Going beyond the Veeam Backup, Proxy, and Repository Servers

When most people think of the components that make up a Veeam Backup and Replication infrastructure, the common expectation is that there are three:

  • Veeam Backup Server
  • Proxy Server(s)
  • Repository Server(s)
    • Simple Backup Repository
    • Scale-out Backup Repository

It may surprise you that there are additional components that enable Veeam’s simplicity, reliability and flexibility. I would like share a number of these other components and provide some suggestions on their deployment to ensure that you get the most out of your Veeam implementation.

Microsoft SQL Server:

The Veeam configuration is stored in a Microsoft SQL Server database – known as the Veeam configuration database. (I mean, what else did you think it would be called? 🙂 )

Step 8. Select Microsoft SQL Server

Microsoft SQL Server 2016 SP2 is included with Veeam Backup and Replication v10. It is important to be aware of the limits that the Express version has:

  • Limited to the lesser of 1 socket or 4 cores
  • A maximum of 1.4 GB of RAM
  • Database size can be no larger than 10 GB

Therefore, it is suggested to use a standard or enterprise edition of SQL Server when:

  • You want to use the advanced features of Microsoft SQL Server
  • Protecting more than 500 workloads
  • Using Files to Tape jobs extensively
  • Unable to configure an external staging server (more on the staging server later)

Veeam Backup and Replication Console:

The Veeam Backup and Replication Console is a client-side component that lets to manage, configure, and administer the Veeam infrastructure. By default, the console is installed on the Veeam Backup server, but you can also install it on your local workstation.

The console does not connect directly to the backend SQL Server or any of the other infrastructure components. It connects directly to the Veeam Backup Server service and queries it periodically while the console is open.

The console will automatically be upgraded when the Veeam Backup and Replication server is upgraded. When the console starts, it will communicate with the backup server service and determine that an upgrade is required. The upgraded console version will automatically be downloaded and installed once user confirmation is received.

WAN Accelerator:

When sending data to an offsite location, one of the biggest challenges that you may encounter is the lack of bandwidth. There may be simply more data that you need to copy over in a period of time than the laws of physics will allow.

To overcome these (lack of) bandwidth challenges, Veeam offers WAN acceleration that helps optimize data transfer over a WAN. This is a built-in feature that enables:

  • Global data deduplication
  • Network traffic compression
  • Multi-streaming upload
WAN Accelerators - Veeam Backup Guide for vSphere

And with the release of Veeam Backup and Replication v10, there is also a “High Bandwidth Mode” available for WAN Acceleration. This would be used when connections of 100 Mb/s or greater. “High Bandwidth Mode” will use a quicker compression method, optimized fingerprints / digests and an alternative deduplication algorithm specifically designed for high speed connections.

The result of Veeam WAN Acceleration… a better and higher speed data transfer – regardless of what your WAN connection speed is!

Guest Interaction Proxy

Let’s first answer the question… what is a “Guest Interaction Proxy” and why do I need one?

The guest interaction proxy is used when at least one of the following is configured in the backup job:

  • Application Aware Processing
  • Guest file system indexing
  • Transaction log processing

When the backup job starts and is processing the VM, it will deploy a runtime process in the VM guest OS.

The benefit of identifying additional and / local guest interaction proxies is that it will allow you to spread the load across a number of hosts. In addition, if you are protecting VM’s in a remote site, it will ensure that you minimize the amount of traffic that is transmitted across the WAN connection.

Guest Interaction Proxy

As a best practice, you will want to ensure that the assigned guest interaction proxy is located on the remote site if the job is protecting remote workloads. In addition, having more than one guest interaction proxy will provide redundancy in the event one is offline.

If you would like to configure the guest interaction proxy, simply take a look at a backup job settings under “Guest Processing”:

Mount Server:

The primary focus of the mount server is to reduce the amount of traffic when performing file, application and instant VM recoveries to a remote site. The mount server is also used when performing a Veeam Secure Restore.

When initiating an applicable restore type, Veeam will mount the backed up VM disk(s) to the mount server.

File-Level Restore Scenarios - Veeam Backup Guide for vSphere

Once the disks from the backups are mounted, the applicable Veeam Explorer will be able to navigate and select the applicable files / application items to restore. The same mounting process occurs for a Secure Restore and the applicable Anti-Virus solution(s) will scan the disk(s). That is very important since Veeam is not powering on the VM to run a scan. As the act of powering on a VM may initiate the virus to be enabled.

If your Veeam Backup server is remote to where your backup repository is located, specifying a local mount server (to the repository) will ensure a minimal amount of traffic will be sent across the WAN for the restore process.

Mount Server

As a best practice, you will want to ensure the assigned mount server is as close to the repository (and have network connectivity) as possible. Therefore, be sure to select a mount server that is local to the repository.

If you would like to configure / edit which Mount Server is being used, simply edit an applicable repository:

Gateway Server:

When you deploy a network attached storage (SMB / NFS), Dell EMC DataDomain or HPE StoreOnce repository, each of these do not have ability to run the Veeam Data Mover service. As a result, a connection between the backup proxy and backup repository or between backup repositories can not be established. To enable communication, a Veeam Gateway Server is utilized.

Gateway Server

The Veeam Gateway server will host a Veeam Data Mover service and will then allow communication / data transport between the data mover services.

As a best practice, you will want to ensure the assigned gateway server is as close to the repository (and have network connectivity) as possible. Therefore, if sending data over a WAN, select a gateway server on the target side.

If you would like to configure / edit which Gateway Server is being used, simply edit an applicable repository:

Staging Server:

When you want to fine-tune a SQL Server, Oracle server and SharePoint server, the Veeam Staging Server makes that possible. Think of it as a “helper” for Veeam’s advanced recovery features.

A staging server is required in the following scenarios:

  • Restore or export to a specific transaction
  • Restore or export to a specific point in time
  • Restore or export a database object
  • Restore Microsoft SharePoint item level recovery
  • When using SQL Server Express for the configuration database and the database you are looking to restore exceeds the SQL Server express thresholds (ie: database size)

If you would like to configure / edit which Staging Server is being used, simply open the Veeam Explorer for SQL, Oracle, or SharePoint and go to the “General Options”.

Tape Server

Not only can Veeam send backups to disk, but Veeam also provides the capability to send your backups to tape along with files / shares / NDMP data in your environment. Really making it simple to implement the 3-2-1 rule with your data.

With Veeam Backup and Replication v10, Veeam supports tape drives of LTO-3 and above. The tape drive must have a a driver installed. However, Veeam is able to communicate directly with a tape library via SCSI commands if needed.

Tape Environment - Veeam Backup Guide for vSphere

The tape server will be deployed from the Veeam Backup and Replication console… just like any Veeam component. It can deployed on a dedicated server or directly on the Veeam Backup and Replication Server.

Veeam Backup and Replication is the cornerstone of your data protection strategy. Knowing the different components, how they work, and how to configure them for the best performance will ensure your success!

Unlocking the power of the Veeam External Repository

Over the last 3 years, I had the opportunity to have a front row seat for two major releases of Veeam Availability Suite along with numerous updates. And with over 200+ new features / enhancements combined, one of my favourite innovations is the Veeam External Repository.

The first question you may be asking is… “What is an External Repository?”. Very simply, it is a READ-ONLY repository, managed through Veeam Backup and Replication, which allows you to access backups and data generated using Veeam Backup for AWS and / or Veeam Backup for Microsoft Azure

In the figure below, you can see that Veeam can create native snapshot(s) of your cloud instances along with sending a copy for backup purposes to lower cost object storage.

Once the backups are generated and placed in object storage, the External Repository will be able to leverage those backups for a variety of use cases (keep reading to find out!).

The process to configure a Veeam External Repository is as simple as creating a Backup or Scale-Out Backup Repository. First, initiate the configuration wizard and select the source (AWS or Azure):

Once the steps in the configuration wizard are complete, an “External Repository” option will be available under the “Backup” node in the Veeam Backup and Replication console once it is created.

When selecting the “External Repository”, it will enumerate the policies and backups configured in Veeam Backup for AWS and / or Veeam Backup for Azure. For example, below is a screenshot of policies defined in the Veeam Backup for AWS portal.

And what are the use cases for a Veeam External Repository? Let’s discuss!

Implement the 3-2-1 rule for your cloud based workloads

The External Repository can be used as a source for your backup copy jobs. This means that you have the capability to create additional copies of your cloud workloads and place them into a Backup or Scale-out Backup Repository:

Perform Instant VM Recovery of your cloud based workloads

The ability to instantly recover your on-premises workloads was a feature Veeam pioneered in 2010. Now with the External Repository, this capability has been extended to your cloud based workloads.

Not only will this ensure that your workloads are available to your end users and customers as quickly as possible, but this will also give you the greatest flexibility in workload mobility.

Restore your backups to the original cloud or an alternate cloud

Simply right click on the required workload and then select “Restore to…”

Easy access to restore guest OS files and folders

In addition to be able to restore an entire VM / workload, Veeam also provides the capability to easily access and restore guest files, folders, and volumes in the VM along with application items (SQL, Active Directory, Oracle, Exchange, SharePoint).

As a best practice, if you are sending your traffic across the public Internet and Direct Connect from Amazon or ExpressRoute from Microsoft are not being used, Veeam has a great FREE VPN solution called Veeam PN.

If you are currently or are planning to use Veeam Backup for AWS and / or Veeam Backup for Azure, the External Repository in the Veeam Availability Suite will provide simplicity to data protection and recovery ability along with cloud mobility.

My Work from Home Story

I have been working from home for the last eight years. I have gained some valuable lessons during that time, one item stood out, and that was the habits I created while working in an office.

It’s natural to create habits; we all do it, without knowing. Over time, these cycles become second nature, and that is because we created practices over days, months or even years. I am going to assume here, you have patterns that you use day after day for your job!

How is this helpful? Because you can morph the habits that you had for the office into your new surroundings, your home!

The first step is hammering down the habits you have today, for your office life.

What do you do when commuting to the office? Who do you talk to when you get to the office? Break time, what do you do? When you finish up for the day, what are your closing tasks?

In principle, it sounds straightforward, and it is if you stick to the habits you already have created. If you have a team meeting every morning, you still can. If you talked with a co-worker at the water cooler every morning, call them up on your break. You shared lunch banter with someone every day, still do. Overall, you don’t have to change your habits, and you will just do them differently. It takes time and discipline to keep to your old habits, but you will.

Trying to stick to your patterns are key, and will make working from home, a hotel, or at the office the same experience.

If you are having trouble sticking to your old habits, you can create new ones, a book I read a few years ago helped me. It is logical, and makes 100% sense. The book author S.J. Scott delivers his methods in a easy to consume format, with specifics examples on how to “Habit Stack”. Check it out on Amazon

While working from home, you may not have the same data protection that an office environment provided. Rick Vanover has you covered over at the Veeam blog, have a read.

The majority of my acquaintances are in IT and have amazing home-labs. Who knows they might be willing to share their labs with you? Or you might want to share your resources? This must be done securely, have a look at the following blog on how to Install, Configure, and share securely with VeeamPN.

Veeam Backup for Nutanix AHV

March 24th 2020 Veeam released the second version of its protection platform for Nutanix AHV.

v2 has deep integration into Veeam Backup & Replication v10. This is done by installing the Nutanix AHV Plug-in on your Veeam backup server. Once you have the plug-in installed, you can add a Nutanix AHV cluster, and deploy the AHV backup proxy via the Veeam Backup & Replication backup console. Review the video below for more on the steps for installation, configuration, and for some restore options.

What’s new?

Below is a list of the new features. For more details review the release notes, and the what’s new document.

  • Centralized management
    • Central deploy & upgrade proxies
    • Job management allowing you to view, start/stop, disable jobs, and launch the the proxy web UI directly from Veeam Backup & Replication.
    • License management
    • VeeamZip support
  • Restore improvements
    • AHV file level recovery appliance
    • Entire VM restore, allowing you to restore any workload to AHV including physical, virtual, and cloud servers.
    • AHV native snapshots restores
    • Instant VM recovery directly to VMware vSphere.
  • AHV Backup Proxy enhancements
    • Job options that allow you to create backup and snapshot only jobs on protection domains, with the added ability to take a scheduled active full.
    • Backup job targets which now include deduplication appliances, and repositories backed with file systems that support block cloning,
    • Global email notifications
  • Enterprise Manager integration for file level recovery
  • Veeam ONE support for backup reports with your AHV workloads.
Installation, Configuration, and Restores with Veeam Backup for Nutanix AHV

Veeam Backup & Replication v10

Today marks the general availability of Veeam Backup & Replication v10!

This release has over 150+ enhancements, and the “What’s New” document is 16 pages long!

Here is the list of the new major features.

  • NAS backup
    • Provides the ability to protect NAS workloads running on SMB (1,2,3) NFS (3, and 4.1), and files sitting on Microsoft Windows, and Linux Servers.
    • This has all been built with scale in mind, and not just for processing initial full backups, but with a incremental forever approach with storage-agnostic changed file tracking.
  • Ransomware protection, and simplified data management
    • Immutable backups using S3 object locking.
    • Added a Copy Policy to Capacity Tier which will provide redundancy and off-site backups with ease.
  • Instant VM recovery
    • 10 years ago, Veeam invented and pioneered Instant VM Recovery, with v10 it brings it to a new level.
      • Instant restore any backup to VMware.
      • Next-generation instant recovery engine, that has seen 3X improvement on boot times.
      • Ability to perform multi-VM instant recovery for VMware.
      • VM disk come to the mix, not only can you instantly restore a VM, you can now instantly restore a disk.
  • Veeam data integration API
    • Veeam has always been putting your backup data to work, with the likes of DataLabs. As of v10 you now have an API to interact with any Veeam backup.
      • Provide instance access to third-party products.
      • Perform data mining
      • Automate on-going security analysis
  • Linux Ecosystem Integration
    • XFS Integration
      • You can leverage fast clone technology which will provide much faster synthetic full backup operations, and also use space-less full backup technology reducing the amount of disk consumption required.
    • NFS backup repository
      • That’s right, you no longer need a Linux server to host your NFS shares, and it can be accessed native within Veeam for use as a repository.
    • Linux backup proxy
      • Setup Linux systems as hot-add proxies! You are not locked to an appliance and can use your preferred Linux distribution.
    • Network-less guest processing
      • This is for Linux VMs that Veeam cannot access the OS via the network. Using the vSphere guest interaction API, Veeam can access the guest OS via the ESXi host.

For more details head over and have a read of the “What’s New” and “Release Notes” documents.

  • GA version: 10.0.0.4461

Veeam – Exporting a Backup

I’m sure there has been a time when you are required to export a workload for a specific point in time from backups you already have. It could be for litigation reasons, an upgrade of an application, and many other countless use cases.

Did you know you can do that with your Veeam backups? Well… You can!

An export can be done from a full, incremental or reverse-incremental restore points, that are located in simple, scale-out, object storage, or cloud repositories.

For more details browse this Veeam Help Center Section

IMPORTANT: If you are going to do this today, keep this in mind, and make sure to apply the private hot-fix if you are impacted. This hot-fix is only needed for environments where a Scale-Out Backup repository contains Linux-based or ExaGrid-based extents.

Let’s have a look.

First head over to your “Backups” and select “Disk”
Once you locate the backup you want to export, expand the backup, and right-click the system name. You will then select “Export backup”
Select the backup you want to export.
Specify the restore you want
Once you have your restore point selected, choose when you want this exported copy to be deleted.
In the next section you can provide a reason for the export task.
review your summary, if you are pleased, click finish.
The restore session will show the details of the job, and progress.
Once the task is completed you can access your exported point in time under “Backups” and “Disk (Imported)”
Here you can see the one restore point, the creation time, and date/time for the restore point.
The exported backup is located within the same repository where the source backup files were located. In this case FNReFS.
You will note that the source repository matches for the original backup.
if you explore the backup job location you will see a folder called “Oracle_Linux” that is the location the exported backup was created from. You will also notice a folder with the name “Oracle-Linux77_2019….” this is the exported copy, and you can see the name reflects the creation time, and the deletion time associated with these files.
You can see the file is exported as a VBK, you can copy or move it to another location if needed.

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 v4 – Upgrade and New Features

Today Veeam launched the new version of Backup for Microsoft Office 365 v4.

This version offers the following new features.

  • Leverage object storage to store your Office 365 data, including AWS S3, Azure Blob, IBM Cloud and S3-compatible providers.
    • Reduce costs with object storage and only pay for what you consume
    • Leverage unlimited scalability with unlimited storage capacity
    • Simplify deployment in the public cloud with no complex planning
  • Version 4 also includes added security with at-rest encryption for data in object storage and faster backup performance for SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business.

To find out more details head over to the following locations.

Below is a short video outlining the upgrade procedure, and configuration of the new features.

veeam-backup-for-office-365-v4

Support Our Journey – Mother’s Day Walk 2019

IMG_0463In 2017 our family got news we had never wanted to hear.

Stephanie my wife, my life, and the Mother of our two beautiful children, was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. She is and always will be our Rock! Nothing kept her down during the countless doctor appointments, surgery’s, treatments, the stress that comes with this disease, and life.

Even before she was done her own treatments she wanted to find ways to help other people. She put together her own team for Mother’s Day walk 2018, and completed the walk herself after finishing her radiation treatments 1 month before (REALLY)! Words cannot explain how proud I am of this extraordinary person.

She didn’t just put together a team for the walk, she went as far to help the organizers volunteering her time to organize the event. Prime example of what we see from her everyday in our family, putting everybody else first.

She is doing the same thing for 2019, and she needs your help with supporting the Breast Cancer Society work towards a cure, on her upcoming walk! As of two day’s ago is her one year anniversary of her treatments be completed.

The Byrne Family thanks you for anything you can give. It can be via volunteer services, donations, or even join our team and walk with us! Let’s get her past her record of last year which was just over $10,000.00.

Event Details:

Edmonton
May 5, 2019
Registration
sign-in 930 am.
Walk start
11 am and ends 2 pm.
Location: Emily Murphy Park
11904 Emily Murphy Park Road NW.
Edmonton, Alberta,
T6G 1E7

Veeam User Groups (Western Canada)

Two VUGs are coming to Western Canada this month.

You can expect to see more locations in the following months. Follow the Veeam User Group and Veeam Canada on Twitter for updates.

Here are the two locations.

  • Calgary
    • Wednesday, April 24th from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m
    • Location: Ruth’s Chris Steak House
      294, 115-9th Avenue SE, 2nd Floor of Calgary Tower, Calgary, AB T2G OP5
    • Register
  • Vancouver
    • Friday, April 26th from 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
    • Location: Steamworks Brew Pub
      375 Water Street Vancouver, BC V6B 5C6
    • Sponsored by ExaGrid
    • Register

What can you expect?

The Veeam User Groups are a technical gathering for people in the Veeam user community. This will provide you the opportunity to network with your peers, and your local Veeam resources. At the same time enjoy a great meal, and educational content.

This is the planned agenda

  • The latest Veeam news and product updates
  • Veeam Availability Suite tips and tricks
  • Veeam ONE
  • Useful technical resources
  • And more!

However, normally any User Group I have attended turns into much more, with open dialog, discussions, and conversations about anything the community wants to talk about.

Let’s not forget free stuff.

Every community member who joins the event will be entered for the following.

All attendees will also be entered in a raffle to win a complimentary hotel stay at the Fountainebleau (value at $1,800) and one free pass to attend VeeamON (value at $900) in Miami, Florida (flight not included)! the drawing will be on April 30. Learn more about VeeamOn

Veeam Community Editions

Veeam has always offered free software to the IT community. The switch to community edition is not just a name change, but offers much more! These editions can be used in your home lab, your production environment, or for any situation where you see fit.

Let’s get our free on!

Veeam Backup & Replication Community Edition

It now comes with all the features of Standard Edition with the ability to consume up to 10 standard Instances, and leverage VeeamZIP in an unlimited fashion.

What do you get?

  • Backup a VM, cloud instances, physical servers or workstations.
  • VM replication
  • Forever incremental backups
  • backup scheduling
  • Secure restore
  • Ability to restore directly to AWS, Microsoft Azure, Azure Stack
  • Tape support
  • It’s FREE forever

Get Veeam Backup & Replication Community Edition

Veeam ONE Community Edition

Monitor up to 10 instances of your VMware vSphere, or Microsoft Hyper-V infrastructure, and one Veeam Backup & Replication server at no cost.

What do you get?

  • 24×7 real-time monitoring
  • Easy documentation and management reporting
  • Resource optimization
  • Backup infrastructure auditing
  • Heatmaps, agent monitoring and reporting
  • Backup compliance reporting
  • more….

Get Veeam ONE Community Edition

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 Community Edition

Veeam’s protection of O365 is where the community edition’s started. You can protection up to 10 users at no cost.

What you get?

  • Securely protect your O365 data
    • Exchange Online (10 users)
    • SharePoint Online (1TB of data)
    • OneDrive for Business (10 users)
  • How is a User defined?

Get Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 Community Edition

Edition Comparison: Details on what you get in Community Edition’s

Instance Licensing: Find out what you can do with 10 Instances.