Will Digitization Eliminate Jobs or Redefine Them?

Source: Cisco
Digitization is impacting companies in every industry as business leaders implement digital technologies and processes to transform all aspects of their operating models. Yet, even with the growth and innovation that digitization will drive, many people fear it will eliminate jobs at a record pace. In addition, by 2020, four in 10 industry incumbents will […]Will Digitization Eliminate Jobs or Redefine Them?

Advanced Integration with Nimble Storage coming in Veeam Availability Suite 9.5 for VMware!

Source: Veeam

Storage snapshots are an everyday part of the modern data center regardless if you’re the virtualization administrator or the storage professional. One of the most popular requests from the Veeam user community is to bring direct storage integration to their favorite storage vendor array. Today we are happy to announce that in Veeam Availability Suite 9.5 we’ll be integrating with Nimble Storage. 

Why is Storage Integration Important?

Protecting data in the environment is paramount to the success of the business. As an IT Pro, being agile and having the ability to recover any item, at any time and in any situation; that’s what the business demands. Unfortunately, due to the increasing amount of data in the environment, shrinking backup windows and demand for constant access to data 24x7x365 — this can become a challenge. To satisfy the Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) of the business, IT and Storage Professionals have the benefit of leveraging storage array-based snapshotting mechanisms. This provides nearly zero impact to the production Virtual Machines (VMs) running on the array allowing IT to protect the datastores in which their VMs reside on much more frequent than was possible with hypervisor snapshots alone. Unfortunately, the manual snapshot mount process is cumbersome and prone to user error.

Veeam’s advanced integration with Nimble Storage provides additional protection and recovery options that are not available without direct integration and joint development efforts that provide the ability to:

  1. Schedule the creation of Nimble storage snapshots containing application-consistent VM images, and storage snapshot replication orchestration.
  2. Restore from Nimble storage snapshots or their Replicated Copies (entire VM, guest files and application items)
  3. Backup from Nimble storage snapshots or their Replicated Copies.

Let’s take a look at how this is achieved with Veeam Availability Suite 9.5 with Nimble Storage.

Examining the Benefits of Primary Storage Integration

With Veeam Explorer for Storage Snapshots and Veeam Backup from Storage Snapshots, IT will be able to meet the Recovery Time and Point Objectives (RTPO) of the business. Array-based snapshots reduce the impact from data protection activities on the virtual production environment freeing system resources to further enable the virtualization of highly transactional VMs. To better explain, let’s take a look at a scenario.

In our organization, Meeav Software, we run all of our VMs on the VMware vSphere platform, Nimble Storage and Veeam Availability Suite 9.5. On an hourly basis throughout the day we have scheduled application-consistent snapshots that occur on our vSphere VMFS datastores. These snapshots and their replication to secondary array are scheduled and orchestrated through Veeam Backup & Replication. Our secondary array is then being used as the source of our backup jobs once per evening. Utilizing the secondary array as the source eliminates any performance hit on the production infrastructure during the backup window.

In the event of a SAN failure, you NEED out of band protection, as the data on both primary and secondary array may be corrupted. With Veeam Backup from Storage Snapshots, you can take production data off your SAN to isolated backup storage. To do that, we will instruct vSphere to take a snapshot of the required VMs. With this open snapshot, the Nimble device is then instructed to execute a storage snapshot action, following which we immediately remove the vSphere snapshot. As the result, production VMs run off VM snapshots only for a matter of seconds, eliminating performance overhead and infamous snapshot commit issues. Veeam then stores the VM data into self-contained, transportable files.

Veeam Backup from Storage Snapshots

Veeam Explorer for Storage Snapshots (VESS) allows Meeav to directly restore from the native Nimble snapshots (by using native snapshot scheduling engine, or Veeam) while benefitting from many of the restore options that Veeam provides. For instance, at 12 p.m. IT Support received a request to restore an email for the CEO just prior to his critical afternoon meeting. Much to the appreciation of the CEO, we were able to quickly reach into the Nimble Storage snapshot within the Veeam Backup & Replication console (VESS works in FREE Edition as well) to retrieve and restore exactly what was needed. Our IT Administrator also had the option of leveraging the Nimble replicated snapshot that lives on our secondary array to achieve the same result.

Advanced Integration with Nimble Storage

Veeam Explorer for Storage Snapshots simplifies and dramatically accelerates the restore procedure while completely eliminating the need to perform manual snapshot mount procedures, thus avoiding administrator errors that occur when placed in the infamous “IT hot seat.”

Note: To take advantage of the advanced storage integration Nimble Operating System version 2.3 or later, vSphere 4.1, 5.x or 6.0 and Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 or later is required.

Fast, Easy and Reliable Test and Development Environments

One challenge remains constant within modern day IT: How do I create test and development environments? Before we discuss the how, first it’s important to understand the why. 

Advanced Integration with Nimble Storage

Whenever a request for a set of application VMs is received from the business, likely you’re building multiple environments: Production, User Acceptance (UAT), Quality Assurance (QA), Development (Dev). Each environment has different controls in place for making changes as well as who has administrative access within each environment is different. The challenge for Developers is how can I get production-fresh data into my development environment? The other challenge for Senior Management, how do we know if our backups and availability strategy is good? How do we test patches and updates before applying them to the production environment? Even today, Veeam’s Virtual Lab technology addresses exactly these needs, providing isolated sandbox environments for test and development from backups – however, the performance may not be optimal for I/O demanding tasks.

The integration between Veeam and Nimble gives IT Pros the ability to quickly standup sandbox environments directly from storage snapshots, or their replicated copies. This also allows development teams access in a fenced off environment to test their code against real production data using the full performance of primary storage arrays.

Conclusion

Veeam Availability Suite 9.5 furthers the storage integration by adding advanced support for Nimble Storage. With this integration, IT Administrators and Storage Professionals will be able to leverage Veeam Backup & Replication to:

  1. Perform frequent crash-consistent and application-consistent Nimble storage snapshots and replicate them to secondary array for low RPO protection.
  2. Meet strict RTOs and RPOs by performing granular recoveries from Nimble storage snapshots on both primary or secondary arrays.
  3. Backup from Nimble storage snapshots on primary or secondary arrays, thus reducing (or completely eliminating) the impact from data protection activities on production workloads.

Happy Availability with Veeam and Nimble Storage!

Advanced Integration with Nimble Storage coming in Veeam Availability Suite 9.5 for VMware!

The Four Enemies of Availability

Source: Veeam

NOTE: Register for the upcoming webinar, The Enemies of Delivering 24.7.365 Availability, on May 17.

 

It wasn’t all that long ago that data protection was pretty straightforward. You had 12+ hour backup windows to adhere to, nonexistent or “best effort” SLAs and agents galore to support your limited number of applications and operating systems. Those days are over.

IT is changing at an exponential rate. Availability 24.7.365 is now a key requirement in industries that are becoming more competitive by the day. A transformation is occurring that will require your enterprise to adopt recent technologies such as modern storage, virtualization and the cloud in order to modernize your data center – just as you’ve modernized your IT business processes. IT cost reduction is also more important than ever. Sounds easy enough, right? Wrong. There are enemies lurking in the shadows that aim to prevent you from reaching your goals:

1. Heterogeneous IT

When I started at Veeam nearly six years ago, we would have been considered an SMB. We had a few locations throughout the world and a small “server room” in each of those locations utilizing local storage and a handful of virtual machines. Today our infrastructure looks drastically different. Employing the use of networked storage, flash, hybrid cloud infrastructures, SaaS apps and other modern technologies to tackle the needs of our current enterprise-sized operation. Ensuring Availability for all of these technologies requires a fundamentally different approach to disaster recovery. What is the best way to protect these myriad systems and at the same time reduce data center costs? As your enterprise continues to grow, the questions begin to outnumber the answers.

2. Fragmentation of Data and Applications

Data, not specific technologies, are what your enterprise values most. Just as blocks of data on a hard drive can become fragmented over time, pieces of data can end up scattered across different locations and applications throughout an organization: Virtual, physical, various clouds, IaaS, SaaS, the USB hard drive in the drawer of someone’s desk…what is the best way to identify and protect this scattered data? How do you identify what is important vs what is critically important? Many modern storage technologies allow for tiering of production data –– assigning different categories of data to different types of storage in order to increase performance of critical data and reduce overall IT costs. What about applying that same strategy to your backups? Tiering backups by utilizing a combination of storage snapshots, hypervisor snapshots, nearline storage, deduplicating storage and archival storage such as tape or cloud allows you to treat the most critical asset your enterprise has –– your data –– with the importance it deserves.

3. Outdated Data Protection Tools

According to IDC, the top two data protection challenges are restoring critical workloads quickly (also known as recovery time objective or RTO) and improving backup performance (recovery point objective or RPO):

 

Top 5 data protection challenges

It’s simply not realistic to attempt to overcome these challenges using legacy technologies. Availability is a requirement. Not a nice-to-have, but a requirement. In fact, it is so important that Veeam has defined it as requiring recovery time and point objectives (RTPO) of less than 15 minutes for all applications and data. Legacy tools that were developed in a world where virtualization did not yet exist do not have the capabilities to achieve this demanding requirement.

4. Cost of Doing Nothing

The status quo. Standard operating procedure. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Enterprises don’t always fully understand how rapidly changing today’s IT landscape is. IT managers will frequently specify acquisition costs as the largest barrier to modernizing their Availability tools. In reality, acquisition costs are usually only a small fraction of the overall issue. Operational costs, including the cost of unplanned downtime due to outdated Availability tools, can become significantly more expensive over time:

 

Cost and complexity drivers

So how does an enterprise conquer these four enemies and countless others like them? First and foremost, it is important to have an understanding of the issues affecting your specific environment. Do you have an unacceptable amount of unplanned downtime? Are you measuring and achieving RTOs, RPOs, and SLAs? Do you treat backups as something that must be done rather than something that could be an asset to the organization? And, most importantly, how do you achieve all of your Availability goals in manner that reduces IT costs?

The answers are not always simple but the guidelines and recommendations in this IDC Executive Brief Cut Costs, Reduce Complexity, and Drive Availability for the Always-On Enterprise will move you forward in the right direction.

The Four Enemies of Availability

Use Caution Opening Email Attachments

Source: SANS security tip
A common method cyber criminals use to hack into people’s computers is to send them emails with infected attachments. People are tricked into opening these attachments because they appear to come from someone or something they know and trust. Only open email attachments that you were expecting. Not sure about an email? Call the person to confirm they sent it.
Use Caution Opening Email Attachments

Windows Ink, Cortana improvements and more arrive in the latest Windows 10 build out now

Source: Tech News – Enterprise
ink3-1024x683 It’s going to be a good Friday for those testing the latest releases of the Windows 10 operating system, as Microsoft is today rolling out a new build of its PC and mobile OS, which will allow users to try the newly announced Windows Ink experience for the first time. Windows Ink, announced at the Build 2016 event last month, offers improved pen support for Windows 10 PCs, including… Read MoreWindows Ink, Cortana improvements and more arrive in the latest Windows 10 build out now

Windows Ink, Cortana improvements and more arrive in the latest Windows 10 build out now

Source: Microsoft more
ink3-1024x683 It’s going to be a good Friday for those testing the latest releases of the Windows 10 operating system, as Microsoft is today rolling out a new build of its PC and mobile OS, which will allow users to try the newly announced Windows Ink experience for the first time. Windows Ink, announced at the Build 2016 event last month, offers improved pen support for Windows 10 PCs, including… Read More
Windows Ink, Cortana improvements and more arrive in the latest Windows 10 build out now

Forwarding Emails

Source: SANS security tip
When you forward an email to others or copy new people to an email thread, review all the content in the entire email and make sure the information contained in it is suitable for everyone. It is very easy to forward emails to others, not realizing there is highly sensitive information in the bottom of the email that people should not have access to.
Forwarding Emails

Monitoring and protecting sensitive data in Office 365 (Technical Case Study)

Source: Microsoft
Microsoft IT created a solution to manage the risk of sharing sensitive data, while still promoting collaboration in Office 365. Power BI dashboards give insight into how Microsoft corporate users share information. This solution detects sensitive data sharing and helps Microsoft IT proactively manage and respond to information security risks.
Monitoring and protecting sensitive data in Office 365 (Technical Case Study)