Tag Archives: DRaaS

The State of DRaaS…A Few Thoughts

Over the past week Garter released the 2018 edition of the Magic Quadrant for DR as a Service. The first thing that I noticed was how sparse the quadrant was when comparing it to the 2017 quadrant. Though many hold it in high regard, the Gartner Quadrant isn’t the be all and end all source of information pertaining to those offering DRaaS and succeeding. But It got me thinking as to the state of the current DRaaS market.

Just before I talk about that, what does it mean to see less vendors in the Magic Quadrant this year? Probably not much apart from the fact the ones that dropped out probably don’t see value in undertaking the process. Though, as mentioned in this post it could also be due to the criteria changing. As a comparison, from the past three years you can see above that only ten participants remain down from twenty three the previous year. There has been a shift in position and it’s great to see iLand leading the way beating out global powerhouses like IBM and Microsoft.

But does the lack of participants in this year’s quadrant point to a declining market? Are companies skipping DRaaS for traditional workloads and looking to build availability and resilience into the application layer? Has network extension become so common place and reliable that companies are becoming less inclined to use DRaaS providers and just rely on inbuilt replication and mobility? There is an argument to be had that the push to cloud native applications, the use of public cloud and evolving network technologies has the potential to kill DRaaS…but not yet…and not any time soon!

Hybrid cloud and multi-platform services are here to stay…and while the use of the hyper-scale public clouds, serverless and containerisation has increased, there is still an absolute play to be had in the business of ensuring availability for “traditional” workloads. Those workloads that sit on-premises, in private or public cloud platforms still use the base unit of measurement as the VM.

This is where DRaaS still has the long game.

Depending on region, there is still a smattering of physical servers running workloads (some regions like Asia are 5-10 years behind the rest of the world in Virtualisation…let alone containerization or public cloud). It’s true that most Service Providers who have been successful with Infrastructure as a Service have spent the last few years developing their Backup, Replication and Disaster Recovery as a service offerings.

Underpinning these service offerings are vendors like Veeam, Zerto, VMware and other availability vendors that offer software that Service Providers can leverage to offer DR services both from on-premises locations to their cloud platforms, or between their cloud platforms. Traditional backup vendors offer replication features that can also be used for DR. There is also the likes of Azure that offers DRaaS using technologies like Azure Site Recovery that looks to offer an end to end service.

DRaaS still predominantly focuses on the availability of Virtual Machines and the services and applications they run. The end goal is to have critical line of business applications identified, replicated and then made available in the case of a disaster. The definition of a disaster varies depending on who you speak to and the industry loves to use geo-scale impact events when talking about disasters…but reality is that the failure of a single instance or application is much more likely than whole system failures.

Disaster avoidance has become paramount with DRaaS. Businesses accept that outages will happen but where possible the ramifications of down time needs to kept to a minimum. Or better yet…not happen at all. In my experience, having worked in and with the service provider industry since 2002, all infrastructure/cloud providers will experience outages at some point…and as one of my work colleagues put it…

It’s an immutable truth that outages will occur! 

I’ve written before about this topic before and even had a shirt for sale at once stage stating that Outages are like assholes…everyone has one!

There are those that might challenge my thoughts on the subject, however as I talk to service providers around the world, the one thing they all believe in is that DRaaS is worth investing in and will generate significant revenue streams. I would argue that the DRaaS hasn’t even hit an inflection point yet, whereby it’s been seen to be a critically necessary service to consume for businesses. It’s true to say that Backup as a Service has nearly become a commodity…but DRaaS has serious runway.



What’s Changed: 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Disaster Recovery as a Service

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!

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.



Veeam Cloud Connect on World Availability Day

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

Availability plays a significant role for all organizations, regardless of industry or size. Enterprise organizations now rely on 24/7/365, and Availability is officially a necessary survival tool. Modern users today expect unfettered access to ALL applications and data, from streaming media, to CRM tools, and much more. When user expectations are not met, the ramifications are often costly and time-consuming, and they are likely to keep everyone, from the IT pro to the CEO, up all night.

Having worked in the Hosting and Cloud industry all my career I have had to deal with backup and recovery throughout that time…and for the most it’s been a royal PITA! You only have to look back at the early days of this blog to see how frustrating and unreliable my experiences with backups have been. Of recent times though the backup industry has improved and with Veeam leading the way in the virutalisation space it’s become less a pain and more about how to take the next step to achieve availability as Veeam talks about in its marketing messages.

Veeam Cloud Connect and Cloud Connect Replication play a big part in extending Veeam B&R platform into an availability suite and allows for the wrapping of DRaaS around these service provider offerings. In February I took part in a joint Zettagrid/Veeam Webinar where myself and Nelson Simao went through Cloud Connect and how it benefits SPs and Veeam customers in getting key data offsite in the form of VM Backups and Replicas.

In the presentation I go through the Cloud Connect offerings and compare the differences between backup and replication as it pertains to availability and the industry terms that sometimes get confused or misused when talking about it.

I’ve posted the video below and the slidedeck can be downloaded via the link below.


So before World Backup Day tomorrow…have a happy World Availability Day today


Veeam 9 Released – What’s in it for Service Providers…and their Customers

Last week Veeam released v9 of their Backup & Replication platform and I went through an listed out the top new general features of the v9 release. In that post I purposely left the features that relate to Veeam Cloud Service Providers as a dedicated post is fitting for the improvements and enhancements added around Cloud Connect and with the addition of Cloud Connect Replication.

At the moment there upwards of 7000 VCSPs around the world and much like the VMware vCloud Air Network these partners represent a ready made network of like for like platform targets for which customers can extend their onsite Veeam solutions to a VCSP of their choice. (Zettagrid is on of those providers and is Cloud Provider of the Year for the ANZ region) With Veeam 8, Cloud Connect was announced and released and has proven to be a popular service which started picking up significantly in the last half of 2015. With the success of Cloud Connect, which provided a great offsite repository location for clients it was no surprise that Veeam extended this functionality in v9 with Cloud Connect Replication.

Veeam Cloud Connect Replication:

The extended functionality will give service providers the ability to provide clients with RaaS (recovery-as-a-service) in the form of Veeam Cloud Connect Replication for Service Providers. This builds on Cloud Connect which made it easy for existing and new Veeam customers to extend their backup infrastructure to cloud based repositories for offsite backups. Cloud Connect Replication features includes:

  • A reserved set of compute and storage for DR with networking resource allocation from a service provider to dramatically simplify setting up replication jobs to the cloud
  • Full site failover to a remote DR site from anywhere with just a few clicks through the secure web portal (see pic below), and partial site failover to instantly switch over to selected VM replicas only
  • Built-in network extension appliances to simplify networking complexity and preserve communication with, and between, running VMs regardless of physical location
  • Failback to an existing or new infrastructure to restore normal business operations
  • 1-click failover orchestration for quick failover execution, and site failover testing for failover simulation without disrupting production workloads
  • Support for file level recovery from cloud replicas in case there are issues with local backups
  • Multiple traffic reduction technologies including built-in WAN acceleration, BitLooker
  • Single port connectivity via a secure SSL/TLS connection to a service provider with traffic encryption

Cloud Connect Improvements:

  • In addition to being included in the Enterprise Plus edition, this feature is now also included in the Enterprise edition for backup copy and replication jobs to Veeam Cloud Connect service providers
  • The ability for users to limit the maximum bandwidth consumption by each tenant on the service provider site to help protect all tenants using the same Cloud Gateway from a “noisy neighbor” problem has been added.
  • Switching the logging level for cloud service no longer requires the service to be restarted.

In addition to that Veeam have introduced full support for vCloud Director 8.0 and also have committed to future long term support of vCloud Director in light of the recent VMware announcements. There is a new Per VM Licensing Model to support VCSPs reporting structures and make things easier for reporting and billing of licensing and there is now full support for RESTful API for Service Providers in all product editions with that Per VM license.

While it’s easy to see how awesome Cloud Connect Replication will be for VCSPs to productize and offer true replication based RaaS there are some features that are available in the general v9 Backup & Replication engine that are not available for Cloud Connect just yet:

  • Scale Out Repositories
  • Per VM Backup File Chain Feature
  • vCloud Director Support

Those additional features are on the horizon and in my opinion can’t come soon enough…it will elevate Cloud Connect Replication even further. But overall another great update for the VCSP and I look forward to developing an offering around Cloud Connect Replication as soon as possible to go along with the existing Cloud Connect for Veeam.




Announced: Veeam 9 Cloud Connect Replication For Service Providers

Last week Veeam announced that version 9 of Backup & Replication will feature a new addition to it’s Cloud Connect product…Replication for Service Providers. The version 8 functionality will be extended to include advanced image-based VM replication.

The extended functionality will give service providers the ability to provide clients with RaaS (recovery-as-a-service) in the form of Veeam Cloud Connect Replication for Service Providers. This builds on Veeam Cloud Connect which made it easy for existing and new Veeam customers to extend their backup infrastructure to cloud based repositories for offsite backups. I worked closely with Veeam last year in productizing Cloud Connect for Veeam and adding it to the Zettagrid Product Catalog and will be looking forward to seeing how the replication feature will add to the service offering.

Included with Veeam 9, clients will get a fully integrated, secure and efficient way to send VM replicas to Cloud based repositories which will enable the protection of applications and services with dramatically improved recovery time objectives.

Cutting through the marketing of the press release the key features are listed below:

  • Built-in multi-tenant support to securely share host or cluster CPU, RAM, storage and networking resource allocation between different tenants;
  • Full site failover to a service provider site with just a few clicks on a secure web portal, including failover orchestration with failover plans, and partial failover to instantly switch over selected VMs only;
  • Built-in network extension appliances to preserve communication with and between production VMs regardless of their location;
  • Failback to the existing or new infrastructure to restore normal business operations;
  • Failover testing for seamless failover simulation without disrupting production workloads;
  • Single port connectivity via a secure, reliable SSL connection to a service provider; and
  • Multiple traffic reduction technologies including built-in WAN acceleration, replica seeding, and replication from a backup.

“Veeam Cloud Connect not only enables our users to fulfill the offsite requirement without having to invest in offsite infrastructure or management, but also presents new opportunities for service providers to build recurring revenue from their existing customer base, expand their presence in the DRaaS market, and establish relationships with new customers” – Ratmir Timashev, CEO of Veeam

This is an interesting (but expected) move by Veeam who are competing with the likes of VMware vCenter Replication and DRaaS leaders Zerto…who have a strong offering based on vCloud Director that also can be used by Hyper-V houses to replicate (hypervisor agnostic) in almost real time from on-premises to a Service Provider Cloud. There has been a lot of debate on inline replication vs snapshot based replication solutions and this move is sure to fuel that debate even more.

Hopefully I can get my hands on the beta shortly and start to pull apart the replication mechanisms. Upon first glance there doesn’t seem to be any vCloud Director integration which be somewhat surprising given the Service Providers out there who are strong vCD + Veeam partners. Would be a shame to not carry forward Veeam’s history of vCloud Director integration.

Looking forward to seeing what Veeam have brought to the table with V9!

Further Reading:


The Backup Delusion – Part 1

Ill put this right out there! I would rather live in a world without Backup and Recovery. I have burnt countless hours and hair follicles working my way through and trying to tame backup application platforms. Unfortunately we have not reached a point whereby the technology we use is reliable and resilient enough to prevent failures and with that we backup and sometimes we recover.

Historically companies and service providers have relied on tape backups to protect their mission critical data, but with the advent of the digital age and to a lesser extent virtualization we find ourselves in an opposing world of increasing resource density and efficiency and Big Data. Tape drives, while still in use by some have given way to disk based backup systems and applications have failed to keep pace with the change.

Ive had the misfortune of dealing with a large number of backup applications over the past couple of years and very few, if any have lived up to expectation. From poor Application Support (sometimes waiting a year to support a new platform after release) to products that staggeringly cant recover data it claims to have backed up successfully. The amount of man hours I see being burnt by onsite techs and senior engineers on backend and client side issues is mind boggling. I would be very interested to see the $$ value Backup applications suck out of service providers and businesses alone! The amount of times I’ve heard a tech or sales person try to explain to a customer that, while we had the backup, and it appeared to be working, we couldn’t recover your data…sorry about that!

And as I currently try to truncate 500GB worth of Exchange Server logs (on a Virtual Server that had a 300GB SnapShot go out of control and consume all datastore space, resulting in VM failure) due to a new version of a product that previously performed the function, but now does not until a future patch, I ponder what makes a good backup application? Im also wondering if traditional backup applications are the way to go? Do we still need to provide an application? Does that application need to cover all requirements?

Traditionally a backup Application needed to cover the following:

–  Agent Compatibility/Deployment

–  Application Awareness via API/VSS

–  File Level Backup Options

–  Bare Metal Recovery of Physical Servers

Throw Virtualization into the mix and you need to cover the following:

–  Agentless Backup Options

–  Multi-Platform Support (?)

–  Change Block Tracking

– Offsite Backup Options

Now throw in Operational Requirements and Expectations to cover the following:

–  Cost of licensing Application and vendor royalties

–  Cost of backend storage and ongoing costs of data sprawl

–  Requirement for storage efficiencies through enhanced compression and de-dupe

–  Proven stability and scalability

–  Minimal Engineering and ongoing Management time

And lastly, throw in business/client expectations to cover the following:

–  Relative value for money“ I want the world, but dont want to pay for it.

–  100% Faith in Product being delivered “ You said it would work!

–  Fast Backup and Recover Times “ I need that file from 18 months ago now!

–  Expectation that Application backups up everything “ This is my DR right?

–  Offsite Backup Options “ To the Cloud! Its safer up there I hear?

Ok, so I might have listed out some pent up frustration drawn from client interactions for that last part but the question remains. is there a product that ticks all those boxes? And while vendors will have you believe the marketing FUD, I have yet to find a product that does and I would argue that no product will ever meet all requirements. We are about to enter the post PC era, and while debatable in some (Redmond) circles the truth is that we have seen the landscape of data and how its stored and accessed shift and with that current backup applications and the platforms they sit upon simply cant cope with the change.

So what do we have at our disposals to cope with this change? What vendor will release that ˜Silver Bullet application that solves all our issues? I dont believe there will ever be one application that covers all bases but there are certainly new applications and technologies that backup and control data which are emerging or are close to release. In Part 2 Ill go through these and try to (not solve) work through what would be suitable for the foreseeable future in data backup and recovery and introduce the often misinterpreted concept of DRaaS.

The BackupDelusion – Part 2