Tag Archives: Cloud Connect Replication

Update 4 for Service Providers – Targeting vCloud Director with Cloud Connect Replication

When Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 4 went Generally Available in late January I posted a What’s in it for Service Providers blog. In that post I briefly outlined all the new features and enhancements in Update 4 as it related to our Veeam Cloud and Service Providers. As mentioned each new major feature deserves it’s own seperate post. I’ve covered off the majority of the new feature so far, and for the final post in the series I am looking at something that is close to my heart…vCloud Director Support for Veeam Cloud Connect Replication.

As a reminder here are the top new features and enhancements in Update 4 for VCSPs.

Leveraging the Best of vCloud Director for Stronger DRaaS:

VMware vCloud Director is the de facto standard for service providers who offer Infrastructure as a Service based on VMware and Veeam has had a long history supporting vCloud Director, with the industry’s first support for vCloud Director aware backups released in Veeam Backup & Replication v7 following on with the first stand alone Self Service Backup Portal in v9.5.

With the release of Update 4, we have added support for Veeam Cloud Connect to replicate directly into vCloud Director virtual datacenters, allowing both our Cloud and Service Provider Partners (VCSP) and customers to take advantage of the enhancements VMware has built into the platform. While this has been a long time coming, this support represents a significant enhancement to the way in which our VCSPs offer DRaaS.

With tenants consuming vCloud Director resources, it allows them to take advantage of more powerful features when dealing with full disaster, or the failure of individual workloads. Full and partial failovers will be more transparent with the use of the vCloud Director HTML5 Tenant UI and the vCloud Director HTML5 UI will also allow tenants to see what is happening to workloads as they boot and interact with the guest OS directly. This takes the pressure of the VCSPs helpdesk and gives tenants more control of their replicas once failed over.

Enhanced Edge Networking with NSX:

From a networking point of view, being able to access the NSX Edge Gateway for replicated workloads means that tenants can leverage the advanced networking features available on the NSX Edge Gateway. The Network Extension Appliance did a great job in offering basic network functionality however the NSX Edge offers:

  • Advanced Firewalling and NAT
  • Advanced Dynamic Routing (BGP, OSPF and more)
  • Advanced Load Balancing
  • IPsec and L2VPN
  • SSL VPN
  • SSL Certificate Services

Once a failover has been triggered from the Veeam Backup & Replication Console or via the VCSPs own Portals, the ability to manage and configure everything through the vCloud Director HTML5 UI utilizing NSX via vCloud Director enhances Cloud Connect Replication for both service providers and tenants.

Network Automation During Partial Failovers with the NEA:

There are a number of options that can be used to extend the tenant network to the service provider cloud network when actioning a partial failover. Tenants and service providers can configure:

  • Custom IPsec VPN
  • IPsec or L2VPN via the NSX Edge Gateway
  • NEA to NEA L2 VPN

The Network Extension Appliance is still available for deployment in the same way as before Update 4 and can be used directly from within a vCloud Director virtual datacenter. The NEA’s automate the extension of a tenant network so that the failed over workload can be accessible from the tenant network, even though it resides in the service provider’s environment. The NEA to NEA option is the simplest and most effective way to extend the tenants network to the cloud network.

NOTE: I will be dedicating a seperate blog post to this feature as I believe this is one of the leading innovative features we have as part of Cloud Connect Replication.

vCloud Director 9.7 Compatibility:

Just a quick note to finish that at the time of writing this post, Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update4a does not officially support vCloud Director 9.7. We currently support up to vCloud Director 9.5 but will be looking to add supportability for 9.7 within the next 90 days.

Wrap Up:

DRaaS is something that is only just becoming recognized as something that organizations require as part of their overall data protection strategy. Veeam has had a strong offering delivered through our VCSPs for a while now, with a strong focus on network automation which is typically the hardest part of any DRaaS offering. With Cloud Connect Replication now targeting vCloud Director we now have a very compelling DRaaS product that is simple, flexible and reliable…yet still delivers enterprise grade functionality.

Update 4 for Service Providers – Tenant Connectivity with Cloud Connect Gateway Pools

When Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 4 went Generally Available a couple of weeks ago I posted a What’s in it for Service Providers blog. In that post I briefly outlined all the new features and enhancements in Update 4 as it related to our Veeam Cloud and Service Providers. As mentioned each new major feature deserves it’s own seperate post. I’ve covered off Tape as a Service and RBAC Self Service, and today i’m focusing on a much requested feature…Cloud Connect Gateway Pools

As a reminder here are the top new features and enhancements in Update 4 for VCSPs.

Gateway Pools for Cloud Connect

Cloud Connect has become the central mechanism for connectivity and communication between multiple Veeam services. When first launched with Cloud Connect Backup in v8 of Backup & Replication, the Cloud Connect Gateways where used for all secure communications between tenant backup server instances and the Veeam Cloud and Service Provider (VCSP) Cloud Connect backup infrastructure. This expanded to support Cloud Connect Replication in v9 and from there we have added multiple products that rely on communications brokered by Cloud Connect Gateways.

As of today Cloud Connect Gateways facilitate:

  • Cloud Connect Backup
  • Cloud Connect Replication
  • Full and Partial Failovers for Cloud Connect Replication
  • Remote Console Access
  • Veeam Availability Console Tenant and Agent Management
  • Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 Self Service

With regards to acting as the broker for Cloud Connect Backup or Replication, prior to Update 4 the only way in which a VCSP could design and deploy the Gateways was in an all or nothing approach when it came to configuring the IP address and DNS for the service endpoint. When considering VCSPs that also provide connectivity such as MPLS for their customers it meant that to leverage direct connections that might be private the options where to either use the public address or setup a whole new Cloud Connect environment for the customer.

Now with Update 4 and Gateway Pools a VCSP can configure one or many Gateway Pools and allocate one or more Cloud Connect Gateways to those pools. From there, tenants can be assigned to Gateway Pools.

Cloud Gateways in a Gateway Pool operate no differently to regular Cloud Gateways. As with previous Cloud Gateways, If the primary gateway is unavailable, the logic built into Veeam Backup & Replication will failover to another Cloud Gateway in the same pool.

If tenants are not assigned a Cloud Gateway Pool they can use only gateways that are not a part of any cloud gateway pool. That situation is warned in the UI when configuring the gateways.

Wrap Up:

The introduction of Cloud Connect Gateway Pools un Update 4 was undertaken due to direct feedback from our VCSPs who wanted more flexibility in the way in which the Cloud Gateways where deployed and configured for customers. Not only can they be used to seperate tenants connecting from public and private networks, but they can also be used for Quality of Service by assigning a Gateway Pool to specific tenants. They can also be used to control access into a VCSPs Cloud Connect infrastructure if located in different geographic locations.

For a great overview and design considerations of Cloud Connect Gateway Pools and Gateways themselves, check out Luca’s Cloud Connect Book here.

References:

https://helpcenter.veeam.com/docs/backup/cloud/cloud_gateway_pool.html?ver=95u4

VCSP Important Notice: 9.5 Update 3 RTM Is Out…With Insider Protection and more!

Earlier this week, Veeam made available to our VCSP partners the RTM of Update 3 for Backup & Replication 9.5 (Build 9.5.0.1335). Update 3 is what we term a breaking update, meaning that if a Cloud Connect tenant upgrades from any previous 9.5 version before VCSPs this will break backup or replication functionality. With that in mind the RTM has been made available for our VCSP partners to ensure it is installed and tested before being pushed out to production before the GA release. Veeam Backup & Replication releases from 8.0 (build 8.0.0.2084) can write backups to a cloud repository on 9.5 Update 3, and any release from 9.0 (build 9.0.0.902) can write replicas to a cloud host on 9.5 Update 3.

Update 3 is a very significant update and contains a number of enhancements and known issue fixes with a lot of those enhancements aimed at improving the scalability of the Backup & Replication platform that VCSPs can take advantage of. One important note is around new licensing for Cloud Connect Backup that all VCSPs should be aware of. There is a detailed post in the VCSP Forums and there will be emails sent to explains the changes.

We have also pushed out a number new features for our VCSPs with two of them highlighted below. One of which is the new Insider Protection feature or Recycle Bin for Cloud Connect Backups and the other is the a long awaited ask from our providers in the Maintenance Mode for Cloud Connect.

  • Insider protection: Option to hold backups deleted from a tenant’s cloud repository in a “recycle bin” folder for a designated period of time. For more information, see this post in the VCSP forum.

    • Maintenance Mode: Allows you to temporarily stop tenant backup and backup copy tasks from writing to cloud repositories. Already running tenant tasks are allowed to finish, but new tenant tasks fail with an error message indicating that the service provider infrastructure is undergoing maintenance. This is supported at the tenant end in 9.5 Update 3 GA, Agent for Windows 2.1 and Agent for Linux 2.0.

There has also been a lot of work to improve and enhance scalability in the Backup & Replication Cloud Connect functionality to accomodate the increasing usage of Veeam Agent for Windows of which there is a new version (2.1) coming in early December and prepare for the release of Veeam Agent for Linux (2.0) that will include support for backups to be sent to Cloud Connect repositories. For the recently released Veeam Availability Console, Update 3 is 100% compatible with the 2.0 GA (Build 2.0.1.1319) released last week and is good from Update 2 or later.

Conclusion:

Once again, Update 3 for Veeam Backup & Replication is an important update to apply for VCSPs running Cloud Connect services in preparation for the GA release which will happen in about two weeks. Once released I’ll link to the VeeamKB for a detailed look at the fixes but for the moment, if you have the ability to download the update do so and have it applied to your instances. For more info in the RTM, head to the VCSP Forum post here.

Veeam DRaaS v10 Enhancements: vCloud Director Support!

Today at VeeamON 2017 we announced two very important enhancements to our DRaaS capabilities around Cloud Connect Replication and Tape Backup for our Veeam Cloud and Service Provider partners that help customer minimize the cost and reduce recovery times during a disaster. The press release can be found here, however as you could imagine I wanted to talk a little bit about the vCloud Director support.

A lot of service providers have been asking us to support vCloud Director in Veeam Cloud Connect Replication and I’m very happy to write that today we announced that v10 of Backup & Replication will have support for replica’s to be replicated and brought up into at service providers vCloud Director environment.

This is a significant enhancement to Cloud Connect replication end even with it being somewhat of a no brainer I am still sure it will make many VCSP people happy. With vCloud Director support in v10 tenants can now replace existing hardware plans with vCloud Director Virtual Datacenter resources. A tenant can either leverage an existing virtual datacenter or have the service provider create a dedicated one for the purpose of replication.

While Cloud Connect Replication was a strong product already with industry leading networking and ease of use, the flexibility that can be harnessed by tenants (and service providers) through the vCD platform means that there is even more control when a failover takes place. Look out for more information on our vCD integration as the v10 release gets closer…again for me, this is huge and bring’s together two of the best platforms for cloud based services even closer!

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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Cloud Connect Replication Partial Failover – Example

Veeam Cloud Connect Replication has been part of Veeam’s Backup & Replication product since version 9 was released in early 2016 and like Cloud Connect Backup before it, Replication is starting to get traction in the market due to it’s ease of use, intuitive interface and best of breed disaster recovery networking technologies that are all baked into the core Backup & Replication product.

Without doubt one of the best/little known features of VCCR is the partial failover. Most disaster recovery scenarios focus on the total failure of all systems due to natural events or localised datacenter issues however the most common outage occurs at an virtual machine or instance level…this is generally an issue with the application or the operating system. With that, the ability to failover a single VM at a time is an often overlooked feature when looking into replication and disaster recovery platforms.

Veeam provides partial failovers within Cloud Connect Replication and once a VM has a replica copied up to the cloud provider you have the ability to perform a partial failover. I’ve created a video showing the process involved to initiate a partial failover which starts the VM replica up in the cloud providers hosting platform and then creates a L2 Tunnel via Network Extension Appliances that are deployed at the production and cloud ends. For an explanation of the Network Extension Appliance click here. Without diving into the specifics of what’s happening underneath the surface the NEAs talk to each other via the Cloud Connect Gateway and bridge the layer 2 network providing layer 3 access so that the replica VM that’s been partially failed over can communicate with VMs on the production network and vice versa.

This effectively means services and applications will be available over the internet without the need to employ expensive WAN connectivity mechanisms…the NEAs do all the work for you. In the demo video I am simulating the failure of a VM that hosts a WordPress site. That VM is brought up at the cloud providers end and, as can be seen in the video is shown to be running in a failed over state. From there I trigger a failback which replicates any changes made at the cloud end during the failover state back to the production site on premises. Once I am happy I commit the failback and the VM resumes normal operations on-premises.

The uptake of Cloud Connect Replication through Veeam’s VCSPs has been steady and we are seeing the number of replication VM licenses reported gather pace and grow month on month. As the Backup and Disaster Recovery markets mature I fully expect Cloud Connect to be a central part of our customers 3-2-1 rule of backup and availability with Cloud Connect Replication becoming the best of breed Replication/Disaster Recovery as a Service offering in the market.

References:

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

Veeam 9.5 – RTM Build Available for VCSPs

Last week (we at) Veeam dropped the RTM build of Veeam 9.5 to it’s Cloud Service Provider partners. As a VCSP partner you need to be ready for the v9.5 GA date (at this stage set for mid November) to ensure that any keen early adopters who have Cloud Connect services with providers are able to backup and replicate without issue. VSCPs should upgrade their Veeam B&R 9 platforms to v9.5 as soon as possible.

To start with it’s best to have Veeam B&R updated to the latest patch release which is Update 2 Build 1715 and before upgrading to v9.5 it’s best to restart all Veeam services or better yet reboot the Veeam Management Servers…as an extra measure before beginning the upgrade you should disable all jobs and call an outage window so that your customers can pause their jobs.

If you have Enterprise Manager installed you will need to upgrade that first…notice below that the only available option is to upgrade Enterprise Manager.

This is a very easy upgrade and there isn’t really any gotchyas to get from v9 to v9.5 and the following components will be upgraded.

As this is a point release you will not be asked for a new license and the installer will detect the current license as shown below.

Next, dependancies will be checked and you will be able to install any that are missing.

Once Completed you now have the option to upgrade Backup & Replication. Running through the next next install you get prompted again for the license and the service account password and get warned that the database will be updated.

Once done you are set to update the Cloud Connect components via the updated console interface. On first login it will prompt you to upgrade all components to the their respective 9.5 versions. Any Cloud Gateways, Veeam Proxies, Repository Servers and Network Extension Appliances will be upgraded.

To validate the install and make sure everything is working as expected when its comes to Cloud Connect you should run a test job and make sure it goes through without issue. With full v9 backward compatibility Cloud Connect is ready for the GA release. Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks as I run through the best new features of Veeam 9.5 for VCSPs…there are significant new features and enhancements that extend the platform for VCSPs to take advantage of and offer more services to customers.

Veeam Forums:

I would encourage all VCSPs to keep track of what’s happening in the Veeam Cloud & Service Provider forums as there are already a number of useful posts in there related to the RTM.

https://forums.veeam.com/veeam-cloud-service-providers-forum-f34/

IMPORTANT NOTE:

The product team have built in an important warning that VCSP customers will see if their Service Provider endpoints are not version 9.5. It will show the warning below that the Cloud Connect platform version is not up to date and that performing the update will backup and replication jobs will stop working. Again, this is why it’s critical that all VCSPs upgrade ASAP.