Tag Archives: VCSP

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

 

 

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 – 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.