Tag Archives: Backup

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

 

A Deeper Look at Insider Protection in 9.5 Update 3

With the release of Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 3 we introduced the concept of a Recycle Bin for customers sending offsite cloud backups to VCSPs using Veeam Cloud Connect. This deleted backup protection…or Insider Protection allows the VCSP to enable the deleted backups protection option for specific tenants and looks to add another level of data security for cloud based backups in the case of a malicious user gaining access to the Backup & Replication Console or in the case of accidental deletion by an administrator.

As shown above, this is set by checking a box (Also via PowerShell) in the properties of the tenant account. Once checked the SP will choose the retention period by setting the Keep deleted Backup files for <N> days option. With this option enabled, when a backup or a specific restore point in the backup chain is deleted or aged out from the cloud repository. The actual backup files are not deleted immediately, instead, they are moved to a _RecycleBin folder on the repositories.

Once moved, backup files in the recycle bin do not consume tenant quota however they obviously consume general storage. With that in mind it should be considered by the SP to charge for that used storage. I will release a post shortly detailing some tips on how best to size and charge for the recycle bin storage per client.

At the tenant end those backup files that are moved into the recycle bin are not registered and will not show up in the job information window. They can’t access or do anything with the files in the recycle bin. For the moment if a tenant wants to restore data they must contact the SP to obtain the necessary backup files. Once the retention period has expired all files that fall out of that period are deleted.

Basic Mechanics:

When the option is checked for a tenant a new folder is created under the _RecycleBin\<tenant> folder of the repository. In the case of a Scale Out Backup Repository there is a recycle bin folder created per extent which ensured that any split tenant VM files are processed locally and not between extents.

Once files in the repository start to age out the tenant folder will start to populate with backup files. If there is an event that triggers a change of retention or a VM removed from a job or the deletion of a whole job, any remaining VBK or VIB files in the tenant repository are moved into the recycle bin.

The files remain in the _RecycleBin folder until the retention period has passed or if the service provider moves them out of the folder for recovery purposes.

Working Example:

I have a Cloud Connect Backup account that I am using to back up five VMs that reside on premises, using a standard Backup Job with Forward Incrementals and a Synthetic Full done once a week. I have configured this job to keep two restore points.

I then have configured a secondary destination for the job via a Backup Copy Job to the Cloud Repository and I have set a GFS to happen weekly so I have a full archive offsite. If I hadn’t enabled GFS retention (for those running Update 3) a warning would appear as shown below.

Tip: If the tenant plans to create off-site copies of backed-up data with a backup copy job, it should enable GFS retention settings in the job properties. This way, Veeam Backup & Replication will be able to protect backups created by the job against an attack when a hacker reduces the job’s retention policy and creates a few incremental backups to remove backed-up data from the backup chain.

The Cloud Connect Tenant account has a deleted backup protection setting of 2 days configured as shown in the first image of this post.

Below is the local jobs folder structure:

Looking at the Cloud Connect repository (split over two SOBR extents) you can see that the main repository holds the VM backup files as per the job configuration. Notice the GFS _W files there as well.

Taking a look at the _RecycleBin folder for the tenant after a few days the aged out incremental will start to appear in the folder. Notice that there are no full backup files in the recycle bin at this stage.

Tip: The retention period will look at all backup jobs completed in a 24 hours period and have any expiring or deleted backup files moved into the recycle bin directory. This means that if you are copying up VMs that have a local backup interval of every 4 hours you will have six lots of backup files ageing out daily.

In this example I’m simulating an malicious attack or accidental deletion the VM (TPM03-RMQ-01/VM-120) from the backup. For the sake of this example we are deleting the VM from the Backup & Replication Console under Backups and Cloud. If the Included Archived copies option was chosen then the GFS weekly full backup file is also moved into the recycle bin.

Once the deletion process has been completed the _RecycleBin folder for the tenant will now be populated with the deleted full, plus three incremental files. If the Included Archived copies option was chosen then the GFS weekly full backup file is also moved into the recycle bin.

These will stay in the recycle bin until the retention period is met. From here these files can be transported back to the tenant to be recovered (see here for full process) from within the on-premises Backup & Replication console.

Conclusion:

As shown above, deleted backup protection or Insider Protection is an excellent enhancement to Cloud Connect Backup. It goes some way to having an air gapped backup in the cloud and protects against malicious attacks and rogue or clumsy administrators. There is a lot happening behind the scenes to make it work, however the concept is simple and this features extends the 3-2-1 rule by protecting that offsite copy as part of the Cloud Connect solution. VCSP’s should be looking to offer this as a value add to their clients and Veeam customers should be looking to take advantage of Cloud Connect Backup and Replication for their offsite backup and replication needs.

References:

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

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

World Backup Day …We should be thinking Availability #WAD

Yesterday (30th of March) was Veeam’s World Availability Day. This is a day that Veeam has declared to make people aware about how availability plays a part in all organizations as an extension of Backup and Replication. In it’s self, WAD is a marketing initiative from us here at Veeam that backs onto World Backup Day…which is happening today (31st of March).

Veeam celebrates World Availability Day in recognition of the fact that for modern businesses and service providers, it’s not only about having backups of data anymore, it’s about being Available. Veeam helps organizations of any size and shape to achieve Availability for both their virtual and physical infrastructures, as well as provide data protection solutions in the cloud, whether private, public or hybrid.

World Backup Day focuses around Backup but you can’t forget that replication plays a critical roll in organizations ensuring they are covered for disaster with low recovery times via RaaS and DraaS service offerings. Cloud Connect Replication offered by our Veeam Cloud and Service Providers offers industry leading replication platform and all Veeam customers can take advantage of Cloud Connect as it’s baked right into the core Backup & Replication product.

For those not aware, Veeam has a Find a Veeam Cloud Provider Directory that lets you search for any of our listed VCSPs based on criteria that is relevant to your backup or replication needs.

https://www.veeam.com/find-a-veeam-cloud-provider.html

More on Veeam Cloud Connect Replication:

Advanced image-based VM replication through Veeam Cloud Connect is simple to set up and easy to use through a VCSP and is as easy to setup as going to the Service Providers menu in the Veeam Backup & Replication console and choosing your service provider of choice. Once set up you have access to hardware plans that provide compute, storage and networking resources at the service provider end to which you can configure cloud replication jobs and manage failover scenarios by way of failover plans.

When looking at disaster recovery testing and failover, one of the biggest challenges is in the networking. Generally speaking, there is complexity that surrounds ensuring VM replicas that are brought up at a disaster recovery site have the right networking in order for their applications and services to work. With the Network Extension Appliance, the tenant has the ability to map the internal VM networks as well as configure and publish external services to ensures seamless transition to the VM replicas during a failover.

Data protection and disaster recovery tasks targeted at the cloud host are performed by tenants. Tenants can set up necessary replication jobs and perform failover operations on Veeam backup servers deployed on their side. Tenants can perform the following operations:

  • Replicate VMs to the cloud host
  • Perform failover tasks with VM replicas on the cloud host
  • Full site failover, when all critical production VMs fail over to their replicas on the cloud host in case the whole production site becomes unavailable
  • Partial site failover, when one or several VMs become corrupted and fail over to their replicas on the cloud host
  • Perform failback tasks with VM replicas on the cloud host.

Tasks associated with full site failover can be performed either by the tenant or by the service provider or through a Cloud Connect Portal hosted by the service provider that offers failover/failback operations. This flexibility allows the service provider to test the full site failover process and switch tenant’s production site to the cloud hosts upon request in the case that the tenant has no access to the backup infrastructure after a disaster. Ensuring that failover from the replica VM is successful is critically important, but there should also be a way back to access the on-premises infrastructure. Cloud Connect Replication features an option to easily failback to the primary infrastructure, by copying only data blocks changed while replica VMs were running on the service provider infrastructure.

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Because of this unprecedented offer, right now is the BEST TIME to try backup and DRaaS in the cloud. You can avoid the cost and complexity of building and maintaining your off-site infrastructure while meeting business and regulatory requirements for off-site backup and DR.

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Veeam Vault #4: Product Updates, Agent for Windows Beta Plus Vanguard 2017

Welcome to the fourth edition of my Veeam Vault series and the first for 2017. It’s been a busy first month of 2017 with trips to Orlando where I attended my first Sales Kick Off where I also presented at our SE Training and then a trip to Russia to visit our R&D, Product and QA teams. Covering nearly 42,000KMs and going literally around the world, it was a long but worthwhile trip and has me extremely enthusiastic about the year ahead here at Veeam.

In this Veeam Vault I am going to talk about four new product builds that have been released since the last Veeam Vault and I’ll also talk a little about the Veeam Vanguard program…of which we announced the 2017 members overnight. As usual there will be the roundup of what the Veeam Vanguard’s have posted recently on their blogs but first i’ll talk about the new public BETA that we released on the 26th of January.

Veeam Agent for Windows BETA:

I’m very excited about this product…in fact I’m excited about all of our products that take advantage of Veeam Cloud Connect and VAW is no exception. With the ability to backup physical or virtual Windows endpoints to a Cloud Connect Backup repository the door opens up for a new stream of revenue for VCSPs and in combination with the yet to be released Veeam Availability Console offer a great solution for backing up previously untouchable workloads on physical servers as well as being able to do granular file level backups of any compatible Windows workstation and back them up locally, over a network share, over to a VBR repository or up to a Cloud Connect Repository.

The BETA is available via this registration page, so please download it and try it out and post any feedback in our forums.

Update 1 For VBR, One and Backup for Office 365:

A couple of weeks ago we released Update 1 for Backup & Replication, One and Backup for Office 365. As I wrote in this post focusing on how the latest release offers support for vSphere 6.5 it was more than just a standard update and offers over 300 enhancements and bug fixes that improve on the already strong reliability and scalability of the product. Veeam One also got a significant update and added support for vSphere 6.5 and also including new Hyper-V and reporting enhancements on top of a number of resolved issues. Backup for Office 365 gets a number of enhancements and bug fixes as well and, as with all the Update 1 releases are essential downloads to continue to improve on the already strong product sets.

Veeam Vanguards 2017:

As mentioned in the intro, Rick Vanover sent out new and renewed Vanguard’s their welcome emails overnight and this year we have 62 members at last count and as a former member of the Vanguard’s I can tell you that we, in the Technical Product Marketing team are looking forward to helping the 2017 crop get the most out of the program. I’ve blogged previously about the Vanguard program and now, with it entering it’s third year of operation I can truly say that it’s one of…if not the best vendor advocacy programs in our industry. The people involved on both sides are truly passionate about Veeam and the sense of community is something that I haven’t experienced in any other program. So well done to the 2017 class and hope to catchup with you all throughout the year are VeeamOn and any other event where we may cross paths.

Veeam Vanguard Blog Post Roundup:

VeeamOn 2017:

Lastly a final reminder that the Call for Presentations is still open to those looking to submit a session at the event. This is a great opportunity to share you insights and experiences that you have gained in and around Veeam software solutions and don’t forget that if selected, presenters will receive a complimentary VeeamOn registration pass along with travel and hotel accommodations. Head to the site below to submit an abstract before February 7, 2017.

https://www.veeam.com/veeamon/submit-your-abstract

Veeam 9.5 – What’s in it for Service Providers

Since Backup and Replication 7 Veeam have continued to develop new features in enhancements to support their Cloud and Service Provider community. This started with vCloud Director support…continued with Cloud Connect Backup in v8 and more recently with Cloud Connect Replication in the v9 release. Veeam Backup and Replication 9.5 was released a couple of weeks ago and with it came a bunch of new features and enhancements that VCSPs can take advantage of.

In my initial v9.5 What’s New post I covered off core features and enhancements and without question some of those I talked about will help VCSPs gain enhanced scalability and efficiency in their current availability offerings based on Veeam, weather that be general IaaS and VM backups or if they are offering Cloud Connect Backup and/or Replication. From that first post, I have listed in short some of those features and enhancements that VCSPs will benefit from:

  • Advanced Data Fetcher and Infrastructure Cache
  • Database Optimizations
  • Improved Instance VM recovery
  • Parallel Processing of Full VM Restores
  • Advanced ReFS Support
  • Parallel Processing of Per VM Backups
  • Proxy Affinity
  • Scale Out Repository Temporary Expansion
  • PowerShell and RESTful API Enhancements

Moving on from the core enhancements, without question my favourite new Cloud and Service Provider feature in 9.5 is the introductions of the vCloud Director Self Service Tenant Portal. I’ve blogged about that in preview here, and without going into too much detail in this post, Veeam saw the need to increase efficiency for VCSPs by empowering their vCloud Director tenants with a self service backup and restore portal based on Veeam Backup Enterprise Manager.

vCloud Director Self Service Tenant Portal:

  • Native vCloud Authentication and Integrated Access: Allows tenants to continue to use their existing vCloud Director credentials for the self service portal and restricts them from being able to backup and restore only the VMs belonging to their respective organizations.
  • Enhanced Backup Control: Self service backup allows tenants to maintain better control over their backups by controlling existing jobs and creating new ones. Job setup is simplified so tenants only need to select VMs to perform backups of, as well as select essential parameters such as guest credentials, retention and notifications. Tenants are blocked from accessing advanced settings, such as repository or backup mode selection, which are managed by service providers through job templates
  • Enhanced Restore: Self service restore allows tenants to perform a wide variety of restore options for VMs that Veeam Backup Enterprise Manager currently provides including application items, guest files, full VM and full vApp restores. These restores can now be easily performed in just a few clicks by tenants themselves, improving RTOs and reducing costs for service providers

Just as a reminder this feature required Enterprise Plus to access the vCloud Director self service portal and I will be writing a more in depth blog post on this over the next few weeks. With regards to Cloud Connect, 9.5 has added improvements for both the Cloud Service Providers and their tenants with the biggest enhancement again adding to the scalability of the service by adding parallel processing for both Backup and Replication jobs. We have also extended support for key v9 features such as Per-VM backup chains, Scale Out Backup Repositories and ReFS.

Cloud Connect – Service Provider:

  • Per-VM backup file chains: Cloud repositories can now be backed by backup repositories with the per-VM backup file chains setting enabled to improve scalability and better support for deduplicating storage appliances.
  • Scale-out Backup Repository: Cloud repositories can now be backed by scale-out backup repositories to simplify backup storage management and save costs for service providers.
  • Advanced ReFS Integration: Cloud repositories backed by backup repositories meeting the requirements for Advanced ReFS Integration fully support the corresponding functionality.
  • Improved Diagnostic Logging: Multiple improvements were made to specific areas of tenant job logging where it was possible to do so without exposing a tenant’s confidential information

 Cloud Connect – Tenant:

  • Parallel Processing: Tenants can now backup or replicate multiple VMs and disks in parallel, based on the concurrent task limit set by the service provider, thus improving job performance on fast links. Please note that parallel processing applies to direct transport mode only meaning that WAN accelerators are not supported.
  • Replication From Backup In A Cloud Repository. Tenants can now perform replication from a backup residing in a cloud repository, enabling a new DR option without generating additional network traffic or impacting production VMs.
  • Security enhancements: Veeam Cloud Connect service will now attempt to use more secure TLS 1.2 and TLS 1.1 authentication algorithms when establishing a connection to the service provider. Failover to SSL 3.0 has been disabled for all Veeam Cloud Connect components.
  • Configuration Backup To Cloud Repository: Added support for performing configuration backups to a cloud repository, except for those backed by a scale out repository.

Overall another great update for the VCSPs and their tenants alike and again, if you have Veeam 9 running do yourself a favour and go through the required change controls to upgrade to v9.5…your backups will thank you! 🙂

References:

https://www.veeam.com/veeam_backup_9_5_whats_new_en_wn.pdf

Veeam 9.5 Released: Top New Features

Last week Veeam released to GA version 9.5 of our Backup & Replication product. Even though this is a point release it’s a significant release for Veeam and looks to build on the scalability and reliability that came with previous versions, on top of what was delivered in the v9 release. I’ve spent some time going through the What’s New document as well as the Release Notes and I’ve pulled out my top new features across all areas of the platform…Without question I believe that the features and enhancements listed should make existing Veeam customers upgrade at their first opportunity.

Scalability Enhancements:

In general there has been a doubling of I/O performance that can shorten backup windows by up to five times while reducing the load on core virtualisation platform components such as vCenter and storage arrays.

  • Advanced Data Fetcher: This improves backup performance for individual virtual disks while reducing the load on primary storage due to the reduced number of I/O operations required to complete a backup. This is a VMware feature and is used by Backup from Storage Snapshots, Hot Add and Direct NFS modes.
  • VMware vSphere Infrastructure Cache: This maintains an in RAM mirror of vSphere infrastructure hierarchy to accelerate the Building VM list operation when creating or modifying a job. This also removes load from vCenter. The cache is maintained up-to-date with real-time updates via a subscription to vCenter Server infrastructure change events.

Restore Acceleration Technologies:

Being able to recover from disaster quickly and efficiently is an important feature that shouldn’t be underestimated or understated and v9.5 has further improved this.

  • Instant VM Recovery: This has improved performance up to three times specifically around when recovering multiple VMs at once from per-VM backup file chains.
  • Full VM Parallel Processing: This restore restores multiple disks in parallel, similar to the way a backup is performed. This is automatically used for all disk based backup repositories except Data Domain deduplicating storage.

Engine Enhancements:

Version 9.5 includes a wide range of additional enhancements targeted at large environments to maintain efficiency when processing jobs containing thousands of VMs allowing for scalability improvements. Database optimisations have allowed queries to complete faster reducing back-end SQL Server load that improves user interface responsiveness and job performance.

Advanced Resilient File System:

ReFS is now the preferred disk data format for Windows Server 2016. This updated version provides many new capabilities including improvements data integrity, resiliency and availability as well as speed and efficiency.

Advanced ReFS integration coming in Veeam Availability Suite 9.5

  • Fast Clone Technology: This allows for the creation and transformation of synthetic full backup files to happen up to 20x faster for shorter backup windows and a significantly reduced backup storage load. Backup and restore performance can be further improved with automatic storage tiering provided by a Storage Spaces Direct-based backup repository with an SSD tier.
  • Reduced Backup Storage Consumption: Spaceless full backup technology prevents duplication from occurring resulting in raw disk space consumption by a GFS backup archive that rivals deduplicating appliances. By integrating software dedupe and encryption with ReFS capabilities these storage savings remain in play for encrypted backup files which is significant.
  • Backup Archive Integrity: This is addressing silent data corruption by monitoring and proactively reporting data corruption with ReFS data integrity streams, including automated and seamless healing of corrupted backup file data blocks inline during restore or during periodic scans of the ReFS data scrubber by leveraging Storage Spaces mirror and parity sets.

Instant Recovery From Any Backup: 

This is actually quiet huge and will leverage Veeam Agent technologies to extend on Instant VM Recovery by way of Instant Recovery for physical computers. Version 9.5 enables users to perform instant recovery of endpoints and physical servers into a Hyper-V VM and can:

  • Immediately spin up a failed physical server from a backup
  • Run lost devices directly from their last backup

Veeam Cloud Connect enabled VCSPs can manage the disaster recovery of remote offices and tenant locations beyond key servers and services by spinning up backups copied to the Veeam Cloud Connect repositories as Hyper-V VMs.

Veeam Backup Enterprise Manager

  • Scalability Enhancements: The Enterprise Manager engine was heavily optimised for large environments and tested against databases containing one million restore points. Reporting performance, Web UI responsiveness and new backup server registration times were significantly improved for large environments.
  • Improved Self-Service Capabilities: With the addition of a self-service backup and restore portal for vCloud Director the Enterprise Manager web UI was enhanced with new capabilities to perform Quick Backup operations on the VMs tab as well as delete backup jobs, backup files and erase individual VMs content from multi VM backup files.

Additional Enhancements In Brief

  • Proxy affinity: This new backup repository setting allows users to specify backup proxies which are allowed to perform backups to and restores from the chosen repository. (Enterprise Editions)
  • GFS retention enhancement: To reduce the requirements for archive repository disk space, the oldest GFS full backup will now be removed before a new GFS full backup file is sealed and a new synthetic full is created.
  • SOBR Temporary Expansion: You can add a fourth extent even though no more than three extents can be online at the same time with the fourth remaining in maintenance mode. This will help with upgrading SOBR capacity by attaching a larger storage unit, followed by evacuation of backups from the smallest one. (Enterprise Editions)
  • PowerShell: On going enhancements with new commands added to cover all new 9.5 functionality as well as multiple enhancements to existing commands based on user feedback. (http://helpcenter.veeam.com/docs/backup/powershell)

That’s a pretty significant list of the top enhancements as I see it! I haven’t gone into detail around the enhancements for Veeam Cloud Service Providers in this post but I will get a separate post out over the next few days going through the key enhancements for VCSPs.

If you have Veeam 9 running do yourself a favour and go through the required change controls to upgrade to v9.5…your backups will thank you! 🙂

References:

https://www.veeam.com/veeam_backup_9_5_whats_new_en_wn.pdf

Veeam Top 15 Easy Performance Optimizations

A couple of week ago I participated in the APAC leg of the Top 15 Easy Performance Optimization with Rasmus Haslund looking at how to make Veeam Backup & Replication work more effectively and unleash the full power of the the Veeam platform by working through 15 performance tips that sometimes can be overlooked if left unchecked or not configured out of the box. These included how to use all your CPU power, how to schedule jobs in the right way, taking advantage of scale out backup repositories and other performance optimizations customers can achieve as they deploy new environments or upgrade their existing ones.

At Zettagrid we have been using Veeam as the backup product of choice since going live in 2010 and in that time have been working with Veeam to offer our Image Archive Service which back’s up 1000’s of VMs each day. To keep the backup window in check most of the performance optimizations mentioned in the webinar have been implemented and, together with Rasmus I go through some examples of the impact on individual jobs and the overall efficiencies that allow Veeam to scale as Zettagrid has grown.

View the recording below:

The Slide Deck can be downloaded here.

Like any software, what you get out of the box isn’t always going to offer you optimal performance…Veeam Backup & Replication does work great out of the box, but where is really shines is when you look just under the covers and give it a few tweaks along the way.

There isn’t any doubt that it can scale!

Veeam’s Next Big Thing – Veeam has Arrived!

Today Veeam has made a number of huge announcements around their plans for the future of availability in the form of a live 90 minute keynote where they unveiled their product vision. No less than five huge major products and features where announced that will be released around the time of Veeam 9.5 and anchored by the Veeam Availability Platform for the Hybrid Cloud which focuses on Enterprise Continuity, Workload Mobility and Compliance and Visibility.

Taking a look at the platform stack above it’s clear to see that Veeam is clear in it’s direction in that for the first time there is a clear solution stack that is shown. This signals Veeam’s coming of age and for me, signals that they finally have grown up to be a true leader in the virtualisation, backup and platform management spaces. What is also pleasing to see is that Veeam Cloud Connect underpins the stack to break out backup and replication to public and private clouds.

Key Features and Announcements:

As mentioned there are a number of key features and announcements that where announced.

  • New Veeam Agents: Previously Veeam Endpoint there are new Veeam Agents for Windows and Linux that ensures availability either on premises or offsite to a cloud repository. Having a look at the table below you can see that there are three editions being released that include enterprise features such as application aware processing, flexible scheduling and retention options all while being able to backup directly to Cloud Connect repositories. One of the key points here is that this covers physical workloads as well by way of the Server version!
  • Veeam Backup for Office 365: Yep, backup Office 365 Mailboxes! Mitigate the risks of loosing access to your email data and ensures availability to your users.
  • Enterprise Scalability Features: Scale effectively regardless of the size of your environment or the number of VMs with enhanced processing engines leading to backup and restore acceleration.
  • Advanced ReFS Integration: Greater performance and capacity efficiency for large scale datasets which allow for shorter backup windows, lower storage load, reduced consumption and more reliable forever forward incremental archiving.
  • Veeam One 9.5: Includes new chargeback function for Veeam Cloud Service Providers with the ability to charge for consumed resources that covers vSphere, vCloud Director and Hyper-V.
  • Veeam Availability Orchestrator: Disaster recovery orchestration for the enterprise doing this via defined recovery plans, automated DR Testing for non disruptive disaster recovery testing all while being compliant through built in documenting and and reporting.
  • Veeam Availability Console: A cloud enabled platform for Service Providers and enterprises enabling management of remote offices and giving partners the ability to launch new business through DRaaS and BaaS managed services.
  • V10 Preview: Finally a tease of a v10 feature with IBM storage integration.

A lot of these features attempt to hit the enterprise market directly, while retaining focus on the current addressable market. I’ll update this page a over the next few days with some of the announced release dates for the products and features listed above.

Make no mistake this is huge and Veeam continued to enable customers to consume backup and replication with ease and continues to innovate around brilliantly simple products that just work! As shown below, Veeam has a strong track record of innovating and being first to market.

Looking forward, this is set to continue with the release of Veeam 9.5 and beyond.

Rubrik: Firefly for Physical, RoBo and Multi-Cloud

Rubrik have today announced an expansion to their existing Converged Data Management Backup Appliances adding Cloud Data Management that leverages Rubrik’s data protection that is “Cloudy” and topology agnostic. They have also announced the ability to backup more physical workloads and an virtual appliance for remote or branch offices. They also announced the raising of $61 million in Series C funding led by Khosla Ventures which takes their total in raised funding to $112 million since early 2014 and adds to the impressive list of investors in the startup.

The four main features being added in Firefly are:

  • Physical MSSQL
  • Physical Linux
  • Virtual Appliance
  • Erasure Coding

These additions are now fairly standard in the industry and great to see Rubrik adding them to their arsenal. The MSSQL features installs a connector service that becomes an endpoint that handles communications between the Rubrik brick and MSSQL server. The Linux feature actually covers both physical and virtual Linux severs and provides the ability to restore file systems, paths or files.

The Edge appliance is an OVA deployment of Rubrik for remote or branch offices which can be used to replicate and archive to a physical appliance. Azure blob storage has also been added as an archival location. The erasure coding will deliver approximately 2x capacity and increase storage utilization and efficiency.

This new release builds on the features added in 2.0 like Role Based Access Control which was sorely missed from the original releases. There is also enhanced compliance reporting and log and audit monitoring and have built on their encryption and security features.

Overall more good news from Rubrik and looking forward to seeing them continue to improve and add features during and after VMworld. If you want to know more about Firefly you can book a one on one at the Rubrik booth here.

 

Veeam 9 Update 2 Released – Cloud Connect Enhancements

A couple of weeks ago Veeam Cloud Service Provider would have received an email informing them that Update 2 for Veeam 9 Backup & Replication had been RTM’ed and was available to download for Cloud Connect partners and selected Veeam customers with outstanding support cases. The update introduces a couple of significant feature enhancement for Cloud Connect Replication and a few outstanding bug fixes as well as some updates to the core Backup & Replication product. Update 2 is now generally available and can be downloaded here.

Unlike previous patch releases services providers don’t have to upgrade right away as no matter what…versions of V9 Build 9.0.0.902 or 9.0.0.1491 are compatible with server or client versions of Build 9.0.0.1715 and vice versa. I’d still recommended that VCSPs upgrade as soon as their change processes allows to gain the extra functionality.

Before heading into the Cloud Connect enhancements and fixes, great news for VCSPs running vCloud Director or/and VSAN, with this update bringing compatibility for vCD SP 8.10 and VSAN 6.2.

General Cloud Connect:

Enhancements include improved cloud service stability under heavy load, license expiration grace period functionality works correctly for rental licenses and licensed VM count is now correctly enforced, instead of issuing errors. Update 2 also introduces usage reporting for rental licenses directly from the user interface. This functionality lays groundwork for automated usage reporting in the future and is to be used as a beta initially. VCSPs should if possible, submit usage reports through the user interface and provide feedback. Automated usage reporting functionality is enabled by selecting the “Update license key automatically” check box in the License Information window.

Please note that on the first day of the month, each backup server upgraded to 9.0 Update 2 and operating with a service provider rental license will generate a usage report for the previous month. The report is saved on the backup server (or Enterprise Manager server, if present) for your reference. It can be reviewed and modified as necessary in the first 10 days of the month. After that, if the “Update license key automatically” check box is selected, the backup server (or Enterprise Manager server) will send the report to Veeam. See KB article 2144 for more information).

Cloud Connect Replication

Enhancements include support for Planned Failover functionality whereby tenants can now perform planned failovers to achieve zero data loss for when a disaster can be predicted in advance. There is support for the Network Extension Appliances on Hyper-V and the ability to exclude IP addresses in the service provider side NEA firewall. There where a number of issues addressed for both partial and full site failover functionality and the Network mapping functionality now works correctly when VMware Distributed Virtual Switch are in use.

Overall another solid Update from Veeam that further enhances the industry leading Backup & Replication platform and it’s Cloud Connect Backup and Replication technology.

References:

https://www.veeam.com/kb2147

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