Tag Archives: DR

Backup and Replication by VMware – New in vSphere 5.1

There have been a slew of announcements coming out of VMworld in San Francisco this week and also a slew of new products and enhancements to existing products.  During the show I was attempting to look at everything from an SMB point of view and a couple of products that really stuck out for me was that of the new vSphere Data Protection and vSphere Replication.  Below are just a few thoughts around each product, what it has to offer and where it is packaged from within VMwares’ licensing editions.

vSphere Data Protection

First off let’s explore vSphere Data Protection (vDP).  There has been a lot of buzz during and even before the show around vDP and how VMware plans to position it.  Working closely with EMC’s Avamar development team VMware have now packaged their own backup and recovery solution into vSphere 5.1, replacing, yet still supporting its’ predecessor VMware Data Recovery.  In my opinion this is a great move for VMware.  vDR was not gaining too much traction within the SMB or Enterprise market however I believe that vDP will.  Why?  Again, it’s built on top of EMCs Avamar backup and recovery technology therefore leveraging years of experience and ‘lessons learned’ which make the product more seasoned and production ready than vDR ever was.  Also this complete solution is managed and embedded directly from within the new vSphere 5.1 Web Client. From within the same menus that you clone a VM, vMotion, perform power operations you can now apply backup policies and ensure your data is safe and protected.  Simply install the backup appliance and you are good to go.  Now vDP is not for everyone and as with any initial release (either on purpose or not) there are some limitations.  A single vDP Appliance can scale up to 2TB of deduplicated storage or 100 VMs total.  Certainly targeted at the SMB market.  I’m excited to see what vDP has to offer and how widely it is adopted in the SMB space.  vDP is bundled in with the Essentials Plus licensing and above.

vSphere Replication

Again this is nothing new.  With the last release of Site Recovery Manager (SRM) vSphere Replication was included and provided users with the ability to perform replication on a per-VM basis without the need of shared storage or costly SAN replication functionality.  The problem there was it was bundled with SRM, a product in which you probably already were utilizing that costly SAN replication technology anyways.  Well, in vSphere 5.1 that has all changed.  Although still available within SRM, vSphere Replication now is included within the Essentials Plus and above licensing.  And on top of that there have been some new features and enhancements made to vSphere Replication – VSS Support, flexible RTO, and simplified management utilizing the new vSphere 5.1 web client are just a few.  Again, there are some limitations.  The biggest being that there is a 2TB limit (don’t take my word on this, I thought I heard it in the session but am trying to find data to back it up, i know there is most certainly a 500 VM limit) on the amount of data that you can replicate.  If you need more than this you will have to purchase the full SRM suite, that being said, still a great alternative and great news for users in the SMB space.

So, a couple of products coming out of VMworld in the realm of data protection.  I’m interested to see within the next year how many people adopt and use this products.  There are no fancy features being offered that you might get with some of the more established third party products such as the ability to instantly restore your VMs, run VMs directly from backup, Re-IP VMs, etc…  The 2TB lmiits imposed on the backup storage do not really bother me that much, however  I would have loved to also see these bundled into at the very least the Essentials ROBO kits.  It would have been a great way to protect those VMs running in a remote office where only one host resides and Essentials Plus didn’t really make sense.  Only time will tell how widely adopted these products will be but this is certainly a great first step for VMware in my opinion.  The ability to manage all of this from directly inside the web client is huge.  And the ability to protect your virtualized environment with products from your virtualization vendor is even better.  I’d love to hear from you, if you plan to use either vDP or vSphere Replication, if your using it now, or even any thoughts you may have on the releases or any other news coming out of VMworld for that matter…Let me know in the comments…

First Impressions of PHD Virtual Backup 6 @ VMworld

Wow!  As always VMworld is crazy, nuts, busy, sleep deprived and full of great information.  Throughout the crazy hustle I had a chance to stop by the PHD Virtual booth and have a look at the new release of their flagship product and award winning PHD Virtual Backup.  6.0 marks this release of their software and let me tell you it looks pretty sweet!

First off let me say that this is truly a feature release.  They have added a ton of new functionality, some of my favorites are highlighted below.but for a full list be sure to check out the release notes.

PHD Instant Recovery

Probably the biggest feature in the bundle if you ask me.  When disaster occurs or a failure happens the most important factor in your recovery is time.  PHD has certainly addressed this with Instant Recovery.  No more lengthy restore process, no more restoring individual virtual disks, just simply power on your VM directly from the backup storage/files.  That’s right, it runs directly from the compressed and encrypted (i’ll get to that later) files located on your backup storage for an immediate recovery.  Once up and going you can simply use VMware’s Storage vMotion to move this VM back to your production or whatever storage you would like to for that matter.  No storage vMotion licensing, no worries!  PHD has also included a technology called PHD Motion which will help you get that recovered VM back into production by basically beginning a restore process at the same time as performing an Instant Restore.  When you are ready to switch back to the restored VM, a syncing process will commit all changes from your Instant Restore VM back to your production VM.

Application Aware Backups

Having the ability to quiesce a file system before a backup is great.  That way you are sure that there is no I/O at all occurring within your OS and you can be sure that you have whats called a ‘Crash Consistent’ backup.  Having the ability to quiesce the applications running within the OS is even better.  PHD Virtual Backup now includes that ability.  Now you can be sure that not just the OS but the applications as well are completely aware that a backup is taking place, thus allowing them to quiesce and to truncate logs, perform shrinking operations, or do anything you want really as you can completely run custom scripts both pre and post snapshot.


We all worry about encryption right?  We take measures to protect and ensure that our production data is safe and secure but often the backup data is completely ignored.  Well, PHD Virtual Backup v6 can now encrypt and secure not only the data residing on your backup storage, but they also perform and encryption on the data as it is ‘in transit’ to its’ final destination.  This gives you complete piece of mind that your precious data is completely protected and encrypted from source to target while backing up with PHD Virtual.  Also, the security certificates and firewalls on their virtual appliances are fully customizable, something you don’t normally see when deploying third-parties locked down Virtual Appliances.

Full/Incremental Backup Mode

PHD Virtual provides users with the ability to have a ready to go full backup at all times.  This is fabulous for recovery time and makes the restore process very easy.  That being said this does cause a burden on certain situations where businesses like to completely duplicate their backups to either the cloud or some sort of off-site storage.  With PHD Virtual Backup v6 you can now implement (if you chose to) a more traditional Full/Incremental backup strategy, which will cut down on the size of those incremental backups as well as not always ‘tickle’ your full backup causing it to be copied off-site every-time.  Now users will have less data to move resulting in savings in time, bandwidth, and storage costs.

These are just a few of the new features within PHD Virtual Backup 6.0, there’s many many more including Email Report Enhancements, File Level Recovery enhancements, etc.  If you are at VMworld go and check them out for yourself at Booth 314.   If you were unable to make the show (ugh!  I’m sorry) they have a ton of resources/videos over on their website outlining everything that is new.


AppAssure 5 – A review!

About a month ago AppAssure released the first version of their backup software since being acquired by Dell.  Dell AppAssure is one of the great sponsors on this blog so I figured hey, why not grab myself the trial version, install it, and share my experiences with my readers.  I tried to take note of as many of the features as I could, but being in a limited nested workstation lab there was only so much I could do.  So honestly, if you like what you see, I would go on over to AppAssure.com and get yourself your own free trial and give it a go.  Also, although I only tested from within a VMware environment, AppAssure actually supports protecting machines across your complete infrastructure, being Hyper-V, VMware, and even physical machines.  


AppAssure Installation Prerequisites

First off is installation.  AppAssure is installed on top of either Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, or Windows Server 2012 (you must have a 64 bit OS, 8 GB of RAM and obviously some sort of storage.)  The installation process was a breeze.  There were a few prerequisites but as you can see the installer had the option to go ahead and install them for me.  This is a small but great feature to have as there's nothing I hate more than searching around for prerequisites and updates.  For the most part it was a 'Next->Next->Done' install.


Once you have the AppAssure core installed you can access it by pointing your browser to http://HOSTNAME:8006/apprecovery/admin and logging in with your local administrator username and password.  At this point you could click around and set everything up manually, but the 'Setup Core' button located near the top right of your screen will guide you through configuring mostly all of the parameters and functions that need to be setup in order to make AppAssure functional.  The 'Setup Core' guides you through the following areas….

Display Name – This is simply the name you want displayed within your AppAssure core console – not a lot to talk about here.

Email Notifications – Here you can configure your SMTP settings, Email subject, and your to/from Email addresses.  Another really small but very cool feature here is the ability to customize the actual message that the core is sending out.  Using variables you can basically move information around in the message.  As I said, a very small feature, but certainly a useful one.




Repository – This is the section where you define where you want your backups to go.  Essentially you create a repository and then add one or more disk targets to it.  The targets can be either direct attached storage or a cifs share somewhere on your network.  By showing/hiding the details you can get very granular on how the repository stores its data by changing items such as bytes per sector, average bytes per record and whether or not you want Windows or AppAssure to handle the write caching.







Encryption – Another very useful feature especially for those with strict security standards.  Here you have the ability to create an encryption key in order to fully encrypt (AES 256 bit) all of your backup data.  This is not something that I see included with most backup software and it's certainly a nice to have feature.



Now that all of the setup and configuration is done, we can get down into the core purpose for this application, and that's backing up your infrastructure.  The 'Machines' tab is where we will spend most of our time for this section.  This is where we will add and protect (this is the term AppAssure uses for backing up a client) our critical machines (AppAssure's term for a server, whether it be virtual or physical).  

The first thing we need to do is deploy the AppAssure agents to a machine.  The agents are used for many things but its main objectives are tracking changed blocks, performing quiescence of the applications, and handling all communication between the core and the client.  This can be done by manually by installing the agents from the target machine, or you can simply use the 'Remote Deploy' wizard from the core.  This will initiate the install of the agent and all of the required pre-requisites to the target machine.  To do the latter, simply select 'Actions->Deploy Agent, provide the hostname and some credentials for your target machine and you are done.  The status of this and almost all tasks can be monitored through the 'Events' tab.

After the deploy has completed you still will not see the server listed on the Machine tab.  We still need to add or protect the machine.  To do so, select Actions->Protect Machine.  In the dialog that appears we need to provide the hostname/ip and some credentials to connect to the machine.  During this process you will also be able to edit what AppAssure calls their protection schedule.  By default AppAssure will snapshot the machine every 60 minutes and perform a backup, however you can change these values during the addition of the machine by selecting 'Edit'.  You can once again get very granular with how often you are performing the snapshots.  You can specify different schedules for peak and non-peak times, as well as set different schedules for weekends as opposed to weekdays.  Also, you can get as simple as saying one snapshot per day, or just disable protection all together.

Once the Protect Machine tasks have completed you should see your machine listed in the Machine tab.  At this point you could just walk away as the protection schedule will kick in immediately and follow the parameters and policies that you set up during the wizard.  Probably not the case however so as you can see below there are a few more tabs that we can go through dealing with this machine.

On the configuration tab there are several additional options that can be applied to your protected machine.  First off the settings area allows you to change the display name and port/encryption information.  Under Configuration->Events you can override the global email alert settings and configure alerts that are specific to this machine.

Under Retention Policy you can either use those core defaults that you set up earlier, or you can set up a customized retention policy for this machine.  As you can see from the screenshot you are able to get very granular on how retention is handled and they have a very nice graphical representation of the retention information that you have selected.  This is always a very confusing item for myself to configure and it's nice to have a visual to see how simple changes to your retention schedule affect the recovery points that are being saved.

Licensing, Protection Settings, and Transfer settings are again simply individual overrides from the global configuration.  One huge note here (and I didn't have a chance to test all of this) is that if the target machine you are protecting is running SQL, Exchange, or SharePoint you will be given additional options such as the ability to truncate logs, etc.

From here you are basically good to go.  You can let the protections settings take effect and start taking snapshots your machines.  Or, you can immediately force a snapshot of your machine.


AppAssure handles restores in a few different ways.  

Exporting Data to a VM
This option basically will take a selected recovery point and restore it to a virtual machine located in your infrastructure.  You are not just limited to ESXi/vCenter either; As you can see in the snapshot above AppAssure supports VMware Workstation as well as Hyper-V for export targets.  Again, this process is dead simple and basically only requires a recovery point, a target host and authentication to get started.  Outlined in the screenshot there are many other options you can set while performing this restore such as Location(datacenter, resource pool, datastore) as well as which volumes you want to restore, and how the disks are to be provisioned (thin/thick).
Bare Metal Restores
Bare Metal restores allow you to take a backup of a physical machine and completely restore it to either the same machine, or even a machine with dissimilar hardware.  Now I didn't have the resources to completely test a Bare Metal Restore, but from the documentation it appears that it basically encompasses creating a boot CD image, burning the image to disk, booting up the target server from disk, connecting to the recovery console instance, mapping volumes, initiating the recovery, and then monitoring the process.  I can see this being a very handy tool for those physical boxes that companies still have, not only for disaster recovery, but even for major hardware upgrades as well.

Performing a rollback.
Rollback is essentially a full restore of a volume or volumes back to the state they were in when a snapshot was taken.  These are performed directly on the production machine or can also be set up to rollback one machine to an alternate machine somewhere else.  Again, select the desired recovery point and then click 'Rollback'  As you can see from the screenshot it is possible to do a live recovery, which is a very cool feature.  Once you are all set up simply click 'Rollback' to go back in time.

Mounting for a file-level restore

The first step of a file-level restore is the same as all the others; Select your recovery point to which you want to restore.  From there, you can simply click Mount.  Here you will get the option of which drive to mount, where to mount it, the write permissions on the mount point and whether to add a Windows share to it or not.  Once completed, if you browse to c:\ProgramData\MountPoints\ (assuming that is where you mounted it to) you should be able to see all of you files and folders from the recovery point you have selected.  From there you can copy and paste any file you need out of the mount point and back to the original VM or whatever location you desire.  Once completed, don't forget to dismount by going to Tools->Mounts and selecting dismount.
Object-Level Restore
Similar to the file-level restore, AppAssure can actually restore application objects and items from SharePoint, SQL, and Exchange.  Meaning you could restore SharePoint objects (individual documents and items, sites and subsites) , SQL objects (databases), and Exchange objects (Storage Groups, Datastores, Messages, Volumes) without interrupting your production servers and without taking to the time to completely restore a full backup.  Object level restore is a must for any organization as it saves you valuable time when corruption occurs.  And speaking of corruption, AppAssure will consistently monitor your SQL databases and Exchange datastores for corruption and alert if you it finds any.
AppAssure handles replication by basically connecting two cores together.  The core that you chose to replicate to can be either local to your datacenter, in a remote location, or even a subscription service from a third party that supports AppAssure backups.
During the replication configuration you have the ability to set up a 'seed drive' which will basically house all of the AppAssure recovery points and allow you to physically transport the drive to the secondary location and perform the initial seed manually.
By utilizing AppAssure's replication you have the ability to perform a full-out or individual machine failover to your replica site.  Also, you have the ability to failback to your production site once you have solidified the issues.
Again, I didn't have the resources to fully test AppAssure's replication.
Virtual Standby by AppAssure is a pretty nice feature that allows you to essentially perform a P2V of a physical machine and have a complete copy of that machine sitting within your virtual infrastructure.  A Virtual Standby will contain all of the recovery points that you have within your backups stored as snapshots.  This allows you to perform a very fast recovery of a machine in the event that it 'disappears'.  You can configure a Virtual Standby through the VM Export process explained above.  Basically, every snapshot taken during the backup process will incrementally update your Virtual Standby machine.  A very nice feature to have for those companies with a lot of physical infrastructure still running.
So there you have it, this is my experience while checking out AppAssure 5.  The application certainly has a lot of nice features, some of the most exciting to me is the ability to backup/restore both your physical and virtual infrastructure from within one application, one interface.  I love the ability to create a Virtual Standby for a physical machine.  This function certainly makes DR a lot easier for those physical boxes kicking around and helps save you a bit of money on hardware/resources on the secondary site as well.  Although I'd love to see some Linux support, AppAssure certainly provides me everything I need from within my Windows environment.  The interface is clean, consistent, and very easy to navigate around and use.  Again, I didn't have the resources to completely test out everything, but from what I have seen they seem to have a very scalable architecture in place.  The item-level recovery for Sharepoint, SQL, and Exchange is an awesome feature…No need to restore complete servers when I can just restore a single mailbox!   Another great feature is the ability to take a recovery point and restore this to a completely different subset of hardware.  This feature somewhat steps outside the realm of backup and allows you perform hardware upgrades (especially of physical machines) with ease…  I'd certainly recommend heading on over to AppAssure.com and grabbing a trial copy of AppAssure and checking it out yourself…. As always I'd love to hear your comments, concerns, opinions or experience with AppAssure below in the comments area…


#Veeam Explorer for Exchange – It’s veeamy cool!

If you are still looking for a valid excuse to virtualize your Exchange mailbox server you might want to have a look at this one!  The Veeam Explorer for Exchange was opened to beta testers today and looks to be just as awesomesauce as the rest of the Veeam products.  Essentially the new product allows you to browse your Veeam backup files (of Exchange of course) in an explorer like view, search through mailboxes and mailbox items and right-click items in order to export to msg files, pst files, or send them as attachments.  This is very similar to their item level recovery wizard that they already have for Exchange.  Oh, wait, did I mention it was also FREE!  Veeam Explorer for Exchange while in beta now will eventually be included in all versions of Veeam Backup and Replication (which in turn also has a free edition).  If you want to be an early adopter and check it out for yourself go on over to Veeams' site and get signed up for the beta.

Have a veeamy day!

Something Awesome From #Veeam – Backup and Replication 6.1 is here (and it’s free!!!)


That's right, for the past couple of weeks the countdown clock to 'Something Awesome for Virtualization Lovers' has been ticking away on the Veeam site and now it's finally hit zero revealing that Veeam Backup and Replication 6.1 is here in all its' glory.  So, for paid customers there is a slew of new features and enhancements packed into a .1's worth of code updates which you can review all of them in the 'What's New' document, some of which I will touch on below…and for non Veeam customers, there's something in it for you as well…  Veeam has announced that they will now ship a free edition of their flagship Backup and Replication starting at 6.1 moving forward.  Yup, you read that right, it's free.


Wow!  What's the deal?  A free edition!?!?!


All other Veeam products have shipped with a free edition and now Backup and Replication does as well.  In essence what it does is take the now depreciated Veeam FastSCP name, and bundle that technology in with some backup/restore/migration capabilities and slap a new user interface on top of it.  Kudos to Veeam for continuing with their great community contributions…One of the biggest new features is called VeeamZip

Huh!  VeeamZip?

Yup, it's like WinZip but for your VM's.  The new VeeamZip function let's you quickly select a VM and perform a full backup on that VM.  This leaves you with a .vbk file, fully encapsulating all of that VM's settings and configuration, fully compressed and deduplicated.  It completely maintains the integrity of the VM, the disk types (thin, thick) that you have chosen and can be performed on a powered on VM.  A very handy tool that will allow you to quickly take a backup of the VM for testing, development, or archiving purposes.  Hey, you could even install the free edition on to your workstation to allow you to pull a backup of a VM onto an external USB drive.  Very Cool!  Also, what good is a backup if it can't be restored?   Well, you can use the free edition to also restore the entire VM, VM files (.vmdk, .vmx), or individual guest OS files as well.  Also, if you have a licensed version of Veeam, simply import this VeeamZip into your licensed environment to perform all the crazy Veeam functionality you normally would such as vPower, etc.

Speaking of vPower, it's here for Hyper-V

Hyper-V users can now take advantage of all that vPower has to offer such as Instant VM recovery.  You can now run your Hyper-V VMs directly from their compressed deduplicated backup file.  An awesome feature which really cuts down on the time it takes you to restore and get back up and running if a loss occurs. All changes are replicated to a separate snapshot file. thus leaving your backup file in a consistent state. Oh, once your happy with everything, you can easily migrate that VM back into your production environment.

So, what next, well, get on over to Veeam.com and get your hands on Veeam Backup and Replication 6.1 and give it a try for yourself!  Again, It's free!!!  Also, be sure to check out the What's New document as there are a lot more enhancements, fixes, and features that I haven't touched on here.  I quickly browsed through it and seen a lot of enhancements around the intelligent load balancing, disabling inline deduplication, hot add enhancements, etc…

Webinar: Four Key Elements of a Successful Disaster Recovery Strategy

Join vExpert Greg Shields as he talks about 4 elements you need to consider in order to be successful when developing a great DR strategy and how one of my sponsors, AppAssure can help you along the way….  Follow the link below to register!

Welcome to my newest sponsor – AppAssure (and a webinar too)

As you may have noticed the banner advertisement on the right hand side of this page I have a new sponsor; AppAssure.  AppAssure provides data and application protection across your server stack including virtual, physical and cloud infrastructures.  By combining physical and virtual backups into one management console, coupling that with object level recovery as well as bare metal recovery AppAssure really does have a winning product that I would certainly recommend to check out.  They also have an interesting comparison to Symantecs' Backup Exec running on their site right now.  I wanted to take the time to personally thank AppAssure for their sponsorships as it is companies like these that help to support the community in order to maintain a wealth of great content flowing.

Currently AppAssure has scheduled a free webinar titled "12 Backup & Recovery Questions Every Windows Administrator Must Ask"  Below you can find a description and link to the event.  vExpert Greg Shields (twitter) is heading up the webinar so you know it's going to be a good one…Check it out!

On April 27, Greg Shields and Joe Hand are doing a webinar on “12 Backup & Recovery Questions Every Windows Administrator Must Ask.” In just a few short years everything about IT changed completely. Physical servers are quickly becoming virtual ones. Private and public cloud are topics on everyone’s minds. Even server backups and data recovery, having long been sleepy activities for administrators drawing the short straw, are now seeing revolutionary shifts in tactics and technologies. It can be hard to keep up.

Join Greg Shields, VMware vExpert, and Joe Hand , AppAssure’s Sr. Director, when they share what every windows administrator must ask.

·         Twelve questions about backups and data recovery that every Windows administrator should ask.

·         A live Q&A session

Time:    1:30 PM – 2:30 PM EDT (10:30 AM – 11:30 AM PDT)

Register for this webinar


Veeam v6 Distributed Architecture – Proxies, Repositories and Bears! OH MY!

With the release of Veeam Backup and Replication v6 came a completely redesigned distributed architecture.  This architecture, coupled with many other enhancements to v6 (listed here) work together to help you achieve faster transfer speeds, more concurrent jobs, and removes the load off of your Veeam Backup server.

I decided to run a few tests just to see if in fact they are faster!  Now I only replicated local, as well, I only ran one concurrent job, and I only included one VM so make note that I'm not using this technology to its' full potential, but none the less, I did still see an improvement.

So I fired up an 80 GB VM and first ran replication the way I would normally have in v5.  That is replicated directly to an ESXi host.  

So as you can see it took roughly 59 minutes to complete the first full replication of the VM.  Also it specifies the bottleneck as being my target, in this case, the host that I'm replicating to.  So, I created a Windows 2008 VM on the target ESXi host and added that VM to Veeam as a Backup Proxy.  I created a new replication job targeting the same VM, duplicated all of the settings from the first job but this time specifying my newly created VM as the Target Proxy.  Re-ran the job with the following results…

and voila.  This time my full replication only took roughly 45 minutes!  I know you may be thinking that's only 14 minutes faster, but it's also just 1 VM.  Take that 14 minutes and multiply it by 50 VMs or 100 VMs and you end up with a nice little time saver!  As well, you can see now that my target is no longer by bottleneck.  This inspired me to go one step further.  I created another VM and set this one up as a Backup Proxy as well.  Again, duplicated the job, this time setting my new proxy as the Source Proxy and leaving the Target Proxy as the one I created in the last step.  Once again I did a full replication of the VM…

OK!  Now we're talkin!  Coming in now at just under 26 minutes we have shaved off 33 minutes and cut our replication time more than half!   This to me is a huge advantage, especially if you are doing any sort of replication across a WAN.  Again, these are just my tests so you may not get the same results.  But for the most part this is what I have been seeing with my replication jobs in v6 so far.  So if you aren't using any of the new distributed architecture components included in Veeam v6 I would probably read up on them and get them into your environment.  Veeam has done a great job with this release and this is just one of many new features and enhancements that they have included.  On another side note, subsequent incremental replication jobs on this VM are taking a whopping 4 minutes and processing at a rate of 300 MB/s or so.  WOW!

Again as always, any comments or question or corrections don't hesitate to post in the areas below…

Holiday Gift From Veeam: Free NFR Licenses of Veeam Backup and Replication v6!

Last year right around this time Veeam announced a program that offered VMware Certified Professionals and VMware vExperts a free dual socket NFR license of their flagship product Backup and Replication v5.  Well, with the recent release Veeam Backup & Replication v6 now supporting Microsoft Hyper-V the qualifications to receive the license have expanded.  The program is now includes the following; VMware vExperts, VMware Certified Professionals (VCP), VMware Certified Instructors (VCI), VMware User Group Members (VMUG), Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCP), and Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVP).  So, if your qualifications fall under any of the above categories head on over to the sign-up page (VMware / Hyper-V) to unwrap your early Christmas gift from Veeam.

Converting Veeam v5 Legacy Replica jobs to v6 VMware Replica jobs

One of the first things that I noticed after upgrading my Veeam Backup and Replication to version 6 was in my replication jobs list.  All of my replications jobs from version 5 had been  labeled as a Legacy Replica.  Now, being the type of guy that I am I didn't want to have Legacy anything hanging around.  Plus, without recreating these jobs in v6, you cannot take advantage of some of the new enhanced feature sets like replication to a cluster, re-IPing, and production/network assignments.

This is the process I used to 'recreate' these jobs in order to take advantage of all the new features.
To start out I guess I shouldn't have really titled this post 'converting' because what you are actually doing is recreating these jobs and using the new 'Replica Mapping' feature to map to your original replica's.
So, first step, right click in your jobs window and chose ''Replication" to create a new replica job.  In the first window that pops up you can see some of the features that I spoke of above.  For this example however we only need to use one 'Low connection bandwidth [enable replica seeding].
Continue through the wizard as you normally would, selecting your source VMs, Replica Destinations (notice the new Cluster/Resource Pool/VM folder options), and Job Settings.  One note, for organizational purposes you might want to select the exact same location and use the same Replica name suffix as you did in the v5 job that you are recreating.  It might make things a little easier for you…
When you get to the Seeding section this is where the magic happens.  You can now map the VMs in your new job to existing replica VMs, or you could even seed your initial replica from a backup repository residing at your DR site if you have a backup of it.  (this is awesome!).
In this example I'm simply going to point the VMs in my new job to the replica VMs from my original v5 job.  Check the 'Map replicas to existing VMs' check box
Here is where you can either manually specify which VMs to map to the replicas, or you can have Veeam use its' magic and detect it by itself, Either way, select your VM you want to map and click 'Edit' to do it manually, or simply click 'Detect' to use the magic.
The rest of the wizard should be pretty straightforward as the options are very similar to those in v5.  Once you have completed and saved the job give it a whirl and make sure it is working as expected.  Be sure to disable your old v5 'Legacy Replica' job as we do not want this running along with the new one.  One of the new features in Veeam v6 is the fact that they have improved how they store their replication points of a VM.  In v5 the older restore points were saved as a roll back file (.vrb) and could the replica could only be rolled back by the Veeam server.  Now, in v6 all restore points are native VMware vSphere snapshots taken at a point in time.  Thus, in the event of a failure of your Veeam Backup and Replication server you could still power on a replica VM to any point in time just using the vSphere Client (completely independent of the Veeam Server).  So, after a few runs you should see your restore points from the vSphere Client Snapshot Manager.  
The newly created v6 job has no knowledge at all of the older .vrb files that are associated with the v5 job nor does it know about the older retention policies that you have setup so there is a little manual cleanup involved.  Once you are comfortable with the amount of restore points and retention that you have in your new job, you should go and remove the old VMs from the Veeam database.  To do this, go to the Replicas – Right click on your old job and select 'Remove from replicas'.  We do NOT want to delete as the new replica's are actually using the same vmdk and vmx files as the old ones.  
After you have removed from replicas you can now browse to the datastore where the replicas were hosted and delete the unused .vrb files.  Use the vSphere Clients' Datastore Browser or whatever your preferred way to get to the datastores are and find all of the older .vrb files.  These are safe to delete (as long as you are sure you will never need to restore to them again 🙂 )  You can also go and delete your 'Legacy Replica' job as well if you want, as you should probably never run this again.
And there you go.  You should be all setup with your new VMware Replica job that is able to take advantage of all of the new and enhanced replication features that Veeam Backup and Replication v6 has to offer.  Again and as always feel free to leave any comments, questions, concerns or corrections in the comments box below.

Welcome to my newest (and first) sponsor! Veeam

I just wanted to take a moment and write up a quick post on my first sponsor Veeam.  If you have read most of my articles on  this blog you will no doubt know that I am a very big Veeam fan and am proud to have them as a sponsor.  The timing couldn't be any better as they have just released a new version (version 6) of their virtual machine protection software called Backup and Replication. You can check out the slew of new features that are bundled int Veeam Backup and Replication by following the banner on the left hand side of this page.


The Official Stuff

Veeam is an international company with their North American offices based out of Columbus, Ohio.  The latest customer counts from their website state 30,000 plus and expanding at roughly 1500/month.  Veeam's flagship product called 'Backup and Replication' feels like two products in one allowing for both backup and replication of virtualized guests in both VMware and Hyper-V environments.  Veeam also offers products to optimize performance, configuration, and utilization of VMware environments by bundling three of their products (Veeam Monitor, Veeam Reporter, and Veeam Business View) into their Veeam ONE solution.  Veeam also offers nWorks Management Pack for Microsoft Systems Center and nWorks Smart Plug-in for HP Operations Manager in order to extend the operations and monitoring of virtual environments to your current enterprise reporting tools.

My Stuff

To me, the official company profiles always sound great, but its the experiences you have with the companies and vendors that really make or break a deal, and Veeam is certainly on the make end of things.  I've never had a question go unanswered when either dealing with them through their official support or through social media outlets.  They continue to amaze the masses with the new and exciting features that they pack into their releases.  They have a very strong presence in the VMware community, and for all intensive purposes, have a community of their own.  The Veeam products that I use have been incredibly simple to install, configure and operate.  If you don't believe me, ask one of the other 30,000 customers and I'm sure you will hear the same story.  Veeams always gave back to the community, for example they offer NFR licenses for VCPs and vExperts, throw their infamous Veeam party @ VMworld, and sponsor community and customer blogs such as this one.  So, if you get a chance follow the banner on the right hand side of the page over to Veeam's website, Like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, Connect with them on LinkedIn, or +1 them on Google.