Tag Archives: VCSP

What Services Providers Need to Think About in 2019 and Beyond…

We are entering interesting times in the cloud space! We should no longer be talking about the cloud as a destination and we shouldn’t be talking about how cloud can transform business…those days are over! We have entered the next level of adoption whereby the cloud as a delivery framework has become mainstream. You only have to look at what AWS announced last year at Re:Invent with its Outposts offering. The rise of automation and orchestration in mainstream IT also has meant that cloud can be consumed in a more structured and repeatable way.

To that end…where does it leave traditional Service Providers who have for years offered Infrastructure as a Service as the core of their offerings?

Last year I wrote a post on how the the VM shouldn’t  be the base unit of measurement for cloud…and even with some of the happenings since then, I remain convinced that Service Providers can continue to exist and thrive through offering value around the VM construct. Backup and DR as a service remains core to this however and there is ample thirst out there in the market for customers wanting to consume services from cloud providers that are not the giant hyper-scalers.

Almost all technology vendors are succumbing to the reality that they need to extend their own offering to include public cloud services. It is what the market is demanding…and it’s what the likes of AWS Azure, IBM and GCP are pushing for. The backup vendor space especially has had to extend technologies to consume public cloud services such as Amazon S3, Glacier or Azure Blob as targets for offsite backups. Veeam is upping the ante with our Update 4 release of Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 which includes Cloud Tier to object storage and additional Direct Restore capabilities to Azure Stack and Amazon EC2.

With these additional public cloud features, Service Providers have a right to feel somewhat under threat. However we have seen this before (Office 365 for Hosted Exchange as an example) and the direction that Service Providers need to take is to continue to develop offerings based on vendor technologies and continue to add value to the relationship that they have with their clients. I wrote a long time ago when VMware first announced vCloud Air that people tend to buy based on relationship…and there is no more trusted relationship than that of the Service Provider.

With that, there is no doubting that clients will want to look at using a combination of services from a number of different providers. From where I stand, the days of clients going all in with one provider for all services are gone. This is an opportunity for Service Providers to be the broker. This isn’t a new concept and plenty of Service Providers have thought about how they themselves leverage the Public Cloud to not only augment their own backend services, but make them consumable for their clients via there own portals or systems.

With all that in mind…in my opinion, there are five main areas where Service Providers need to be looking in 2019 and beyond:

  1. Networking is central this and the most successful Service Providers have already worked this out and offer a number of different networking services. It’s imperative that Service Providers offer a way for clients to go beyond their own networks and have the option to connect out to other cloud networks. Telco’s and other carriers have built amazing technology frameworks based on APIs to consume networking in ways that mean extending a network shouldn’t be thought of as a complex undertaking anymore.
  2. Backup, Replication and Recovery is something that Service Providers have offered for a long time now, however there is more and more completion in this area today in the form of built in protection at the application and hardware level. Where providers have traditionally excelled at is a the VM level. Again, that will remain the base unit of measurement for cloud moving forward, but Service Providers need to enhance their BaaS, R/DRaaS offerings for them to remain competitive. Leveraging public cloud to gain economies of scale is one way to enhance those offerings.
  3. Gateway Services are a great way to lock in customers. Gateway services are typically those which a low effort for both the Service Provider and client alike. Take the example of Veeam’s Cloud Connect Backup. It’s a simple service to setup at both ends and works without too much hassle…but there is power for the Service Provider in the data that’s being transferred into their network. From there auxiliary services can be offered such as recovery or other business continuity services. It also leads into discussions about Replication services which can be worked into the total service offering as well.
  4. Managed Services is the one thing that the hyper-scalers can’t match Service Providers in and it’s the one thing that will keep all Service Providers relevant. I’ve mentioned already the trusted advisor thought process in the sales cycle. This is all about continuing to offer value around great vendor technologies that aims to secure the Service Provider to client relationship.
  5. Developing a Channel is central to be able to scale without the need to add resources to the business. Again, the most successful Service Providers all have Channel/Partner program in place and it’s the best way to extend that managed service, trusted provider reach. I’ve seen a number of providers not able to execute on a successful channel play due to poor execution, however if done right it’s one way to extend that reach to more clients…staying relevant in the wake of the hyper-scalers.

This isn’t a new Differentiate or Die!? message…it’s one of ensuring that Service Providers continue to evolve with the market and with industry expectation. That is the only way to thrive and survive!

VCSP Important Notice: 9.5 Update 4 RTM Is Out…With vCloud Director Replication Support and more!

Today, Veeam has made available to our VCSP partners the RTM of Update 4 for Backup & Replication 9.5 (Build 9.5.4.2399). Update 4 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 9.0 (build 9.0.0.1715) can write backups via Cloud Connect to a cloud repository on 9.5 Update 4. For Cloud Connect Replication, existing Hardware Plan based replicas can go to a cloud host on 9.5 Update 4. To take advantage of the new vCloud Director based replication, tenants need to also be on Update 4.

As I detailed yesterday, there are a number of updates that need to be applied to Veeam ONE, Veeam Availability Console and Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365.

VCSP Features and Enhancements:

Update 4 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 the new Instance-based licensing model that all VCSPs should be aware of. There is an initial guide here, information in the VCSP Forums and there will be emails sent to explain the changes.

  • vCloud Director support – Massive Feature Enhancement! Simplifies setting up Veeam based DRaaS for Service Provides with vCD, and enhances tenants experience with additional capabilities provided by vCD
  • Capacity Tier – Move tenant’s backup files as they age out of operational restore window to a cheaper storage – AWS S3, Azure Blob or on premises object storage
  • Gateway pools – Create and assign pools of cloud gateways to the tenants
  • Tenant to tape jobs – Cloud Connect backups can be written to tape with the hand of GFS media pool and Backup to Tape jobs
  • Tenant-driven password change – Tenants can now change the password they use to connect to the service provider by editing one on the registered service provider
  • Platform Support – vCloud Director 9.5, VMware 6.7 Update 1 and Windows 2019 (1809) support.

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 and Linux of which there is a new version (3.0) coming at the same time of Update 4 GA. For Veeam Availability Console, Update 4 will be taken advantage of fully in the upcoming major release a little later after the Update 4 GA.

Conclusion:

Once again, Update 4 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 at our Velocity event. 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.

Enhanced Self Service Restore in Backup for Office 365 v2.0

Earlier in the year I gave an overview on the Self Service recovery capability of Veeam Backup for Office 365 which gave Veeam Cloud and Service Providers the ability to offer self service to their tenants for the recovery of Exchange data that’s been backed up on their platforms as a service.

As a bit of a refresher:

Tenant admins communicate with the Service Provider via the Cloud Gateway component which handles flow of data. The Service Provider grants the ability to their tenants so that each tenant can perform self restore operations using Veeam Explorer for Microsoft Exchange. By default, tenants are not able to restore anything from the backup without a Service Provider assistance.

The steps above show the self restore scenarios performed by the Tenant:

  • Tenants use Veeam Explorer for Microsoft Exchange to send restore requests via Veeam Cloud Gateway directly to the Service Provider.
  • On the Service Provider side, Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 management server detects a proxy server responsible for processing tenant data.
  • Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 management server locates an associated repository that contains a backup file that belongs to the Tenant.
  • Corresponding backup data is then transferred back to the tenant via Veeam Cloud Gateway.
What’s Changed in v2.0:

As mentioned, one of the big limitations in VBO v1.5 was the fact you could only restore the most recently backed up recovery point which limited it’s usefulness for most administrators looking to take advantage of the feature. That’s changed in VBO v2.0 with the ability to now choose a point in time from the Explorers. This is true for both Veeam Explorer for Exchange and Sharepoint (Which also does OneDrive).

Shown below is a Service Provider view of a restore operation for the Sliema organisation. As with the previous versions you have the ability to use latest or go back to a point in time.

As a reminder…the retention is set against the Backup Repository in VBO. Organisations are assigned to Repositories which dictates their own retention. At the tenant end, once the Veeam Explorer has been launched and the Connect to a Service Provider option has been chosen, you now see similar options to either do the latest, or go to a point in time.

If you go to choose a point in time that precedes the date of the first backup you will get the error below. Once a correct point in time has been selected the Self Service can begin. Shown below i’m able to go back to the 3rd of May 2018 restore point and perform actions on mail items. In this case, I was looking for a AWS Bill that I had deleted out of the mailbox and had gone way past my default Exchange retention settings. Back on the Service Provider end, you can see the active restore job session which is being facilitated through Cloud Connect. Conclusion:

To reiterate, the market for Office365 backups is significant and we have built in some pretty cool technology into Backup & Replication that works with Backup for Office365 that allows easy, self service capabilities that can be productized by Service Providers out of the box. Not only can Service Providers offer services to backup client Exchange, SharePoint or OneDrive Organisations but they can also extend that to offer self service which increases overall operational efficiencies at the provider end while also offering enhanced services to clients.

References:

https://helpcenter.veeam.com/docs/vbo365/guide/vex_sp_add.html?ver=20#pit

Configuring Service Provider Self Service Recovery with Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

Veeam Availability Console now available from Azure Marketplace

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

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

Marketplace Deployment Steps:

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

Click on Create to start the configuration steps.

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

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

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

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

Addition Azure Configuration:

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

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

Finalizing Deployment:

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

Head to the VAC Web Portal and Install the License.

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

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

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

Conclusion:

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

Links:

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

 

Creating a Custom Cloud Connect Maintenance Mode Message

Last week I wrote an article on Maintenance Modes in Cloud Connect and also Veeam Availability Console. For Cloud Connect there is a default error message that get’s shown in the Job Status if any jobs are started if the Cloud Connect Maintenance Mode is turned on.

We have the ability to customize that message via a registry key addition as documented in the online Veeam Help Centre.

To create a custom Maintenance mode notification, on the SP Veeam backup server, create the new registry value HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Veeam\Veeam Backup and Replication\CloudMaintenanceModeMessage = <message> (String), where <message> is a Maintenance mode notification that you want to display on the tenant side.

Adding the key via Registry Editor is simple enough and this is what you are left with from within the Registry Editor.

And the error message at the tenant end now reflects the custom message.

To make this easier for Service Providers, i’ve written a quick PowerShell script that does a couple of things. The first thing is report on the current registry value for the Maintenance Mode and then give you the option to delete the key and return the message to it’s default state. The second thing it does is prompt you enter in the desired custom message and set that in the registry.

References:

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

Quick Look: Veeam Agent for Linux 2.0 – Now With Cloud Connect

Just over a year ago Veeam Agent for Linux version 1.0 was released and for me still represents an important milestone for Veeam. During various presentations over the last twelve months I have talked about the fact that Linux backups haven’t really changed for twenty or so years and that the tried and trusted method for backing up Linux systems was solid…yet antiquated. For me, the GitLab backup disaster in Feburary highlighted this fact and the Veeam Agent for Linux takes Linux backups out of the legacy and into the now.

Yesterday, Veeam Agent for Linux 2.0 (Build 2.0.0.400) was released and with it came a number of new features and enhancements improving on the v1.1 build released in May. Most important for me is the ability to now backup straight to a Cloud Connect Repository.

Integration with Veeam Cloud Connect provides the following options:

  • Back up directly to a cloud repository: Veeam Agent for Linux provides a fully integrated, fast and secure way to ship backup files directly to a Cloud Connect repository hosted by one of the many Veeam-powered service providers.
  • Granular recovery from a cloud repository: Volume and file-level recovery can be performed directly from a backup stored within the cloud repository, without having to pull the entire backup on-premises first.
  • Bare-metal recovery from a cloud repository: The updated Veeam Recovery Media allows you to connect to your service provider, select the required restore point from the cloud repository and restore your entire computer to the same or different hardware.
Configuration Overview:

To install, you need to download the relevant Linux Packages from here. For my example below, I’m installing on an Ubuntu machine but we do support a number of popular Linux Distros as explained here.

Once installed you want to apply a Server License to allow backing up to Cloud Connect Repositories.

Before configuring a new job through the Agent for Linux Menu you can add Cloud Providers via the agent CLI. There are a number of cli menu options as shown below.

From here, you can use the cli to configure a new Backup Job but i’ve shown the process though the Agent UI. If you preconfigure the Service Provider with the cli once you select Veeam Cloud Connect Repository you don’t need to enter in the details again.

Once done and the job has run you will see that we have the backup going direct to the Cloud Connect Repository!

From the cli you can also get a quick overview of the job status.

Wrap Up:

I’ve been waiting for this feature for a long time and with the amount of Linux server instances (both physical and virtual) that exist today across on-premises, partner hosts IaaS platforms, or hyper-scale clouds, I hope that Veeam Cloud & Service Providers really hone in on the opportunity that exists with this new feature.

For more on What’s New in 2.0 of Veeam Agent for Linux you click here.

References:

https://www.veeam.com/veeam_agent_linux_2_0_whats_new_wn.pdf

VCSP Important Notice: 9.5 Update 2 RTM Is Out…With Remote Access and more!

Last Friday, Veeam made available to our VCSP partners the RTM of Update 2 for Backup & Replication 9.5 (Build 9.5.0.1038). Update 2 for Backup & Replication is what we term a breaking update, meaning that if a Cloud Connect client upgrades from the 9.5 GA (9.5.0.711) or Update 1 (9.5.0.823) 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 8.0.0.817) can write backups to a cloud repository on 9.5 Update 2, and any release from 9.0 (build 9.0.0.902) can write replicas to a cloud host on 9.5 Update 2.

Update 2 is a fairly significant update and contains a number of enhancements and bug fixes with a lot of those enhancements aimed at improving the scalability of the Backup & Replication platform that VCSPs can take advantage of. The biggest and most anticipated update is for the support of the upcoming Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows, but we also pushed out an awesome feature for our VCSPs to help manage their client or tenant Cloud Connect jobs or in fact manage their remote Veeam Backup & Replication instances with Remote Access.

VCSP and Cloud Connect Features and Enhancements:

Below are the main VCSP related features and enhancements included in Update 2. For a full list, head to the Veeam Cloud and Service Provider channels of the Veeam forum. For VCSPs with more than 300 connections there is a post regarding tweaks for improving performance at scale.

Core

  • Veeam Backup Remote Access: Full remote management of Veeam Backup & Replication installations at customer sites with a Veeam backup console or Microsoft RDP client over the existing Cloud Connect tunnel.
  • Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows integration: Full support for Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows 2.0, including direct backup to a cloud repository backed by Veeam Cloud Connect. This includes the introduction of separate workstation and server counters for Cloud Connect Backup
  • Usage reporting enhancements: Usage reports are now saved in two formats, CSV and PDF.

Cloud Connect

  • Major scalability improvements: In light of support for direct agent backups, numerous optimizations to the Cloud Connect framework on both the service provider and the tenant sides have been introduced to significantly increase its scalability (including number of concurrent tenant jobs per Cloud Connect server) and reliability large at scale. The release was tested with 1000 concurrent agent backups per single Cloud Connect instance. Reaching this number may require applying additional tweaks, please refer to this post for more information.
  • Improved reporting and monitoring: Better visibility from the service provider side into Cloud Connect tenant jobs, including current job activity and statistics such as current rate and amount of data sent and received.

Cloud Connect Replication

  • Improved failback performance: Failback to the original location can now optionally leverage VMware changed block tracking information, instead of scanning the entire VM disks to determine the difference, improving failback performance up to 20 times.
  • Hardware plan enhancements: Added the ability to increase a number of networks assigned to the Hardware Plan after it has been created.

Important Note for Veeam One Users:

As mentioned in the VCSP forum digest this week, there is a patch available for Veeam One which enables compatibility with Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 2. This hotfix must be deployed to any Veeam ONE server that is monitoring Cloud Connect services…it doesn’t need to be installed on instances not monitoring Cloud Connect services.

Conclusion:

Once again, this 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.

Veeam Cloud Connect Backup: What are Subtenant’s?

When Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 was released, there where a lot of significant features added to enhance Veeam Cloud Connect Backup and Replication. One of the lesser known features that came out in 9.5 was the addition of Cloud Connect Subtenants. This in effect was a pre-seeded feature for our Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows that went into public beta earlier in the year and is set to GA sometime in Q2 of 2017.

Subtenants can be configured by either the VCSP or by the tenant consuming a Cloud Connect Backup service. Subtenants are used to carve up and assign a subset of the parent tenant storage quota. This allows individual agents to authenticate against the Cloud Connect service with a unique login allowing backups to Cloud Repositories that can be managed and monitored from the Backup & Replication console.

End users on the tenant side can connect to the SP and create backups on the cloud repository under the tenant account. However, it is recommended to provide every tenant-side user with a separate subtenant account. In this case, the tenant or SP can allocate storage resources on the cloud repository individually for every subtenant so that subtenants’ data is stored in the cloud in an isolated and segregated way

Note that a subtenant account can not be used to connect directly to a Cloud Connect Service Provider from the Backup & Replication console and is only intended for use with the agents. If you try to do that you will see the error below:

As a Veeam Cloud Service Provider offering Cloud Connect Backup services it’s important that if not done so already…start wrapping your heads around the subtenant construct and how it works with Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows (currently in beta) as you want to be in a position to take advantage of them for when Veeam Agent for Windows does go GA.

Stay tuned to veeam.com for more blog posts around the Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows ability to backup to Cloud Connect repositories using subtenants and also keep an eye out on my fellow team member, Clint Wyckoff’s blog cdubhub.us for some great upcoming content around all things Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows.

References:

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

Looking Beyond the Hyper-Scaler Clouds – Don’t Forget the Little Guys!

I’ve been on the road over the past couple of weeks presenting to Veeam’s VCSP partners and prospective partners here in Australia and New Zealand on Veeam’s Cloud Business. Apart from the great feedback in response to what Veeam is doing by way of our cloud story I’ve had good conversations around public cloud and infrastructure providers verses the likes of Azure or AWS. Coming from my background working for smaller, but very successful service providers I found it almost astonishing that smaller resellers and MSPs seem to be leveraging the hyper-scale clouds without giving the smaller providers a look in.

On the one hand, I understand why people would choose to look to Azure, AWS and alike to run their client services…while on the other hand I believe that the marketing power of the hyper-scalers has left the capabilities and reputation of smaller providers short changed. You only need to look at last week’s AWS outage and previous Azure outages to understand that no cloud is immune to outages and it’s misjudged to assume that the hyper-scalers offer any better reliability or uptime than the likes of providers in the vCloud Air Network or other IaaS providers out there.

That said, there is no doubt that the scale and brain power that sits behind the hyper-scalers ensures a level of service and reliability that some smaller providers will struggle to match, but as was the case last week…the bigger they are, the harder they fall. The other things that comes with scale is the ability to drive down prices and again, there seems to be a misconception that the hyper-scalers are cheaper than smaller service providers. In fact most of the conversations I had last week as to why Azure or AWS was chosen was down to pricing and kickbacks. Certainly in Azure’s case, Microsoft has thrown a lot into ensuring customers on EAs have enough free service credits to ensure uptake and there are apparently nice sign-up bonuses that they offer to partners.

During that conversation, I asked the reseller why they hadn’t looked at some of the local VCSP/vCAN providers as options for hosting their Veeam infrastructure for clients to backup workloads to. Their response was, that it was never a consideration due to Microsoft being…well…Microsoft. The marketing juggernaut was too strong…the kickbacks too attractive. After talking to him for a few minutes I convinced him to take a look at the local providers who offer, in my opinion more flexible and more diverse service offerings for the use case.

Not surprisingly, in most cases money is the number one factor in a lot of these decisions with service uptime and reliability coming in as an important afterthought…but an afterthought non-the less. I’ve already written about service uptime and reliability in regards to cloud outages before but the main point of this post is to highlight that resellers and MSP’s can make as much money…if not more, with smaller service providers. It’s common now for service providers to offer partner reseller or channel programs that ensure the partner gets decent recurring revenue streams from the services consumed and the more consumed the more you make by way of program level incentives.

I’m not going to do the sums, because there is so much variation in the different programs but those reading who have not considered using smaller providers over the likes of Azure or AWS I would encourage to look through the VCSP Service Provider directory and the vCloud Air Network directory and locate local providers. From there, enquire about their partner reseller or channel programs…there is money to be made. Veeam (and VMware with the vCAN) put a lot of trust and effort into our VCSPs and having worked for some of the best and know of a lot of other service provider offerings I can tell you that if you are not looking at them as a viable option for your cloud services then you are not doing yourself justice.

The cloud hyper-scalers are far from the panacea they claim to be…if anything, it’s worthwhile spreading your workloads across multiple clouds to ensure the best availability experience for your clients…however, don’t forget the little guys!

VCSP Important Notice: 9.5 Update 1 Is Out…With vSphere 6.5 Support!

Last Friday, we at Veeam made available for download Update 1 for Backup & Replication (Build 9.5.0.823), Veeam One (Build 9.5.0.3254) as well as for Backup for Microsoft Office 365 (Build 1.0.0.912). What was slightly unusual about this release for our VCSP partners is that there was no RTM build before GA…this is because Update 1 for Backup & Replication is what we term a non breaking update, meaning that if a Cloud Connect client upgrades from the 9.5 GA (9.5.0.711) to Update 1 (9.5.0.823) this would not break any backup or replication functionality.

Update 1 is a fairly significant update and contains over 300 enhancements and bug fixes with a lot of those enhancements aimed at improving the scalability of the Backup & Replication platform that VCSPs can take advantage of. The biggest and most anticipated (and by far requested) update is for the support of vSphere 6.5…as you can see below there are a number of specific enhancements in this build aimed at 6.5 features:

  • Encrypted VMs Support
  • VMFS6 Support
  • Virtual Hardware Version 13 support
  • NBD Compression
  • New Guest Interaction API Support
  • New VM Tag API Support

Of most importance to me is to point out the fact the clients can now replicate in Virtual Machines with VM Hardware Version 13 meaning that you should get your production replication clusters up to ESXi 6.5 as soon as possible to avoid clients getting errors such as the one below:

This does pose an interesting problem for VCSPs offering Cloud Connect Replication as it represents a situation whereby holding back on vSphere upgrades could mean that clients (who are more likely to have less roadblocks to upgrade) can’t replicate newer VMs created on 6.5 into the VCSPs Replication Cluster. The workaround is to make clients aware that only specific Hardware Versions are supported for replication however it might be expected that providers offering these services are not bound by these limitations. This becomes an architectural/business discussion around separating IaaS vCenter’s from Replication vCenter’s …but that is a topic for another day.

For the moment, regardless of your underlying vSphere versions it’s worth planning the upgrade to Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 1 as soon as possible as it contains a number of enhancements beyond the ones listed above and some minor fixes for Cloud Connect.

For a full list check out the release notes below and download the update here.

References:

https://www.veeam.com/kb2222

 

 

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