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

How to choose a trusted cloud service provider

Source: Veeam

There’s a plethora of different cloud service providers out there. They range from traditional integrators offering backup services on top of their managed offerings to Information as a Service (IaaS) providers looking to specialize in business continuity and disaster recovery (DR), and even to the hyper-scale public clouds that offer platform services that can be consumed as part of an off-site backup solution. It’s important to understand the requirements around choosing cloud service providers that offer data backup, replication and recovery services, whether you are a large enterprise or a small-to-medium-size business (SMB).

A recent study from ESG reported that cloud usage for data protection and Availability increased from 7% to 23% over the last four years. What the ESG report suggests is that there are a number of different business needs that can make it difficult to choose a cloud backup provider.

In the example graphic below, ESG asked respondents what their desired frequency was of creating copies of data and then protecting them into a cloud-based backup solution.

How to choose a trusted cloud service provider

A high percentage of respondents required continuous protection, while the majority fell into the sub two-hour range. This business requirement can dictate which cloud service provider is chosen over another. When choosing a cloud provider for backup services, you not only need to think about who to partner with, but also what problem or requirement you are solving for.

Below is a flow chart taken from a joint ESG/Veeam webinar that shows an example workflow of how to choose the right cloud backup service for your business needs. You can use it to start mapping the outcomes to a cloud service provider which in most cases, ends up being a provider offering Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) or Backup as a Service (BaaS). It should be noted that if you have VM workloads hosted on other cloud platforms you should still consider how a disaster could impact business continuity and Availability.

How to choose a trusted cloud service provider

So, how do you choose the right cloud service provider for your business outcomes? I’ve broken this up into four main areas and will talk about them in a little more detail below.

Longevity

Longevity in the cloud service provider market is relative. There have been some providers offering backup services for a number of years without question, but there is still a sense of immaturity that goes with offerings for many. This isn’t to say that the newer service providers haven’t designed and built robust, trustworthy services, but time and experience is worth its weight in the cloud backup world. This is especially important if your cloud backup provider is going to have your last-resort copy.

On that note, it’s important to understand that a cloud service provider’s backup offerings generally get proven in times of crisis when the other copies of your data (refer to the 3-2-1 Rule of backup) are not available. In this situation, experience counts, and the number of years that service providers have offered backup services should be taken into account. Has the service provider overcome their learning curve to provide backup and DR services?

Expertise

Expertise is critical in trusting your backup data to a service provider. You need to choose one that is competent and can provide insight into business continuity and DR services. Competence and insight are two different things. You should ask if they are credible and if they can educate you. By that, I mean that the service provider should be an extension of your own IT department. Given that businesses generally try hire smart, competent staff, you should treat hiring your backup service provider the same way. Would you trust them with handling the aftermath of a disaster? They’ll need to meet the level of expertise advertised.

Meanwhile, insight relates to the service provider’s understanding of your needs and environment so they are equipped be that last-resort copy. Who do businesses trust or expect to purchase cloud backup solutions from? They generally choose specialized backup service providers, or they select one that uses traditionally on-premises backup software that’s evolved into service provider offerings. This is where Veeam Cloud Connect Backup and Replication come into play and build on service provider experience together with the experience of Veeam.

Type of offering

There are many different types of offerings in the cloud backup world. Services range from basic Storage as a Service (STaaS), Backup as a Service (BaaS), Replication as a Service (RaaS) and also Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). It’s important to understand that it’s rare for any one cloud provider to have all these offerings. In addition to that, you need to dig deeper into the cloud provider’s offering to see if management and monitoring are included with their services.

Self-managed verses managed is a big factor in choosing a cloud backup provider and expands on the points made above about expertise. Since this will be an extension of your IT department, can you choose a service provider that doesn’t have any backup or recovery management — meaning your staff will still need to be hands-on and end-to-end in terms of monitoring and recoverability — or does the service provider offer managed services that add value to the solution and give insight as mentioned above.

It is important to understand that you are not just choosing a service or a set of services. You are hiring a smart team of people to manage, monitor and keep that service running — like a leveraged help desk. Some businesses will outsource the service end-to-end, while other will mix and match between offerings. Ultimately, you are still responsible for the recovery of data. You still own the data protection and recovery strategy, no matter if it’s BaaS, RaaS or DRaaS.

Downtime tolerance

Referring back to the ESG survey, 75% of people said that they expected a downtime tolerance of less than an hour with the average being 49 minutes. This is where disk-to-disk-to-cloud services some into play. Two thirds translate downtime tolerance to mean that their service provider will be able to restore from a caching appliance or replica copy, and that it’s available for them to power on and access data.

How to choose a trusted cloud service provider

Specifically, DRaaS functionality behind VM recoverability means that you should consider cloud service providers that have the ability to restart VMs in the cloud. Taking that a step further, are they able to restore VMs without restoring the full data set? And another step further, do they have preconfigured workflows to recover data quickly with the ability to sandbox or test applications and workloads?

Downtime tolerance links back to the previous section about the type of offering, as each one will dictate the recovery time objective. It is important to be extremely mindful of it as it can mean the difference between a DR strategy that succeeds or fails.

Conclusion

Choosing the right cloud backup service provider is an important part of working out your complete cloud back strategy and should be something done with all the facts. Which providers offer what type of service and how are those services offered and supported? Here at Veeam, we have a great network of Veeam Cloud & Service Provider (VCSP) partners to choose from, and each one can offer cloud-backed backup and replication services that satisfy any outcome around business continuity and DR. Our VCSP partners have been offering VM backups built upon Veeam Backup & Replication with different level of management and reporting for a number of years. They have been able to extend or offer new services around BaaS and RaaS — with some further extending that to DRaaS — with Cloud Connect Backup and Replication.

Each service provider offers something different, but ultimately they need to suit your specific needs. Just remember that your service provider is your last-resort copy when disaster strikes.

See also:

The post How to choose a trusted cloud service provider appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.

How to choose a trusted cloud service provider

200 Million reasons to turn on Veeam Cloud Connect! Now is the time!

Source: Veeam

With the release of Veeam Backup & Replication v8 in 2014, Veeam redefined the way in which businesses of all shapes and sizes could extend their system and data Availability strategies to consume backup offerings from trusted service providers, with the launch of Veeam Cloud Connect Backup. Veeam Cloud Connect was made available for all Veeam customers who now had the ability to engage with a number of Veeam Cloud & Service Provider partners worldwide directly from their Backup & Replication console and configure offsite backup repositories to which virtual machines could be sent to over a secure internet connection, redefining the 3-2-1 rule of backups (three copies of data, on two types of media, one of which is off-site).

When Veeam Backup & Replication v9 was launched, Veeam extended Cloud Connect to include Replication which further empowered Veeam customers to take advantage of service providers offering Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) to enable Availability and business continuity by holding virtual machine replicas offsite and giving those businesses the power to turn those replicas if disaster struck.

When Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 was released, Veeam further enhanced Cloud Connect Backup and Replication offerings with numerous improvements to both the service provider backend and the client facing front end. Levels of maturity and the product features were growing with every release. Now, with the industry leading networking extension appliance, partial failover functionality and overall ease of use, it’s time to look at Veeam Cloud Connect for your backup, replication and disaster recovery solutions.

One of the beautiful things about Veeam Cloud Connect is that it’s built-in to Veeam Backup & Replication. All customers using this technology HAVE Veeam Cloud Connect, they simply need to choose a Veeam Cloud & Service Provider and turn it on!

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More on Veeam Cloud Connect Replication

Advanced image-based VM replication through Veeam Cloud Connect is simple to set up and easy to use through a VCSP and is as easy to setup as going to the Service Providers menu in the Veeam Backup & Replication console and choosing your service provider of choice. Once set up you have access to hardware plans that provide compute, storage and networking resources at the service provider end to which you can configure cloud replication jobs and manage failover scenarios by way of failover plans.

When looking at disaster recovery testing and failover, one of the biggest challenges is in the networking. Generally speaking, there is complexity that surrounds ensuring VM replicas that are brought up at a disaster recovery site have the right networking in order for their applications and services to work. With the Network Extension Appliance, the tenant has the ability to map the internal VM networks as well as configure and publish external services to ensures seamless transition to the VM replicas during a failover.

Veeam Cloud Connect Replication

Data protection and disaster recovery tasks targeted at the cloud host are performed by tenants. Tenants can set up necessary replication jobs and perform failover operations on Veeam backup servers deployed on their side. Tenants can perform the following operations:

  • Replicate VMs to the cloud host
  • Perform failover tasks with VM replicas on the cloud host
  • Full site failover, when all critical production VMs fail over to their replicas on the cloud host in case the whole production site becomes unavailable
  • Partial site failover, when one or several VMs become corrupted and fail over to their replicas on the cloud host
  • Perform failback tasks with VM replicas on the cloud host.

Tasks associated with full site failover can be performed either by the tenant or by the service provider or through a Cloud Connect Portal hosted by the service provider that offers failover/failback operations. This flexibility allows the service provider to test the full site failover process and switch tenant’s production site to the cloud hosts upon request in the case that the tenant has no access to the backup infrastructure after a disaster. Ensuring that failover from the replica VM is successful is critically important, but there should also be a way back to access the on-premises infrastructure. Cloud Connect Replication features an option to easily failback to the primary infrastructure, by copying only data blocks changed while replica VMs were running on the service provider infrastructure.

More on Veeam Cloud Connect Backup

Cloud Connect Backup integrates hosted backup repositories or cloud repositories directly into the Veeam Backup & Replication console and is extremely simple to get started with via the Service Providers menu offering a way to search for VCSPs that are offering Cloud Connect Services. Once signed up and given your tenant account details, you are taken through a setup wizard that completes the process and allows you to then configure Backup or Backup Copy jobs to use the cloud repository.

Veeam Cloud Connect Backup

All data protection and disaster recovery tasks targeted at the cloud repository are performed by tenants, meaning complete control and management of their backup and recovery tasks. Tenants can set up necessary jobs themselves and perform tasks on Veeam Backup & Replication servers on-premises. Tenants can perform the following operations:

  • Back up VMs to the cloud repository
  • Copy VM backup files to the cloud repository
  • Restore VM data from the cloud repository
  • Perform file copy operations between tenant’s side and the cloud repository

Cloud Connect Backup is a powerful addition to any existing Veeam customer and extends Availability into the cloud in a straightforward, secure manner taking the 3-2-1 rule of backups to the next level leveraging proven Veeam technology and service provider resources.

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The post 200 Million reasons to turn on Veeam Cloud Connect! Now is the time! appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.

200 Million reasons to turn on Veeam Cloud Connect! Now is the time!

Cloud disaster recovery models: planning and testing

Source: Veeam

Modern enterprises know that disasters are a fact of life. They also understand that disasters come in many shapes and sizes and lead to varying degrees of Availability loss and impact on business continuity. Because major wide-scale disasters occur way less often than smaller disasters from within a data center, it’s also important to plan and test cloud disaster recovery models for smaller disasters that can happen at VM, guest OS or application levels.

Because disasters can lead to revenue, productivity and reputation loss, it’s important to understand that having cloud-based backup is just one piece of the business continuity and Availability puzzle. Here at Veeam, we empower our cloud and service providers to offer services based on Veeam Cloud Connect backup and replication. However, the planning and testing of what happens once disaster strikes is ultimately up to either the organizations purchasing the services or the services company offering DRaaS (Disaster Recovery as a Service) and business continuity wrapped around backup and replication offerings.

Why it’s important to plan

In theory, planning for a disaster should be completed before selecting a product or solution. In reality, it’s common for organizations to purchase cloud DR (disaster recovery) services without an understanding of what needs to be put in place prior to workloads being backed up or replicated to a cloud provider. Concepts like recovery time and recovery point objectives (RTPO) need to be understood and planned so, if a disaster strikes and failover has occurred, applications will not only be recovered within SLAs, but also that data on those recovered workloads will be useful in terms of its age.

Smaller RTPO values go hand-in-hand with increased complexity and administrative services overhead. When planning ahead, it’s important to size your cloud disaster platform and build the right disaster recovery model that’s tailored to your needs. When designing your DR plan, you will want to target strategies that relate to your core line of business applications and data.

A staged approach to recovery means that you recover tier-one applications first so the business can still function. A common tier-one application example is the mail server. Another is payroll systems, which could result in an organization being unable to pay its suppliers. Once your key applications and services are recovered, you can move on to recovering data, while keeping mind that archival data generally doesn’t need to be brought online first. Again, being able to categorize systems where your data sits and then working those categories into your recovery plan is important.

Planning should also include specific tasks and controls that need to be followed up on and adhered to during a disaster. It’s important to have specific run books executed by specific people for a smoother failover. Finally, it is critical to make sure that all IT staff know how to accessing applications and services after failover.

Why it’s important to test

When talking about a cloud disaster recovery model, there are a number of factors to consider before a final sign-off and the validation testing process. Once your plan is in place, test it regularly and make adjustments if issues arise from your tests. Partial failover testing should be treated with the same level of criticality as full failover testing.

Testing your DR plan ensures that business continuity can be achieved in a partial or full disaster. Beyond core backup and replication services testing, you should also test networking, server and application performances. Testing should even include situational testing with staff to be sure that they are able to efficiently access key business applications.

Cloud disaster recovery models

There are a number of different cloud disaster recovery models, which can be broken down into three main categories:

  • Private cloud
  • Hybrid cloud
  • Public cloud

Veeam Cloud Connect technology works for hybrid and public cloud models, while Veeam Backup & Replication works across all three models. The Veeam Cloud & Service Provider (VCSP) program offers Veeam Cloud Connect backup and replication classified as hybrid clouds offering RaaS (recovery-as-a-service). Public clouds, such as Azure, can be used with Veeam Backup & Replication to restore VM workloads. Private clouds are generally internal to organizations and leverage Veeam Backup & Replication to replicate or back up or for a backup copy of VMs between data center locations.

The ultimate goal here is to choose a cloud recovery model that best suits your organization. Each of the models above offer technological diversity and different price points. They also plan and test differently in order to, ultimately, execute a disaster plan. Each model comes with its own issues that need to be considered, including:

  • The replicated or copied data type
  • Availability
  • Performance
  • Security
  • Compliance
  • The SLAs offered by the company offering services for each model

When a partial or full disaster strikes, a thoroughly planned and well-tested DR plan, backed by the right disaster recovery model, will help you avoid a negative impact on your organization’s bottom line. Veeam and its cloud partners, service-provider partners and public cloud partners can help you build a solution that’s right for you.

The post Cloud disaster recovery models: planning and testing appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.

Cloud disaster recovery models: planning and testing