Now taking nominations for the 2019 Veeam Innovation Awards for Veeam Partners

Source: Veeam

The nomination window for the 2019 Veeam Innovation Awards for Partners is closing in a few days, so we’re taking a minute to highlight some of the VIA 2018 winners announced earlier this year with a few VCSPs.

At VeeamON 2018 in Chicago we held our inaugural Veeam Innovation Awards or VIAs. The idea behind the awards where to highlight our partners that do great things with great technology. Veeam has long offered our partners the ability to innovate on top of our core product set. This is most evident in our Veeam Cloud and Service Provider community where being able to differentiate among providers can mean the difference between success and failure in an industry that is ultra-competitive.

Having come from a successful VCSP in Australia where I worked alongside developers to create services based on the Veeam Backup & Replication platform I understand what it takes to develop and integrate Veeam into service offerings. In fact, having spent the majority of my career working within the Service Provider space I made sure that I was aware of what my competitors where doing. I often did research to find out how their innovations where stacking up to ours. There is a lot of intellectual property that goes into developing services, however we all start with the same base.

In the case of Veeam, what we offer today is a powerful platform that offers service providers immense flexibility, performance and reliability on which to offer cloud-based data protection. Weather this be for Infrastructure VMs, Backup as a Service/Replication as a Service through Cloud Connect or more recently backup for Office 365, our providers have been able to leverage Veeam’s automation functionality using our APIs and PowerShell commandlets to integrate those services into their own cloud management platforms.

With that, it’s no surprise that VCSPs featured heavily in the inaugural VIAs…

Probax

Probax is a VCSP headquartered out of Perth, Western Australia and are 100% reseller focused. Having already integrated Veeam Cloud Connect into their MSP reseller portal they created the Honeycomb VTL Archive product which leverages Veeam Backup Copy jobs taking GFS backup chains and moving them to low cost storage…all managed through the Probax Web Console. They have also created a service around the backup of Office 365 leveraging Veeam’s Backup for Microsoft Office 365 which has again been directly integrated into their Web Console. They embodied the spirit of the VIA’s by looking outside the box and solving the problem of air-gapping longer-term backup files in a protected state…all through the use of Veeam’s APIs and PowerShell capabilities.  Check out the Probax video.

iLand

iLand was another one of the four winners in 2018 and they took a slightly different approach with their submission having already lead the industry with their innovation around automation and provisioning of Veeam Infrastructure backups as well as offering Cloud Connect Backup & Replication services from their award winning control panel. iLand Catalyst is an in-house developed assessment tool that looks at storage requirements, latency considerations and other key metrics that enable their customer to be successful with Veeam based iLand solutions. This form of innovation looks to extend the usability of their Veeam platform to enable customers to understand how to size and plan for services effectively taking out the guess work often involved in purchasing cloud-based resources for backup and disaster recovery.  Check out the iLand video.

Next week, we’ll be highlighting the other two VIA2018 awardees – SiS and Merrimac.

Once again, it’s great to see our Veeam Cloud and Service Providers leading the way in offering innovative solution based on the Veeam Availability Platform…I’m looking forward to seeing what innovations are put forward at Veeam Velocity 2019 for the second incarnation of the VIAs!.
To find out more about the 2019 VIAs or to nominate your solution, please click here.

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Now taking nominations for the 2019 Veeam Innovation Awards for Veeam Partners

Why our software-driven, hardware agnostic approach makes sense for backups

Source: Veeam

Having been hands-on in service provider land for the entirety of my career prior to joining Veeam, I understand the pain points that come with offering backup and recovery services. I’ve spent countless hours working on getting the best combination of hardware and software for those services. I also know firsthand the challenges that storage platforms pose for architecture, engineering and operations teams who design, implement and manage these platforms.

Storage scalability

An immutable truth that exists in our world is that backup and storage go hand in hand and you can’t have one without the other. In recent times, there has been an extreme growth in the amount of data being backed up and the sprawl of that data has also become increasingly challenging to manage. While data is growing quicker than it ever has, in relative terms the issues created by that haven’t changed in the last ten or so years — though they have been magnified.

Focusing on storage, those that have deployed any storage platform understand that there will come a point where hardware and software constraints start to come into play. I’ve not yet experienced or heard of a storage system that doesn’t apply some limitation on scale or performance at some point. Whether you are constrained by physical disk or controller based limits or software overheads, the reality is no system is infinitely scalable and free of challenge.

The immediate solution to resolve these challenges in my experience (and anecdotally) has always been to throw more hardware at the platforms by purchasing more. Whether it be performance or disk constraints, the end result is always to expand capacity or upgrade the core hardware components to get the system back to a point where it’s performing as expected.

That said, there are a number of systems that do work well, and if architected and managed in the correct way will offer longer term service sustainability. When it comes to designing storage for backup data, the principals that are used to design for other workloads such as virtual machines cannot be applied. Backup data is a long game and portability of that data should be paramount when choosing what storage to use.

How Veeam helps

Veeam offers tights integration with a number of top storage vendors via our storage integrations. Not only do these integrations offer flexibility to our customers and partners, but they also offer absolute choice and mobility when it comes to the short and long-term retention of backup data.

Extending that portability message — the way in which backup data is stored should mean that when storage systems reach the end of their lifetime, data isn’t held a prisoner to the hardware. Another inevitability of storage is that there will come a time when it needs replacing. This is where Veeam’s hardware agnostic, software-defined approach to backup comes into play.

Recently, there have been a number of products that have come into the market that offer an all-in-one solution for data protection in the form of software tied to hardware appliances. The premise of these offerings is ease of use and single platform to manage. While it’s true that all-in-one solutions are attractive, there is a sting in the tail of any platform that offers software that is tied to hardware.

Conclusion

Fundamentally, the issues that apply to storage platforms apply to these all-in-one appliances. They will reach a point where performance starts to struggle, upgrades are required and, ultimately, systems need to be replaced. This is where the ability to have freedom of choice and a decoupled approach to software and hardware ultimately results in total control of where your backup data is stored, how it performs and when that data is required to be moved or migrated.

You only achieve this through backup software that’s separated from the hardware. While it might seem like a panacea to have an all-in-one solution, there needs to be consideration as to what this means three, five or ten years into the future. Again, portability and choice is king when it comes to choosing a backup vendor. Lock in should be avoided at all costs.

The post Why our software-driven, hardware agnostic approach makes sense for backups appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.


Why our software-driven, hardware agnostic approach makes sense for backups

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

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Bringing Clarity to Veeam’s vSphere client plug-in

Simplifying cloud to cloud connectivity with Veeam PN

Source: Veeam

Veeam PN was launched as part of Veeam Recovery to Microsoft Azure, but Veeam PN has some great standalone use cases. In the last post, I showed how to access home lab/office machines while on the road using Veeam PN.

In this blog post, I’ll be covering a very real-world solution with Veeam PN where it will be used to easily connect geographically disparate cloud hosting zones, enabling you to achieve High Availability for applications and provide cross cloud application and services access. This is probably the most exciting of the three use cases I will cover in this blog series on Veeam PN, and with multi-cloud adoption in full swing, this is a very timely and useful capability.

Taking this use case one step further, how can cloud-to-cloud Availability be achieved in the most cost effective and operationally efficient way? There are obviously a few ways to connect clouds, and many other solutions out there, whether that be via some sort of MPLS, IPSec, L2VPN or stretched network solution. What Veeam PN achieves is simplicity — it’s very easy to configure, and it’s also very cost effective (remember it’s FREE). This makes it one of the best ways to connect one to one or one to many cloud zones with little to no overhead.

Cloud-to-cloud-to-cloud Veeam PN appliance deployment model

In this scenario, I want each vCloud Director zone to have access to the other zones and be always connected. I also want to be able to connect in via the OpenVPN endpoint client and have access to all zones remotely. All zones will be routed through the Veeam PN Hub Server deployed into Azure via the Azure Marketplace. To go over the Veeam PN deployment process, read my first post and also visit this VeeamKB that describes where to get the OVA and how to deploy and configure the appliance for first use.

Components

  • Veeam PN Hub Appliance x 1 (Azure)
  • Veeam PN Site Gateway x 3 (One Per Zettagrid vCD Zone)
  • OpenVPN Client (For remote connectivity)

Networking overview and requirements

  • Veeam PN Hub Appliance – Incoming Ports TCP/UDP 1194, 6179 and TCP 443
    • Azure VNET 10.0.0.0/16
    • Azure Veeam PN Endpoint IP and DNS Record
  • Veeam PN Site Gateways – Outgoing access to at least TCP/UDP 1194
    • Perth vCD Zone 192.168.60.0/24
    • Sydney vCD Zone 192.168.70.0/24
    • Melbourne vCD Zone 192.168.80.0/24
  • OpenVPN Client – Outgoing access to at least TCP/UDP 6179

In my setup, the Veeam PN Hub Appliance has been deployed into Microsoft Azure mainly because that’s where I was able to test out Veeam PN initially, but also because in theory it provides a centralized, highly available location for all the site-to-site connections to terminate into. This central hub can be deployed anywhere, and as long as it’s got HTTPS connectivity configured correctly to access the web interface, you can start to configure your site and standalone clients.

Configuring site clients for cloud zones (site-to-site)

In order to configure the Veeam PN Site Gateway you’ll need to register the sites from the Veeam PN Hub Appliance. When you register a client, Veeam PN generates a configuration file that contains VPN connection settings for the client. You must use the configuration file (downloadable as an XML) to set up the Site Gateways. Referencing the diagram at the beginning of the post, I needed to register three separate client configurations as shown below.

Once this has been completed, you need to deploy a Veeam PN Site Gateway in each vCloud Hosting Zone, and because we are dealing with an OVA, the OVFTool will need to be used to upload the Veeam PN Site Gateway appliances. I’ve previously created and blogged about an OVFTool upload script using PowerShell. Each Site Gateway needs to be deployed and attached to the vCloud vORG Network that you want to extend, in my case it’s the 192.168.60.0, 192.168.70.0 and 192.168.80.0 vORG Networks.

Once each vCloud zone has the Site Gateway deployed and the corresponding XML configuration file added, you should see all sites connected in the Veeam PN Dashboard.

At this stage, we have connected each vCloud Zone to the central Hub Appliance which is configured now to route to each subnet. If I was to connect an OpenVPN Client to the Hub Appliance, I could access all subnets and be able to connect to systems or services in each location. Shown below is the Tunnelblick OpenVPN Client connected to the Hub Appliance showing the injected routes into the network settings.

You can see above that the 192.168.60.0, 192.168.70.0 and 192.168.80.0 static routes have been added and set to use the tunnel interfaces default gateway which is on the central Hub Appliance.

Adding static routes to cloud zones (cloud to cloud to cloud)

To complete the setup and have each vCloud zone talking to each other, we need to configure static routes on each zone network gateway/router so that traffic destined for the other subnets knows to be routed through to the Site Gateway IP, through to the central Hub Appliance onto the destination and then back. To achieve this, you just need to add static routes to the router. In my example, I have added the static route to the vCloud Edge Gateway through the vCD Portal as shown below in the Melbourne Zone.

Conclusion

To summarize, below are the 5 steps that were taken to setup and configure the configuration of a cloud-to-cloud-to-cloud network using Veeam PN and its site-to-site connectivity feature. By doing so, allowing cross-site connectivity while enabling access to systems and services via the point-to-site VPN:

  1. Deploy and configure Veeam PN Hub Appliance
  2. Register cloud sites
  3. Register endpoints
  4. Deploy and configure Veeam PN Site Gateway in each vCloud zone
  5. Configure static routes in each vCloud zone

These five steps took me less than 30 minutes, which also took into consideration the OVA deployments as well. At the end of the day, I’ve connected three disparate cloud zones which all access each other through a Veeam PN Hub Appliance deployed in Microsoft Azure. From here, there is nothing stopping me from adding more cloud zones that could be situated in any public cloud, whether AWS, IBM or Google. I could even connect my home office or a remote site to the central Hub to give full coverage.

The key here is that Veeam Powered Network offers a very simple solution to what is traditionally a complex and costly one. Again, this will not suit all use cases, but at its most basic functional level, it’s a great solution for customers who have a need for cross-cloud connectivity.

Go give it a try! Get started with Veeam PN.

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Simplifying cloud to cloud connectivity with Veeam PN

Simplified remote access for home labs and offices with Veeam PN

Source: Veeam

On January 2018, Veeam publicly announced the release of Veeam PN (powered network) version 1, a lightweight SDN appliance that was released completely FREE to use. And while Veeam PN was released as part of a greater solution focused on extending network Availability for Microsoft Azure, Veeam PN can also be deployed as a standalone tool via a downloadable OVA. Veeam PN has some key standalone use cases we’ll explore in this blog series.

While testing the tool through it’s early dev cycles, it was clear there was an opportunity to allow access with home labs and other home devices, all without having to setup and configure relatively complex VPN or remote access solutions.

There are plenty of existing solutions that do what Veeam PN can, however, the biggest difference with comparing the VPN functionality with other VPN solutions, is that Veeam PN is purpose-built and easy-to-use, and setup is only within a couple clicks. Veeam PN’s underlying technology is built on OpenVPN, so that in itself provides users with a certain level of familiarity and trust. The other great thing about leveraging OpenVPN is that any Windows, MacOS or Linux client will work with the configuration files generated for point-to-site connectivity.

Home lab remote connectivity overview

While on the road, users need to easily access home lab/office machines. In my own case, I’m on the road quite a bit and need access without having to rely on published services externally via my entry-level Belkin router, I also didn’t have a static IP which always proved problematic for remote services while on the road. At home, I run a desktop that acts as my primary Windows workstation which also has VMware Workstation installed. I then have my SuperMicro 5028D-TNT4 server that has ESXi installed and runs my nested ESXi lab. I need access to at least RDP into that Windows workstation, but also get access to the management vCenter, SuperMicro IPMI and other systems running on the 192.168.1.0/24 subnet.

 

 

In the above diagram, you can see I also wanted to directly access workloads in the nested ESXi environment, specifically on the 172.17.0.1/24 and 172.17.1.1/24 networks. With the use of the Tunnelblick OpenVPN Client on my MBP, I am able to create a point-to-site connection to the Veeam PN Hub which is in turn connected via site-to-site to each of the subnets I want to connect into.

Deploying and configuring Veeam PN

As mentioned above, to get stared, you will need to download the Veeam PN OVA from Veeam.com. This Veeam KB describes where to get the OVA and how to deploy and configure the appliance for first use. If you don’t have a DHCP enabled subnet to deploy the appliance into, you can configure the network as a static by accessing the VM console, logging in with the default credentials and modifying the/etc/networking/interface file.

Components:

  • Veeam PN Hub Appliance x 1
  • Veeam PN Site Gateway x number of sites/subnets required
  • OpenVPN Client

The OVA is 1.5 GB, and when deployed, the virtual machine has the base specifications of 1 vCPU, 1 GB of vRAM and a 16 GB of storage, which if thin provisioned, consumes just over 5 GB initially.

Networking requirements:

  • Veeam PN Hub Appliance – Incoming Ports TCP/UDP 1194, 6179 and TCP 443
  • Veeam PN Site Gateway – Outgoing access to at least TCP/UDP 1194
  • OpenVPN Client – Outgoing access to at least TCP/UDP 6179

Note that as part of the initial configuration, you can configure the site-to-site and point-to-site protocol and ports which is handy if you are deploying into a locked-down environment and want to have Veeam PN listen on different port numbers.

 

 

In my setup, the Veeam PN Hub Appliance has been deployed into Azure, mainly because that’s where I was able to test out the product initially, and in theory it provides a centralized, highly available location for all the site-to-site connections to terminate into. This central hub can be deployed anywhere and as long as it’s got HTTPS connectivity configured correctly, you can access the web interface and start to configure your site and standalone clients.

Configuring site clients (site-to-site)

To complete the configuration of the Veeam PN Site Gateway, you need to register the sites from the Veeam PN Hub Appliance. When you register a client, Veeam PN generates a configuration file that contains VPN connection settings for the client. You must use the configuration file (downloadable as an XML) to set up the Site Gateways. Referencing the diagram at the beginning of the post, I needed to register three separate client configurations as shown below.

 


 

Once this was completed, I deployed three Veeam PN Site Gateways on my home office infrastructure as shown in the diagram — one for each site or subnet I wanted to have extended through the central hub. I deployed one to my Windows VMware Workstation instance on the 192.168.1.0/24 subnet and, as shown below, I deployed two Site Gateways into my nested ESXi lab on the 172.17.0.0/24 and 172.17.0.1/24 subnets respectively.

 

 

From there I imported the site configuration file into each corresponding Site Gateway that was generated from the central Hub Appliance and in as little as three clicks on each one, all three networks where joined using site-to-site connectivity to the central hub.

Configuring remote clients (point-to-site)

To be able to connect into my home office and home lab when on the road, the final step is to register a standalone client from the central Hub Appliance. Again, because Veeam PN is leveraging OpenVPN, what we are producing here is an OVPN configuration file that has all the details required to create the point-to-site connection — noting that there isn’t any requirement to enter in a username and password as Veeam PN is authenticating using SSL authentication.

 

 

For my MBP, I’m using the Tunnelblick OpenVPN Client. I’ve found it to be an excellent client, but it obviously being OpenVPN, there are a bunch of other clients for pretty much any platform you might be running. Once I imported the OVPN configuration file into the client, I was able to authenticate against the Hub Appliance endpoint as the site-to-site routing was injected into the network settings.

 

 

You can see above that the 192.168.1.0, 172.17.0.0 and 172.17.0.1 static routes have been added and set to use the tunnel interfaces default gateway which is on the central Hub Appliance. This means that from my MBP, I can now get to any device on any of those three subnets no matter where I am in the world — in this case I can RDP to my Windows workstation, connect to vCenter or ssh into my ESXi hosts.

Conclusion

To summarize, here are the steps that were taken in order to setup and configure the extension of a home office network using Veeam PN through its site-to-site connectivity feature to allow access to systems and services via a point-to-site VPN:

  1. Deploy and configure Veeam PN Hub Appliance
  2. Register sites
  3. Register endpoints
  4. Deploy and configure Veeam PN Site Gateway
  5. Setup endpoint and connect to Hub Appliance

Those five steps can take less than 15 minutes, which also takes into consideration the OVA deployments as well. This is a very streamlined, efficient process compared to other processes, which can take hours and would involve a more complex set of commands and configuration steps. The simplicity of the solution is what makes it very useful for home lab users wanting a quick and easy way to access their systems. It just works!

Again, Veeam PN is completely FREE, and downloadable in OVA format. And this use case I described, I have been using it without issues for a number of months, and it adds to the flexibility of the Veeam PN solution.

The post Simplified remote access for home labs and offices with Veeam PN appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.

Simplified remote access for home labs and offices with Veeam PN

Veeam Recovery to Microsoft Azure featuring Veeam PN now available!

Source: Veeam

Networking has always been one of the most complex parts of any IT solution, and whether you are connecting into a remote site, connecting branch offices together or extending on-premises networks to the cloud, there is traditionally a high level of complexity and cost that’s involved in establishing a reliable networking solution. When it comes to networking during a disaster, the level of complexity and margin for error is magnified. In relative terms, it has become easy to back up, replicate and then recover workloads, but getting access to those recovered systems remains a cumbersome process.

At VeeamON 2017, we announced the Release Candidate of Veeam PN (Veeam Powered Network) which — in combination with our existing Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 feature Veeam Restore to Microsoft Azure — created a new total solution for networking and restoration called Veeam Recovery to Microsoft Azure. At the heart of this new solution is Veeam PN, which extends an on-premises network to an Azure network, enhancing our ability to back up anything, anywhere and restore to Azure.

Veeam PN

Deployable from the Azure Marketplace, the Veeam PN Appliance can be setup within minutes and be ready to act as the central hub for remote sites that have the Veeam PN Appliance deployed as a site gateway. It can also be used for remote users who connect to the central hub via an OpenVPN client application. Used in conjunction with Veeam Restore to Microsoft Azure, workloads can be recovered into Azure and then accessed remotely via the extended network created by Veeam PN.

Veeam PN is now Generally Available

NEW Veeam PN is a FREE solution that allows administrators to create, configure and connect site-to-site or point-to-site VPN tunnels easily through an intuitive and simple UI all within a couple of clicks. No need to deal with complex, time-consuming set ups — cloud connectivity is now made easy! There are two components to Veeam PN, a Hub Appliance that’s deployable from the Azure Marketplace, and a Site Gateway that’s downloadable from the Veeam.com website and deployed on-premises from an OVA, which means it can be installed into a number of virtualization platforms. New to the GA release is the ability to install from the Veeam.com Linux repositories using your package management system of choice depending on distribution.

Veeam PN for Microsoft Azure (Veeam Powered Network) is a free solution designed to simplify and automate the setup of a data recovery site in Microsoft Azure using lightweight software-defined networking (SDN).

 

Veeam PN is built upon OpenVPN which is a trusted and mature virtual private networking technology platform. We have created an intuitive, simple user interface which simplifies the entire networking configuration process.

Total on-demand recovery in the cloud

Having an easy way to leverage the public cloud as a recovery site should be available for every organization no matter the size, yet many recovery solutions still lack the ease of use, reliability, and can come with a steep price tag. With Veeam Recovery to Microsoft Azure, you get a reliable, turn key solution for creating an on-demand recovery site — available whenever you need it. This is truly a set-it and forget it solution, ideal for any sized organization wanting to gain new recovery options, without the need to build or maintain a costly recovery site.

Veeam PN highlights

  • Provides seamless and secure networking between on-premises and Azure-based IT resources
  • Delivers easy-to-use and fully automated site-to-site network connectivity between any site
  • Designed for both SMB and enterprise customers, as well as service providers.

Conclusion

Networking is still the most complex part of executing a successful data recovery plan. With Veeam PN, you can easily extend on-premises networks to recovery networks, and provide connectivity from remote sites back to recovery networks. Veeam PN achieves this together with Restore to Microsoft Azure via site-to-site connectivity, extending on-premises sites to Azure recovery networks. It also provides access for remote users, with the ability to connect into the HUB appliance in Azure and be connected to systems and services via point-to-site connectivity.

Veeam Recovery to Microsoft Azure is available now!

 

Helpful resources:

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Veeam Recovery to Microsoft Azure featuring Veeam PN now available!

Plugging into vSphere 6.5 enhancements to increase Availability

Source: Veeam

It’s been nearly a year since VMware released vSphere 6.5 which marked the 12th major release of VMware’s hypervisor and hypervisor management product suite. And while VMware has been focusing on more recent products like vSAN and NSX, it shouldn’t be forgotten that vSphere still remains at the core of the virtualization platform on top of which all other products are consumed. Veeam has a strong history of working with and supporting vSphere features, and the 6.5 release is no different.

As timing would have it, vSphere 6.5 was released a week before Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5, and with that, Veeam officially supported vSphere 6.5 with Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 1 which was released in January. Since then, VMware recently released Update 1 for vSphere 6.5 which brought a number of features and enhancements over the GA release. This is officially supported in Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 2.

vSphere 6.5 brought a simpler customer experience with automation and management at scale being a core focus. Enhancements focused on:

  • vCenter Operations
  • Storage
  • Security
  • Automation
  • Networking
  • Availability

There is a VMware technical white paper that contains the vSphere 6.5 What’s New information as well as the general release notes (plus release notes for vSphere 6.5 Update 1). Rather than go through the whole list, this article will focus on new features we at Veeam support, specifically covering how we plug into those vSphere features and enhancements to increase the efficiency of Veeam Backup & Replication which in turn creates a more efficient and trusted Availability platform.

vCenter Operations

With vCenter 6.5, there is now a native backup and restore function if you run the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) that enables users to back up vCenter and the Platform Service Controllers directly from the vCenter Appliance Management Interface (VAMI) or the API. In addition to that, we have come out with a technical white paper on how to back up and recover the VCSA and PSC with Veeam to ensure full recoverability of your vCenter components.

vSphere 6.5 enhancements to increase Availability

With the release of vSphere 6.5, the HTML5 Web Client was available as a side-by-side alternative to the existing Flash-based Web Client. This HTML5 is a big step forward and is based on a VMware Fling. The version included in the GA of 6.5 had partial functionality, meaning it was not a one-to-one replacement for the Flash client, and as of Update 1, the HTML client has about 90% of general workflows completed. The HTML5 client can be accessed from https://<vcenter>/ui and requires no browser plugins to work.

Veeam has its own Web Client Plugin that’s currently compatible with the Flash-based Web Client and gives backup administrators an operational view of Veeam Backup & Replication as well as the ability to perform full backups with VeeamZIP or incrementals with Quick Backup. The Web Client Plugin also works when Veeam ONE is installed. You can also examine the Protected VMs report that provides a list of which VMs are protected by Veeam Backup & Replication and those which are not.

Storage

With regards to storage, vSphere 6.5 introduced VMFS 6 and offered support for advanced drive format support. VVol 2.0 was also enhanced in 6.5 and Veeam fully supports backup and recovery operations to both VVol and VMFS6 backed datastores. There have also been significant improvements in snapshot performance which leads to more efficient backup windows and less stress on applications due to less risk of VM stun if Veeam Hot-Add mode is used as a backup transport mode.

vSAN has also been improved in the vSphere 6.5 timeframe with the release of vSAN 6.5. Veeam is fully vSAN-aware and has some built-in logic in the job engine that detects if a VM is on a vSAN datastore and then works out which Veeam Proxy should be the primary for the VM Hot-Add, ensuring an optimal backup traffic path from the host to the backup repository.

Security

Security has become a big focus for VMware and vSphere 6.5, and Update 1 added significant improvements to VM security. Apart from encrypted vMotion and secure boot, one of the most important features is the introduction of encrypted VMs.

Encryption occurs at the hypervisor level and not at the VM guest level, and therefore works with any guest OS and datastore type. Encryption is managed via policy, and the policy can be applied to many VMs, regardless of their guest OS. Verifying that the VM is encrypted is as simple as confirming that the policy is applied. The policy framework being used leverages vSphere Storage Policy Based Management (SPBM). Veeam Backup & Replication fully supports encrypted VMs for backup and recovery operations.

Automation

There is an enhanced set of APIs released as part of vSphere 6.5 including an API explorer as part of the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA). However, vSphere 6.5 discontinued the VIX API that previous Veeam versions leveraged for network-less guest interaction for functionality such as application-aware processing. As part of Veeam’s vSphere 6.5 support effort, we have switched the corresponding functionality to the new vSphere API for guest interaction, so that you can continue using the existing product functionality with vSphere 6.5.

There is also a new VM tag API support by way of new APIs for programmatic access and management of vSphere tags. With its support by Veeam, you can continue using advanced backup policies based on tags even after you upgrade to vSphere 6.5, which is all part of Storage-Based Policy Management.

Networking and Availability

Finally, there have been a number of under the hood enhancements to networking including dedicated gateways for VMkernel adapters and datapath enhancements that improve the scalability or the vSphere Distributed Switch. While not directly related to backup, having a resilient networking stack is critical for Veeam to work as efficiently as possible when performing backup and restore tasks. With regards to Availability in terms of core vSphere enhancements, there is new Proactive HA and Admission control improvements as well as DRS enhancements.

Veeam vSphere enhancements

In Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5, we released some significant scalability enhancements to specifically optimize the backup and recoverability experience for our users. In general, there was a doubling of I/O performance that can shorten backup windows by up to five times while reducing the load on core virtualization platform components such as vCenter. Advanced Data Fetcher improves backup performance for individual virtual disks while reducing the load on primary storage due to the reduced number of I/O operations required to complete a backup. This was a VMware feature in 9.5 and is used by Backup from Storage Snapshots, Hot-Add and Direct NFS modes. VMware vSphere Infrastructure Cache maintains an in RAM mirror of vSphere infrastructure hierarchy to accelerate the Building VM list operation when creating or modifying a job. This also removes loads from vCenter. The cache is maintained with real-time updates via a subscription to vCenter Server infrastructure change events.

That put together with the other vSphere supportability talked about above, continues to show Veeam’s commitment to ensuring its VMware customers are getting the best Availability experience possible, and we are set to continue that when Veeam Backup & Replication v10 becomes available.

See also:

The post Plugging into vSphere 6.5 enhancements to increase Availability appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.

Plugging into vSphere 6.5 enhancements to increase Availability

The VCSP opportunity with Veeam Agent for Windows

Source: Veeam

For a good part of the last 18 months of my previous role as Lead Architect at a leading Veeam Cloud & Service Provider (VCSP) partner I was involved in a project to try and come up with an easy way for our clients to perform in-guest backups of their IaaS virtual machines. At that time it involved clumsy and complex methods of performing file-level or application-aware backups to an external location. Not only were those methods problematic, they often led customers to consuming storage that wasn’t part of our own service offerings.

There had to be a better way to build out that new service offering in such a way that we could give our clients a more streamlined approach to offsite backups that also generated income for us in the form of clients using our own storage as targets for the offsite backups to be stored in. At the time, I knew about Veeam Endpoint Backup but it did not have an option to back up externally unless we exposed our Veeam Backup & Replication server over the internet, which in many ways defeated the requirement of the project for simplicity in the service offering.

Cloud Connect comes through again!

NEW Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows 2.0 has the ability to back up directly to Veeam Cloud Connect repositories without any additional investments from the VCSP. It just works as part of any existing Cloud Connect Backup infrastructure built on Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 2. As we did with Cloud Connect Backup and then Cloud Connect Replication in resolving the complexity around getting virtual machine backups, backup copy jobs and replicas up into a cloud platform, we have now resolved the complexity of getting physical servers and workstations as well as cloud-based Windows instances into cloud environments operated by our VCSP partners.

The Availability challenge

As mentioned, there exists a challenge in being able to provide robust backup for physical servers and workstations that cannot be virtualized due to complex hardware configurations or regulatory compliance regulations. There is also a challenge in being able to provide low RPOs for users on workstations, laptops and tablets whether in corporate, remote or home offices and there is also a big challenge around being able to back up and recover Windows instances that reside in public cloud environments as well as those workloads that sit on alternative hypervisors to VMware and Hyper-V.

The agent solution

Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows solves all those challenges listed above and would have certainly been the answer to the project in my previous role. All VCSPs running Cloud Connect can now extend their Backup as a Service (BaaS) offerings with the capabilities provided by Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows in a combination with Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 2.

VCSPs can now offer their partners and clients Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows licensing through the VCSP program and also provide new and existing tenants with the ability to create sub-tenants and consume storage using Cloud Connect repositories as the offsite backup target. With Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows allowing to back up directly to Cloud Connect repositories, we have opened the way to back up offsite physical servers, workstations and endpoints as well as workloads running in Azure, AWS or any other public cloud.

The VCSP agent opportunity

Let this opportunity sink in – the ability to offer offsite backup services beyond virtual machines sitting on VMware or Hyper-V to both on-premises and remote offices, physical workloads as well as workloads residing in public clouds. The physical market opportunity is truly open for business by Veeam with the release of Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows and VCSPs should be, if not already, looking to this new Veeam Agent offering to deliver value to customers and increase adoption of Cloud Connect Backup services.

With over one million downloads of Veeam Endpoint Backup, we are already seeing a great number of users upgrading to Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows 2.0. With all the Veeam Endpoint Backup users upgrading to the newer version, imagine one million endpoints, which you as a VSCP can help to protect by backing up offsite to a Cloud Connect repository… think about that!

So, if you are a VCSP looking for new opportunities to offer your customers backup services around physical servers, workstations and Windows-based cloud workloads, don’t wait! Make sure you look at Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows 2.0 and get in position to offer your partners and clients service offerings that take advantage of Veeam’s enhanced features for VCSPs in Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 2.

The post The VCSP opportunity with Veeam Agent for Windows appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.

The VCSP opportunity with Veeam Agent for Windows

Remote access for MSPs in Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 2

Source: Veeam

I am happy to announce that the RTM build of Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 2 is now available for download for Veeam service providers! This is the latest update for our flagship product and adds support for the upcoming release of Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows 2.0 along with other significant enhancements and bug fixes. But when it comes to service providers, the biggest new feature is Veeam Backup Remote Access. Let’s dive straight into this new feature!

The key part of backup as a service (BaaS) offerings is full management of data protection activities and infrastructure, so service providers providing BaaS all have the requirement to connect to their customers’ Veeam Backup & Replication environments to perform on-going management and troubleshooting. Until today, performing these tasks required deploying and maintaining VPN connections (or similar technologies) to connect to the client sites – not an ideal solution for complexity, reliability and cost.

New use for your Cloud Connect infrastructure

A couple of years ago, we promised service providers that their investment in Veeam Cloud Connect will keep paying off in the future as we add more functionality on top of the Cloud Connect framework – and we’ve been fulfilling this promise ever since. Initially, in Veeam Backup & Replication v8, the Cloud Connect framework only supported backup and backup copy jobs – but already in v9, we added support for replication jobs for the complete cloud-based disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) solution, as well as basic remote management with Veeam Managed Backup Portal (now Veeam Availability Console).

Now, in 9.5 Update 2, we are enabling a full remote backup console experience, as well as Remote Desktop connectivity to the tenant’s backup server – all through the existing single-port TLS-secured tunnel provided by Veeam Cloud Connect! Finally, you can wave goodbye to babysitting VPNs and manage your tenant’s backup servers transparently and out of the box.

Rest assured, there is more functionality to come for even better ROI from your Cloud Connect infrastructure – come to VeeamON 2017 to learn what’s cooking! However, for now let’s go back to the main topic of this post and let me introduce…

Veeam Backup Remote Access

To further empower our new and existing Veeam Cloud & Service Providers (VCSP) partners to deliver managed services, in Update 2 we are introducing a new feature that enables VCSP support staff to remotely connect to a tenant’s backup server with the Veeam Backup & Replication Console, as well with the Remote Desktop client over the existing Cloud Connect tunnel, without the requirement to establish direct layer three network connectivity first. This enables remote support, troubleshooting and management of the tenant’s backup and replication jobs and the backup server itself. How cool is that?

Veeam Backup Remote Access allows full remote management of Veeam Backup & Replication installations at customer sites, with the ability to connect a Veeam backup console or Microsoft RDP client to a customer’s backup server over the existing Cloud Connect tunnel.

Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 2

The Veeam Backup Remote Access feature takes advantage of an existing single-port TLS-secured connection to the service provider that is established from tenant’s Veeam Backup & Replication environment once they register their service provider. This allows the service provider staff to connect to their tenant’s backup server using backup console or Remote Desktop console from any computer – whether their workstation is in the service provider’s data center or on the beach of a paradise island.

Both options offer the ability for the service provider to perform remote management and troubleshooting. The Remote Console can be used to connect to the tenant’s Veeam Backup & Replication server to check on job status or modify configuration, manage backup infrastructure components, or perform any other tasks you’d normally perform on the tenant’s behalf from within the console. Meanwhile, the Remote Desktop option can be used to perform troubleshooting of the backup server itself; change the OS settings, install patches and so on.

How do I make it work?

Quite simply, it just works! Obviously, for security reasons the tenant must opt-in to remote management by the services provider by selecting the Allow this Veeam Backup & Replication installation to be managed by the service provider check box as shown below.

Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 2

And that’s it! Now the service provider can connect to the tenant’s backup server using their preferred way – Remote Console or Remote Desktop.

Please note however that by default, for better security the computer running either client application must be located in the service provider’s data center and have direct connectivity to the service provider’s Cloud Connect server. So, if your support staff does end up on the road or based remotely, you need to enable them to use this feature by selecting the Accept remote console connection requests originating from the Internet check box on the Security tab of the General Options dialog of the Cloud Connect server.

Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 2

Connecting with a Remote Console

To initiate a remote console session from the service provider console, right click on the tenant account under Cloud Connect -> Tenants menu and select the Remote console option:

Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 2

The Veeam Backup & Replication console in use must be able to connect to the Cloud Connect server and can be done in two ways:

  • Direct network connection, for when the console is located in the service provider data center; in this case, you need to supply a Cloud Connect backup server name and port number.
  • Through the cloud gateway, for when the console can be located anywhere on the Internet; in this case, you need to supply a cloud gateway address and Cloud Connect port number much the same way your tenants do. Just remember that with the default security settings, such connections will be refused by the Cloud Connect server.

Regardless of which way you chose to connect to the Cloud Connect server, you will also need to provide an account with Full Administrator role on your Cloud Connect server.

Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 2

Once connected, you can select the tenant that is to be remotely managed from the list, as well as tenant’s backup server to connect to (in case a tenant has multiple backup servers). Finally, you need to specify the username and password of an account with a role on the tenant’s backup server. Yes, that’s a lot of credentials to enter – which is why we let you create a shortcut with all credentials saved by clicking the corresponding option, sending the shortcut to your desktop.

Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 2

If all supplied credentials are correct, the service provider console will load up indicating that it is connected to the tenant’s backup server as shown below.

Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 2

Once connected, you can perform all the management tasks Veeam Backup & Replication console supports except file and application item recoveries, as for now this process requires backup to be mounted locally to the console – so for performance considerations, these are best performed using a local console via a Remote Desktop client, the capability I will cover next!

Connecting with a Remote Desktop client

To initiate a remote desktop session from the service provider console, right click on the tenant account under the Cloud Connect -> Tenants menu and select the Remote desktop option, then pick the tenant’s backup server to connect to:

Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 2

The remote desktop connection to the tenant’s Veeam Backup & Replication server is immediately established through the Cloud Connect tunnel. Of course, your Remote Desktop client will ask you to provide administrative credentials to the backup server you are connecting to. There’s no limitation to what you can do with the remote desktop session established, just remember that it will continue to run even if you close your service provider console.

Conclusion

With the addition of Veeam Backup Remote Access functionality, Veeam continues to enhance service capabilities for our VCSPs, helping to extend their management and support offerings to better serve their clients in delivering Veeam-powered Availability. We have achieved this by taking further advantage of our existing Cloud Connect framework that continues to be a central focus of our cloud Availability platform, with even more features coming to it in the future. If only other investments made by typical service providers provided so much ROI!

 

Wanna give it a try? Don’t wait, download now! All VCSPs already have access to the RTM build of Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 2 and can familiarize themselves with our latest and greatest technology, before it becomes generally available in a few weeks.

Not a VCSP? Sign up to the VCSP Program to become one.

Don’t have Veeam Cloud Connect deployed? Here’s the guide.

The post Remote access for MSPs in Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 2 appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.

Remote access for MSPs in Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 2

Five considerations when searching for an off-site backup solution

Source: Veeam

For a number of years now, Veeam have been talking about the 3-2-1 rule of backups, whereby you keep three copies of your backup data on two different media types with at least one of those backups held off-site. Traditionally, most organizations have been able to put this into play by taking advantage of on-premises storage and media hardware along with multiple data center locations to cater for the off-site requirements. This is where off-site data backup services can come into play to satisfy the off-site backup services requirement.

Off-site backup solutions offer numerous benefits to organizations, including increased efficiency and reliability based upon features and capabilities that not many companies may afford. There’s also no need to worry about infrastructure maintenance as that burden lies with the service provider, and the scalability of service providers can be leveraged without an upfront CAPEX spend. Another advantage of off-site backup solutions is accessibility, as the data is accessible from any internet-connected location and device.

Since Veeam Backup & Replication v8, Veeam has offered Cloud Connect as a means for the Veeam Cloud & Service Provider (VCSP) partners to provide off-site data backup services. With Veeam Cloud Connect, they can give their customers the ability to leverage cloud repositories to store virtual machines in service provider facilities. By leveraging Veeam Cloud Connect Backup, a number of VCSPs around the world have built off-site backup solutions. The Veeam Cloud & Service Provider directory lists out VCSP partners in your region of choice… but how do you choose between them?

Below are five considerations when searching for an offsite backup solution:

1. Data locality and Availability

Data sovereignty is a still a major concern for organizations looking to back up off site to the cloud. With the VCSP network being global, there is no shortage of locations to choose from to have as an off-site repository. Drilling down even further, some providers offer multiple locations within region, which can increase the resiliency and Availability of off-site backups and let you choose multiple repositories to further extend the 3-2-1 rule. It’s also a good idea to do some research into the service providers uptime and major event history, as this can tell you either way if a provider offering the off-site backup service has had any history of Availability issues.

2. Recoverability and restore times

It’s hard to defeat the laws of physics, and in searching for an off-site backup solution you should think about how long the data you have in a cloud repository will take to restore. This goes beyond the basics of working out recovery time objectives (RTOs) in that taking backups off site means that you are at the mercy of the internet connection between you and the restore location and in the restore capabilities of the service provider. When looking for a suitable off-site backup solution, take into consideration the roundtrip time between yourself and the service provider network and also the throughput between the two sites making sure you test both, upload and download speeds to and from each end.

Note that Veeam-powered off-site backup services can improve recovery times compared to those that rely on tape-based backup due to Cloud Connect repositories at the service provider end being housed on physical disk.

3. Service provider certifications and SLAs

As with data locality, more and more organizations are looking for offsite backup solutions that meet or match their own certification requirements. This extends beyond more common data center standards such as ISO 9001 and 27001, but also now looks at more advanced regulatory compliance to do with data retention and goes as far as service providers abiding by strict security standards. If your organization is in a specific vertical, such as Healthcare’s HIPAA standard, then you may look for an off-site backup solution that is compatible with that.

It’s also worth noting that service providers will offer differing service level agreements (SLAs) and this should be taken on board when searching for an off-site backup service. SLAs dictate the level of responsibility a service provider has when it comes to keeping to their promises in terms of services offered. In the case of off-site backup, it’s important to understand what is in place when it comes to integrity and security of data and what is done to guarantee access to your data when required.

4. Hypervisor support

Multi-hypervisor support does come into play when looking forward towards extending off-site backup and looking at recoverability in the cloud. For example, Veeam Cloud Connect works with both VMware and Microsoft hypervisors, and VCSPs have the ability to offer one or both of these platforms from a replication point of view. However, with Cloud Connect Backup, the off-site backup repository is hypervisor agnostic; cloud repository is acting as a simple remote storage option for organizations to back up to. With Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5, you can now replicate from Cloud Connect Backups and choose a provider that has one or the other, or both hypervisors as platform options.

5. Cost

Cost might seem obvious, but given the variety or services offered through the service providers it’s important to understand the difference in pricing models. Some service providers are pure infrastructure providers (IaaS) offering Backup as a Service (BaaS), which means you are generally paying for a VM license, storage and there might be additional charges for data transfer (however, this is fairly rare in the IaaS space). These service providers don’t cover any management of the backups — generally this is handled by managed service providers that wrap service charges on top of the infrastructure charges offering end-to-end off-site backup solutions.

 

The five tips above should help you in searching for an off-site backup service. You need to remember that each service provider offers something slightly different, which means your organization has choice in terms of matching an off-site data backup service that suits your specific requirements and needs. My recommendations will also help you navigate through Veeam Cloud & Service Provider partners that leverage Veeam Cloud Connect for their off-site backup offerings.

The post Five considerations when searching for an off-site backup solution appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.

Five considerations when searching for an off-site backup solution