Azure Stack hybrid cloud consistency protection with Veeam

Source: Veeam

In recent years we have all been hearing about cloud transformation. Many organizations already adopt such a strategy, but we still don’t see the large organizations move to all or full cloud strategies.

For some businesses, cloud is a cost saver when they move or run the workload from the cloud. For many other organizations, especially the large ones, an all-cloud strategy is not the best fit. Many things force them to keep and run most of their workload from an on-premises data center. If we look at today’s data centers, we realize that the data center is mostly running on top of a virtualization layer which introduces the basics of the hybrid cloud. Still, running workloads on the cloud will add a complexity layer to the overall manageability of the data center. Some of the challenges are:

Operations & manageability

Imagine an organization running and managing two data centers and how challenging the overall operational cost associated with managing running such an architecture. Probably this organization will need two teams to manage each data center (on-premises and cloud) for the everyday data center tasks. Two teams with two different skill sets. The finance department will need to control and manage the costs of operating such an architecture. I think you have the idea by now.

Security

Not every workload can be a good candidate or compatible to run in the cloud due to security risk, privacy acts and regulations. This forces many organizations to keep this kind of workload running on the on-premises data center which brings us back to the first challenge we already discussed.

Protection

The last challenge for our discussion today is the protection or backup and recovery of data. Running two different workloads on two different deployments will mandate two different protection strategies, again back to challenge point one. But what if you can run one backup product which will help you protect all your types of workload anywhere with cost in mind?

All the above challenges can be solved by adopting a hybrid cloud strategy, particularly Microsoft Azure Stack on-premises. I can’t hide my excitement about the Azure Stack, after deploying the development kit in my lab and playing with it for some time I can see the potential of such a hybrid cloud deployment. My excitement elevated when Veeam announced the support for Azure Stack.

What is Azure Stack

On the Azure Cloud website, Azure Stack is defined as an extension of Azure cloud bringing the agility and fast-paced innovation of cloud computing to on-premises environments. Only Azure Stack lets you deliver Azure services from your organization’s data center, while balancing the right amount of flexibility and control for truly consistent hybrid cloud deployments.

The first edition of Veeam’s support for Azure Stack comes in the form of Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows and Veeam Agent for Linux which you can deploy, configure and manage remotely from a centralized console.

As you know, Veeam’s strength is a focus on data recovery diversity. Veeam Backup & Replication offers users more than 58 ways to recover data. And with the Azure Stack support, when using Veeam Backup & Replication to protect your Azure Stack, you will enjoy this variety of recovery options, including Instant VM Recovery, granular application-item recovery, Veeam Recovery to Microsoft Azure and more.

How Veeam simplifies your Azure Stack hybrid cloud adoption?

With all the cool product features that you are probably already aware of, Veeam can address the challenges we listed above:

Operations & manageability

No more need for two different teams with two different skill sets to manage your hybrid cloud. As the concept and the presentation of Azure Stack is the same as the Azure cloud, one team will be able to manage both clouds seamlessly, which in return will reduce the operational and manageability costs.

Security

Security is one of the most common reasons against adopting cloud strategy. If an organization adopts Azure Stack, it becomes easy to control where each workload will be deployed and run from. And if security requirements change for any workload, that workload can seamlessly be moved between Azure on-premises and cloud. More than workload locality, Veeam’s product will help you implement your security measurements even when you are backing up the workload. Veeam implemented data location tagging where the admin can assign tags to Veeam components and objects for automatic labelling of backup data to provide data sovereignty handling and make sure there are no security breaches even when you back up and store your backup data.

Protection

One product, one interface, one strategy to back up and recover your workload whether it is running on-premises or in the cloud.

Conclusion

At a first glance, Veeam’s integration with Azure Stack looks like an introductory step for a complete integration in the form of installing agents on each virtual machine — yes, I also thought the same during the Veeam Azure Stack announcement. But when you start thinking about hybrid cloud adoption and the benefit this integration introduces to your technical and business teams, you will realize the power of the integration. As this is the first alteration of the integration, we know Veeam always adds more surprises to its products on every release.

The post Azure Stack hybrid cloud consistency protection with Veeam appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.

Azure Stack hybrid cloud consistency protection with Veeam

NEW Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 1.5 — Early review and beta testing

Source: Veeam

Last week, Veeam released the beta version of the new Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 1.5. It promises a significant improvement over the previous version, starting from easier usability, better performance and improved scalability — all designed for service providers in mind. As usual, I took the new version for an early test run, and we wish to share with you what I found.

Note: As always with these early reviews, all the information we provide is not guaranteed to find its way into the final release. Therefore, reader discretion is advised.

As with the previous version, Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 is still considered and deployed as a standalone backup product specifically developed and designed to protect the Microsoft Office 365 email system. It has new and improved architecture components to allow it to easily scale for large and multi-tenant deployments. The Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 server can be deployed on any Windows OS. The following specifications are recommended:

  • CPU: x64 processor
  • Memory: 4 GB
  • Disk: 500 MB for the installation
  • OS: Windows 7 or later
  • Architecture: Virtual or physical

A new component added to this latest version is the backup proxy. With the current Veeam Backup & Replication backup proxy, this newcomer to Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 is designed to optimize data processing and the first proxy will be deployed during the product installation. The backup proxy server requirements are:

  • CPU: x64 processor
  • Memory: 4 GB
  • Disk: 500 MB for the installation
  • OS: Windows 7 or later
  • Architecture: Virtual or physical

Note: The proxy server must belong to the same domain as to the Office 365 backup server.

Now, let’s start with what’s new in Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 1.5.

User interface

When you finalize the deployment and run the console, you will immediately notice that the user interface now has a new option called Backup Infrastructure. This is the same as in Veeam Backup & Replication product option and should give away that Veeam has big plans for this product.

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

Accessing the Backup Infrastructure will allow the configuration, or addition, of a new proxy server, along with the capability to add and configure the backup repository.

Backup repository

The backup repository will be used in the same fashion as in Veeam Backup & Replication when storing the backup data. In this latest version, a user can configure multiple backup instances, and then target his backups to a different backup repository (e.g., per customer or organization, and so on). In addition to this new flexibility, each repository can handle its own retention policy. The default retention is three years, but users can adjust the period to a specific number of days or years (one, two, three, five, or 10 years), or permanently.

Each repository will assign a backup proxy server to it. See the following figure:

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 stores backup data in its own database, which is similar to the Exchange database type, but still is specific for Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365. The database structure consists of a database, checkpoint and log files. For example, backup data will be stored in a .ADB file (Exchange databases used .EDB).

Add organization

A big welcome to the new release is the diversity you can use this product with when it comes to the Exchange server deployment. From now on, you will be able to back up the Microsoft Office 365 organization, or on-premises Microsoft Exchange, and if you are using a hybrid deployment, you can protect both.

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

PowerShell and RESTful API support

Version 1.5 has added support for PowerShell and RESTful API, giving customers and service providers the option to automate many of the administrative tasks, injecting Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 commands to the PowerShell will accomplish using the Import-Module Veeam.Archiver.PowerShell command. The RESTFul API will be welcomed by the service provider community, and with the multi-tenancy repository and scalability, a service provider can build a self-service offering throughout the web, for example.

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

Notifications

Notifications are an important part of any scalable product. With that in mind, Veeam added several notification layers to keep the backup administrator informed of jobs and proxy status. With job notifications, administrator can select Success, Warning or Failure as the status level of server performance to be reported.

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

For example, the notification for a proxy server can inform the user if the server goes offline.

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

All notifications are provided using an STMP delivery method.

Scalability and backup performance

As we mentioned earlier, scalability is one of the focused areas of the new release, and it is achieved by using the new proxies and repositories server role. For example, customers or service providers can configure a different organization to target a different repository. Each repository will be accessed through a dedicated proxy server with the option of sharing one proxy server to target multi-repositories.

Backup performance was also kept on focus when interacting with Microsoft Office 365 or on-premises Exchange server. In this new release, the number of backup threads is increased from 32 threads on the previous version to 64 by default with the option to modify this parameter along with the limiting the network bandwidth on each proxy.

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

Backup continuity remediation

There’s no doubt this version builds on many intelligent algorithms, and what’s impressive is the autonomy of the proxy server when it comes to backup. If the Office 365 backup server fails, the proxy server will keep functioning and pull the data from Microsoft Office 365 for backup for the next 48 hours. If there’s no connection, resume with the Office 365 backup server and the proxy server will stop pulling the data. After the connection is established, the new backup will be refreshed on the Office 365 backup server. For this to work, the proxy server must communicate with Microsoft Office 365 via ports 80 and 443.

Conclusion

It is clear that Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 version 1.5 has been designed with service providers and scalability in mind. The performance has been improved dramatically, and this can be noticed in daily operations. Recovery processes and management options are still the same as in the previous version, but with 1.5, data restore also can be initiated from PowerShell.

To summarize, it is a much better product, and the improvement is obvious. And when looking at this new release, I see a big winner for you service providers. The beta version is out, and I recommend that you give it a try. I think you will be as excited about this as I was.

The post NEW Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 1.5 — Early review and beta testing appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.

NEW Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 1.5 — Early review and beta testing

Avoiding cloud surprises with capacity planning and resource management

Source: Veeam

As a flight instructor, I always advise my students to avoid the cumulonimbus cloud, which is associated with thunderstorms that create unpredictable conditions and make flying difficult and dangerous. Throughout a 100 years of aviation history, flying in or near this type of weather often makes headlines in the news; with some instances worse than others.

When discussing cloud strategies with Veeam customers, from migration to data backup to the cloud, I am reminded of the unpredictable weather conditions associated with flying in the clouds, especially when a customer raises a concern about the cost of cloud computing.

I’d like to share a story here from one of our Veeam customers who managed to reduce his cloud costs using Veeam Management Pack (MP) for System Center.

The story started several years ago when a financial organization decided to adopt a strategy to migrate to, and run their workload in the cloud. The company used one of the largest cloud management service-provider hosting organizations.

The cloud management service first ran an inventory of the customer’s workload. The tiered offering from the management service was then created based on the cloud manager and service provider’s expected local workload size. This process included manually examining each physical server before a recommendation was made to take up the top tier offering from the managed cloud service. As with many offerings of this type, the top tier is always expensive.

For several years, the customer was satisfied with the offering. Then, a new CEO came onboard and requested a review of several services the organization was buying. Included in the review was the company’s cloud strategy.

Veeam met with the customer, and after gaining an understanding of his business, suggested using Veeam Management Pack to generate some reports to learn how the business used its workload, and to determine the computer effort for CPU, memory and storage consumed.

The first report Veeam generated was oversized VMs for memory and CPU. From the report, we found that many of the workload computations were oversized, and the memory and CPU consumption was as high as predicted at the inventory stage. This finding led to the fine-tuning of the CPU and memory sizes for the workloads, which immediately resulted in a tier level reduction for the service offering. This has now been downgraded to a lower tiering by two to four stages, with a reduction in the monthly cost.

A typical report to determine memory and CPU sizing is shown in Figure 1.

Veeam Management Pack (MP) for System Center

Figure 1: VM Sizing Report

After the first stage of the review, the customer asked for assistance estimating the cost of migrating a remaining on-premises workload to Microsoft Azure. And this time, Veeam was equipped and ready with same powerful reporting tools in the Veeam MP. In just a few clicks and several minutes, Veeam generated a detailed report to help the customer understand and predict the Azure workload size that was needed, as well as how much it would cost if he decided to migrate.

Veeam Management Pack (MP) for System Center

Veeam Management Pack (MP) for System Center

Figure 2: Capacity Planning for Azure Hybrid Clouds

Conclusion

Veeam’s engagement with the customer, which included delivering the required reports, took less than three days. The financial savings offered by Veeam ended up being the best outcome, by far. The customer was extremely satisfied. The key takeaway for this story is that all findings were gathered during a proof of concept, and at NO cost to the customer.

This story brings me back to the pre-flight planning analogy that I mentioned at the start of this post. Just like planning in your data center, pre-flight planning in the world of aviation is always more valuable when it’s done BEFORE a plane takes off!

The post Avoiding cloud surprises with capacity planning and resource management appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.

Avoiding cloud surprises with capacity planning and resource management

How to ensure Availability of customer relationship data

Source: Veeam

Protecting MS Dynamics CRM with VeeamIt shouldn’t be a surprise that Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a very popular CRM application across many customers, both large and small. A critical workload application such as CRM must have a good backup strategy. A Microsoft Dynamics CRM deployment can vary from customer to customer, but all implementations will include these three servers:

  • Microsoft Active Directory (AD)
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Server 2016

Each of these servers plays a vital role in the CRM infrastructure. And in the whole CRM environment, each server is critical.

The good news is that you can protect your CRM infrastructure using Veeam backup, and setting up Veeam replication is an easy process. It is also very easy to deploy. When it comes time to recover, Veeam can offer several options, depending on the SLA in place.

But before we get into discussing the protection of the CRM infrastructure using Veeam Backup & Replication, let’s first discuss the role of each server and understand the available backup and recovery options for each server role.

Active Directory

The AD server role is very important to your entire infrastructure, and this includes your Microsoft Dynamics CRM infrastructure. Protecting your AD must be a priority on any business disaster recovery planning, starting from protecting against entire AD disaster and object disaster. One of the many ways to protect your AD, or minimize the fallout from an AD disaster, is to deploy multiple AD servers and then distribute the Flexible Single Master Operation (FSMO) roles between the new deployed servers. When it comes to recovering an AD object deletion, there is no easy or straightforward way. Using Veeam Explorer for Microsoft Active Directory is one way to recover deleted objects such as users, groups, organizational units, group policy objects and more.

For this discussion, we will back up the full state of the server using both full and incremental backups.

Microsoft SQL Server 2014

The MS SQL Server 2014 is the heart of your CRM infrastructure. Your customer details, sales and related business data are stored on this server. Following the deployment of your Microsoft Dynamics CRM server, you will notice that several databases were added to the MS SQL Server, along with the default SQL databases. These are critical databases and must be protected against disasters.

To protect these important databases, the following points are good policy:

  • The OrganizationName_MSCRM and ReportServer databases should have full database and transaction log backups
  • For databases that are rarely updated, such as msdb, you may select only a full database backup
  • Backups of the master and msdb databases are not required by Microsoft Dynamics CRM, but should be part of an overall backup strategy

We are going to back up the SQL Server and we will enable the SQL log transactions to back up every 10 minutes.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Server 2016

The CRM server is the interface server where you and your employees will connect to retrieve and manage your customers’ relationship data.

To protect the CRM server, you must back up the web.config file and the Windows registry key for MSCRM. The web.config file is at:

  • Default location: C:Program FilesMicrosoft Dynamics CRMCRMWeb

The Windows registry key is at:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftMSCRM

Our strategy for this CRM server is going to be full and incremental backups.

Backup strategy overview

The figure below shows the setup we are going to use for our backup strategy:

Protecting MS Dynamics CRM with Veeam

Veeam configuration

As usual, our backup configuration will start on the Veeam Backup & Replication console and a new backup job.

Select the Microsoft Dynamics CRM servers:

Protecting MS Dynamics CRM with Veeam

Choose the proxy server if you wish to specify one. Next, choose the backup repository and the desired number of restore points to keep on disk. In the example below, we have Automatic selection as our backup proxy and we have chosen 14 restore points to keep on disk:

Protecting MS Dynamics CRM with Veeam

On the Advanced selection, choose the desired backup mode. By default, the Incremental (recommended) backup mode is selected:

Protecting MS Dynamics CRM with Veeam

Protecting MS Dynamics CRM with Veeam

With this backup mode, Veeam Backup & Replication will make an initial full backup as the first job and then back up only the changes. On the specified day, Veeam will synthesize a full backup from the data already on the backup repository.

Confirm and save the changes by pressing the OK button and then press Next.

At this guest processing stage, tick the checkbox for Enable application-aware processing and then press Applications:

Protecting MS Dynamics CRM with Veeam

On the application process option window, select the SQL Server and then press the Edit button to configure the application-aware processing steps:

Protecting MS Dynamics CRM with Veeam

The next step is to configure the SQL backup logs to run every 10 minutes. You can see these settings in the figure below:

Protecting MS Dynamics CRM with Veeam

It is also a good idea to test the configuration to check that there are no authentication errors popping up and stopping the backup job.

Protecting MS Dynamics CRM with Veeam

Result

The last step before saving and running our job is to schedule the backup job to run automatically. In this example, you can see our backups are set to run daily at 8 p.m., and the job is set to run automatically:

Protecting MS Dynamics CRM with Veeam

Now that we are set up, the Microsoft Dynamics CRM environment is protected by Veeam backups. The simple backup configuration we just set up will enable us to recover from any data loss disaster.

Should a disaster occur and we need a recovery action, our backup strategy will allow us to recover any, or all, of the servers using one of the following recovery methods:

  • Instant VM Recovery
  • Disk recovery
  • Application item recovery (AD objects, SQL database/log)
  • An individual file recovery

Where to go from here

For critical workload servers, I like to add an extra level of protection to my backup strategy. In my Microsoft Dynamics CRM environment, as I pointed out earlier, I identified the SQL Server as the critical server. Because it is critical, I decided to replicate the server to a different data center and to keep it in a standby state ready for failover in case I lose my production SQL Server. To set up this strategy with Veeam, all I need to do is create a Veeam replication job.

Starting with Replication Job creation:

Protecting MS Dynamics CRM with Veeam

Name the replication job:

Protecting MS Dynamics CRM with Veeam

Choose the SQL Server hosting the CRM database:

Protecting MS Dynamics CRM with Veeam

Specify the destination of the replication job. Note the different host in this example:

Protecting MS Dynamics CRM with Veeam

On the job setting, we will specify the repository where the replica metadata will be saved, replica suffix and the number of the restore points to keep:

Protecting MS Dynamics CRM with Veeam

In the data transfer popup window, you will be able to specify the source and target proxy servers. If a Veeam WAN accelerator is deployed and configured, then you will be able to specify the source and destination Veeam WAN accelerators:

Protecting MS Dynamics CRM with Veeam

The last step before scheduling the job is the Guest Processing, where you will be able to enable application-aware processing for application-aware (SQL) replication. Please note that with replication, SQL transaction logs will be replicated on a copy mode only:

Protecting MS Dynamics CRM with Veeam

Protecting MS Dynamics CRM with Veeam

Schedule the replication job:

Protecting MS Dynamics CRM with Veeam

Review the summary and to finish the job creation, press Finish.

If you wish, you can tick the checkbox to Run the job when I click Finish to start the replication job immediately after you press the Finish button:

Protecting MS Dynamics CRM with Veeam

Summary

On this blog, we went through the Microsoft CRM backup process using the Veeam Backup & Replication product. The bottom line is that with Veeam and its flexible ways of restoring data, it is much easier to protect your critical applications. In the event of a disaster, you have multiple ways to recover your data, thus ensuring that your mission critical work is always available.

The post How to ensure Availability of customer relationship data appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.

How to ensure Availability of customer relationship data

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

Source: Veeam

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

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

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

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

How Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure will help you

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

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

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

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

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

How to set up Azure subscription access

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

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

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

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

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

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

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

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

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

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

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

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

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

Azure preparation

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

Azure Proxy

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

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

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

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

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

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

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

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

Performing the restore to Azure

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

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

Or, right-click the corresponding backup job:

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

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

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

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

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

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

Choose the Azure VM size and the preferred storage account:

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

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

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

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

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

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

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

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

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

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

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

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

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

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

Azure check

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

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

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

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365: Availability vs Recoverability

Source: Veeam

Veeam Backup & Replication has added a new integration – Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365. How can you benefit from Office 365 email backup with the Veeam’s new product? Why is cloud Availability different from cloud recoverability? In this blog, we will discuss all these topics and try to shed some light on the needs and use cases of email backups. Of course, we will demonstrate the product in action for you.

Before we jump into the details, let’s first define the two terms, Availability and Recoverability, from the outset.

Data Availability is a term used to describe product or services continuity at a required service level (SLA), or performance. Data Availability on the cloud will be achieved through redundancy zones. On the other hand, Data Recoverability refers to the ability to restore data to the point at which a failure occurred.

In the world of cloud, there is confusion about the meaning of these two terms, and one piece of confusion arises when discussing cloud services. The assumption is that when moving a workload to the cloud, there will be no need for data backup. However, this is a mistake and data must be backed up. It appears this happens due to the lack of understanding of the above two terms.

All the great features that Office 365 Exchange Online offers to you and your business still hold hidden risks, including the lack of comprehensive backup and limited recoverability.

Considering these risks, you should ask yourself:

  • How will I manage my service levels (or lack thereof) with these limitations?
  • How do I mitigate the risk of mailbox data loss while my data is in the cloud?
  • Does Microsoft guarantee data loss avoidance of your business-critical messaging system and its data?

To ease your concerns, Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365, will help you to:

  • Securely back up your Office 365 email data to your on-premises environment
  • Mitigate the risk of losing access to your email and so ensure continuous email Availability to your users
  • Quickly recover individual mailbox items with best-of-breed granularity
  • Efficiently perform eDiscovery of email archives
  • Securely leverage connections to your business Office 365 organization through native Exchange Web Services APIs.

NOTE: This testing is built on the Beta version, so some of the screens are listed as TBD or may not have their icons/visualization complete as what you’ll see in the generally available build.

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 architecture

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 is integrated with Veeam Backup & Replication, which means you can back up hybrid cloud environments and migrate mailbox data between Office 365 and your on-premises Exchange deployment.

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

Office 365 Exchange Online first line of defense

The first line of defense when retrieving a deleted mailbox item is retrieving it from the deleted items store, which works only if item’s retention period has not expired. By default, the retention policy is set to 30 days. Deleting entire mailboxes also calls up the retention policy, also set to 30 days by default. Of course, these defaults can be changed from the Exchange Admin Center.

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

How then, is Microsoft protecting my Office 365 email data?

Microsoft uses its Exchange Data Availability Group (DAG) to protect your data. For internal use only they also utilize traditional backup to protect Office 365 from any catastrophic disasters. Unfortunately, local failures still can happen to anyone and the above methods will not protect you from mailbox corruption, nor will these methods restore your mailbox to a point in time. Your SLAs, or data Availability requirements, will be defined by Microsoft SLA policies, but they will not provide data recoverability.

Installation and configuration

Let’s run through the Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 installation and configuration. One thing that impressed me about this product is the configuration process – it is very straightforward and very simple.

Download the installation package (it is a Beta version at this stage). Inside you’ll find two executable files, which you need to extract:

  • Veeam.Backup365.exe (3280 KB)
  • VeeamExplorerForExchange.exe (4,965 KB)

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

The Veeam.Backup365.exe file is the installer for the Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 application, and the VeeamExplorerForExchange.exe is the installer for Veeam Explorer for Microsoft Exchange. These two installation files indicate that the product is standalone and can be installed on any workstation.

Installation of Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 is a straightforward process, so let’s move straight to setting up its configuration. Click Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365:

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

You can see the user interface below:

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

To start the configuration, click on the menu icon at the top left corner and then choose Options:

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

You need to set up backup repository, define the backup retention period and specify folder location. In addition to the repository location, on this step you can also configure which folders to exclude from your backup (if any):

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

After setting the repository, backup retention period and folder location, you need to connect and configure your Office 365 account.

No stress here, this is an easy task. Start by clicking the Add Organization window, or click the Add Org icon as shown below:

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

Add your Office 365 credentials in the Add Organization window:

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

On adding your credentials, Veeam will configure and enable the necessary PowerShell commands and the Office 365 configurations for you:

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

Now it is time to create a backup. Right click the Organization name or click on the Backup icon:

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

At the prompt, provide a Backup job name, then choose the account to be backed up. You can also choose either to back up all mailboxes, or only selected ones:

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

Set up the desired schedule in the New Backup Job window:

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

That’s all it takes to configure Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 and back up your Office 365 mail server!

Recovery with Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

Performing a recovery with Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 is even simpler than its setup.

To start recovery run Veeam Explorer for Microsoft Exchange and choose the desired recovery option:

  • Explore latest state as of <day, date and time>; or
  • Explore point-in time state…

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

If you choose “Explore latest state”, it’ll immediately start Veeam Explorer for Microsoft Exchange tool. With the “Explore point-in time state” option, you will need to specify the details in the Explore Backup window:

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

Browse available mailboxes to select a mailbox item for recovery:

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

Choose the destination for your recovered mailbox and start the restore. Upon the process completion you can deliver the recovered mailbox to your end user:

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

Conclusion

Even when moving your workloads to the cloud, it’s still critical for the safety of your business to do regular backups of that data. As with any of your cloud services, it is important to understand your cloud provider SLAs and know what recoverability options are provided.

We have demonstrated an easy and secure way to back up your Office 365 email data with Veeam. When it comes to protection for your mailbox data, Veeam Backup for Office 365 is a right solution enabling both data Availability and recoverability. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback on the Beta version! Please don’t hesitate to share your ideas and opinions in the comments to this blog or in Veeam Forums.

The post Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365: Availability vs Recoverability appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365: Availability vs Recoverability

Veeam and Nimble Storage integration: First-hand backup and replication

Source: Veeam

I recently blogged about the Veeam-Nimble integration configuration and recovery from Nimble Storage snapshots with Veeam. Today, let’s test backup and replication from Nimble snapshots with the Beta version of Veeam Availability Suite 9.5.

NOTE: This is a Beta, so some of the screens are listed as TBD or may not have their icons/visualization complete as what we will see in the generally available build of Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5.

Creating a Nimble volume collection

To back up from the snapshot, you need to create a volume collection, and then assign the desired volume for replication. The volume collection doesn’t require any complex configuration — everything is very straightforward:

  1. Browse the Nimble WebGUI: ManageProtectionVolume Collections
  2. Add a new volume by clicking on New Volume Collection
  3. Add the Volume Collection Name on the Introduction Be careful with the naming to stay within the limits of 80 characters
  4. Select None on the Synchronization tab, because Veeam will orchestrate the VMware VSS Snapshot before the backup job starts
  5. Set the scheduling for Nimble Storage snapshots c Note that Veeam Backup & Replication uses its own engine to initiate the creation and replication of snapshots. Nimble configuration will not allow empty scheduling therefore you can choose Weeks or Repeat Every Week and Replicate to set to “2” as the minimum — or any desired configuration, as these configurations will not be used by Veeam.
  6. Associate the desired volume for replication on the Volumes Tab

As with SAN backup, the Veeam proxy server requires an access to the Nimble volumes where the needed VM(s) stored. Make sure you attached the Nimble Volume to the Proxy server via the windows iSCSI initiator.

Backup from Storage Snapshots and Nimble Storage integration

Veeam’s Backup from Storage Snapshots feature leverages EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), NetApp — and now Nimble — snapshots to minimize RPOs and the impact from backup and replication on the production environment. This functionality allows you to back up any VM from the Nimble array using Nimble Storage Snapshot as a source. Additionally, Veeam can now perform Nimble Storage replication between two arrays, and use the replicated copies on a secondary array as a source for backup, thus removing the backup load from the primary array.

Let’s see how Backup from Storage Snapshots works with Nimble arrays.

Create a new backup job in the Veeam Backup console as you would do it normally, and add the required VM(s), which reside on your Nimble volume. On the Storage tab, choose the backup repository.

Storage integration is enabled by default, but you can double check this — go to the Integration tab in the Advanced Job settings and ensure that the Enable backup from storage snapshots option is selected.

Veeam and Nimble Storage integration

Complete the backup job configuration, including guest processing configuration and scheduling, as you would do it normally, and run the job.

Veeam and Nimble Storage integration

This is a backup job utilizing the new Veeam-Nimble integration, and as you can see on the above screenshot, the Veeam backup job initiates the creation of the Nimble Storage Snapshot and starts the processing of the backup data from the storage snapshot. Once the backup complete, Veeam deletes and cleans up the Storage Snapshot.

Nimble Storage snapshots orchestration

With Veeam Backup & Replication, you can orchestrate initiating your Nimble Storage snapshots on a specific schedule. Nimble snapshots provide you with the whole set of recovery options enabled by Veeam, such as Instant VM Recovery, application-item recovery and so on. You can also leverage the initiated Nimble snapshots for creating an exact copy of your production environment by using the On-Demand Sandbox capability.

For Nimble Storage snapshots orchestration, create a new backup job and select the required VM(s) located in the Nimble volume.

On the Storage tab, choose Nimble snapshot (Primary storage snapshot only) option for the Backup repository:

Veeam and Nimble Storage integration

Then, set the desired job scheduling (in the example below, I used the five-minute period) and run the backup job:

Veeam and Nimble Storage integration

You should see the following picture if you browse the Nimble Storage snapshots from the Veeam console:

Veeam and Nimble Storage integration

Backing up from the secondary storage

One of the key benefits you get from backups from the secondary storage is minimizing of the performance degradation that impacts your production storage during the backup process.

To be able to back up a VM from the secondary Nimble array, you need to create a snapshot on your primary storage and replicate it to the secondary storage first. After that, Veeam Backup & Replication will back up the VM from the secondary storage.

Create a new backup job and add the required VM(s). Choose the backup repository and tick the Configure secondary destination for this job checkbox:

Veeam and Nimble Storage integration

Now you need to configure the secondary target by selecting Nimble Snapshot and Nimble Collection Replication:

Veeam and Nimble Storage integration

Here, the Nimble Snapshot option defines the retention for the source (i.e. production) storage snapshots. The Nimble Volume Collection Replication option defines the snapshots retention on the target (i.e. secondary) storage.

Enable backup processing from replica (“Use as the data source”) in the Nimble Volume Collection Replication settings:

Veeam and Nimble Storage integration

On the background of this job, Veeam Backup & Replication first created a snapshot on your production storage and then replicates it to the secondary storage. After that, Veeam starts backing up from the replica:

Veeam and Nimble Storage integration

Veeam and Nimble Storage integration

On-Demand Sandbox from Storage Snapshots

Another functionality enabled by Veeam-Nimble integration is On-Demand Sandbox, which allows you to create a test environment from your existing storage snapshots. The sandbox provides an exact copy of your production environment, which gives you the complete freedom to safely perform development and testing.

Sandbox functionality is configured under the SureBackup menu in Veeam GUI:

Veeam and Nimble Storage integration

First, you need to create and configure an Application Group (the same way as you do it for running a SureBackup job for regular VMs). The only difference here is that you need to select From storage snapshots when adding VMs to the new Application Group:

Veeam and Nimble Storage integration

Veeam and Nimble Storage integration

Note that you will also need to set up a proper configuration for the Virtual Lab, once the Application Group is created.

Conclusion

The Veeam-Nimble integration is currently available in Beta version only. However, as you can see from my early first-hand experience, all the announced functionality in major works as expected. Like with any Beta testing, some minor fixes are required, and this will be improved in the release version without any doubts. But even now, I already can say “Kudos!” to the Veeam R&D team!

See also:

The post Veeam and Nimble Storage integration: First-hand backup and replication appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.

Veeam and Nimble Storage integration: First-hand backup and replication

Veeam and Nimble Storage integration: First-hand configuration and recovery

Source: Veeam

Veeam is extending its storage integration offerings to the support of Nimble Storage arrays in the upcoming Veeam Availability Suite 9.5. The Beta is already available for testing, and I used this chance to get first-hand experience. In this post, I’ll share insights from my experience and review the functional use cases delivered by this Veeam-Nimble Integration.

The Veeam-Nimble integration follows the same approach as Veeam’s existing integration capabilities with other enterprise storage solutions. It’s all about leveraging the underlying storage hardware and snapshot capability. The Veeam-Nimble integration offers the benefits of minimum impact on the virtual infrastructure during the backup process, RTPO of less than 15 minutes and verified recoverability.

I tested the following key capabilities enabled by Veeam’s Nimble Storage integration in my lab:

  • Scheduling the creation of Nimble Storage snapshots with application-consistent VM images
  • Replication orchestration of Nimble Storage snapshots
  • Backing up from Nimble Storage snapshots (or their replicated copies)
  • Granular and fill recovery from Nimble Storage snapshots (or their replicated copies)
  • Creating a Virtual Lab from Nimble Storage snapshots for testing, development, training and Big Data mining.

NOTE: This is a Beta, so some of the screens are listed as TBD or may not have their icons/visualization complete as what we will see in the generally available build of Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5.

How to configure Nimble Storage array in Veeam console

Nimble Storage arrays are integrated directly via the Veeam console, which makes it possible to manage jobs and performance through a single pane. Configuring Nimble Storage array inside the Veeam console is easy and intuitive.

In the Veeam Backup & Replication console, navigate to the Storage Infrastructure tab, add the Nimble array and enter the array IP/DNS and credentials:

Veeam and Nimble Storage integration

Veeam and Nimble Storage integration

Veeam and Nimble Storage integration

Veeam and Nimble Storage integration

Veeam and Nimble Storage integration

Then, configure a backup proxy by specifying the access option (I chose an iSCSI for my lab), and run the setup.

Veeam and Nimble Storage integration

The setup takes a few minutes and, upon completion, you can browse the Nimble Array from the Veeam console, view rescan and can manually create Nimble Snapshots:

Veeam and Nimble Storage integration

After the primary Nimble Storage array is added, you need to pass through all the above steps again and configure the secondary Nimble array, which you’ll use for further replication.

Creating a manual Nimble Storage snapshot

To create a manual Nimble Storage snapshot via the same Veeam console, right-click the controller and select Create snapshot. Give the snapshot a Name and provide its Description (optional):

Veeam and Nimble Storage integration

Veeam and Nimble Storage integration

Recovery from Nimble Storage snapshot

We can play with the restore now that the snapshot is created. You can now perform multiple recovery scenarios from the Veeam Backup & Replication console. Right-click the created snapshot to see a list of available options: Instant VM Recovery, guest-files restore and application-items restore.

Veeam and Nimble Storage integration

Veeam and Nimble Storage integration

I tested a guest-files restore for a Windows-based VM in my example. To perform the recovery from a Nimble snapshot, you need to specify the ESXi host that Veeam will use to mount the storage snapshot to as a temporary iSCSI Datastore (directly from the Veeam repository).

You can click Customize to specify a host where the storage snapshot will be temporary mounted:

Veeam and Nimble Storage integration

Once confirmed, Veeam will automatically mount the selected Nimble Snapshot from the Veeam repository and attach it to the ESXi host as a datastore:

Veeam and Nimble Storage integration

After mounting the recovery point as a datastore (from the Veeam repository) to the ESXi host, Veeam will run Veeam Explorer to help you recover an individual file or application item as shown below (in this example, it’s an object-level recovery with Veeam Explorer for Microsoft Active Directory):

Veeam and Nimble Storage integration

 

Even more insights on the new Veeam-Nimble integration are coming in my next blog! I’ll demonstrate how the Beta of Veeam Availability Suite 9.5 works with backup and replication from Nimble snapshots.

Stay tuned!

The post Veeam and Nimble Storage integration: First-hand configuration and recovery appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.

Veeam and Nimble Storage integration: First-hand configuration and recovery