When Veeam Backup & Replication v11 went Generally Available on the 24th of February I posted the What’s in it for Service Providers blog. In that post I briefly outlined all the new features and enhancements in v11 as it related to our Veeam Cloud and Service Provider Partners. As mentioned each new major feature and enhancement listed below deserves its own seperate post. While these posts are targeted at Service Providers, the majority of these features can be levered by all types of organizations. In this post I am taking a look at the start of a new wave of automation enhancements that will start in v11, and be built upon in future releases.
As a reminder here are the top new features and enhancements in Backup & Replication v11 for VCSPs (with links as created)
- Linux Backup Proxy Enhancements and other Linux Enhancements
- Data Integration API Enhancements supporting more platforms
- Continuous Data Protection for VMware Platforms
- VMware Cloud Director to Cloud Director Replication
- VMware Cloud Director Native HTML5 Tenant Portal, SSP Enhancements and 10.2 Support
- Archive Tier, Object Storage and other SOBR Enhancements
- Hardened Linux Repository for Immutability on Primary Landing Zones
- Enhanced Linux File-Level Recovery
- New PowerShell Module and RESTful API
- Veeam Agents for Windows and Linux v5.0 and Agent for Mac v1.0
Fresh Approach to Automation with Backup & Replication
These days, automation is a core component of any service provider offering. That said, not every service provider leverages automation, but more and more there is a requirement to streamline operations but adding repeatable, reliable processes in place to deploy, configure, manage and report on tenant services. The original Veeam API was built off the back of Enterprise Manager and is now a number of years old, meaning developers who work on modern API frameworks sometimes struggle with the formatting and response behaviour of the API. All that considered, we have had great success over the past ten years with service providers (and enterprises) using the EM API together with PowerShell to create automation solutions for their Veeam services/operations.
A number of new Veeam products have had the luxury of being freshly developed, meaning modern API frameworks could be applied. Things like adding Swagger UI to products in addition to leveraging JSON for inputs and outputs with much better documents has meant that the overall experience has gotten better for our partners. In v11, the decision was made to draw a line in the sand with the existing Enterprise Manager API.
New API Service and EndPoints
From v11 there is a new service that is installed by default that is independent of the Enterprise Manager that provides an initial set of API methods. This is not a complete 1:1 list matching what can be done in the UI today, but as can be seen here, the initial set of endpoints covers a lot of the common automation scenarios. As shown above, the Swagger UI can be accessed via a shortcut from within Backup & Replication or can be accessed directly on the default port of 9419 from a browser.
Probably the most interesting new set of APIs are the Automation Endpoints.
The Automation section defines paths and operations for granular import and export of objects available in the REST API. It can be useful, for example, if you set up the backup infrastructure using JSON specification or migrate the infrastructure to another backup server. For details, see Mass Deployment.
PowerShell now a Module
One of the biggest areas of contention and debate around Veeam’s PowerShell capabilities was the fact that the initial PSSnap-In always required the VBR console to be installed. This meant that you needed a fairly large footprint install, just to run PowerShell. Again, this wasn’t really an issue when this first was released, but since then PowerShell has become mobile and modules are always preferred. With v11, Microsoft forced our hands in light of them looking to depreciate snap-ins moving forward.
For us, in v11 that meant taking the first step to a truly independent PowerShell Module but porting the PSSnap-in across. Installed system wide (no import required) is the fist version of the module. At the moment this can’t be used without an install of the VBR Console, but it has paved the way for that to happen in future versions. Along with that there has also been a lot of additions to the list of commands to reflect updated and new features and enhancements.
Benefit to Service Providers
For Service Providers who are already aquatinted with our existing APIs it should be said that they are not going away for the moment. But the direction taken in v11 shows that we have become more serious about modernising the automation capabilities of Veeam Backup & Replication. It is worth getting familiar with the new set of APIs in v11 as we will continue to add endpoints in future releases. Automation is so critical for service providers to ensure they can build efficient services, but also for the addition of new APIs means that even Veeam’s own product set can better interact with each other as the platform grows.
References, Content and Materials