Save backup storage using Veeam Backup & Replication BitLooker

Introduction

When you need to back up large amounts of data, you want to use up as little disk space as possible in order to minimize backup storage costs. However, with host-based image-level backups, traditional technologies force you to back up the entire virtual machine (VM) image, which presents multiple challenges that were never problems for classic agent-based backups.

For example, during backup analysis using Veeam ONE, you might notice that some VM backups are larger than the actual disk space usage in guest OS, resulting in higher-than-planned backup repository consumption. Most commonly, this phenomenon can be observed with file servers or other systems where a lot of data is deleted without being replaced with new data.

Another big sink for repository disk space consumption is useless files. While you might not need to back up data stored in certain files or directories in the first place, image-level backups force you to do this.

“Deleted” does not necessarily mean actually deleted

It is widely known that in vast majority of most modern file systems deleted files do not disappear from the hard drive completely. The file will only be flagged as deleted in the file allocation table (FAT) of the file system (e.g., the master file table (MFT) in case of NTFS). However, the file’s data will continue to exist on the hard drive until it is overwritten by a new file. This is exactly what makes tools like Undelete even possible. In order to reset the content of those blocks, you have to use tools like SDelete by Windows Sysinternals. This tool effectively overwrites the content of blocks belonging to deleted files with zeroes. Most backup solutions will then dedupe and/or compress these zeroed blocks so they do not take any extra disk space in the backup. However, running SDelete periodically on all your VMs is time consuming and hardly doable when you have hundreds of VMs, so most users simply don’t do this and allow blocks belonging to the deleted files to remain in the backup.

Another drawback of using SDelete is that it will inflate thin-provisioned virtual disks and will require you to use technologies such as VMware Storage vMotion to deflate them after SDelete processing. See VMware KB 2004155 for more information.

Finally, these tools must be used with caution. Because SDelete creates a very big zeroed file, you have to be careful not to affect other production applications on the processed server because that file is temporarily consuming all available free disk space on the volume.

Not backing up useless files in the first place

It goes without saying that there are certain files and directories that you don’t want to back up at all (e.g., application logs, application caches, temporary export files or user directories with personal files). There also might be data protection regulations in place that actually require you to exclude specific objects from backup. However, until today, the only way for most VM backup solutions to filter out useless data was to manually move useless data on every VM to the dedicated virtual drives (VMDK/VHDX) and exclude those virtual drives from processing. Again, because it’s simply not feasible to maintain this approach in large environments with dozens of new VMs appearing daily, most users simply accepted the need to back up useless data with image-based backups as a fact of life.

Meet Veeam BitLooker

Veeam BitLooker is the patent-pending data reduction technology from Veeam that allows the efficient and fully automated exclusion of deleted file blocks and useless files, thus enabling you to save considerable amount of backup storage and network bandwidth and further reduce costs.

The first part of BitLooker was introduced in Veeam Backup & Replication back a few years ago and enabled the exclusion of the swap file blocks from processing. Considering that each VM creates a swap file, which is usually at least 2 GB in size and changes daily, this is a considerable amount of data that noticeably affects full and incremental backup size. However, BitLooker automatically detects the swap file location and determines the blocks backing it in the corresponding VMDK. These blocks are then automatically excluded from processing, replaced with zeroed blocks in the target image and are not stored in a backup file or transferred to a replica image. The resulting savings are easy to see!

Veeam BitLooker is the first solution offering the option to exclude deleted files or certain folders.

BitLooker in v9

In Veeam Backup & Replication v9, BitLooker’s capabilities have extended considerably in order to further improve data reduction ratios. In Veeam Backup & Replication v9, BitLooker has now three distinct capabilities:

  • Excluding swap and hibernation files blocks
  • Excluding deleted files blocks
  • Excluding user-specified files and folders

In v9, BitLooker supports NTFS-formatted volumes only. Most of BitLooker is available right in the Veeam Backup & Replication Standard edition. However, excluding user-specified files and folders requires at least Enterprise edition.

Configuring BitLooker

There are a few options for controlling BitLooker in v9. You can find the first two in the advanced settings of each backup and replication job.

Note that the option to exclude swap file blocks was available in previous product versions, but it was enhanced in v9 to also exclude hibernation files.

Now, there is the new option that enables the exclusion of deleted file blocks:

You have to configure the exclusion of deleted in each backup job’s advanced settings.

Users upgrading from previous versions will note that by default, deleted file blocks exclusion remains disabled for existing jobs after upgrading so it doesn’t not alter their existing behavior. You can enable it manually for individual jobs or automatically for all existing jobs with this PowerShell script.

In most cases, you should only expect to see minor backup file size reduction after enabling deleted file blocks exclusion. This is because in the majority of server workloads, data is never simply deleted, but rather always overwritten with new data. More often than not, it is replaced with more data than what was deleted, which is the very reason the world’s data almost doubles every 2 years. However, in certain scenarios (such as those involving data migrations), the gains can be quite dramatic.

Finally, in v9, BitLooker also allows you to configure the exclusion of specific files and folders for each backup job. Unlike previous options, this functionality is a part of the application-aware guest processing logic, and exclusions can only be performed on a running VM. Correspondingly, you can find the file exclusion settings in the advanced settings of guest processing step of the job wizard. You have the option to either exclude specific file system objects or, conversely, back up nothing but specific objects:

You’ll also need to configure the exclusion of specific files and folders for each backup job.

When using this functionality, keep in mind that it increases both VM processing time and memory consumption by the data mover, depending on the amount of excluded files. For example, if processing exclusions for 10,000 files takes less than 10 seconds and requires just 50MB of extra RAM, then excluding 100,000 files takes 2 minutes and requires almost 400MB of extra RAM.

Summary

Veeam BitLooker offers users the possibility to further reduce backup storage and network bandwidth consumption without incurring additional costs. Enabling this functionality takes just a few clicks, and the data reduction benefits can be enjoyed in the immediate backup or replication job run.

What results are you seeing after enabling BitLooker in v9? Please share your numbers in the comments!


Source: Veeam
Save backup storage using Veeam Backup & Replication BitLooker
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SAP and Lenovo Plan to Bring Advanced Solutions to the New Digital Economy

Source: Lenovo

WALLDORF, Germany and Morrisville, NC – January 26, 2016SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) and Lenovo (HKSE:992) today announced multi-faceted plans to develop cloud solutions in China, create innovations between the SAP HANA® platform and Lenovo systems and jointly execute global go-to-market programs. The agreement is intended to significantly strengthen an existing partnership and to combine SAP® solutions with Lenovo’s data center offerings to provide customers technology that can help organizations become agile digital enterprises.
SAP and Lenovo Plan to Bring Advanced Solutions to the New Digital Economy

Lenovo Names Scott Offer General Counsel

Source: Lenovo

Lenovo Group today announced a change in senior leadership.  Jay Clemens, who has served as General Counsel to the company for approximately four years has chosen to step down for personal reasons.  The company has named Scott Offer, currently General Counsel for its Mobile Business Group, to replace Clemens as Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Lenovo Group Limited.
Lenovo Names Scott Offer General Counsel

How to get a free Veeam NFR key

Here at Veeam, we’re passionate about helping people learn to do awesome things with their virtual environment. One of the best ways to learn is from your own experience, which is why we give certified IT pros FREE Not-For-Resale (NFR) keys for Veeam Availability Suite.

Here’s how you can get a free Veeam NFR license key.

What’s NFR?

A Not-For-Resale (NFR) license is a license that can be used in a test environment or home lab for product demos and trainings. NFR for Veeam Availability Suite v9 is a cut above most regular trial keys because it has a 1-year retention period, instead of just 30 days.

In addition, a Veeam NFR license key covers two sockets for any mix of hypervisors (VMware vSphere and/or Microsoft Hyper-V).

Audience

Certified IT pros eligible for a free Veeam NFR license key include:

  • VMware vExperts
  • VMware Certified Professionals (VCPs)
  • VMware Certified Advanced Professionals (VCAPs)
  • VMware Certified Instructors (VCIs)
  • VMware Certified Design Experts (VCDXs)
  • Local VMware User Group (VMUG) Leaders
  • Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs)
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Experts (MCSEs)
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Associates (MCSAs)
  • Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs)
  • Cisco Champions
  • PernixPro Members
  • And more!

If you’re not on the list above and are interested in getting a free Veeam NFR key, drop us an email and we’ll try to assist.

And if you haven’t ever tried Veeam Availability Suite before, I recommend that you request your free trial or NFR key now! This a great opportunity to get familiar with two products, Veeam Backup & Replication AND Veeam ONE at the same time and for free!

Download a free Veeam NFR license and feel free to write any questions and comments below.


Source: Veeam
How to get a free Veeam NFR key
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Set a custom EMC snapshot schedule for Veeam Explorer for Storage Snapshots

NOTE: Register for a LIVE webinar, Configuring EMC VNX and VNXe with Veeam, on Feb. 2

 

Veeam® Availability Suite™ v9 introduced integration for EMC VNX and VNXe hybrid storage arrays. These are a great storage system to run your vSphere VMs and also for leveraging Veeam. If you have one of these arrays, even if you aren’t a Veeam customer, you should really check out this integration.

Let’s first identify what parts of the data center we are talking about. From a storage perspective, any EMC VNX or VNXe storage system (including VNX2), a vSphere installation (except the free hypervisor) and a Veeam Backup & Replication™ system may be used, including Veeam Backup Free Edition for the restore technique from the storage snapshots.

The snapshot schedule on the VNX and VNXe arrays is an area that anyone interested in Veeam may want to investigate a bit. There is a default schedule (called a protection schedule) for the VNX and VNXe. This snapshot schedule may not be very useful if you don’t have a way to use the snapshots in a practical manner

The storage snapshot on a VNX and VNXe can be a great way to recover from what I’d call the “Daily Disasters” such as deleting a file, a virtual machine or an application item like a SQL Database or an email message. Let’s look at setting this snapshot schedule in a way that you can give easy recovery options for EMC VNX and VNXe hybrid storage array.

The snapshot schedule is set in Unisphere and is navigated under Storage | File Systems | Modify Protection. The figure below shows the default snapshot schedule:

Blog 1-11-2016-FigA

 

The default schedule is to take a snapshot every day at 3:00 AM and keep it for 2 days. That’s good, but I really like the notion of a custom schedule to fit the needs of the Daily Disasters that may happen. This is important also if backups are not taken during the middle of the day.

Let’s modify the snapshot schedule on the EMC VNX and VNXe to take a snapshot every 4 hours and keep that for 1 day. I’m also taking proper Veeam backups on this volume as well. This would be set in Unisphere below:

 

Blog 1-11-2016-FigB

The benefit here is that there are storage snapshots created during the day every four hours and that is only kept for one day. There are six snapshots kept on the VNX or VNXe array for recoveries in the day and we’ll be well-equipped for those Daily Disasters. In Veeam Backup & Replication, the new snapshot schedule is pretty easy to see how usable it is:

Blog 1-11-2016-FigC

The snapshots are stored on the array and we can go to each of the VMware virtual machines on the snapshot and recover the entire VM, restore files from the file system (Windows and Linux) and launch the Veeam Explorers™ for application recoveries.

This is a very easy process and the benefits are very clear for recovery options during the middle of the day where backups may not be scheduled. Additionally, many EMC VNX and VNXe environments may have storage snapshots in use, but no way to actually use them in a practical manner. Veeam Availability Suite makes this easy and can unlock the power of a storage snapshot.

What custom storage snapshot schedule have you set with the EMC VNX or VNXe and how do you use it? Share your comments below.

Related information:


Source: Veeam
Set a custom EMC snapshot schedule for Veeam Explorer for Storage Snapshots
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v9 is HERE!

I am happy to announce that Veeam Availability Suite v9 is now generally available (GA) and ready for download! This latest version is packed with so many new features that it’s difficult to talk about them all on this blog, but I highly recommend you check out the What’s New in Veeam Backup & Replication v9 document because it’s packed with details about all the new things we’ve up into v9 (read also What’s New in Veeam ONE v9).

If you’re just catching up, here are the blog posts we published about many of the major features in v9:

While v9 is packed with new features, two major ones that really stand out for me: One is Veeam Cloud Connect Replication and the other is Scale-out Backup Repository. Either one of these features would have been reason enough for a major release, but when you consider the amount of effort that has gone into just these two features, I’m amazed our developers were able to pull it off.

Veeam Cloud Connect Replication is going to open up DRaaS to entirely new markets where it wasn’t feasible before. Not only is this wonderful for Veeam Cloud  & Service Provider (VCSP) partners who take advantage of the opportunity by offering new, valuable services, but it’s also great for our customers, especially those that only have a single sight and want true disaster recovery. With the capability to fail over the entire site or just a sub-set of VMs, Veeam Cloud Connect Replication covers multiple disaster scenarios. We’re confident this is going to redefine the DRaaS industry in the years to come.

The Scale-out Backup Repository is yet another feature that our customers have been asking for, but we delivered it in a way they’re not expecting. Rather than just creating simple storage pools you can easily expand, we went the extra step to allow you to set performance profiles. This means that you can have a fast class of backup storage — like SSD — to hold the incremental backups and a slower tier to handle the full backups. This makes incremental backups much faster, and because they don’t take as much space as full backups, you can save on that precious SSD space. This is just the beginning for the Scale-out Backup Repository, so keep an eye out for what we come up with next.

Finally, I’d like to address the fact that we promised to release v9 in 2015. The truth is we did … we just didn’t make it widely available with a GA release. We RTM’ed the code on Dec. 16, 2015, and made it available to our VCSP partners so they could start building their DRaaS services to ensure we would have partners ready to offer Veeam Cloud Connect Replication at launch. We did the same thing with v8, and moving forward, we’ll continue doing this. We want our partners to have a chance to build their services so our customers can take advantage of them from day one of the release. With the holidays so close, we decided to push GA into January, freeing up time for our customers to enjoy their holidays.

We’ll have another point release in 2016 to coincide with Windows Server 2016, and I’m sure we’ll sneak in a few additional features and enhancements that didn’t make the v9 release. Keep your eyes on the Veeam blog and Veeam social media channels for more news coming soon.

 

JOIN us for a LIVE webinar, It’s here! NEW Veeam Availability Suite v9 on Jan. 26 (North America & EMEA) and Jan. 27 (APAC.)


Source: Veeam
v9 is HERE!
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Optimizing private cloud for dev and test with Windows Azure Pack (TechNet Radio)

Microsoft IT supports a large computing environment for product development across teams. This highly variable environment is delivered as a service using Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Azure pack. Understand how MSIT is able to provide a scalable private cloud for dev and test to enable rapid and agile product development.
Source: Microsoft
Optimizing private cloud for dev and test with Windows Azure Pack (TechNet Radio)
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Lenovo and Google Partner on New Project Tango Device

Source: Lenovo

LAS VEGAS, NV – Jan. 7, 2016: Today at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Lenovo announced the development of the first consumer mobile device with Project Tango in collaboration with Google. Available in summer 2016, the new smartphone, powered by the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ processor, turns the screen into a magic window that can overlay digital information and objects onto the real world. Lenovo, Google, and Qualcomm Technologies are working closely together to optimize the software and hardware to ensure consumers get the most out of the Project Tango platform.
Lenovo and Google Partner on New Project Tango Device