Disaster recovery plan documentation with Veeam Availability Orchestrator

Source: Veeam

Without a doubt, the automated reporting engine in Veeam Availability Orchestrator and the disaster recovery plan documentation it produces are among its most powerful capabilities. They’re something we’ve had a lot of overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers that benefit from them, and I feel that sharing some more insights into what these documents are capable of will help you understand how you can benefit from them, too.

Imagine coming in to work on a Monday morning to an email containing an attachment that tells you that your entire disaster recovery plan was tested over the weekend without you so much as lifting a finger. Not only does that attachment confirm that your disaster recovery plan has been tested, but it tells you what was tested, how it was tested, how long the test took, and what the outcome of the test was. If it was a success, great! You’re ready to take on disaster if it decides to strike today. If it failed, you’ll know what failed, why it failed, and where to start fixing things. The document that details this for you is what we call a “test execution report,” but that is just one of four fully-automated documentation types that Veeam Availability Orchestrator can put in your possession.

Definition report

As soon as your first failover plan is created within Veeam Availability Orchestrator, you’ll be able to produce the plan definition report. This report provides an in-depth view into your entire disaster recovery plan’s configuration, as well as its components. This includes the groups of VMs included in that plan, the steps that will be taken to recover those VMs, and the applications they support in the event of a disaster, as well as any other necessary parameters. This information makes this report great for auditors and management, and can be used to obtain sign-off from application owners who need to verify the plan’s configuration.

Readiness check report

Veeam Availability Orchestrator contains many testing options, one of which we call a readiness check, a great sanity check that is so lightweight that it can be performed at any time. This test completes incredibly quickly and has zero impact on your environment’s performance, either in production or at the disaster recovery site. The resulting report documents the outcome of this test’s steps, including if the replica VMs are detected and prepared for failover, the desired RPO is currently met, the VMware vCenter server and Veeam Backup & Replication server are online and available, the required credentials are provided, and that the required failover plan steps and parameters have been configured.

Test execution report

Test execution reports are generated upon the completion of a test of the disaster recovery plan, powered by enhanced Veeam DataLabs that have been orchestrated and automated by Veeam Availability Orchestrator. This testing runs through every step identified in the plan as if it were a real-world scenario and documents in detail everything you could possibly want to know. This makes it ideal for evaluating the disaster recovery plan, proactively troubleshooting errors, and identifying areas that can be improved upon.

Execution report

This report is exactly the same as the test execution report but is only produced after the execution of a real-world failover.

Now that we understand the different types of reports and documentation available in Veeam Availability Orchestrator, I wanted to highlight some of the key features for you that will make them such an invaluable tool for your disaster recovery strategy.

Automation

All four reports are automatically created, updated and published based on your preferences and needs. They can be scheduled to complete at any frequency you see fit – daily, weekly, monthly, etc., but are also available on-demand with a single-click. This means that if management or an auditor ever wants the latest, you can hand them real-time, up-to-date documentation without the laborious, time-consuming and error-prone edits. You can even automate this step if you like by subscribing specific stakeholders or mailboxes to the reports relevant to them.

Customization

All four reports available with Veeam Availability Orchestrator ship in a default template format. This template may be used as-is, however, it is recommended to clone it (as the default template is not editable) and customize to your organization’s specific needs. Customization is key, as no two organizations are alike, and neither are their disaster recovery plans. You can include anything you like in your documentation, from logos, application owners, disaster recovery stakeholders and their contact information. Even all the 24-hour food delivery services in the area for when things might go wrong, and the team needs to get through the night. You name it, you can customize and include it.

Built-in change tracking

One of the most difficult things to stay on top of with disaster recovery planning is how quickly and dramatically environments can change. In fact, uncaptured changes are one of the most common causes behind disaster recovery failure. Plan definition reports conveniently contain a section titled “plan change log” that detail any edits to the plan’s configuration, whether by automation or manual changes. This affords you the ability to track things like who changed plan settings, when it was changed, and what was changed so that you can preemptively understand if a change was made correctly or in error, and account for it before a disaster happens.

Proactive error detection

The actionable information available in both readiness check and test execution reports enable you to eradicate risk to your disaster recovery plan’s viability and reliability. By knowing what will and what will not work ahead of time (e.g. a recovery that takes too long or a VM replica that has not been powered down post-test), you’re able to identify and proactively remediate any plans errors that occur before disaster. This in turn delivers confidence to you and your organization that you will be successful in a real-world event. Luckily in the screenshot below, everything succeeded in my test.

Assuring compliance

Understanding compliance requirements laid out by your organization or an external regulatory body is one thing. Assuring that those compliance requirements have been met today and in the past when undergoing a disaster recovery audit is another, and failure to do so can be a costly repercussion. Veeam Availability Orchestrator’s reports enables you to prove that your plan can meet measures like maximum acceptable outage (MAO) or recovery point objectives (RPO), whether they’re defined by governing bodies like SOX, HIPAA, SEC, or an internal SLA regulation.

If you’d like to learn more about how Veeam Availability Orchestrator can help you meet your disaster recovery documentation needs and more, schedule a demo with your Veeam representative, or download the 30-day FREE trial today. It contains everything you need to get started, even if you’re not currently a Veeam Backup & Replication user.

The post Disaster recovery plan documentation with Veeam Availability Orchestrator appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.


Disaster recovery plan documentation with Veeam Availability Orchestrator

Veeam Availability Console U1 is now available

Source: Veeam

Managed service providers (MSPs) are playing an increasingly critical role in helping businesses of all sizes realize their digital transformation aspirations. The extensive offerings made available to businesses continue to allow them to shift day-to-day management onto you, the MSP, while allowing them to focus on more strategic initiatives. One of the most notable services being backup and recovery.

We introduced Veeam Availability Console in November 2017, a FREE, cloud-enabled management platform built specifically for service providers. Through this console, service providers can remotely manage and monitor the Availability of their customer’s virtual, physical and cloud-based workloads protected by Veeam solutions with ease. And, in just a few short months, we’ve seen incredible adoption across our global Veeam Cloud & Service Provider (VCSP) partner base, with overwhelmingly positive feedback.

Today, I’m happy to announce the General Availability (GA) of Veeam Availability Console U1, bringing with it some of the most hotly requested features to help further address the needs of your service provider business.

Enhanced Veeam Agent support

The initial release of Veeam Availability Console was capable of monitoring Veeam Agents deployed and managed by the service provider through Veeam Availability Console. New to U1 is the ability to achieve greater insights into your customer environments with new support that extends to monitoring and alarms for Veeam Agents that are managed by Veeam Backup & Replication. With this new capability, we’re enabling you to extend your monitoring services to even more Veeam customers that purchase their own Veeam Agents, but still want the expertise that you can bring to their business. And yes, this even includes monitoring support for Veeam Agent for Linux instances that are managed by Veeam Backup & Replication.

New user security group

VCSP partners wanting to delegate Veeam Availability Console access without granting complete control (like local administrator privileges) can now take advantage of the new operator role. This role permits access to everything within Veeam Availability Console essential to the remote monitoring and management of customer environments (you can even assign access to your employees on a company-by-company basis), but excludes access to Veeam Availability Console server configuration settings. Now you can assign access to Veeam Availability Console to your staff without exposing settings of the Veeam Availability Console server.

ConnectWise Manage integration

We’re introducing native integration with ConnectWise Manage. Through this new, seamless integration (available in the plugins library tab), the management, monitoring and billing of Veeam Availability Console-powered cloud backup and Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) can now be consolidated with your other managed service offerings into the single pane of glass that is ConnectWise Manage. This integration makes it easier and more efficient to expand your services portfolio while making administration of multiple, differing managed services much more efficient.

Matt Baldwin, President of Vertisys said, “This integration is exactly what my business needs to streamline our managed backup and DRaaS offering. The interface is clean and intuitive with just the right number of features. We project a yearly savings of 50 to 60 hours.”

Let’s take a closer look at some of the integration points between Veeam Availability Console and ConnectWise Manage.

Mapping companies

Firstly, the integration will help avoid a lot of manually intensive work by automatically synchronizing and mapping companies present in ConnectWise Manage with those in Veeam Availability Console. Automatic mapping is achieved through the company name. Before mapping is fully-complete, Veeam Availability Console allows you to check over what it’s automatically mapped before committing to the synchronization. If no match is found, mapping can be completed manually to an existing company or through the creation of a new company, with the option to send login credentials for the self-service customer portal, too.

Ticket creation

The integration also enables you to more quickly resolve issues before they impact your customers’ business through automatic ticket creation within ConnectWise Manage from Veeam Availability Console alarms. You can specify from the list of available alarms within Veeam Availability Console all those that are capable of triggering a ticket (e.g. failed backup, exceeding quota, etc.), and to which service board within ConnectWise Manage the ticket is posted. We’ve also enabled you with the capability to set delays (e.g. 1 minute, 5 minutes, 15 minutes, etc.) between the alarm occurring and the ticket posting, so issues like a temporary connectivity loss that self-resolves doesn’t trigger a ticket immediately. Every ticket created in ConnectWise Manage is automatically bundled with the corresponding configuration, such as representing a computer managed by Veeam Availability Console. This makes it incredibly easy for support engineers to find which component failed and where to go fix it. The integration also works in reverse, so that when tickets are closed within ConnectWise Manage, the corresponding alarm in Veeam Availability Console will be resolved.

Billing

The final part of the integration extends to billing, reducing complexities for you and your customers by consolidating invoices for all the managed services in your portfolio connected to ConnectWise Manage into a single bill. Not only this, but the integration allows for the automatic creation of new products in ConnectWise Manage, or mapping to existing ones. Service providers can select which agreement Veeam Availability Console-powered services should be added to on a per-customer basis, with agreements updated automatically based on activity, quota usage, etc.

Enhanced scalability

Finally, we’ve enhanced the scalability potential of Veeam Availability Console, enabling you to deliver your services to even more customers. The scalability improvements specifically align to the supported number of managed Veeam Backup & Replication servers, and this is especially useful when paired with the enhanced Veeam Agent support discussed earlier. This ensures optimal operation and performance when managing up to 10,000 Veeam Agents and up to 600 Veeam Backup & Replication servers, protecting 150-200 VMs and Veeam Agents each.

We’re very excited about the new possibilities this latest update will bring for not only your business, but also for your customers’ and their Availability. To get started with these new features of Veeam Availability Console, download the latest update today — it’s FREE!

The post Veeam Availability Console U1 is now available appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.


Veeam Availability Console U1 is now available

Using orchestration to minimize downtime and maximize compliance

Source: Veeam

It seems like it’s almost every day that the news reports another major company outage and as a result, the massive operational, financial and reputational consequences experienced, both short- and long-term. Widespread systemic outages first come to mind when considering disasters and threats to business and IT service continuity. But oftentimes, it’s the overlooked, “smaller” threats that regularly occur. Human error, equipment failure, power outages, malicious threats and data corruption can too bring an entire organization to a complete standstill.

It’s hard to imagine that these organizations suffering the effects of an outage don’t have a disaster recovery plan in place — they most certainly do. But, why do we hear of and experience failure so often?

Challenges with disaster recovery planning

Documenting

At the heart of any successful disaster recovery plan is comprehensive, up-to-date documentation. But with digital transformation placing more reliance on IT, environments are growing larger and more complex, with constant configuration changes. Manually capturing and documenting every facet of IT critical to business continuity is neither efficient or scalable, sending to us our first downfall.

Testing

Frequent, full-scale testing is also critical to the success of a thorough disaster recovery plan, again considering the aforementioned scale and complexity of modern environments — especially those that are multi-site. Paired with the resources required and potential end-user impact of regular testing, the disaster recovery plan’s viability is often untested.

Executing

The likelihood of a successful failover — planned or unplanned — is slim if the disaster recovery plan continues to be underinvested in, becoming out-of-date and untested quickly. Mismatched dependencies, uncaptured changes, improper processes, unverified services and applications and incorrect startup sequences are among the many difficulties when committing to a failover, whether it’s a single application or the entire data center.

Compliance

While it is the effects of an IT outage that first come to mind when considering disaster recovery, one aspect tends to be overlooked — compliance.

Disaster recovery has massive compliance implications — laws, regulations and standards set in place to ensure an organization’s responsibility to the reliability, integrity and Availability of its data. While what constitutes compliance varies from industry to industry, one thing holds true — non-compliance is not an option and brings with it significant financial and reputational risks.

Veeam Availability Orchestrator

To help overcome these common challenges faced by businesses of all sizes and industries, Veeam is very excited to announce that NEW Veeam Availability Orchestrator is now generally available!

Veeam Availability Orchestrator brings a highly automated and resilient orchestration engine for Veeam Backup & Replication replicas, designed specifically to help satisfy compliance requirements, minimize downtime and ensure the continuous delivery of production IT services. Easily reduce the time, cost and effort associated with planning for and recovering from a disaster through the automatic creation, documentation and testing of your disaster recovery plan, fully prepared for C-level executive and stakeholder signoff, proving compliance with industry regulations and audits.

Document your environment

Meet documentation needs for compliance audits, legal requirements and your technical libraries with disaster recovery documentation that is automatically updated and republished as the virtual environment changes, including:

  • Four fully customizable, template-based reports in an easy to consume format
  • The ability to satisfy legal and compliance requirements with disaster recovery documentation delivered on a regular basis, fully-prepared for C-level executive and stakeholder signoff
  • Automatically maintained documentation with up-to-date data as the virtual environment changes

Test your disaster recovery plan

Prove recoverability through automated disaster recovery plan testing and readiness checks with zero impact on production systems, reducing costs through the avoidance of expensive manual processes and the ability to:

  • Easily execute both on-demand and scheduled testing and recovery verification
  • Access real-time reports and dashboards for plan readiness, execution and testing
  • Regularly test plan readiness without impacting production environment performance and its users

Veeam Availability Orchestrator

Execute your disaster recovery plan

Ensure IT service continuity and minimize service disruption through the failover and failback of multi-site disaster recovery plans for planned migrations, disaster avoidance and disaster recovery, including:

  • VM, Application and service verification — like Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server and IIS — during failover, with predefined startup sequences
  • Integrate failover execution into other business continuity tools through an open API
  • Regulate access to disaster recovery resources with delegated, role-based access control

Veeam Availability Orchestrator

Summary

Compliance regulations and digital transformation initiatives — and the resulting stresses on IT for accountability and Availability — make planning for and recovering from disaster challenging. Veeam Availability Orchestrator brings a purpose-built solution designed to help satisfy compliance requirements and ensure the continuity of IT services and the business.

 

DOWNLOAD the free trial now!

The post Using orchestration to minimize downtime and maximize compliance appeared first on Veeam Software Official Blog.

Using orchestration to minimize downtime and maximize compliance