Tag Archives: Veeam

Heading to Cloud Field Day 5 #CFD5

I’m currently on the first leg over from Perth to San Fransisco where I’ll head down to Silicon Valley to present at Cloud Field Day 5. This will be my first Tech Field Day event which some may find surprising given my involvement in and around the virtualisation community prior to joining Veeam. I often got asked why I never applied to be a delegate… to be honest I’m not able to answer that question, however I’m really looking forward to presenting with my fellow Product Strategy team members, Michael Cade and David Hill as a sponsor.

cloud field day

Veeam at Tech Field Day Cloud 5

It’s an important event for us at Veeam as we are given the #CFD stage for two hours, first up on the Wednesday morning to talk about how Veeam has evolved from a backup vendor covering vSphere and Hyper-V to one which now offers a platform that extends into the public cloud backed by an incredibly strong Cloud and Service Provider ecosystem.

There is no doubt that the backup industry is currently hot with a number of large investments made into a number of vendors, including us here at Veeam who recently had a $500 million injection for us to pursue acquisitions and increase our development capabilities. There are a number of backup vendors presenting at the CFD#5, including vendors who are not historically backup focused but now, more and more offering inbuilt protection.

For Michael, David and myself we will be focusing on reiterating what Veeam has done in leading the industry for a number of years in innovation while also looking at the progress we have made in recent times in transitioning to a true software defined, hardware agnostic platform that offers customers absolute choice.

Veeam are presenting at 8.30am (Pacific Time) Wednesday 10th April 2019

I am looking forward to presenting to all the delegates as well as those who join via the livestream.

VCSP Important Notice: 9.5 Update 4a Is Out with Fixes and Platform Supportability

Yesterday Update 4a for Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 (Build 9.5.4.2753) was made available for download to all Veeam customers and partners. This build updates the GA code and is a cumulative hotfixes rollup that resolves a number of issues from the initial release. There is also enhanced platform support, most significantly initial readiness for VMware vSphere 6.7 Update 2 and Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2019 support.

For Veeam Cloud and Service Provider Partners, Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 4a includes specific bug fixes. These fixes help those who offer Veeam Cloud Connect services, and also those that offer managed backup services with Veeam Availability Console. There is a Veeam Forum thread that has been updated with all the specific fixes. For the full change log, head to this thread on the Veeam Cloud & Service Provider (VCSP) forum.

It’s important to note for VCSPs that this is not a breaking update, meaning your tenants will not have any issues performing Cloud Connect Backup or Replication jobs if they are on Update4a before you. It’s still recommended that you look to upgrade as soon as possible as change windows would permit.

Update Notes:

If you are upgrading directly to from 9.0 or earlier you need to source the full ISO image from the download section.

References:

https://www.veeam.com/kb2926

Update 4 for Service Providers – Extending Backup Repositories to Object Storage with Cloud Tier

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 today i’m covering what I believe is Veeam’s most innovative feature that has been released of late… The Cloud Tier.

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

Cloud Tier:

When I was in charge of the architecture and design of Service Provider backup platforms, without question the hardest and most challenging aspect of designing the backend storage was how to facilitate storage consumption and growth. The thirst to backup workloads into the cloud continues to grow and with it comes the growth of that data and the desire to store it for longer. Even yesterday I was talking to a large Veeam Cloud & Service Provider who was experiencing similar challenges with managing their Cloud Connect and IaaS backup repositories.

Cloud Tier in Update 4 fundamentally changes the way in which the initial landing zone for backups is designed. With the ability to offload backup data to cheaper storage the Cloud Tier, which is part of the Scale-Out Backup Repository allows for a more streamlined and efficient Performance Tier of backup repository while leveraging scalable Object Storage for the Capacity Tier.

How it Works:

The innovative technology we have built into this feature allows for data to be stripped out of Veeam backup files (which are part of a sealed chain) and offloaded as blocks of data to Object Storage leaving a dehydrated Veeam backup file on the local extents with just the metadata remaining in place. This is done based on a policy that is set against the Scale-out Backup Repository that dictates the operational restore window of which local storage is used as the primary landing zone for backup data and processed as a Tiering Job every four hours. The result is a space saving, smaller footprint on the local storage without sacrificing any of Veeam’s industry-leading recovery operations. This is what truly sets this feature apart and means that even with data residing in the Capacity Tier, you can still perform:

  • Instant VM Recoveries
  • Entire computer and disk-level restores
  • File-level and item-level restores
  • Direct Restore to Amazon EC2, Azure and Azure Stack
What this Means for VCSPs:

Put simply it means that for providers who want to offload backup data to cheaper storage while maintaining a high performance landing zone for more recent backup data to live  the Cloud Tier is highly recommended. If there are existing space issues on the local SOBR repositories, implementing Cloud Tier will relieve pressure and in reality allow VCSPs to not have to seek further hardware purchase to expand the storage platforms backing those repositories.

When it comes to Cloud Connect Backup, the fact that Backup Copy Jobs are statistically the most used form of offsite backup sent to VCSPs the potential for savings is significant. Self contained GFS backup files are prime candidates for the Cloud Tier offload and given that they are generally kept for extended periods of time, means that it also represents a large percentage of data stored on repositories.

Having a look below you can see an example of a Cloud Connect Backup Copy job from the VCSP side when browsing from Explorer.

You can see the GFS files are all about 22MB in size. This is because they are dehydrated VBKs with only metatdata remaining locally. Those files where originally about 10GB before the offload job was run against them.

Wrap Up:

With the small example shown above, VCSPs should be starting to understand the potential impact Cloud Tier can have on the way they design and manage their backup repositories. The the ability to leverage Amazon S3, Azure Blog and any S3 Compatible Object Storage Platform means that VCSPs have the choice in regards to what storage they use for the Capacity Tier. If you are a VCSP and haven’t looked at how Cloud Tier can work for your service offering…what are you waiting for?

Glossary:

Object Storage Repository -> Name given to repository that is backed by Amazon S3, S3, Azure Blob or IBM Cloud

Capacity Tier -> Name given to extent on a SOBR using an Object Storage Repository

Cloud Tier -> Marketing name given to feature in Update 4

Resources:

Harness the power of cloud storage for long-term retention with Veeam Cloud Tier

VMUG UserCon – Sydney and Melbourne Events!

A few years ago I claimed that the Melbourne VMUG Usercon was the “Best Virtualisation Event Outside of VMworld!” …that was a big statement if ever there was one however, over the past couple of years I still feel like that statement holds court even though there are much bigger UserCons around the world. In fairness, both Sydney and Melbourne UserCons are solid events and even with VMUG numbers generally struggling world wide, the events are still well attended and a must for anyone working around the VMware ecosystem.

Both events happen a couple of days apart from each other on the 19th and 21st of March and both are filled with quality content, quality presenters and a great community feel.

This will be my sixth straight Melbourne UserCon and my fourth Sydney UserCon…The last couple of years I have attended with Veeam and presented a couple of times. This year Veeam has UserCon Global Sponsorship which is exciting as the Global Product Strategy team will be presenting a lot of the UserCons around the world. Both the Sydney and Melbourne Agenda’s are jam packed with virtualisation and automation goodness and it’s actually hard to attend everything of interest with schedule conflicts happening throughout the day.

…the agenda’s are listed on the sites.

As mentioned, Veeam is sponsoring both events a the Global Elite level and I’ll be presenting a session on Automation and Orchestration of Veeam and VMware featuring VMware Cloud on AWS which is an updated followup to the VMworld Session I presented last year. The Veeam SDDC Deployment Toolkit has been evolving since then and i’ll talk about what it means to leverage APIs and PowerShell to achieve automation goodness with a live demo!

Other notable sessions include:

If you are in Sydney or Melbourne next week try and get down to Sydney ICC and The Crown Casino respectively to participate, learn and contribute and hopefully we can catch up for a drink.

Update 4 for Service Providers – Cloud Mobility and External Repository for N2WS

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 three feature so far, and today i’m going to talk about two features that are more aligned to Managed Service Providers, but still could have a place in the pure IaaS world.

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

Cloud Mobility:

The Cloud Mobility feature is actually the new umbrella name for our Restore to functionality. Prior to Update 4 we had the ability to Restore to Microsoft Azure only. With the release of Update 4 we have added the ability to Restore to Microsoft Azure Stack and Amazon EC2. It’s important to point out what Cloud Mobility isn’t…that is a disaster recovery feature set. in that you can’t rely on this feature in the same way that Cloud Connect Replication allows you to power on VM replicas on demand for DR.

Though you could configure restore tasks to run on demand via PowerShell commands and have systems in a ready state after recovery it is difficult to attach an RPTO to the recovery process and therefore Cloud Mobility should be used for migrations and testing. In essence this is why it is called Cloud Mobility…to give users and Service Providers the flexibility to shift workloads from one platform to another with ease.

Restore to EC2:

The ability to restore direct to EC2 is something that is demanded these days and the addition of this feature to Update 4 was one of the most highly anticipated. In enabling the restoration of workloads into EC2 we have enabled our customers and partners to have the option to backup workloads from the following:

These backups, once stored in the Veeam Backup File format, ensures absolute portability of those workloads. In terms of restoring to EC2, the process is straight forward and can be done via the Backup & Replication console or via PowerShell.

Again, the focus of this feature is to enable migrations and testing. However when put together with the External Repository, we also complete a loopback by way of having a way to restore EC2 instances that where initially backed up with N2WS Backup & Recovery and archived to an Amazon S3 Bucket.

It should also be noted that to perform a recovery, only the most recent restore point can be used.

External Repository:

The External Repository allows you to add an Amazon S3 bucket that contain backups created by N2WS Backup & Recovery for AWS environments. Backup & Recovery for AWS will create backups of Elastic Block Stores disk volumes of EC2 instances. As part of the 2.4 release these backups where able to be placed directly to Amazon S3 object storage repositories. This is what is added to the Veeam Backup & Replication console as an External Repositories.

Backup & Recovery for AWS uses the Veeam Backup API to preserve the backup structure in the native Veeam format which are housed in the Amazon S3 Bucket as oVBKs. The External Repository cannot be used as a target for backup or backup copy jobs. Once the External Repository is configured, N2WS VMs can be manipulated through the Backup & Replication Console as per usual. This allows all the restore capabilities including Restore to EC2 and also more importantly the ability to perform Backup Copy Jobs against the backed up data to enable even longer term retention outside of Amazon S3.

Wrap Up:

The addition of Restore to EC2, Azure Stack and the External Repository can be used by manager service providers and service providers to offer true Cloud Mobility to their customers. Also, while a lot of organization are moving to the Public Cloud…this is not a fait accompli and they do sometimes want to get workloads out of those platforms and back on-premises or to Service Provider Clouds.. It shouldn’t be a Hotel California situation and with these new Update 4 features Veeam customers have more choice than other.

References:

https://helpcenter.veeam.com/docs/backup/vsphere/restore_amazon.html?ver=95u4

https://helpcenter.veeam.com/docs/backup/vsphere/external_repository.html?ver=95u4

Automatic restore of multiple machines from Veeam to AWS

 

Quick Look – New Cloud Credentials Manager in Update 4

With the release of Update 4 for Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 we further enhanced our overall cloud capabilities by adding a number of new features and enhancements that focus on tenants being able to leverage Veeam Cloud and Service Providers as well as Public Cloud services. With the addition of Cloud Mobility, External Repository and Cloud Connect Replication supporting vCloud Director we decided to break out the existing credential manager and create a new manager dedicated to the configuration and management of Cloud specific credentials.

The manager can be accessed by clicking on the top left dropdown menu from the Backup & Replication Console and then choosing Manage Cloud Credentials.

You can use the Cloud Credentials Manager to create and manage all credentials that are planned to use to connect to cloud services.

The following types of credentials can be configured and managed:

  • Veeam Cloud Connect (Backup and Replication for both Hardware Plans and vCD)
  • Amazon AWS (Storage and Compute)
  • Microsoft Azure Storage (Azure Blob)
  • Microsoft Azure Compute (Azure and Azure Stack)

The Cloud Connect credentials are straight forward in terms of what they are used for. There is even a way for non vCloud Director Authenticated tenants to change their own default passwords directly.

When it comes to AWS and Azure credentials the manager will allow you to configure accounts that can be used with Object Storage Repositories, Restore to AWS (new in Update 4), Restore to Azure and Restore to Azure Stack (new in Update 4).

PowerShell is still an Option:

For those that would like to configure these accounts outside of the Backup & Replication Console, there is a full complement of PowerShell commands available via the Veeam PowerShell Snap-in.

As an example, as part of my Configure-Veeam GitHub Project I have a section that configures a new Scale Out Backup Repository with an Object Storage Repository Capacity Tier backed by Amazon S3. The initial part of that code is to create a new Amazon Storage Account.

For a full list of PowerShell capabilities related to this, click here.

So there you go…a very quick look at another new enhancement in Update 4 for Backup & Replication 9.5 that might have gone under the radar.

References:

https://helpcenter.veeam.com/docs/backup/vsphere/cloud_credentials.html?ver=95u4

More Than Meets the Eye… Veeam Backup Performance

Recently I was sent a link to a video that showed an end user comparing Veeam to a competitors offering covering backup performance, restore capabilities and UI. It mainly focused on the comparison of incremental backup jobs and their completion times. It showed that the Veeam job was taking a significantly longer time to complete for the same dataset. The comparison was chalk and cheese and didn’t paint Veeam in a very good light.

Now, without knowing 100% the backend configuration that the user was testing against or the configuration of the Veeam components, storage platforms and backup jobs vs the competitors setup…the discrepancy between both job completion times was too great and something had to be amiss. This was not an apples to apples comparison.

TL:DR – I was able to cut the time to complete an incremental backup job from 24 minutes to under 4 minutes by scaling out Veeam infrastructure components and tweaking transport mode options to suit the dataset from using the default configuration settings and server setup. Lesson being to not take inferred performance at face value, there are a lot of factors that go into backup speed.

Before I continue, it’s important for me to state that I have seen Veeam perform exceptionally well under a number of different scenarios and know from my own experience at my previous roles at large service providers that it can handle 1000s of VMs and scale up to handle larger environments. That said, like any environment you need to understand how to properly scope and size backup components to suite…that includes more than just the backup server and veeam components… storage obviously plays a huge role in backup performance as does the design of the virtualisation platform as well as networking.

I haven’t set out in this post to put together a guide on how to scale Veeam…rather I have focused on trying to debunk the differential in job completion time I saw in the video. I went into my lab and started to think about how scaling Veeam components and choosing different options for backups and proxies can hugely impact the time it takes for backup jobs to complete. For the testing I used a Veeam Backup & Replication server that I had deployed with the Update 4 release and had active jobs that where in operation for more than a month.

The Veeam Backup & Replication server is on a VMware Virtual Machine running on modest 2vCPU and 8GB of RAM. Initially I had this running as an all in one Backup Server and Proxy setup. I have a SOBR repository consisting of two ReFS formatted local VMDK (underlying storage is vSAN) extents and a Capacity Tier extent going to Amazon S3. The backup job consisted of nine VMs with a footprint of about 162GB. A small dataset but one which was based of real world workloads. The job was running Forward Incremental, keeping 14 restore points running every 4 hours with a Synthetic Full running every 24 hours (initial purpose of was to demo Cloud Tier) and on average the incremental’s where taking between 23 to 25 minutes to complete.

The time to complete the incremental job was not an issue for me in the lab, but it provided a good opportunity to test out what would happen if I looked to scale out the Veeam components and tweak the default configuration settings.

Adding Proxies

As a first step I deployed three virtual proxies (2vCPU and 4GB RAM) into the environment and configured the job to use them in hot-add mode. Right away the job time decreased down by ~50% to 12 minutes. Basically, more proxies means more disks are able to be processed in parallel when in hot-add mode so it’s logical that the speed of the backup would increase.

Adding More Proxies

As a second step I deployed three more proxies into the environment and configured the job to use all six in hot-add mode. This didn’t result in a significantly faster time to what it was at three proxies, but again, this will vary depending on the amount of VMs and size of those VMs disks in a job. Again, Veeam offers the flexibility to scale and grow with the environment. This is not a one size fits all approach and you are not locked into a particular appliance size that may max out requiring additional significant spend.

Change Transport Mode

Next I changed the job back to use three proxies, but this time I forced the proxies to use network mode. To read more about Transport modes, head here.

This resulted in a sub 4 minute job completion to read a similar incremental data set as the previous runs. A ~20 minute difference after just a few tweaks of the configuration!

Removing Surplus Proxies and Balancing Things Out

For the example above I introduced proxies however the right balance of proxies and network mode was the most optimal configuration for this particular job in order to lower the job completion window. In fact in my last test I was able to get the job to complete consistently around the 5 minute mark by just using the one proxy with network mode.

Conclusion:

So with that, you can see that by tweaking some settings and scaling out Veeam components I was able to bring a job completion time down by more than 20 minutes. Veeam offers the flexibility to scale and grow with any environment. This is not a one size fits all approach and you are not locked into a particular appliance size that will scale out requiring additional and significant spend while also locking you in by way of restricted backup date portability. Again, this is just a quick example of what can be done with the flexibility of the Veeam platform and that what you see as a default out of the box experience (or a poorly configured/problematic environment) isn’t what should be expected for all use cases. Milage will vary…but don’t let first/misleading impressions sway you…there is always more than meets the eye!

Sources:

https://bp.veeam.expert/

Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 4 – What’s In It For Service Providers

For ten plus years Veeam has continued to develop new innovative features and enhancements supporting our Cloud and Service Provider partners. As I posted earlier this week, there is a proven track record built upon a strong foundation of Veeam technology that backs up our strong leadership position in the Service Provider space. This accelerated in v7 with vCloud Director support…continued with Cloud Connect Backup in v8, Cloud Connect Replication in the v9 release and even more through the Backup and Replication 9.5 releases and Updates.

In my initial v9.5 Update 4 Top New Features post I covered off new core features and enhancements that are included in Update 4. Specifically there are a number of new features that VCSPs can take advantage of…

Over the next few weeks I am going to deep dive into each of the features listed above as they all deserve their own dedicated blog posts. With a release as huge as this, there is no shortage of content that can be created off the back up Update 4!

Beyond the core enhancements, there are also a significant number of general enhancements that are referenced in the What’s New Document. I’ve gone through that document and pulled out the ones that relate specifically to Cloud and Service Provider operations for those running IaaS and B/R/DRaaS offerings.

  • Maximum supported individual disk size and backup file size have been increased 10 times. With the default 1MB block size, the new theoretical VBK format maximums are 120TB for each disk in backup. Tested maximum is 100TB for both individual disks and backup files.
  • Optimized backup job initialization and finalization steps, resulting in up to 50% times faster backups of small VMs
  • Added experimental support for block cloning on deduplicated files for Windows Server 2019 ReFS
  • vPower NFS write cache performance has been improved, significantly improving I/O performance of instantly recovered VMs and making a better use of SSD drives often dedicated by customers to write cache.
  • vPower NFS scalability has been improved to more efficiently leverage expanded I/O capacity of scale-out backup repository for increased number of VMs that can be running concurrently
  • Support for Paravirtual SCSI controllers with more than 16 disks attached
  • Added JSON support
  • Added RESTful API coverage for viewing and managing agent-based jobs and their backups
  • Added the ability to export the selected restore point of a particular object in the backup job as a standalone full backup file (VBK)
  • Added ability to instantly publish a point-in-time state of any backed-up database to the selected SQL Server for dev/test purposes by running the database directly from the backup file
  • Added the ability to export a point-in-time state of any backed up database to a native SQL Server backup (.BAK file) to simplify the process of providing the database backup to SQL developers, BaaS clients or Microsoft Support
  • Added the ability to schedule Active Full backups on a particular day of the month, as opposed to just weekdays
  • Instant recovery of agent backups to a Hyper-V VM now support Windows 10 Hyper-V as the target hypervisor. This is particularly useful for managed service providers by enabling them to create low-cost all-in-one BCDR appliances to deploy at their clients’ premises.

What I pulled out above is just a small subset of all the general enhancements in Update 4. For Cloud Connect, there is a Post in the Veeam Forums here that goes through specific new features and enhancements in greater detail as well as fixes and known issues.

Stay tuned for future posts on the core new features and enhancements in Update 4 for Veeam Cloud and Service Providers.

References:

https://www.veeam.com/kb2878

http://www.veeam.com/veeam_backup_9_5_whats_new_wn.pdf

http://www.veeam.com/veeam_backup_9_5_u4_release_notes_rn.pdf

Veeam for Service Providers…Ten Plus Years of Innovation!

I remember the day I first came across Veeam. It was mid 2010 and I was working for Anittel at the time. We had a large virtualisation platform that hosted a number of high profile sites including a well known e-commerce site. There had been a serious data breach on one of those site and we were required by the Australian Federal Police to restore the website logs from a couple weeks back when the breach had first taken place.

We were using a well known product at the time to backup our vSphere platform and from the outside everything seemed ok. All backup reports where green and we thought the backups where verified. To cut a long and painful story short, when we came to restore the website logs we found that the backups had not worked as expected and we couldn’t retrieve data off a secondary partition due to a huge unknown bug in the software.

That was the end for that backup application (and interestingly enough they went out of business a few years later) and that afternoon we downloaded Veeam Backup & Replication v4 and went to work pushing that out into production. We (and I have) never looked back from there. Veeam did in fact Just Work! At that stage there were enough features in the software to cover all of the requirements for a VMware based hosting platform, and over the years as v5 and v6 were released more and more features and enhancements were released that made Veeam even better service providers.

By the time I left Anittel and headed to Zettagrid, Veeam had introduced more innovative features like Instant VM Recovery, vCloud Director Support, Cloud Connect Backup, the Scale Out Backup Repository just to name a few. In fact Veeam impressed me so much with their Service Provider features that I joined the company where I now focus my time on working with Service Providers as part of the Veeam Product Strategy Team focusing on our cloud and service providers products and features.

While I could bang on about all the features that Veeam has released over the years to enable us to become a significant player in the Cloud and Service Provider space, a picture tells a thousand words…and an interactive timeline showing just how innovative and focused Veeam has been on enabling our Cloud and Service Provider partners to succeed is priceless!

No other vendor has this track record of producing specific Cloud and Service Provider features and enhancements over the years and as you can see over the last three to five years we have moved with the industry to continue innovating in the cloud space by accelerating feature development and bringing great technology to the market.

If you are a Cloud and Service Provider and not using Veeam…what are you waiting for?

https://anthonyspiteri.net/veeam-vcsp-reverse-roadmap/

Update 4 Launch Event Video and Recap Links

Yesterday we officially launched Update 4 for Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 along with Veeam ONE and updated Veeam Agents for Windows and Linux. We had a live launch event streamed from our Velocity partner event which can be viewed below. For those interested in what is contained within this release, it’s worth a view to get an understanding of some of the key features of Update 4 as as well as see a couple of live demos we did on main stage.

3:57 – Ratmir Timashev Intro
11:20 – Danny Allan and Anton Gostev Intro
20:30 – Anthony Spiteri Cloud Tier Demo
38:06 – Michal Cade Staged and Secure Restore Demo
47:35 – Rick Vanover Veeam ONE Demo

Michael Cade and I also where guests on the Virtually Speaking podcast yesterday where we went into a little depth around Cloud Tier, Datalabs and Service Provider enhancements in Update 4.

https://blogs.vmware.com/virtualblocks/2019/01/22/vspeaking-podcast-veeam-availability-suite-9-5-u4-for-vmware/

Other Launch Posts:

Veeam Executive Blog – Danny Allan

My Top Three Favorite Veeam 9.5 Update 4 Features – Melissa Palmer

Storage Review

TechTarget

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