Understanding Veeam Availability Orchestrator terminology

Source: Veeam

When it comes to creating disaster recovery (DR) plans, Veeam Availability Orchestrator makes it easy to ensure your data is available when disaster strikes. Beyond creating what we call a Failover Plan in Veeam Availability Orchestrator, we also ensure that our DR plans are tested successfully on a regular basis, with the documentation to prove it. This documentation can also be used for compliance, auditing, and ensuring members of an organization know the state of the DR plan at all times.

You may be asking yourself, “What is a Failover Plan?” after reading the first paragraph of this post. Don’t worry, we are about to explore what they are, as well as other terms we commonly use when talking about Veeam Availability Orchestrator.

A Failover Plan is what is created in Veeam Availability Orchestrator to protect applications. The Failover Plan is central to an organization’s DR plan. The goal of the Failover Plan is to make failovers (and fail backs) as simple as possible. Within a Failover Plan, there are a number of Plan Components, which are added to the Failover Plan to meet the business’ requirements.

VM Groups contain the virtual machines (VMs) we are ensuring Hyper-Availability for in the event of a disaster. The VM Groups are powered by VMware vSphere Tags. VMs are simply tagged in vCenter, and the vSphere Tag name will appear in Veeam Availability Orchestrator as shown in the screenshot above. Plan Steps are the steps taken on the VMs during a failover. This includes a number of Application Verification steps available out of the box including verification of applications such as Exchange, SQL, IIS, Domain Controllers, and DNS. Credentials for verifying the applications are also one of the plan components. In addition to these built in application verification tests, Custom Steps can also be added to the Plan Components, allowing organizations to leverage already existing DR scripts.

Template Jobs ensure data is backed up and kept available during a failover scenario. They are created in Veeam Backup & Replication and then added to a Failover Plan during creation. Another big component of a Failover Plan is a Virtual Lab, which we refer to as a Veeam Data Lab. Veeam Data Labs allow for an isolated copy of a production application to be created and tested against. When we are finished using this copy of the data, we simply delete it without ever having impacted or changed our actual production data. This allows for Virtual Lab Tests to be performed to prove recoverability, and the corresponding Test Execution Report to be generated.

We all know how difficult testing DR plans used to be. We would spend a few days locked in the data center, without even getting the applications running correctly. We would say it would get fixed “next time,” but we all know the truth was often that these broken DR plans were never fixed. Veeam Availability Orchestrator removes this overhead, and allows for quick and easy testing without impacting production. In the event a test fails, the Test Execution Report shows us exactly what went wrong so we can fix it.

Before we run a Virtual Lab Test, we first run a Readiness Check on our Failover Plan, and yes, this also comes with a Readiness Check Report so we can easily see the state of our DR plan. This is a lightweight test that is performed to ensure we are ready to failover at a moment’s notice. Best of all, this check can be scheduled to run daily, along with a Plan Definition Report. The Plan Definition Report shows us exactly what is in a Failover Plan, including the VMs in a VM Group and all of our Plan Steps. This report also shows any changes so we have a full audit trail of our DR plan.

As you can tell by this image, our Failover Plans are ready in the event of a failover. They are listed as a “verified” state which means we have successfully run a Virtual Lab Test and a Readiness Check, both of which can be scheduled to run as often as we would like. We can also ensure reports are sent to key stakeholders when the checks are run.

In the event of a failover, which we can trigger on demand or schedule, an Execution Report will be generated. This will detail the steps taken as part of the Failover Plan on the VMs in a VM Group, and show that the application has been successfully verified and is running in the DR site. We know the execution of a Failover Plan will be successful since we have already tested it successfully.

Now that you are ready to start speaking Availability, you can download a 30-day FREE trial of Veeam Availability Orchestrator and try it out. Make sure to check these tips and tricks to ensure a smooth first deployment.

The post Understanding Veeam Availability Orchestrator terminology appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.


Understanding Veeam Availability Orchestrator terminology

3 steps to extend your archival options to Microsoft Azure Blob storage

Source: Veeam

Long-term archival policies remain a consistent part of many enterprise infrastructures today. The need to maintain the 3-2-1 rule, ensure corporate standards, or provide regulatory compliance, keep liability of archival options out of the question. Convenient use of virtual tape libraries (VTL) enables enterprise businesses to extend their tape-based backups to virtual disks, or simply switch to newer operational methods without a long preparation as the staff is familiar with the terms already. While Veeam provides native tape support for backing up to virtual tape libraries, it’s now extending it with an option to leverage StarWind VTL for Microsoft Azure Blob Storage, enabling all users looking for cheap and reliable cloud storage to easily and securely store backups/files there.

With this integration, Veeam and StarWind customers can tier their backup data on site, maintaining one to two weeks of data on-premises, while moving longer-term archives directly to a more cost-effective Microsoft Azure Blob Storage. In this blog, I’ll be covering how to tackle the latter. For a more detailed look, you can view the webinar.

Before we rush into details, I’d like to mention that it will take very little effort from existing Veeam customers to accomplish the process. However, due to many available deployment scenarios (starting from Veeam Backup & Replication (VBR) and StarWind software installed on the same server on-premise and ending with VBR and StarWind being independently deployed on Azure VMs), please take a moment to think about traffic flow and the best configuration for your system before you proceed.

As for the configuration itself, I’d prefer to split it onto three logical steps:

1. Azure preparation

Go to Azure portal, find storage accounts, and add another one (or repurpose an existing blob storage). Make sure to provide all the required information and select blob storage within the account kind option. Then, proceed to a newly created storage account and copy the storage account name and a key (settings –> access keys) as well as create a container which is going to be used for storing the data (blob service –> containers –> new). You’ll need this data later, when configuring a cloud replication in StarWind VTL.


Figure 1. Azure blob storage details

2. Configuring StarWind VTL

The purpose of such an action is to emulate a tape library setup on a desired server, so Veeam is going to send data to that library where it will be processed and ready for a cloud archival. A classic Disk to Disk to Cloud (D2D2C) scheme in action.

Get the latest StarWind VTL package (version 8.0.0.12248 or newer) and install it on any appropriate physical, virtual, cloud server or even Veeam server itself. During installation, make sure to select the “VTL and Cloud Replication” option so StarWind automatically deploys the corresponding components. Specify a convenient path for the storage pool or leave it by default at disk C. Then, operating from the StarWind management console, connect to a desired server (use localhost or 127.0.0.1 when setting up an all-in-one scenario) and add a virtual tape device (drive) with as many virtual tapes you’d like. StarWind VTL emulates the actual HPE MSL8096 Tape Library, so all the principles of working with such a library will be applicable here. Note: You might need to install the latest drivers pack so that the server recognizes the said tape library properly. Once that is done, this server can be pointed to a VTL using the standard Windows iSCSI tools (control panel –> administrative tools –> iSCSI initiator). Go to Discovery –> Discovery Portal to initialize VTL and then connect to it from the Targets tab.


Figure 2. Connecting to discovered VTL target

Now you should enable a cloud archival via the cloud replication functionality: Simply select Microsoft Azure Cloud Storage on the first step, then specify the required Azure details from step #1, and finish the process by providing the desired retention settings.


Figure 3. StarWind. Setting up the retention settings

3. Veeam Backup & Replication

From a Veeam Backup & Replication perspective, you’ll need to add a server from above as a tape server to the VBR console. For that, an IP/DNS address and appropriate credentials will be required. During the procedure, Veeam will install a Transport and Tape Proxy services to the server and perform a tape libraries inventory if the option is specified. Once the tapes are detected and put into a Free Media Pool, it’s a good idea to create a dedicated Media Pool with some tapes, which will be used on another step.

Now, Veeam is connected to VTL and can push the data there. Create a Backup to Tape or File to Tape Job, specify the backup scope (you’ll need some pre-created backups for the first option), and point the Job to a previously created Media Pool. Depending on the backup/file size, you’ll get the data effectively delivered to the VTL server.


Figure 4. Backup to Tape Job in action


Figure 5. StarWind management console. Tape in Slot 1 has gotten a backup.

Now you can switch to the VTL server and remove the tape from the slot if it wasn’t automatically exported upon the Veeam Job completion. Since in my case the cloud replication was scheduled to start immediately, I can already see the motion in progress.


Figure 6. Uploading to Azure Blob Storage in action

After a successful upload, the Cloud tab will get a blue check and I should be able to verify that by navigating to my Azure Blob Storage and seeing the actual files uploaded to this container.


Figure 7. “ColdContainer” with uploaded data

I can go ahead and manually change the access tier for any of those files right from the Azure portal.


Figure 8. Azure Access Tier change

As an alternative, I could tweak the StarWind settings or even use PowerShell to manipulate the access tier in an automated way.

Restore VMs from VTLs in Azure

On the restore side, StarWind customers can initiate restores from Azure through their Veeam Backup & Replication console to recover the necessary files or VMs. Better yet, why not recover in Azure? Available in the Azure Marketplace, the virtual StarWind appliance, as well as Veeam Backup & Replication, can be installed in an Azure instance, and recoveries can be done from the archive storage directly into a new Azure virtual machine, accelerating your restore times and providing application portability across your backup infrastructure.

In addition, you can provide access to these newly restored VMs in Azure with Veeam PN (Powered Network), establishing a secure connection back to your HQ data center or wherever you need to provide access to these workloads.

Conclusion

Organizations are still using tape for a variety of reasons, but many want to take advantage of the cloud for their backups in order to maintain business continuity and unlock Availability. With Veeam Backup & Replication customers can leverage a seamless integration with StarWind to get their backups off site and into Microsoft Azure Blob Storage. To watch a full demo on the solution, you can watch this webinar.

The post 3 steps to extend your archival options to Microsoft Azure Blob storage appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.


3 steps to extend your archival options to Microsoft Azure Blob storage

Win a FREE ticket to VMworld 2018

Source: Veeam

Who’s ready to attend VMworld, the premier digital infrastructure event where you can learn everything about the future of digital business? Lucky for you, Veeam is giving away 10 tickets to VMworld 2018 (both Europe and US, your choice!).

Why attend VMworld 2018?

Our future is digital and VMworld is the right place to discover the trending technologies and meet the industry movers and shakers who are innovating to take IT to the next level. Session tracks will revolve around everything data center & cloud, networking & security, digital workspace, next-gen trends and digital transformation, so there’s plenty of knowledge to gain.

Moreover, VMworld is a great opportunity to connect with industry colleagues, exchange ideas, and demonstrate your expertise by adding VMware certifications. There will also be recreation events, sponsored get-togethers and, of course, Veeam’s legendary VMworld party!

VMworld is held in both the US and Europe. This year, the US event will take place from August 26-30 in Las Vegas, NV and the European VMworld will occur in Barcelona from November 5-8.

Veeam is a platinum sponsor at VMworld 2018 and at VMworld US you’ll find us at booth #1412. Join us for a demo of the latest Veeam products, pick up your Veeam t-shirt, and enter our raffle for your chance at our great prizes.

During VMworld 2018 US, there will be two speaking sessions from the Veeam Experts: What’s new in Veeam Availability Suite 9.5 Update 4 by Danny Allan, Vice President of Product Strategy and Rick Vanover, Director of Product Strategy, and Veeam and VMware – Intelligent Data Management for the Hybrid World by Anthony Spiteri and Michael Cade, Product Strategy Technologists. Make sure to add the sessions in your agenda!

More info on VMworld 2018 Europe will be announced at a later date.

Good luck!

 

The post Win a FREE ticket to VMworld 2018 appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.


Win a FREE ticket to VMworld 2018

Bringing Clarity to Veeam’s vSphere client plug-in

Source: Veeam

With the release of vSphere 6.5, VMware introduced a supported version of the HTML5 vSphere Client that was bundled as part of the vCenter Server Appliance. Built upon VMware’s Clarity UI Framework, the move to the new HTML5 client had begun. The 6.5 release had partial functionality compared to the Flash-based Web Client, however, with the release of vSphere 6.7 in April, the HTML5 vSphere Client was brought up to feature parity and is now the preferred way to configure and manage vSphere environments.

Veeam has always supported VMware features, and with the release of Veeam Backup & Replication v7 back in August of 2013, we released our first version of the vSphere Web Client Plug-in for the Flash-based Web Client. With the news that the 6.7 release of vSphere will mark the final release of the Flash Web Client, it was time to upgrade the client for the new Clarity-based HTML5 Client. This will ship with the release of Veeam Backup & Replication Update3a, and just like the rest of the Clarity UX, the new version of the plug-in is impressive.

First off, it’s worth mentioning that the new HTML5 Client Plug-in will not work in 6.5 vSphere environments. The traditional Client Plug-in will still need to be used with the 6.5 Flash Web Client (as with earlier 5.x versions of vSphere). Installation is still handled via the Veeam Enterprise Manager as shown below.

Once installed from Enterprise Manager, the Plug-in should be visible in the HTML5 vSphere Client’s Menu. As per the old version of the Plug-in, there are two tabs presented, with the Settings tab used to setup password authentication and hook up your Veeam ONE instance.

The real beauty of us being able to leverage the Clarity UI is found in the Summary tab. This is still the place to get an overview of your Backup Repositories, Processed VMs, VM Overview and Job Statistics, however there is now a clean look and feel to the views that matches perfectly with the rest of the Web Client.

As with the previous version, you are able to call out to Veeam ONE to generate targeted reports against the Backup Repositories, Protected VMs and Job Statuses. And also, as with previous versions, you can create restore points for selected VMs using VeeamZIP (full backup) or Quick Backup (incremental backup) by right-clicking on the VM from the vSphere Client, without the need to use Veeam backup management console.


For more information on the updated Client Plug-in, including an overview and getting started, head to the online Veeam Help Pages and make sure you take advantage of this Veeam Backup & Replication Update 3a feature to further enhance your visibility and reporting of your vSphere backup environments.

Read more

The post Bringing Clarity to Veeam’s vSphere client plug-in appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.


Bringing Clarity to Veeam’s vSphere client plug-in

Tips to backup & restore your SQL Server

Source: Veeam

Microsoft SQL Server is often one of the most critical applications in an organization, with too many uses to count. Due to its criticality, your SQL Server and its data should be thoroughly protected. Business operations rely on a core component like Microsoft SQL Server to manage databases and data. The importance of backing up this server and ensuring you have a recovery plan in place is tangible. People want consistent Availability of data. Any loss of critical application Availability can result in decreased productivity, lost sales, lost customer confidence and potentially loss of customers. Does your company have a recovery plan in place to protect its Microsoft SQL Server application Availability? Has this plan been thoroughly tested?

Microsoft SQL Server works on the backend of your critical applications, making it imperative to have a strategy set in place in case something happens to your server. Veeam specifically has tools to back up your SQL Server and restore it when needed. Veeam’s intuitive tool, Veeam Explorer for Microsoft SQL Server, is easy to use and doesn’t require you to be a database expert to quickly restore the database. This blog post aims to discuss using these tools and what Veeam can offer to help ensure your SQL Server databases are well protected and always available to your business.

The Basics

There are some things you should take note of when using Veeam to back up your Microsoft SQL Server. An important aspect and easy way to ensure your backup is consistent is to check that application-aware processing is enabled for the backup job. Application aware processing is Veeam’s proprietary technology based on Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service. This technology quiescences the applications running on the virtual machine to create a consistent view of data. This is done so there are no unfinished database transactions when a backup is performed. This technology creates a transactionally consistent backup of a running VM minimizing the potential for data loss.

Enabling Application Aware processing is just the first step, you must also consider how you want to handle the transaction logs. Veeam has different options available to help process the transaction logs. The options available are truncate logs, do not truncate logs, or backup logs periodically.


Figure 1: SQL Server Transaction logs Options

Figure 1 shows the Backup logs periodically option is selected in this scenario. This option supports any database restore operation offered through Veeam Backup & Replication. In this case, Veeam periodically will transfer transaction logs to the backup repository and store them with the SQL server VM backup, truncating logs on the original VM. Make sure you have set the recovery model for the required SQL Server database to full or bulk-logged.

If you decide you do not want to truncate logs, Veeam will preserve the logs. This option puts the control into the database administrator’s hands, allowing them to take care of the database logs. The other alternative is to truncate logs, this selection allows Veeam to perform a database restore to the state of the latest restore point. To read more about backing up transaction logs check out this blog post.

Data recovery

Veeam Explorer for Microsoft SQL Server delivers consistent application Availability through the different restore options it offers to you. These include the ability to restore a database to a specific point in time, restore a database to the same or different server, restore it back to its original location or export to a specified location. Other options include performing restores of multiple databases at once, the ability to perform a table-level recovery or running transaction log replay to perform quick point-in-time restores.


Figure 2: Veeam Explorer for Microsoft SQL Server

Recovery is the most important aspect of data Availability. SQL Transaction log backup allows you to back up your transaction logs on a regular basis meeting recovery point objectives (RPOs). This provides not only database recovery options, but also point-in-time database recovery. Transaction-level recovery saves you from a bad transaction such as a table drop, or a mass delete of records. This functionality allows you to do a restore to a point in time right before the bad transaction had occurred, for minimal data loss.

And it is available for FREE!

Veeam offers a variety of free products and Veeam Explorer for Microsoft SQL Server is one that is included in that bunch. If you are using Veeam Backup Free Edition already, you currently have this Explorer available to you. The free version allows you to view database information, export a database and export a database schema or data. If you’re interested in learning more about what you get with Veeam Backup Free Edition, be sure to download this HitchHikers Guide.

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The post Tips to backup & restore your SQL Server appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.


Tips to backup & restore your SQL Server

Veeam Availability Suite 9.5 Update 3a is now available!

Source: Veeam

Platform support is a priority at Veeam. Whether that is the latest operating systems, new storage systems or updated hypervisors, we take platform support seriously. Since Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 3 has been released, a number of ecosystem changes have warranted an update ahead of the upcoming set of Veeam capabilities (due later this year) showcased at VeeamON. A larger update is coming soon, which is why we are referring to this release as Update 3a opposed to Update 4 (which is planned for later in the year). The main capabilities in this release are the new platforms supported as well as over 20 minor enhancements detailed in the KB article.

Update 3a will bring support for the latest VMware and Microsoft platforms that organizations need from Veeam. The list of new platforms supported by Veeam Backup & Replication are:

  • VMware vSphere 6.7
  • VMware vCloud Director 9.1
  • Preliminary support for VMware vSphere 6.5 U2  (See more below)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 1803
  • Microsoft Windows Hyper-V Server 1803
  • Microsoft Windows 10 April 2018 Update

There are supplemental platforms also supported in this update:

  • VMware Cloud on AWS version 1.3
  • Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 1801

This update is important as it means Veeam Backup & Replication will do the following:

  1. Install Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 3a on the new Windows operating systems
  2. Install components (such as proxies, repositories, etc.) on the new Windows operating systems
  3. Perform backup and replication jobs from the new vSphere platforms and the Hyper-V roles in the Microsoft Windows Server 1803 operating system

One different notation is the “Preliminary” support for VMware vSphere 6.5 Update 2. Those of you who have been following the weekly forum digest emails have additional insights to the many milestones that had to be achieved to get to this point. This is very important as with a product providing backup in the data center, we cannot take any risk of a false sense of security. These emails are also where you can get the latest from R&D on all the catch points that may arise; namely what we are seeing with vSphere 6.5 Update 2. Support for this release will likely come in an update to 6.5 Update 2 itself. The support statement is clarified well in this forum post, basically stating as it is there is a known issue a critical API for our use failing under load.

To remain on the cutting edge, many organizations like to maintain aggressive policies on upgrading to the latest vSphere, vCloud Director, Windows 10 and Windows Server releases; and ensuring that these platforms are supported for backup should be an important consideration. This is yet another reason why Veeam continues to work hard to deliver updated platform support as soon as possible. As you plan your next moves for your business, you can know that the platform support needed to keep those applications, systems and data available will be there with Veeam.

Go ahead and download Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 3a!

The post Veeam Availability Suite 9.5 Update 3a is now available! appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.


Veeam Availability Suite 9.5 Update 3a is now available!