Hardware Snapshot Orchestration – A game-changer from HPE storage and Veeam

Source: Veeam

The HPE and Veeam partnership brings comprehensive data protection for Hybrid IT. Veeam software integration with HPE storage solutions lets you create application-consistent backups from HPE storage snapshots for fast and efficient data protection. For long-term external storage, HPE StoreOnce provides deduplication for efficient storage utilization and fault isolation for data. In addition, Veeam can send backups to HPE StoreEver tape storage or to the cloud for long-term off-site data archival. Also, the tight integration with Veeam Backup & Replication has been cited as the #1 reason why customers are buying the new Nimble SFA.

But how does all this magic happen? Obviously, the tight integration between HPE storage and Veeam products plays a key role. Today, I’ll be focusing on the newest integrated feature: Hardware Snapshot Orchestration.

Let’s not forget: Snapshot Orchestration while a standalone feature, seamlessly compliments all other joint Veeam and HPE features, such as source-side deduplication, Virtual-Synthetic-Full-Backup, bandwidth efficient backup replication, backup-file protection from malware, Instant VM Recovery from deduped data and so on.

The key feature of Snapshot Orchestration is making the life of admins much simpler. They can now create Snapshot-only Veeam backup job with just one click. See the image below:

Hardware Snapshot Orchestration

To create a Snapshot-Only backup, simply create a normal backup job and, instead of selecting a traditional backup repository, select:

·        HPE 3PAR Snapshot

·        Nimble snapshot

So easy, so powerful!

Why should I care about Hardware Snapshot Orchestration?

You may already know the answer, but let me elaborate on the benefits just in case you’re doubtful.

Suppose you protect your production VMs with a daily backup to your target repository, such as HPE StoreOnce. Why are you limited to just one restore point per day? Why not have one every hour? Well, before the new Hardware Snapshot Orchestration, you would answer, “Our infrastructure cannot accommodate the extra overhead and capacity.”
Snapshot Orchestration is the game-changer here: Now you can make frequent consistent Veeam backups with a very limited overhead for your production. When you need to restore your data, you will use a restore point that is less than 1 hour old, rather than reverting to the previous day.

The first time I explained this to a co-worker, he argued, “But a snapshot is not a backup!” This is undoubtedly true. If your primary array catches fire or if there is a human/firmware error, then your snapshots are wiped out along with the production data. A good data protection strategy is based on frequent snapshots as well as traditional nightly backup to a secondary storage, and that traditional backup protects you from the rare catastrophic loss of your primary array. For all other restore cases, you can restore from a fresh snapshot.

But let’s face it. Recovering quickly from backups after a failure while keeping costs down is the top goal in any organization! If you have ever made an Instant VM Recovery, a pre-production test, or a granular restore from a snapshot, you know how fast it is: Snapshot restore is literally as fast as using your primary storage. When it comes to costs, snapshots are cheap. On state-of-the-art storage arrays such as Nimble and 3PAR, it’s not a matter of how many snapshots we keep, but rather how old those snapshots are. Usually 36 hours of snapshot can cost as much as 2-5% of extra capacity, which is not a huge cost relative to the benefits you gain.

Here is an example of a sound best practice:

  1. 36 hourly snapshots
  2. 56 nightly backup to StoreOnce (leveraging on the Virtual Synthetic Full technology)
  3. 14 nightly backup snapshots replicated to a remote site

This was the highlight of Hardware Snapshot Orchestration, but there are many more features to consider. Take a look at the graphic below to see the power and simplicity of this integrated solution:

Multiple options for composing your data protection solution 

  1. Veeam schedules Consistent Storage Snapshot-only Jobs
  2. Veeam triggers Nimble Snap Replication to a remote array
  3. Veeam makes Backup from remote / local Snapshots to StoreOnce
  4. Veeam copies selected backup from StoreOnce to Tape
  5. Veeam’s Catalog tracks all the independent restore points

Hardware Snapshot Orchestration

Are you looking for even more insights from HPE and Veeam? Join our online conference VeeamON Tour Virtual 2017 (on Dec. 5) and take your chance to visit a session and address your questions on HPE and Veeam integration to my peer Allan Hammond, EMEA Solution Architect, Data Protection and Retention at HPE.

The post Hardware Snapshot Orchestration – A game-changer from HPE storage and Veeam appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.

Hardware Snapshot Orchestration – A game-changer from HPE storage and Veeam

How to prepare and successfully pass the Microsoft Azure certification exam

Source: Veeam

A little over two years ago, I was at the Microsoft Technology Center in Manhattan, and I noticed that all of the engineers and technical people I was working with that day seemed a little stressed. I took the opportunity over lunch with the chief architect to find out what was going on. Microsoft had decreed that anybody in a technical role had to take and pass the Microsoft Exam 70-533, Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions. I also found out that many had already taken and failed the exam.

This got me thinking. If Microsoft required everyone to pass this, then the future direction of the technology, and Microsoft’s investment in it, was sure to be significant.

I did everything to find as much study material as I could, and I spent the next three months preparing for the exam to become a certified Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect. I took advantage of online courseware from Pluralsight, and I read every FAQ and Microsoft KB article that I could get my hands on. In the end, I was able to pass on my first attempt.

So now, a few years later, I have been asked to talk about the certification, the benefits of it, and the best methods to achieve it.

What to expect from the Microsoft Azure certification exam

First, and I cannot stress this enough, this is a very dynamic exam. The skills measured and tested directly reflect what is happening in Azure at the time you sit for the exam. For instance, I only had a few questions about Azure Resource Manager (ARM), and now the exam is mostly questions covering that topic.

To get an understanding of what you will be tested on, a great place to start is right on Microsoft’s exam page. Here you will see a list of skills being tested, and what percentage of the exam will reflect them.

This should be your go-to resource when figuring out what to study. This page is continuously updated to reflect new exam guidelines and skills measured. As for today, during the exam you’ll be tested on the following:

  • Azure Web Apps and App Service plans design and implementation
  • ARM virtual machines creation, configuration and management
  • Azure storage design and implementation
  • Virtual networks configuration, design and implementation
  • ARM templates design and deployment
  • Azure security, data protection and recovery services management
  • Azure operations management, including automation and data collection and analysis
  • Azure identities management, including integration with Azure Active Directory

At the time of this writing, this exam is only available in person at a Microsoft-approved testing location.  It is comprised of 45 questions, some of which are multiple choice, and some that are simulation-based.

Don’t be surprised to be presented with questions showing the Azure portal, with questions about where to click to accomplish certain tasks. For this reason, it’s not enough to read an exam guide. Hands-on knowledge of the platform is necessary.

Microsoft has made practice exam questions available on this exam page, as well as some videos which show what kinds of questions exam takers can expect. It is worth the time to watch the video and try the sample questions.

What certifications does this exam count toward?

Anyone who successfully completes 70-533 will be certified as a Microsoft Specialist: Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions. The exam also counts toward the MCP, MCSA, and MCSE certifications.

Also, if the Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator exam is successfully completed, the MCSA – Linux on Azure certification is achieved.

How to prepare for the Microsoft Azure certification exam

Once you’ve determined what areas you need to spend time learning, you’ll need to find a good training resource. All of the online training providers offer courses, but with the rapidly changing exam objectives, be sure to find one that keeps its material up to date. In my experience, Udemy has been the best regarding that. In particular, there’s a course available from Scott Duffy that he updates every few weeks to keep it relevant.

There are a few other things to keep in mind during preparation. If you don’t have a good understanding of PowerShell, your chances of passing are greatly reduced. The same goes for hands-on time working with Azure. Microsoft offers a fully functional 30-day trial with $200.00 in Azure credit, so be sure to take full advantage for preparation. You can expect both PowerShell and Azure portal questions that require a much better understanding of tasks than a simple multiple-choice question would. Hands-on time is key to success. I can’t say this enough.

Your career in cloud can accelerate with Microsoft Azure certification!

I recommend that anyone interested in pursuing a career path in cloud technologies sit for this exam. After I finished my certification, I enjoyed the benefit of not only knowing what I’m doing, but also being recognized as a subject matter expert at events and meetings, both with customers and with Microsoft internal people. Veeam has doubled down on the cloud, and with this direction, the need for trained and experienced cloud technologists will not likely diminish in the long term. Have you already gotten your Microsoft Azure certification? Share your experience and feedback in the comments below!

The post How to prepare and successfully pass the Microsoft Azure certification exam appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.

How to prepare and successfully pass the Microsoft Azure certification exam

Happy Holidays! Win a FREE trip to a VeeamON 2018 event

Source: Veeam

This has been a remarkable year in Veeam’s history, one in which we received recognition from the world’s leading analysts, as well as the confirmation of different industries’ leaders in terms of customer satisfaction. We are committed to delivering the #1 Availability for any app, any data on any cloud and our customers are at the core of our innovation efforts.

Therefore, we are grateful to all of you for being with Veeam and, in the holiday spirit, we are happy to offer six lucky winners a fully paid trip to a VeeamON 2018 event organized in your respective region. All you have to do is to REGISTER ON OUR WEBSITE for a chance to WIN! A fully paid trip to a VeeamON 2018 event includes round-trip flights, accommodation in a top-rated hotel near the event venue and full access to the event.

VeeamON 2018: It’s all about Availability

At the VeeamON 2018 event series you will live the full Availability experience: Discover the latest Availability trends from Veeam experts and industry visionaries, take your knowledge to the next level through the breakout sessions and find out first about new products in our portfolio. Moreover, VeeamON sites are the right place to connect with IT pro fellows and Veeam-valued sponsors and partners. For more details about our VeeamON events, please check: VeeamON Chicago, VeeamON Forum EMEA and VeeamON Forum Sydney.

On behalf of everyone at Veeam, I wish all of you, Happy Holidays! May you have a happy new year filled with health, peace, prosperity and Availability.

Happy Holidays!

Giveaway conditions

This is a global campaign, meaning everybody from around the world is eligible to participate. The registration deadline is Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017. You don’t want to miss it! We will randomly select six lucky winners and announce them on a weekly basis. Make sure you get all the updates by following us on Facebook and Twitter!

The post Happy Holidays! Win a FREE trip to a VeeamON 2018 event appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.

Happy Holidays! Win a FREE trip to a VeeamON 2018 event

How to avoid vSAN compatibility issues and be sure your SureBackup is a success

Source: Veeam

Hello from Veeam Support!

Recently, a customer contacted us with the very curious case. The SureBackup job was failing with the generic error message during snapshot creation phase: “The specified feature is not supported by this version.” There were several VMs included in the SureBackup job, but only one specific VM failed. Moreover, the source backup job itself worked perfectly, including the affected VM.

Isolating the issue

As this is a generic error message, it could have several reasons to appear. For example, the Free ESXi version has some limitations and therefore is not supported. However, we were sure that the version of ESXi was not Free, because other VMs were processing just fine in a SureBackup job, as well as the affected VM in a regular backup job.

As we have already stated before, that issue persisted only for one specific VM, so the first step was to find what was so special about this exact machine. At the very first glance, the main difference for this machine (let’s call it VM01) was its size — it was significantly bigger in size than others with one of its disks more than 2TB.

Keeping that fact in mind, we referred to the Veeam Backup & Replication task log file:

 

[timestamp] <56> Info     [VimApi] Create snapshot, ref "vm-12345", name "VEEAM_SUREBACKUP_SNAPSHOT", description "", memory "False", quiesce "False"

[timestamp] <56> Error    An error occurred while taking a snapshot: The specified feature is not supported by this version.

[timestamp] <56> Error    CreateSnapshot failed, vmRef vm-12345, timeout 1800000, snName VEEAM_SUREBACKUP_SNAPSHOT, snDescription , memory False, quiesce False (System.Exception)

[18.09.2017 18:17:18] <56> Error       at Veeam.Backup.ViSoap.CSoapConnection.CreateSnapshot(String vmRef, Int32 timeout, String name, String description, Boolean memory, Boolean quiesce)

[timestamp] <56> Error       at Veeam.Backup.SureBackup.Operations.CSnapshotVmEngine.InternalProcess()

[timestamp] <56> Error       at Veeam.Backup.SureBackup.Operations.CSnapshotVmEngine.Process()

[timestamp] <56> Error    The operation is not supported on the object. (Veeam.Backup.ViSoap.ViServiceFaultException)

[timestamp] <56> Error    VimApi.NotSupported

[timestamp] <56> Error       at Veeam.Backup.ViSoap.CSoapService.ExecuteAndWaitForCompletion(IServiceOperationAsync operation, Nullable`1 timeout)

[timestamp] <56> Error       at Veeam.Backup.ViSoap.CSoapConnection.CreateSnapshot(String vmRef, Int32 timeout, String name, String description, Boolean memory, Boolean quiesce)

 

Honestly speaking, it wasn’t really helpful at that moment but one thing was clear — according to the error stack, the message was generated by VMware vSphere API.

Always check VMware logs

That is why we decided to check the VMware log files and figure out the possible reason for such behavior. To make our search easier, we just used the error string as a search query and here we go:

 

timestamp info hostd[XXXX] [XXXX sub=DiskLib opID=XXXXX-XX-XXXXX user=vpxuser:DOMAINNAME] DISKLIB-LIB_CLONE : Could not get default Object Type for seSparse - The specified feature is not supported by this version:24.

timestamp info hostd[XXXXXX] [XXXX sub=Libs opID=XXXXX-XX-XXXXX user=vpxuser:DOMAINNAME] SNAPSHOT: SnapshotBranchDisk: Failed to branch disk: '/vmfs/volumes/XXXXXX-XXXX/XX_XXXX/vmdk_name.vmdk' -> '/vmfs/volumes/vSAN:XXXXXX-XXXXXXX/SureBackup/XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX/vmdk_name-000001.vmdk' : The specified feature is not supported by this version (24)

 

The first thing that draws our attention is that the error message contained a specific disk name. We checked and that was the large disk (> 2TB) VMDK we saw before.

We also saw a mention of seSparse disk type (space-efficient sparse format), which reminded us that VMware vSphere is using seSparse format instead of VMFS-deltas (vmfssparse) when making a snapshot for disks larger than 2TB (see VMware KB 2058287).

From this moment, we knew the issue was somehow related to the seSparse redo logs disk type, but it didn’t explain what was exactly unsupported until we remembered one important detail — the original VM and SureBackup virtual lab were located on vSAN datastore. It’s a well-known fact that SureBackup is using Veeam vPower NFS store to raise VMs from it, but redo logs for SureBackup VMs are redirected to the production datastore (which is vSAN in our case):

 

[timestamp] <56> Info     [SureBackup] [VM01] [ReconfigVm] [Line 104] workingDir = "/vmfs/volumes/vSAN:XXXXXX-XXXXXXX/SureBackup/XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX"

[timestamp] <56> Info     [SureBackup] [VM01] [ReconfigVm] [Line 105] snapshot.redoNotWithParent = "TRUE"

 

Basically, we had a heterogeneous VMs storage configuration with basic disks located on NFS datastore and redo logs located on vSAN. As this was working flawlessly for all the machines other than VM01, we concluded that there was something wrong between seSparse and vSAN compatibility.

Fast searching lead us to VMware vSAN documentation with the following statement: “Virtual SAN does not support SE Sparse disks.”

You may notice that documentation is related to vSphere v5.5, and in our case the vSphere version was 6.0. We contacted VMware and confirmed that the limitation still exists, even for 6.0 and 6.5.

At this point, the puzzle pieces fit into one big picture — you couldn’t have a parent disk on NFS/VMFS storage and a seSparse redo log on vSAN as snapshot inherits the VMFS_ type as per VMware documentation.

You could ask why are backups working fine on vSAN for large (> 2TB) disks if seSparse is not supported by vSAN? That’s simple – the VMware hypervisor is using VSANSPARSE redo logs type while creating a snapshot for machines with a parent disk located on vSAN.

Useful notes to keep in mind:

  • VSANSPARSE are created on vSAN disks
  • VMFS_sparse or seSparse are created on regular VMFS disks depending on disk size or VMFS version (snapshots on VMFS6 will be seSparse regardless of size)
  • During redirect on another datastore, the snapshot disk type is inherited from the parent disk type.

Solution

We suggested the virtual lab migrate to a non-vSAN datastore. Therefore, the type of snapshot remains the same during redirection.

The same issue can be encountered when having VMs on vSAN and running instant recovery for VMs with large disks (> 2TB). And the same solution is valid for the instant recovery snapshot redirection.

Conclusion

Based on our research, it turned out that the above scenario covers more than instant recovery and SureBackup issues — in some cases, even hot-add mode will not work. You need to attentively check the types of datastores and snapshots that are used during the operation so you can avoid unsupported setup.

The post How to avoid vSAN compatibility issues and be sure your SureBackup is a success appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.

How to avoid vSAN compatibility issues and be sure your SureBackup is a success

Beyond backup – Three ways Veeam and Pure Storage drive a higher ROI for IT

Source: Veeam

For many IT decision makers, flash is strictly for critical business applications. So, it would seem a no-brainer for many organizations to consider flash for backup and recovery workloads. Perhaps it’s time to think differently.

What if there was a more modular way to deploy flash that would enable organizations to reap the same operational benefits for backup as they’ve already enjoyed in their production application environments? Such as increased data center efficiencies through massive storage consolidation, predictable scale-out performance capabilities and increased IT management simplicity.

Moreover, with more organizations running in an Always-On environment, there is an increasing need for solutions that enable the rapid recovery of critical applications and data from ultra-fast backup storage resources like flash.

These are excellent reasons for using flash for backup and recovery workloads, however, Veeam and Pure Storage can further sweeten the ROI pot to make this more of a no-brainer for financial decision makers.

In addition to accelerating backup and recovery, reducing data center footprint, simplifying IT operational management and dramatically improving application SLAs, Veeam combined with Pure Storage FlashBlade enable businesses to get a higher return on their IT investments.

How? By enabling organizations to leverage their investments in backup infrastructure to support several additional business use cases beyond backup:

  1. Enhanced business agility: Rapidly orchestrate the creation of VMs and data directly from the Veeam backup repository on FlashBlade to provide developers with a high-performance dev/test environment that is totally isolated from production. This helps increase business agility while lowering the costs associated with dedicated dev/test infrastructure and/or the cost of using public cloud resources.
  2. Hybrid cloud backup: Many organizations are looking to the public cloud to lower backup and DR costs. Veeam Cloud Connect (VCC) paired with FlashBlade enables organizations to replicate backup data to the public cloud for cost effective off-site backup and DR. Businesses get the best of both worlds – rapid recoveries of critical data from local flash and cheap/deep storage for low cost backup in the cloud.
  3. Data Analytics: Many organizations take multiple backups throughout the course of the business day. Why not leverage this data to perform data analytics? Veeam can be used to non-disruptively move backup data to FlashBlade and end users can run their queries off super-fast flash resources to get the actionable insight they need to support the business.

Veeam and Pure Storage are making flash a viable option for backup and recovery workloads by enhancing application recovery SLAs, dramatically reducing data center footprint, simplifying IT and allowing customers to leverage their backup data across multiple use cases beyond backup.

This in turn enables organizations to get a higher return on their investments in backup infrastructure, save money and enhance business agility.

Learn more about Veeam and Pure Storage solutions.

The post Beyond backup – Three ways Veeam and Pure Storage drive a higher ROI for IT appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.

Beyond backup – Three ways Veeam and Pure Storage drive a higher ROI for IT