Tag Archives: Backup

Manually updating the Veeam Proxy Transport and Mount services

With the release of v9 hitting the Internets on Tuesday I’ve been a very busy man upgrading various Veeam Consoles, Proxies, and Repositories.  With nearly 70 different locations to look after you can imagine the amount of proxies and repositories I have, both on and off site all requiring their respective Veeam services to be upgraded.  Mix that together with a few slower WAN connections and I can almost bet that the automated component update that Veeam ships with will naturally fail on a couple servers.

Want the tl;dr version?
Packages are in c:\Program Files\Veeam\Backup and Replication\Packages – copy them to your failed server and install 🙂

 

Failed to upgrade host components

When this happens to me usually I get some sort of error message like the following

TransportErrorVeeam

For the most part, re-running the automated component update will fix the issue, but there are times when it fails, again, and again, and again.  Usually by the third time I resort to manual intervention.

Manually installing the transport/mount service

First up you need to get a hold of the installation files.  These are located on your Veeam Backup and Replication server under the path C:\Program Files\Veeam\Backup and Replication\Packages – You will find there the individual packages for each service that Veeam provides (mount, transport, tape, etc).  Depending on what services your proxy is providing you may need an number of these.  Since my server was acting as a repository as well as a proxy I simply needed the transport and mount server packages (VeeamTransport.msi and VeeamMountService.msi respectively).  Also, don’t forget that Veeam relies heavily on the .NET framework so you must keep that updated as well – you can find the redistributable installation package for that within the packages folder along side the others (NDP452-KB2901907-x86-x64-AllOS-ENU.exe)

Installation is just like any other install – your typical Next->Next->Done type of scenario.  Once you have ran the required packages head back to Veeam Backup and Replication.  If you are still on the component update screen a ‘refresh’ should update the status of the packages – if not, a rescan of your server within the Backup Infrastructure section is required.

So that’s that – as it turns out the issue on why my installation was failing during the automated process was due to lack of disk space, but nonetheless this is good information to have – If you are looking for more information in regards the the new features within Veeam Backup and Replication v9 I’ve done a post here – feel free to check it out!.

 

Quickfix – Mass editing Veeam VM Attribute settings with PowerShell

Hi – I’m Mike – you may remember me from such blogs as, oh this one last year!  I know, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything, moreso, published anything.  It’s been a hectic couple of months and I’ve got a ton of drafts sitting just waiting to be touched up so stay tuned – I promise to be a bit more visible in the next coming weeks!  Anyways I called this a quick fix so I guess I should get to the point…

VeeamVMAttributeThere is a setting within the notification options inside Veeam Backup and Replication that allows you to write some details to a processed VMs annotations section.  Now I’ve never had a use for this…until now.  I was reporting on a wide variety of things in regards to specific VMs, and having the last successful backup was one of the things that I wanted to report on.  This was within an asp.net application, and dropping to PowerShell and loading up the Veeam cmdlets was something I just didn’t feel like coding within the application.  Also, accessing the Veeam REST API was out of the question seeing as these VMs were being processed by Veeam Standard lisenses – REST is only available within Veeam’s Enterprise Plus offering.  Since I was already connected the vSphere API to gather a bunch of information such as CPU and Memory usage I thought by having Veeam write the last successful backup to the Notes field within vSphere would be a good alternative, as I could just gather that info with the same API calls I was making to vSphere.

One problem presented itself – I had roughly 50 different jobs within the Veeam Backup and Replication deployment that needed to be updated in order to make it happen.  Naturally I looked to automation for the solution – and I found it with PowerShell.  In order to completely enable this feature, and turn off the ‘append’ option you have to touch two different spots within Veeam PowerShell; one, the Set-VBRJobAdvancedViOptions (to enable the actual writing to VM Attributes) and another by setting the VmNotesAppend flag within the ViSourceOptions object.

Its a simple script, and honestly you probably don’t care, or didn’t read any of the introduction stuff above – I know how things work, you came here for the script – well, here its…

$jobs = Get-VBRJob

foreach ($job in $jobs)
{
  $job | Set-VBRJobAdvancedViOptions -SetResultsToVmAttribute $True
  $joboptions = $job.GetOptions()
  $joboptions.ViSourceOptions.VmNotesAppend = $False 
  $job.SetOptions($joboptions)
}

There you have it!  A simple script that peels through all the VBR Jobs within a console, enables the writing to the VM Attribute, and disables the append flag.  An easy script but useful none the less 🙂

Friday Shorts – #VMUG, nmcli, All flash VSAN, Altaro and more…

Why hello there – it’s been a while – It’s been a busy couple of months with work, conferences and home life and blogging has been put on the back burner for a bit.  I mean hey, I live in Canada and I need to get ready for the winter eh!  It’s a “Game of Thrones” winter around here!  Fear not over the past couple of months I’ve been doing some awesome things with Ravello, with a vSphere 6 upgrade, and some other awesome automation and orchestration stuff so I have a lot of posts filed under the idea category – so there is no lack of content to be written!  All that said for now let’s just have a look at some great community posts.

More advantage to the VMUG advantage

vmugVMUG Advantage has many benefits including free NFR software evals, discounted training, certification, and conference fees, discount codes for software and labs and more – but now we can add one more item to that list.  As of now VMUG is offering $600 of service credit with vCloud Air OnDemand.  I’ve reviewed vCloud Air OnDemand and can say that $600 is more than enough to get you in there and playing around for the year!  This is yet another great benefit to the VMUG Advantage program so if you haven’t bought it – do it!

Unexpected Signal: 11

VMware LogoDid you jump to get vSphere 5.5 Update 3 installed and running in your environment?  If so you might want to check out this VMware KB which outlines that the snapshot consolidation process may cause your VMs to fail with the above, well descripted, error message Smile  Sorry, nothing funny about if you are running any backup solution that may utilizing the VADP to free up disks for processing!   Anyways, downgrade, power off VMs and consolidate, or redeploy 5.5 are your resolution options for now!

Linux Networking through vRO

vmware-vcenter-orchestrator-vco-logo-150x150If you love vRO and automation and you don’t follow the vCOTeam blog then you should, do that first before continuing any further.  There, now that that’s out of the way have a look at this very detailed post in regards to configuring networking with Linux using nmcli, or better yet doing the whole thing through a vRO workflow – Awesome stuff!

All Flash VSAN in the homelab

tier-whatJason Langer (@jaslanger) has a great article about spinning (err flashing) up an All Flash VSAN setup in his homelab – showing you both the hard and the easy way this is a great guide for those looking to test out AF VSAN in their spare time (you know, when you aren’t building lego and what not Smile)

Rubrik and vRealize Orchestrator

rubrik_press_bg1Well, if you are a Rubrik customer and you are a vRO lover then I suggest you head over to Eric Shanks’ blog as he (and Nick Colyer) has a slew of blog posts related to vRO and Rubrik and how to do just about anything utilizing the API’s that Rubrik provides.

Speaking of backup – Altaro is now on the scene

altaro-vm-backup-500x257There’s a new player in the backup space when looking at protecting VMware virtual machines!  I had a chance to sit on the beta for the Altaro VMware backup and albeit I didn’t have a lot of time to check it all out I did get it installed and configured some backups and liked what I saw!  There have been a lot of community reviews of their software and first impressions are very positive – anyways, all the data protection junkies can check them out here.

Rubrik brought Apple simplicity and Google scale together, you’ll never guess what happens next…

logo-large-gray-wpcf_100x48Finally I have figured out a way to incorporate techniques from the vast amounts of click-bait on my Facebook into this blog!  Did it work?

In all seriousness though Rubrik, who recently presented at Virtualization Field Day 5 in Boston have brought together both the simplicity of Apple and the scale of Google and what happened next was a scalable, converged backup and recovery solution containing both hardware and software.

Disclaimer: As a Virtualization Field Day 5 delegate all of my flight, travel, accommodations, eats, and drinks are paid for. However I do not receive any compensation nor am I required to write anything in regards to the event or the sponsors. This is done at my own discretion.

Now, all the time I hear people moan about backup solutions, shrug them off and say they are boring – I for one am not one of those people – I find the backup and recovery space very interesting and honestly there has been a ton of innovation in this space over the last 10 years that has made backup solutions more than just a simply copy of your data – it’s been quite fun to watch…but backup and recovery has a lot of players in the game right now so what really can Rubrik bring to the plate?

Rubrik – Time machine for Cloud Infrastructure

The biggest and most prominent difference that sets Rubrik apart is that they are one of really only a few vendors that ship their backup solution as a physical appliance.  While most backup vendors ship a software solution and leave it up to the customer to decide what to use for their backup storage, Rubrik is scale-out solution that comes with both the software and hardware.  There first shipping product is the R300, supporting roughly 200 VMs with around 100TB of storage available.

bezel--top

With control of the storage as well as the software Rubrik is able to leverage it’s various storage tiers in order to make both the backup and recovery process more efficient.  Take Instant VM Recovery for example – although this is not a new feature, we’ve seen a lot of backup solutions integrate the ability to simply power-on their VMs directly from a backup file, Rubirk can go once step further by granting flash resources to the instantly restored VM as they seem fit – essentially turning your backup appliance into a tier 2 storage array, instantly restoring a new copy of your VM – allowing you to run the VM on the Rubrik appliance with full storage resources until you see a fitting time to migrate it back to your production array.  During the backup process Rubrik is also able to ingest the initial bits into their flash tier, allowing a much quicker response back to vCenter and keeping the amount of time snapshots are open very minimal.  From there data is deduplicated and compressed inline before being written down to another tier of disks or even into the cloud

Wait did you say cloud?

Another nice feature that Rubrik has built-in is Amazon S3 integration.  Essentially when you set policies on a per VM basis you not only specify the number of restore points you want on disk, but you can also state that data which is x number of years old be maintained inside of Amazon.  Thus providing customers with somewhat of an archiving solution, and saving money on needing to purchase additional local storage for these purposes.  When it comes time to restoring data from Amazon, Rubrik has technology built-in to simply pull individual files down from Amazon, without having to pull down the entire VM or vmdk– certainly saving an organization a bit of money in transport costs if you only need to get at individual files.

If you are looking for more delegate and community opinions in regards to Rubrik and the technology they are creating I’d recommend the following…

Rubrik definitely has some awesome technology built into their 1.0 product which is heavily focused around their metadata foundation.  Having control over both the hardware and software has certainly gave them many advantages; fast search, quick recovery and more control over how the backup data gets laid out on their tiered storage platform.  They do have some areas where they are behind, things like object level recovery such as emails, active directory objects, databases, etc.  but to me the real key on the success of Rubrik will hinge around pricing – they told us it’s not going to break the bank – but honestly, a lot of the time backup solutions get thrown down to a second tier budget line and are not in the forefront of strategic IT decisions – so having to drop a large sum of money on insurance policy may not be in the cards for some IT shops.  That said, it’s 1.0 and they have done a lot in the last year and a bit they have been in existence – including adding some really smart and well known people to their staff.  Rubrik is certainly a company to keep an eye on in the coming year as they have built a solid, efficient foundation on which they layered their backup solution – So far they have “taken the backup out of recovery” and I can’t wait to see what they do next…

You can see more of my Virtualization Field Day 5 coverage here, as well as all of the recorded streams here.

#VFD5 Preview – Rubrik

logo-large-gray-wpcf_100x48There has been much a buzz about Rubrik over the last few weeks with them going GA and coming up with oh, you know, a cool 41 mil in series B funding.  Certainly if you haven’t heard of them before you can probably recognize their name now!  I for one, had not looked at their solutions at all.  I’ve heard the name, but never gave it a look!  That will change come June 25th at Virtualization Field Day 5 when Rubrik takes the stage to deep dive into what they dub “The worlds first converged data management platform”.

Disclaimer: As a Virtualization Field Day 5 delegate all of my flight, travel, accommodations, eats, and drinks are paid for. However I do not receive any compensation nor am I required to write anything in regards to the event or the sponsors. This is done at my own discretion.

So what exactly is a data management platform?

It’s most certainly a fancy name but for sure it’s much much more.  In simple terms you can think of the Rubrik appliance (Brik) as a backup appliance – a backup appliance that is architected in such a way that you can scale to thousands of nodes depending on the amount of data you are looking to protect.  Currently they offer their r330, which is 3 node appliance with 10TB of disk and a r340, a 4 node appliance with 15 TB of disk.

Wait – did you say backup?

Sure, there are a lot of players in the backup space.  We have our traditional players that have seen it all.  Companies like Symantec and EMC come to mind.  Then virtualization came along and we started to see backup solutions being purpose built for virtualization.  Veeam, Unitrends, Trilead are near the top of the list.  So with all of these companies still at play within the data center backup space do we have room for one more?  Can Rubrik differentiate themselves from the others?

So what makes Rubrik unique?

Appliance driven – With the exception of Unitrends I don’t see many backup vendors coming in the form of a full appliance.  Essentially what Rubrik has done is take the software and hardware requirements of their backup solutions and deliver it in a 2U scaleable appliance architecture.  Speaking of scale Rubrik building block architecture allows all tasks and operations to be ran on top of any node within their cluster – therefore, the more nodes you add don’t just expand capacity, but should also increase performance and availability as well.

Global File Search – This one is a big feature in my opinion.  There has been countless times where someone I support has came up to me looking for a file to be restored, but can’t remember where they saved that file.  “I just clicked it from my recent documents” they normally say.  Rubrik has a file search capability that spans across all of your VMs and actually incorporates auto complete functionality – a little like Google for your backups.

Multi-Tiered Storage – Man!  Some companies are just getting around to incorporating some kind of auto tiering in their production storage – Rubrik are doing it in your backup storage.  What this does is increase efficiency and speed.  All data sent to the Rubrik appliance enters through a flash tier – and we all know the benefits of flash.  The flash tier also provides the basis for the global file search magic as it stores all meta data on SSD as well.

Cloud Integrated – Well Amazon S3 anyways.  Users are able to chose where backups are located, whether that be on premises or inside Amazon!  A great solution for any of those backups that you are required to save for long-term and are seldom accessed!

I mentioned earlier that I don’t know a lot about Rubrik – In fact all that I know is what I’ve written in this blog post!  The buzz surrounding Rubrik has been nothing short of amazing so I’m excited to see what they have to offer and what separates them out from the already established players in the market!  On June 25th @ 10:30 we will see what Rubrik has to offer.  You too can watch the live stream on the VFD5 event page or on my VFD5 event page where all of my content and blogs about the show will be posted.

#VFD5 Preview – OneCloud

med-vert-notag-wpcf_93x60Am I looking forward to the presentation at Virtualization Field Day 5 from OneCloud?  I have no idea!  Why?  Well, here is a company that I know absolutely nothing about!  I can’t remember ever coming across OneCloud in any of my journey’s or conferences!  Honestly, I think this is the first company that is the only company that is presenting at VFD that I have absolutely no clue about what they do…

Disclaimer: As a Virtualization Field Day 5 delegate all of my flight, travel, accommodations, eats, and drinks are paid for. However I do not receive any compensation nor am I required to write anything in regards to the event or the sponsors. This is done at my own discretion.

That will certainly change fast

OneCloud will present at VFD5 on June 24th at 1:00 PM where I’m sure we will all be enlightened a little more on the solutions they provide.  That said I don’t like going in cold, knowing nothing about someone – thus, this preview blog post will at least help me understand a little bit about everything OneCloud has to offer…

So let’s start from the ground up.  OneCloud is essentially a management platform for a hybrid cloud play.  Their core technology, the Automated Cloud Engine (ACE) is the base to where they provide other services.  From what I can tell ACE essentially facilitates the discovery of your on premises data center, taking into account all of your VMs, physical storage and networking information.  From here, ACE can take different business objectives and transform these into API calls in order to essentially replicate all your infrastructure into the public cloud – for now, it appears to be just Amazon’s AWS which is supported.

The service running on top of ACE is OneCloud Recovery.  OneCloud Recovery allows organizations to facilitate a disaster recovery or business continuity solution involving the public cloud as the primary target – skipping costs and complexity of implementing a second or third site on premises.

Diagram-4

So here is how it all happens from start to finish – OneCloud is deployed into your environment, via the virtual appliance route.  Another instance is also deployed into Amazon.  From there it auto discovers your environment; your networking setup, storage configurations, data and applications are all tied together and somewhat of a blueprint of your environment is created.  You then use their policy engine to apply RTO and RPO objectives to your applications.  OneCloud will then provision a fully functioning virtual data center in Amazon – one that mirrors your environment in terms of networking and configuration.  OneCloud not only duplicates your environment into Amazon, but it will also optimize both your compute and storage in order to minimize costs.  Meaning it will scale down on CPU where it believes it can and place your data onto the most cost effective storage.  Once your data is there OneCloud performs ongoing replication in order to meet the RPO you have selected.  From there it’s just a matter of performing your normal DR tests and engaging in any failover (and failback) operations.

OneCloud seems to have some interesting technology and I’m looking forward to learning more at VFD5.  Some questions for OneCloud that come to mind – How do they compare to VMware’s vCloud Air DR services?   Do they plan on expanding out to other public clouds such as Google, Azure, or vCloud Air?  With a strong software base in ACE do they plan on moving outside just the DR/BC realm – things such as DevOps and public cloud labs come to mind.   I really like how they are abstracting away what can be some very complicated API calls to Amazon – any time a company provides a solution that involves simplicity it’s always a good thing, but especially so when dealing with the complex networking and configuration of public cloud and disaster recovery.  If you would like to learn more about OneCloud with me you can do so by watching the live stream on the VFD5 event page.  That stream, along with any other content created by myself will be posted on my VFD5 event page as well.

What does VMTurbo, Starwind, Unitrends and the Habs have in common? Friday shorts that’s what!

And another installment of Friday Shorts – a spot for me to share some awesomeness I’ve found on the interwebs, upcoming events and info from some awesome blog sponsors, and just random thoughts around events and news that might not quite fit within the niche of this blog – basically a mashup of my brain!

First up – free passes to VMworld

VMTurboLogoSmVMworld is sneaking up faster than you think!  Have you got your conference pass yet?  If not why not help ease the pain on your company by letting VMTurbo pick up the conference pass for you?  Along with ensuring performance and maximizing efficiency in your data center the folks at VMTurbo are doing their best put a full VMworld US conference pass in the hands of three people – you can sign up here and the drawings for the three passes take place on May 29th, June 19th, and July 10th!  Good luck!

More freebies from Unitrends

unitrendsSo VMTurbo has you covered for the conference pass how’s about getting a little money to help cover the travel costs from Unitrends (trust me you will need it – the prices of hotels are crazy this year in San Fran).  Just this week Unitrends released Unitrends Free – a completely free, full featured backup solution for up to 1TB of data – I reviewed it here if you missed it!  Anyways, asides from putting a completely free backup product into your lab or data center Unitrends has a gig going right now where you can win a $1500 Visa Giftcard, just for downloading and registering FREE software.  You have till the end of June on this one so best get signed up!

Upcoming Starwind webinar

starwind_softwareStarwind Software, a long time mwpreston.net sponsor and creator of Starwind Virtual SAN have a webinar coming up on May 20 titled Snapshots vs Replication – chosing the right data protection strategy, presented by Chris Evans. If your interested I definitely recommend checking it out as making the choice between snapshots and replication and/or both are key in developing a fool proof data protection strategy!  Also, if you haven’t checked out Starwind Virtual SAN I would take a look at it as well.  I’ve used their free version in the lab numerous times for different projects!

EMC virtual VNX

EMC-LogoConference season is among us and with that comes a slew of releases and announcements.  One that caught my attention coming out of EMCworld was the release of a community edition of the VNXe software.  Shipped as an OVA you can simply load it into your environment and get the functionality and software stack of a VNXe, but without the dedicated storage hardware and controllers.  I love messing around with all different types of storage and VSA’s in the lab so I’ll for sure be looking at this a little closer!

Au reviour les habitants

priceAnd last but not least, and certainly the saddest news of the week is the second round exit from the Stanley Cup playoffs for my beloved habs!  Honestly the bleu, blanc, et rouge had a great season, picking up 110 points and finishing 2nd overall in the eastern conference.  Their goalie, Carey Price had a career year – picking up nominations for both the Hart (League MVP) and Vezina (Best Goalie), and more than likely will take both these trophies home this summer.  That said expectations around hockey in Montreal are high and a second round exit overshadows all the success that they had!  Anyways we know Carey probably doesn’t care about those two trophies and is now out of the running for the only one he wanted.  All that said the Habs have a great core, and they are young – so hopefully we see improvements for years to come – they will need to pick up another top 6 forward though if they want to go anywhere in the post season!  At the end, they are now on the links and hopefully that means a little more time for me to work on this blog 🙂  Au revoir! Ole!

Unitrends Free equals Free Unitrends!

Recently Unitrends have released a free product cleverly titled Unitrends Free.  The product, which is unlimited in terms of VMs, sockets, scheduling will allow members of the Unitrends community to protect 1TB of VMs absolutely free, forever!  I had the chance to get on the beta for this product and loved every bit of it.  It’s a great product with a beautiful UI – and given the price (FREE) I would certainly recommend you give Unitrends Free a shot to see if you have a place for it.

Installation

Installation of Unitrends Free is a breeze – after meeting a couple of requirements in terms of .net 3.5 and 4.0 configurations you simply point the installer to either and ESXi host or vCenter server within your environment – from there you specify desired storage locations and IP information for your Unitrends appliance.  You can also chose to size your backup storage at this point – allowing you to add a disk to the appliance.

Installations storage

From there the magic of automation takes over as your Unitrends Free appliance ovf is deployed, powered on, network configured, virtual disk for backup storage is added and finally a browser is opened putting you directly into a configuration wizard where items such as NTP, SMTP, hostname, and root passwords are setup.

installwizard

Once completed we move directly into the newly redesigned Unitrends Free user interface.

Speaking of UI

Wow!  They say that first impressions count and this one really did with me.  I love the design and intuitiveness of this user interface.  It’s very clean, lots of whitespace, and very very easy to use.  The default dashboard makes it easy to see all the important aspects about  the health of your backup environment; the performance and speed, the unprotected VMs, any active jobs as well as the status and capacity of your storage.  To top that if you are a member of the Unitrends Community forum you can see to the top posts here as well (which is where support for the product is provided BTW).  All of this, on one single section of the UI.

UnitrendsUI[1]

Getting up and running

addvCenter[4]Pretty is definitely a selling factor but functionality is key  There are only a few things you need to do to get running with UF.  First, we simply need to add our vCenter server or ESXi host as what Unitrends calls a ‘Protected Asset’.  This is done on the ‘Protected Assets’ tab inside of the ‘Configure’ section by clicking ‘Add’.  From there enter in the standard fqdn/ip and authentication information for vCenter and save.

Now that we have configured our vCenter we can begin the process of setting up a backup job.  Clicking ‘Create Job’ from the ‘Jobs’ section will get us there.  The backup job creation is very intuitive; first selecting which VMs we want inside the job from the tree view and then defining a few job settings revolving around scheduling and backup verification.

createjob1[1] createjob2[1]

Your backup job status can be monitored  through the ‘Active Jobs’ tab in the “Jobs’ section of the UI, however to get a very clean quick overview of our complete environment we can head to the ‘Protect’ section – As shown below we can see that we have a successful backup for the OnIceEntertaintment VM on Thursday but we have yet to process a backup of the Scoreboard VM.  A very nice overview of just how protected our environment is.  And, if we desired, we could simply select our VM from this view, click ‘Backup’ and create a job directly from here as well.

protectionoverview

Unitrends Free also offers deduplication and compression as it pertains to storing your backed up VMs.  I can tell you that the OnIceEntertainment VM was just over 2GB in size, and when Unitrends was all said and done with it the amount of data laid down during the first full backup to the storage, after deduplication and compression, was just under 1GB – a 50% reduction – not bad.  An incremental backup after laying down another 1GB file to the VM resulted in another 200MB of space being utilized – not too shabby : 0.  The first full backup of my VM took a mere 2.5 minutes, with the incremental taking only 1.5 minutes.  Even though it is a small VM these are still pretty impressive performance statistics.

Backups are processed in what Unitrends calls an Incremental Forever strategy – meaning we have an initial full backup followed by daily incremental backups.  The appliance will automatically create synthetic full backups from the existing incremental backups in order to ensure very quick restores in the event you need them.

incrementalforever

Recovery

RecoverOptions Let’s face it – we can backup to our hearts delight but when push comes to shove it’s the recovery that we really need to be top notch!  Unitrends Free provides three different recovery options as it pertains to your virtual machines; recovering the entire VM, individual file level recovery, and instant recovery.

Recovering the entire VM is pretty self explanatory – you simply select your restore point, provide the location in which you want to restore to and Unitrends will restore a complete duplicate of your VM.  In my testing, the 3GB OnIceEntertainment VM was restored in only 3.5 minutes.

That said, if you can’t wait the 3.5 minutes Unitrends also provides the instant recovery option.  Instant Recovery reserves a portion of your appliance backup storage for use as an NFS datastore which gets mounted directly to your hosts.  From there, VMs are recovered and powered on within vSphere utilizing the actual backup files stored on the Unitrends appliance.  What this does is provide a super fast way to recover your VMs – mine was up and responding to pings within 2 minutes.  From there the VM is relocated to a datastore (utilizing Storage vMotion) of your choosing during the restore wizard.  Instant Recovery is a great way to get VMs up and running quickly, while ensuring that they eventually get moved back to a production datastore.  Instant Recovery also provides an “Audit Mode” which allows us to simply ensure that the backup itself is indeed restorable.  When/if you wish to end your Instant Recovery job you can do so by clicking ‘Tear Down’ from the Instant Recovery tab.

instant recovery

If you aren’t looking for a complete VM restore and just need a simple file that may have been deleted off of your VM then the File Level Recovery option is the way to go.  The FLR does not actually perform an restoration of files to your VMs, but provides accessibility to your desired restore point utilizing either a CIFS or iSCSI connection to your Unitrends appliance.  The intention is that you and/or the app owner would simply connect to either the CIFS share or iSCSI target and perform the actual copying of data back to your VM or other desired location manually.  This is basically an Instant Recovery with no visibility into the VM from vSphere and only internal network access into the recovered VM from the Unitrends appliance.  Once the files have been recovered the backups are then un-mounted from the Unitrends appliance by clicking ‘Remove’

flr

Is it worth the price?

Given that the product is FREE, yes FREE I would definitely say so.  It does a lot of things well, backup, restore, reporting, etc.… and it has one of the nicest user interfaces that I’ve seen – it’s clean, easy to use, and very intuitive.  Not once did I have to ready any manuals and/or forums to perform any of the backups or restores.  Not that they don’t exist because they do – support also exists for the product as well.  Unitrends Free is designed bo be a product for the community and keeping true to the community philosophy this is offered through the Unitrends Free Community forums as well as through a multitude of knowledge base articles.  Although I only tested with vSphere the product does support Hyper-V as well, which is also FREE!    The product is unlimited in terms of the number of VMs, sockets, retention and scheduling – this is all included in the free edition.  You will be limited however to 1TB of protected capacity.

Honestly I think this is a great product and I like the way that Unitrends are marketing this as a “community” product.  As always I encourage you to go ahead and check it out for yourself  and let me know what you think – you can’t go wrong being that the price is free.

Note: I was given compensation from Unitrends in exchange for getting on their beta, checking out Unitrends Free and posting my thoughts around it!  Key here is that they are my thoughts – Unitrends in no way told me what to say or how to say it!

Veeam announces GA of Veeam Endpoint Backup

During their first inaugural VeeamON conference last October Veeam announced the beta of Veeam Endpoint Backup.  I wrote a little overview in regards to Endpoint Backup in case you need a refresher.  Now, Veeam’s Backup and Replication has long been infamous for being purpose built for the virtual data center, and Endpoint Backup is the companies answer to bringing the same great Veeamy-tech to your physical laptops and desktops.  Today, that announced beta has ended and Veeam Endpoint Backup is now generally available.

So what’s changed since the beginning of the beta?

VeeamEndpointA lot actually!  Being in beta for 6 months has really helped Veeam to ensure that they are releasing a genuinely, tried and tested, rock solid product into the market.  In fact, throughout the beta many of the new features now included in Endpoint Backup were suggested by users just like you and me on the community forums surrounding the beta.  Veeam, like always have done a great job taking into account user feedback and delivering a product that’s packed full of useful features and “just works”.  There are a lot of features to VEB and you can see them all here – but, I’d like to go over a few of my favorites.

Integration between VEB and VBR

Coupling Patch #2 of Veeam Backup and Replication (released later this month) alongside the GA of Veeam Endpoint Backup brings some awesome functionality of being able to monitor, control and restore endpoint backups within VBR.  By backing our endpoints up directly inside a Veeam backup repository we are now able to take advantage of many of the traditional VBR restore goodies with our physical backups.  Aside from simply file level recovery, application items, such as being able to restore SQL tables, Exchange and Active Directory objects – they can all be performed on our physical backups now as well.  Although the product is geared towards endpoints, meaning desktops and laptops, I see no reason why you couldn’t install it on some of those last physical servers you have laying around.  In fact, Veeam says themselves that although it isn’t built for servers it will work on Server 2008 and above.

VeeamEndpointToVBR

Veeam has added the ability to export our physical disks from the backups directly into a vmdk, vhd, or vhdx file as well.  Now this isn’t a true P2V process, they aren’t removing any drivers or services or preparing the disk to be virtual in any way – this isn’t their intention.  This is simply another way to recover, another way to get the data you need – and honestly, if you wanted to try and build a VM out of these exported disks I’m sure there will be posts around the process out there in the next few months on how to do so.

SecPermissions

In terms of security Veeam has added the ability for administrators to set access restrictions on their backup repositories.  What this does is allows us to grant access to certain repositories to certain users, while restricting access to others.

Aside from the new integration, Veeam Endpoint Backups which are stored in a Veeam backup repository can also take advantage of existing VBR features, such as encrypting your backups, traffic throttling, monitoring incoming backups, email status alerts and support for Backup Copy and Tape jobs to get those backups offsite.

It’s not just about B&R

Sure, the integration’s with VBR are pretty cool but they aren’t the only thing that’s included.   Yeah, we have all of the traditional endpoint backup features like incremental’s, multiple target options, and scheduling but it wouldn’t be a Veeam product without a few extra goodies baked in.  I’m not going to go in depth about them all, but listed below are a few of my favorites

Full support for Bitlocker drive encryption – This gives you the ability to de-encrypt your Bitlocker backups before restoring, directly from with the Endpoint GUI.

Ability to control the power state of computer post backup – If you have your computer set to backup at the end of your work day, you can leave knowing that once your backup has completed Veeam will, in true green fashion, power down your workstation.

Backup triggers such as “When backup target is connected” – Veeam will monitor for when you plug in that external USB drive or connect to the network that you have setup as your backup target and can trigger the backup process immediately there after.

Support for rotated USB drives – If you want to rotate your backups on one USB drive one week and another the next, Veeam Endpoint Backup can handle this for you, allowing you to backup to one drive while the other goes offsite.

On-battery detection – Backups can be automatically prevented from starting when Veeam detects that your laptop is running on-battery and contains less than 20% run time – ensuring VEB doesn’t chew up valuable power in your time of need 🙂

So what hasn’t changed?

freeWe talked about what has changed since the beta bits were first shipped in November but perhaps the most important and most cared about feature lands in the “What hasn’t changed?” category.  What hasn’t changed is that Veeam Endpoint Backup was put into beta as a free product and will remain free now that it is generally available.  Veeam has a long history of providing free tools for the community, they have Backup and Replication Free, SQL/Active Directory, Exchange Explorers are free, the old FastSCP which was free and now Veeam Endpoint Backup Free!  There should be no barrier to stopping you from going and checking out VBR for yourself.

Now in my VeeamON post I tried to determine the future of this product, where it would fit in, what features Veeam would add to it – and honestly I was way off on a lot of them – but one I was sure would come would be the integration with Backup and Replication – and it’s here now!  Do I think Veeam are done innovating in this area?  Absolutely not!  From my experiences Veeam is a company that never stops moving.  I’m excited to see Veeam Endpoint Backup go GA, and I’m excited to see what the future holds.

Veeam Endpoint Backup – Bringing Veeaminess to your physical endpoints

veeam_logoToday (Wednesday) at VeeamON brought with it some of the biggest news to come out of the conference.  Veeam has officially announced the arrival of Veeam Endpoint Backup, a solution enabling IT shops to backup their physical Windows desktops and laptops, but do it in a similar style as to how we currently backup our virtual infrastructure with Veeam Backup and Replication.  Oh, one more important key to this announcement is that  Veeam Endpoint Backup is absolutely free – I thought that ensued a worthy mention in the first paragraph!

But you can’t hot-add my laptop?

Ok, let’s take a look at what we know thus far about how this works.  Basically we are looking at a package that is installed directly on our endpoint.  From there, we can chose to backup our entire system, individual volumes, or specify individual files to be part of our backup job.  Easy enough thus far right?  As for targets, or where we are going to backup to we have a few options – we can backup to a drive attached to the source machine, such as a USB or SATA disk, we can point our job to a NAS device or to a file server via a CIFS share, or, perhaps the most appealing to me, we could backup a Veeam Backup and Replication repository.  From there its just a matter of setting up your retention settings and you are set to go with physical protection provided by Veeam

The restore process is much the same as the backup, meaning we can perform file or volume level restores, as well as complete bare-metal restores.  Veeam has also provided the option to create a recovery type USB key that can be used to boot the endpoint in the event that you aren’t able to get to Windows in order to do the restore.

So what’s and endpoint?

Veeam has stated that this is not an Enterprise product and its main purpose is to provide protection for your Windows desktops and laptops.  That said the list of OS support includes Windows 7 and up, as well as Windows Server 2008 and up – so essentially we could have a Veeam solution for our physical infrastructure.  One can see how this would be very appealing to IT shops that have only a handful of physical servers left and might be currently using another solution alongside Veeam to back these up.

Oh and it all can be yours for only FREE

Veeam has a long history of releasing free products and tools to the virtualization community.  We’ve seen it happen with products like Backup and Replication and Veeam One.  We’ve also seen separate standalone tools come out for free such as the Veeam Explorers and the highly popular FastSCP.  Following that same model comes Veeam Endpoint Backup.  Offered free to everyone and supported with a “best-effort” type model.  Veeam states they simply want to get this product into the hands of IT Professionals in order to get feedback and look at future expansion.

What the future holds

crystal-ballVeeam touting that they want feedback for future expansion isthe key here – I would love to see some functionality like this built in to Veeam Backup and Replication – allowing us to remotely install some sort of Veeam agent and setup backup jobs directly from within the centralized console.  I’m not saying this is going to happen, but it does seem like a logical step for Veeam to take with the product – and maybe that’s the plan seeing as this is a separate product targeted at client machines, leaving the doors open to provide physical server protection from elsewhere, say Veeam Backup and Replication.  This would allow us to use our enterprise type features such as application aware processing as well as things like SureBackup and virtual labs on our physical infrastructure.  Or even open up doors for having a physical server replicated to a virtual machine.  Of course this is all just me sitting on the Cosmopolitan balcony speculating while recovering from the VeeamON party last night – and could turn out to simply be the advil talking 🙂   Even if they do hold steady with just endpoint protection I’m excited to see where Veeam will take it.  Veeam is a company that is constantly releasing very innovative features into their products so you never know what you might find inside a 3.x or 4.x version of Veeam Endpoint Backup.

But, back to reality – Veeam Endpoint Backup is here now, it’s cool, it’s free and it’s going into a public beta come November of this year.  How do I sign up – follow the white (green) rabbit to this page and simply provide your email and you can be the first to know when Veeam Endpoint Backup Free hits the internets!  For now we wait, keep calm, and VeeamON!

mwpreston at #VeeamON

I’m super excited to say that I will be attending the first annual VeeamON conference coming up in October in fabulous Las Vegas!  I’ve been a long time supporter of Veeam and their flagship product Veeam Backup and Replication so when I heard they were going to have three full days of deep technical sessions I knew right away that I needed to be there!

veeamon

What might I mean by deep technical sessions?   Well, you can take a peak at the session catalog to get a feel for what we are in store for.  Topics like working with the Veeam REST api, best practices for backing up SQL/Exchange/AD, and Storage/Network best practices are certainly ones that jump out at me.  I’ve had a lot of ideas for blog posts and projects centred around some of the subjects so hopefully having access to all the Veeam Experts at the conference will give me the final push to finally finish some of these up.

Also, we have already seen some of the new features that Veeam Backup and Replication v8 has to offer.  Thinks like Replication from Backups, Failover Plans and Backup encryption have all been well documented and the product is well into it’s beta phase.  That said, I get the feeling that we haven’t heard the whole story around Veeam v8 and I bet there will be some super awesome features unveiled during VeeamON – don’t hold me to that though, it’s simply my personal opinion.

If you haven’t had a look at the agenda I suggest you do that as well.  Veaam has landed some great speakers for keynotes and general sessions and it should make out to be a great show!  If you’re coming, definitly hit me up on Twitter – I’d love to hang out.  If you can’t make it, well, that totally sucks – but don’t fret – I’ll do my best to try and live blog and capture the buzz on this blog.  In this case, what happens in Vegas – get’s shared with the world.