed rates when it comes to data transfer.

Below are the configuration maximums with vSAN iSCSI as listed below:

  • Maximum 1024 LUNs per vSAN cluster
  • Maximum 128 targets per vSAN cluster
  • Maximum 256 LUNS per target
  • Maximum LUN size of 62TB
  • Maximum 128 iSCSI sessions per host.
  • Maximum 4096 iSCSI IO queue depth per host
  • Maximum 128 outstanding writes per LUN .
  • Maximum 256 outstanding IOs per LUN.
  • Maximum 64 client initiators per LUN

So the max size of an iSCSI LUN matches the max size of a VMDK. Therefore when considering iSCSI as a possible option for Veeam backups, Scale Out Backup Repositories should be used to enable the adding at extents once that limit is reached.

There are also limitation on offical support for virtual machines and other platforms:

  • Currently not supported for implementation for Microsoft clusters.
  • Currently not supported for use as a target for other vSphere hosts.
  • Currently not supported for use with third party hypervisors.
  • Currently not supported for use with virtual machines

So if this becomes a consideration, physical servers will need to be used in order to gain support.

Conclusion:

So after all is said an done, we have a Veeam Repository than is now sitting on vSAN via iSCSI. The question remains weather this is a good application of vSAN or weather it’s worth looking at as an option, however the option is now there. Again, you may be able to look at the native VMDK option, but I like the flexibility of iSCSI for physical repositories at the moment.

Probably the biggest consideration for using vSAN iSCSI as a Veeam repository is the design of the vSAN Cluster. vSAN has not traditionally been considered for storage only purposes, however you could put together some low compute nodes with large disk groups that would present decent storage for repository purposes.

In using vSAN you have the benefit of knowing your data is redundant across multiple nodes as per the vSAN Storage Policies. This is the benefit of using object storage like vSAN as a Veeam Repository.

References:

https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vSphere/6.5/com.vmware.vsphere.virtualsan.doc/GUID-13ADF2FC-9664-448B-A9F3-31059E8FC80E.html 

https://kb.vmware.com/kb/2148216

 

VMworld 2017 Veeam Recap – Breakouts, TechTalks and Final Thoughts.

Both VMworld US and Europe have come and gone in quick time this year and while I only attended VMworld US my team and other Veeam staff featured at Europe and both event’s where extremely successful for Veeam. I felt VMware had a good couple of shows, the gap between the two was too short I felt and meant that the Europe event was at best, a continuation of the US event in terms of vision and announcements. That said, VMware have made VMworld great again and there was an unmistakable buzz around the conference that I have not felt since at least the 2014 event.

I’d encourage everyone to check out the Top 40 Session YouTube playlist here and make sure you have caught up with all the VMworld announcements. For those interested in what Veeam had going on, i’ve listed the Breakout Sessions and vBrownBag TechTalks below.

Breakout Session Replays:

Across both VMworld’s we had four breakout sessions which where all well received and had great attendance. If you have a MyVMworld account, you can view the session replays below by clicking following the link and clicking on the session playback icon which will take you to a protected YouTube video.

Note: The European session replays haven’t been posted yet, but should be put up this week.

vBrownBag TechTalks:

Veeam was a main sponsor for of the vBrownBag TechTalks across both VMworld’s and the feedback to the format this year was brilliant. For the first time, the talks where listed in the content catalog meaning there was a lot more exposure and attendance was up significantly on previous years. Below are the Veeam related TechTalks covering both events featuring Michael Cade, Clint Wyckoff, Michael White from Veeam, some of our Vangaurd’s and also David Hill from VMware.

Full list here:

Final Thoughts and Wrap Up:

Both VMworld’s from a Veeam point of view where extremely successful with great sessions attendance and more importantly lots of traffic being driving through our booths. There was great energy in the US and I have been told that that continued in Europe. Both parties went off and a great time was had by all that attended.

The team at Veeam is looking forward to building on the momentum gained at VMworld as we look to release v10 of Backup & Replication, Veeam Availability Console and Orchestrator, updated Windows and Linux Agents, Availability for AWS and Veeam Powered Network.

VMworld Top Session YouTube Playlist:

What’s in a name? VSPP to vCAN to VCPP

Prior to VMworld there where rumours floating around that the vCloud Air Network was going to undergo a name change and sure enough at VMworld 2017 in the US, the vCAN was no more and that the VMware Cloud and Service Provider program would be renamed to the VMware Cloud Partner Program. There has been a number of announcements around the VCPP including the upcoming release of vCloud Director 9.0, a new verification program and also at VMworld Europe new cross cloud capabilities with VMware HCX.

VMware is continuing to make significant investments to expand and enhance our portfolio of cloud products and services. At the same time, we will continue to grow and refine our program to better address your needs as a partner and, as a result, enable you to provide even better cloud service options to our mutual customers around the globe.

The VMware Cloud Verified program is interesting and I’m still a little unsure what it delivers above and beyond non verified VMware Clouds…however it seems like a good logo opportunity for providers to aspire to.

This name change was expected given the wrapping up of vCloud Air, however from talking with a lot of people within the old vCloud Air Network, the name will be missed. To me it was the best thing to come out of the whole vCloud Air experiment but I understand why it had to be changed. This isn’t so much a fresh start for the program but more of a signal that it’s growing and improving and is looking to remain a key cornerstone of VMware multi/hybrid cloud strategy.

Even though I am out of the program and not working for a partner anymore, I am very much connected by way of my interactions with the Veeam Cloud and Service Provider program (VCSP) and the success of both is tied back to not only the individual companies remaining innovative and competitive against the large hyper-scalers. It’s also incumbent on VMware and Veeam to continue to offer the tools to be able to make our providers successful.

As a critical component of the Cloud Provider Platform, the recently-announced vCloud Director 9.0 (vCloud Director 9.0 announcement blog) enables simplified cloud consumption for tenants, a fast path to hybrid services, and rapid vSphere-to-cloud migrations for cloud providers worldwide. VMware continues to demonstrate its commitment to investing in the critical products, tools, and solutions that help cloud providers rapidly deploy and monetize highly scalable cloud environments with the least amount of risk.

The name doesn’t matter…but the technology and execution of service sure as hell does!

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