Managing Skype Room Systems and Surface Hub devices (Technical Case Study)

Source: Microsoft
As part of our quest for more reliable, productive online meetings, Microsoft IT is working to improve our ability to manage meeting room devices. It’s an evolving, end-to-end service approach, from which our employees have already benefited, whether they are collaborating using Surface Hub or the new Skype Room Systems. We are also enhancing management tools such as Intune and Microsoft Operations Management Suite to monitor meeting room devices, automate processes, and detect and correct technical issues.
Managing Skype Room Systems and Surface Hub devices (Technical Case Study)

Planning and supporting meetings in a complex global enterprise (Article)

Source: Microsoft
Meetings at Microsoft can be complex—crossing time zones, regions, and business groups. Microsoft IT ensures that participants stay productive and focused on the business at hand, without technical difficulties or disruption. A framework that supports Office 365 apps, SharePoint Online, Skype for Business, and Yammer helps to facilitate collaboration for attendees. Proactive preparation and a range of technologies—such as Microsoft Azure for data storage and Microsoft Identity Manager for security—keep meetings on track.
Planning and supporting meetings in a complex global enterprise (Article)

Cutting costs and improving service with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online (Article)

Source: Microsoft
One Finance, the group responsible for global account processing at Microsoft, migrated our customer support solution from on-premises to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. We process more than 500,000 support tickets annually, and the database had grown to 2 TB. Before making the move, we archived data, optimized the existing solution to use more out-of-the-box features, and updated code. Since going live, the new solution has cut support costs in half, and the new Service Level Agreement feature has improved customer service.
Cutting costs and improving service with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online (Article)

BaaS, DRaaS or Both? Plenty of cloud Availability options with Veeam!

Source: Veeam

One of the common things that happen in my group of evangelists is helping organizations of all sizes take an Availability strategy to the cloud. When it comes to the cloud, Veeam has a lot of options and has had so for a number of years.

I frequently go back to one question: “What are you wanting to accomplish with a cloud or service provider technology?” This is where the answers get interesting. I’ve heard everything from: “I’m out of space in my data center,” “I want cheap storage,” “I have a credit to use in Azure,” “I want complete disaster recovery,” “I want to get data off-site but don’t have a second site myself,” and more. One of the great flexible aspects of cloud and service provider technologies is that they are not a singular use case; there is a technology available for nearly any requirement.

In regards to how specifically Veeam can help, there are two frequent approaches where many of my discussions end up. They usually revolve around recommendations around having Backup as a Service (BaaS) and Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). Let’s look at these a little more closely.

BaaS: Cloud Backup with Veeam

The BaaS approach is where backup storage is off-site, and with Veeam, this is most commonly done through Veeam Cloud Connect. Veeam Cloud Connect can be used for Cloud Backup very easily and has been in place since Veeam Availability Suite v8. This is how Cloud Backup is done with Veeam for BaaS:

BaaS, DRaaS or Both?

The important thing to note is that in this example, the Cloud Repository is part of the on-premises Veeam Availability Suite infrastructure in regards to the targets of things like Backup Copy Jobs and Backup Jobs. This means you can take a backup on-premises, then make additional copies of that backup in the Cloud Repository with a Backup Copy Job so you can easily have your data off-site. The intelligent difference here from many other solutions on the market is that compute and storage are working together so that you have a very advance data transfer for unique blocks only and any transformations of synthetic full backups (including those for weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual retention) are done locally in the Cloud Repository. These compute and storage resources are provided by a Service Provider.

One of the most attractive parts of Cloud Backup with Veeam Cloud Connect is that adding or even finding a Service Provider is very easy to do. It is built right into the user interface of Veeam Backup & Replication. The figure bellow shows where you can add a Service Provider:

BaaS, DRaaS or Both?

Once a Service Provider is added, that Cloud Repository will show up alongside the other storage resources you have on-premises. Frequently, I explain it as Cloud Connect will extend your Veeam installation and therefore your backup infrastructure to a Service Provider seamlessly. You’ll have your Cloud Repository right alongside your storage resources on-premises as shown in the figure below:

BaaS, DRaaS or Both?

DRaaS: Disaster Recovery with Veeam

The other side of the discussion is around having workloads ready to run off-site, and DRaaS with Veeam came in Veeam Availability Suite v9. Organizations of all sizes are really attracted to a DRaaS arrangement because:

  • There isn’t a need to make a second site for DR (facilities perspective)
  • Companies won’t have to make or purchase the virtual infrastructure for DR off-site
  • The ability to run VMs off-site is a very powerful recovery option
  • There is a partial failover capability which is very attractive when only parts of an environment incur an outage

Cloud-based Disaster Recovery with Veeam is a very attractive way to achieve DRaaS. The key concept is a Cloud Host. It’s effectively a generic VMware vSphere or Microsoft Hyper-V set of compute and storage resources ready to receive your replicated workloads. So you can take backups on-premises and then create replicas off-site in the service provider infrastructure. Cloud Connect Replication is shown below:

BaaS, DRaaS or Both?

Much like the previous example, the Service Provider offering Cloud Connect will provide abstracted resources that allow Veeam to replicate to. This target for the replicated virtual machine is a great way to have complete off-site Availability to run the workloads when needed. The figure below shows two Service Provider accounts as “VMware Cloud Hosts” in the Backup Infrastructure section of the Veeam Backup & Replication user interface:

BaaS, DRaaS or Both?

Additional Options with Veeam Cloud Connect for the Enterprise

Larger organizations, especially those with a large number of remote or branch offices, may like the transport mechanism of Veeam Cloud Connect yet not want to go down the Service Provider route. Earlier this year, Veeam Cloud Connect for the Enterprise became an option for this use case. This allows backups and replicas to be moved to a private cloud or to a public cloud such as Azure without the use of a Service Provider.

Which is Better: DRaaS or BaaS?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to leveraging the cloud to get the best levels of Availability. Because of this, we end back at the question where we started: “What are you wanting to accomplish with a cloud or Service Provider technology?” From here, we can identify options where Veeam-powered cloud solutions can give you the best options. Whether you are looking to get the off-site element of the 3-2-1 Rule in place or a more complete business continuity and disaster recovery offering, Veeam has cloud options to give you the Availability experience you are searching for.

Additional resources:

The post BaaS, DRaaS or Both? Plenty of cloud Availability options with Veeam! appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.

BaaS, DRaaS or Both? Plenty of cloud Availability options with Veeam!

Understanding file sharing and collaboration options (Article)

Source: Microsoft
Microsoft IT has deployed team collaboration tools to suit the varied needs of employees, while enabling us to manage data, enforce business policies, and manage document lifecycle. We challenge employees to change old habits and try to help them understand the cloud solutions available to them, including Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint Online for saving and sharing files, and Outlook 2016 and Yammer for communicating. Our goal is to help people choose the best tool for their collaboration needs.
Understanding file sharing and collaboration options (Article)

Building an IT partnership through agile development (Business Case Study)

Source: Microsoft
Microsoft IT partnered with Microsoft Real Estate and Facilities to develop a cloud-first, mobile-first, data warehouse and reporting solution. We created a data model to effectively represent their business needs and used agile methods to implement the solution. The result is a business intelligence app that provides a complete view of the business, how it is trending, and where improvements can be made to meet future business needs.
Building an IT partnership through agile development (Business Case Study)

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure – now integrated in Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5

Source: Veeam

DRMA integration in v9.5 Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 is just around the corner. I have been testing the beta version for two months now, and I tested the first promised feature — the Veeam-Nimble integration — a month ago. Today, I’ll demonstrate the test of another enhancement — integrated Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure.

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure was released several months ago as a standalone Azure appliance, and it is available for free at the Microsoft Azure Marketplace. Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure will become fully integrated in Veeam Backup & Replication in 9.5.

So, why am I excited? Well, with version 9.5, you will be able to instruct Veeam Backup & Replication to recover any restore point directly to Microsoft Azure without preparation or provisioning tasks in Azure. Simply right-click, and then choose to restore to Azure.

NOTE: This blog post is all about the Beta version of the new integration, so some of the screens are listed as TBD or may not have their icons/visualization complete as what you’ll see in the generally available build of Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5.

How Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure will help you

There is no question that backing up is a boring business. It’s difficult to sell the need for the latest labor-saving backup products to your CIO when you can’t prove a positive ROI without experiencing a disaster — and who really wants to do that?

So, would you be able to sell the need for better backup resources if it could do other tasks besides merely backing up your environments? What if the same product could:

  • Build a test and development environment in the cloud
  • Migrate your workload to Azure
  • Build a warm disaster recovery (DR) instance in the cloud

With a regular Veeam backup, you can use the Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure feature to deploy all the above use cases. You can build a Test/Dev lab in Azure in a matter of minutes.

Should you wish to migrate your workload to Azure, Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure will be your best friend. It makes the process so much simpler, without impacting your production environment, because the migration will be initiated directly from the backup repository.

How to set up Azure subscription access

Our setup starts by configuring Veeam to access our Azure subscription. Browse the Veeam Backup & Replication GUI as shown below, and then press Manage Azure Accounts.

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

At the Manage Azure Accounts window, click the Add button.

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

At the Initial Configuration window, you need to choose the required Azure Resource Manager deployment model first. For this demonstration, I’ll choose the Resource Manager model:

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

And then import the resource manager subscriptions by clicking on the “Configure Account” link:

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

On the pop-up window, provide your Azure credentials.

Note: Make sure that you switch off the Protected Mode in Internet Explorer settings. Otherwise, you will not be able to log on to Microsoft Azure when passing through the Initial Configuration wizard.

Note: If you are planning to restore a Linux-based computer, Veeam Backup & Replication will require you to deploy a helper appliance inside your Azure environment.

After you provided the necessary information to finalize the process, you’ll be ready to start your VM’s restore and workload migration to Azure.

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

Azure preparation

Depending on your desired scenario of the cloud-based restore to Azure, you can prepare the Azure environment to accept VM restores. For example, if you are migrating your SharePoint infrastructure to Azure, you can mimic the same on-premises network configuration on Azure and then attach the new VMs to their specific networks. This will help minimize the post-migration network configuration. The same applies if you were considering deploying a warm DR strategy in Azure.

Azure Proxy

One of the most frequent concerns people have towards public clouds are speed and security.

Brand new functionality called Azure Proxy address both of them by dramatically accelerating data transfers over WAN, reducing open port requirements to the single port by virtualizing all network traffic into the single port, and removing the need to deploy VPN to Azure by providing built-in encryption for the network traffic.

Deploying the Azure proxy server is very simple and fully automated, but first you need to add your Azure account to the Veeam console using the “Manage Azure Accounts” dialog.

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

Once you added your Azure account to the Veeam console, then you will get the new “Add Azure Proxy” option on the Backup Proxies node of the Backup Infrastructure tab:

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

Follow the instruction on the deployment wizard to deploy the Azure Veeam proxy servers.

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

Performing the restore to Azure

To start the cloud restore to Azure, click the following icon in the Veeam Backup & Replication UI:

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

Or, right-click the corresponding backup job:

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

Choose the Azure Resource Manager deployment model; in this example, I’ll use the new and recommended Azure Resource Manager model.

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

Specify a preferred subscription if you have more than one, and then select the Azure data center region from the Location options:

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

In a case you deployed the Azure Proxy, you can select it from the dropdown list on the same step. Be sure to pick the proxy located in the same Azure data center you’re restoring to.

Choose the Azure VM size and the preferred storage account:

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

Note: You can exclude any VM virtual disk from the cloud restore and resize the VM resources to be deployed in the cloud.

Now you need to assign the Azure VM a name, and choose a resource group the restored VM will be connected to:

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

Next, you need to attach the network. I created a specific Veeam network to mimic the same local LAN network:

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

Review the Summary to ensure the configuration is as you intended:

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

Upon clicking Finish, Veeam Backup & Replication will begin the restore to Azure process, during which it will also convert the on-premises VMs to Azure VMs.

Note: The process will take some time, and will depend on the Azure digest speed.

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

From the above screenshot, you can notice the total time for restoring the VM to Azure will take an hour and 17 minutes at a 4MB/s speed without the Veeam Proxy. The Restore process took one hour and 20 minutes.

On the below screenshots, I performed a second restore, but this time I used the Veeam Azure Proxy, as you can notice the total restore time cut by half comparing to the first test. The total restore time is 45 minutes at 8MB/s with the restore process taking 37 minutes.

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

Azure check

On completion of the recovery (or migration) and conversion process, you’ll find the restored computer under Azure resources or Virtual Machines. You can use the restore point in numerous ways such as the following:

  • Build a test and development environment in the cloud
  • Migrate your workload to Azure
  • Build a warm DR instance in the cloud

You can also connect to your Azure VM via remote desktop connection (RDP) and use that server as a PRODUCTION or TEST/DEV environment.

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

Conclusion

The process of restoring or migrating any workload to Azure has become a simple process using Veeam Backup & Replication with the integrated Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure feature. This opens endless possibilities and new ways of using your Veeam backups — not just for recovery, but also for the migration of your workloads to the cloud, or building test labs in the cloud.

With all the business benefits above, it’s time to book a meeting with your CIO and discuss the implementation of Veeam Backup & Replication.

The post Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure – now integrated in Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure – now integrated in Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5