Archives For Backup

2014 has been a busy year for me for many reasons but I thought I would briefly summerise some of the highlights for me over the year as well as some musings with regard to the future of the industry.

Events

I have been lucky enough to attend a number of events this year, including BriForum, vForum and IPExpo in London, vForum in Manchester,  the Dell Enterprise Forum in Frankfurt, VMworld in Barcelona as well as a number of VMware User Group events. These events for me offer a great opportunity to meet individuals from the communities and the technical deep-dive sessions at these events really offer a valuable opportunity to get a better understanding on particular subjects from industry experts. I am looking forward to many events in the coming year including hopefully BriForum and VMworld again, I would also like to get a better understanding of Microsoft, Amazon and Google direction in the industry.

End User Computing

This year has been a year of improvement and maturity for end user computing, we have seen VMware acquire AirWatch for $1.54 billion, the aqcuistion of cloud volumes as well as the release of Horizon 6. The subject of end user computing is becoming ever more defined and mature, we should no longer be awaiting the year of VDI and the focus should be firmley around the user. There is no single right answer to end user computing, we should be concentrating on the users, their use cases and needs, what can we do to make our users more productive? This will be a hybrid mix of many technologies from desktop PC’s to VDI, Mobiles and tablets and more. From a user perspective we need to ensure they can easily access their applications and data on whatever platform and wherever they are. From an administrator perspective we need to ensure this can be done in a secure way that will meet the user’s needs, it needs to easy to manage, monitor and upgrade. For me I like to practice what I preach and my business processes and personal life is spread between a mix of devices and operating systems, I use a Mac Book Pro as my main business device but also use an iPad mini, Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 and a Windows 8.1 VDI desktop. For me the device should no longer matter and it doesn’t, but it is imperative that the applications and data are where I need them when I need them.

Applications

We are starting to see the ever growing importance of applications within the IT infrastructure, whilst they have always been important the focus of IT Administrators and consultants maybe hasn’t always been focused purely on the applications but the infrastructure used to run the applications. During 2014 it has become increasingly obvious that this is where the future of the IT industry lies, focusing on not keeping the cogs turning but ensuring our applications are meeting our business needs. Integration and automation not necessarily between infrastructure components but applications will be key in the software defined world, how are you going to get SaaS application A talking to SaaS application B? With the focus on the applications we are seeing growth in the areas that focus on the applications like Docker and Openstack, DevOps is key.

Hybrid Cloud

2014 for me was the year of the hybrid cloud, we saw VMware launch their first and second UK datacenter as well as a number of datacenters across the globe. From a customer perspective vCloud Air offers an easy way to understand how cloud will work within their business, with data residency guarantees that will suit their business needs, the ability to use the same tools they use to manage their existing private cloud as well as the ability to move workloads between private and public clouds when ever required. We have seen customers trial and start to move production workloads to the cloud using vCloud Air.
For me the future of the hybrid cloud is more than simply your private and public infrastructures, SaaS will make a big part of your infrastructure and moving forward will be ever increasing.  We are seeing Office 365 becoming the norm for many Exchange upgrades and new software installations will focus on SaaS first. Until we are able to replace all of our applications with SaaS alternatives, infrastructure is still going to be a key requirement and this is where vCloud Air offers the flexibility that businesses need.

I think it is going to be interesting to see what the next Server OS from Microsoft is going to bring, you would assume that cloud integration will be baked in as standard,  when deploying new roles you will get the choice to decide whether you want to deploy on premise or in Azure.  We will have to wait and see. I think they is particularly going to be a lot of power in a Dropbox alternative baked directly into to the Widows OS, imagine the simplicity of being able to access all your business shares that are on you Windows files servers from any device, anywhere without a VPN or similar technology but the power will have to be in data security.

Shared Storage Choice

As ever a focus this year has been on shared storage, no matter which way the industry is going there is always going to be a growing demand for storage, whilst at present that is largely on premise in the future we are going to see cloud storage options be ever increasing and important to our businesses.

We have seen the growth of many next generation storage vendors such as Nimble and Pure Storage, we have see the hyper-converged market become ever matured with Nutantix and Simplivity alongside the launch of VMware Evo:Rail and the announcement of Evo:Rack.

For me Nimble Storage has been really standout and we have seen some great reactions from customers when deployed in their infrastructures, it brings together simplicity and high performance with large capacity at a suitable price. Next year I am going to be interested to see how the adoption of Hyper-converged infrastructures grows, particularly with Nutantix and Evo:Rail / VSAN solutions within my customers.

Data Protection

As ever we have seen Veeam build upon their fantastic backup and recovery product with the release of V8, this see’s improved methods of recovery and replication amongst other new features. Next year I would love to see them be able to offer a product that allows you to back up your VMs no matter if they are on premise or in the cloud with vCloud Air, Azure or Amazon EC2. But for me the biggest challenge moving into a SaaS world is data protection. Many people seem to forget about data protection when moving their applications and data to the cloud, but is this correct? Should we be trusting these important assets with one provider, who ever they maybe, or is having 3 copies of your data ever more important? I think the challenge of data protection in the cloud era is having a platform that will allow you to backup, protect and recover your data from a variety or resources to a different set of resources. Let’s say you are storing important business information with SaaS provider A, what happens if they go bust or have a massive data breach or business continuity issue? Maybe you are taking a regular dump of data to a CSV file or similar, but what use is this to your business unless you can convert and recover your data to SaaS provider B? Without global standards between similar providers this is where protecting SaaS applications will become difficult and in my opinion a big challenge for our industry. Maybe until this is solved outside of the main players like Microsoft and Google etc companies will choose to turn to IaaS solutions and protect their data in a more traditional way or will they just take the risk and trust the providers?

Personal Achievements

I have really enjoyed taking part in a number of industry interview opportunities this year, I love sharing a my thoughts and visions for the industry as well as getting to discuss these subjects with others. I have presented at a number of events including the UKVMUG and my companies own events with a record number attending our most recent VMware event that is growing year on year. The biggest challenge for me this year has been working on a second book, this time with co-author Peter von Oven, we are nearing the end now and are hoping that our book Mastering Horizon 6 will be published prior to April by Packt publishing. my biggest achievement was to be made a director of the company I work for, I will be concentrating on pre-sales and operations for my business and this gives me a great opportunity to continue learning and evangalising about technology as well as getting involved with the internal processes and procedures within the business and understanding how modern applications will help our business. I am looking forward to helping the business grow and be better known within the technology industry as well as working on some exciting projects.

That’s all for now, there are so many more areas I could talk about, 2015 is going to be an exciting year for many reasons. I hope to be able to catchup with many of you in the new year.

Happy new year.

image

Veeam 6.5 Released

October 26, 2012 — Leave a comment

During VMworld Barcelona Veeam announced the latest iteration of their Backup and Recovery product. For the first time we are seeing Veeam break from a major release each year to be be a dot release with the latest version being 6.5. Although with the work to ensure the product is amongst the first backup products to not only support vSphere 5.1 but also Windows Server 2012 & Hyper-V 3.0 you can see why. 

But threat not Veeam have still managed to jam pack new features into this release. For a full and extensive list check out the whats new document on Veeam website here >>

Amongst the stand out features for me were

  • Exchange E-Discovery >> Allowing you to instantly browse, search and selectively restore, emails, notes, contacts etc from any Veeam backup or Exchange EDB file. Since the beta that I wrote about here >> https://virtualisedreality.com/2012/07/26/veeam-exchange-explorer-beta/ they have now included the option to restore to original location which I think rounds of the feature nicely. 
  • Chain Execution of jobs >> This feature has always been possible but you had to run a post script from each backup, with the new feature you can use the new scheduler to start a job automatically once the job it depends upon finishes. 
  • Configuration Backup >> Veeam is now automatically and periodically able to backup its configuration to a specified backup repository. Particularly useful if you have a physical Veeam server and want to backup your configuration.
  • Veeam Explorer for SAN Snapshots >> Utilise Veeam to recover any item from a HP Lefthand based SAN Snapshot with all the usual Veeam based features. I can’t wait for this functionality to support other SAN manufactures. 
  • Global Data DeDuplication with Windows Server 2012 >> You can utilise the power of Windows Server 2012 DeDuplication to reduce your repository size, you are also able to do file level recovery from a deduplicated volume inside a VM as long as you are running Veeam on a Windows Server 2012 sever. 

These are just a handful of the new features but it is great to see Veeam keeping ahead of the curve as usual and if this is just a dot release I can’t want to see what Veeam Backup and Recovery 7 will have in-store whenever that will be released. 6.5 was released yesterday and can now be downloaded from Veeam’s site  >> http://vee.am/65isGA

Veeam recently introduced the beta of their new and improved Exchange Recovery tool, whilst they have had the ability to be able to restore granular items from Exchange for some time with Surebackup in real life scenarios it could take longer than you may wish with typical recoveries taking 30 minutes plus to boot the needed servers to complete the Surebackup recovery. With the introduction or Exchange Explorer you are able to simply recover individual items using an Explorer style interface that interacts with the backup of the edb file. 

Veeam have stated in their press release that this tool will work with both the free and paid for versions of Veeam backup which is fantastic news. 

I have been lucky enough to be able to give Exchange explorer a go and you will see the steps below. 

First we start by conducting a file level recovery of our Exchange server (Note that Veeam only support Exchange 2010 and there are no plans to support older versions however I understand they are working on an Exchange 2013 version already)

Veeam

Once we have select Windows Guest File we choose which backup we wish to restore from

Veeam

We choose the recovery point either a full or incremental / reverse incremental

Veeam

After entering a restore reason and clicking finish we are able to use the backup browser to browse to our edb file, once we have found the edb file (Read Update at the bottom) we can select Explore to view the edb file in Windows Explorer.

Veeam

We now copy the path ready to use Veeam Exchange Explorer

Veeam

We are now going to select Add Store and browse to our edb file location that we noted in the previous step, Veeam notes that a log replay will be needed and in my case has automatically filled in the log file location.

Veeam

Once complete we are able browse the edb file instantly and choose which granular items we wish to recover by sending back to the user or by exporting to a pst.

Veeam

 

Thoughts and Conclusions 

This is certainly a lot quicker and easier way of recovering granular items within Exchange, if you were to buy tools such as OnTrack to do this previously you would have been charged a heavy sum. As ever I have been left wanting more and hope in a final version we will see the Exchange Explorer recovery item listed in the initial recovery options to cut down on the steps required and I would really love to see the ability to recover the item directly back to the users mailbox as we do with SureBackup today. 

This is a fantastic leap forward by Veeam though and I hope they are able to bring technology like this to other applications, if they were able to do it for Sharepoint they would certainly be onto a winner. 

If you would like to join the beta be sure to register your interest here >> http://www.veeam.com/veeam-explorer-features.html

 

Update

As Anton from Veeam comments below you can actually double click the edb file in the backup browser to open it directly in the Exchange Explorer, this certainly saves a few steps.

When setting up a new Veeam demo I was presented with a problem where I was unable to mount the new Veeam NFS store, upon inspection I was unable to mount any NFS store to my host.

The error I was receiving was as follows

Error performing operation: Unable to resolve hostname ‘demo-veeam.Demo.local’

My new VM wasn’t however called demo-veeam and I got the same error when trying to mount any NFS store. Looking in datastores there were no NFS datastores showing and from the command line when using the esxcfg-nas -l option I received the same error

# esxcfg-nas -lError performing operation: Unable to resolve hostname ‘demo-veeam.Demo.local’

To resolve this I added a dummy host name entry for demo-veeam.demo.local into the \etc\hosts file

I was then able to run

# esxcfg-nas -lVeeamBackup_DEMO-VEEAM is /VeeamBackup_DEMO-VEEAM from demo-veeam.Demo.local unmounted unavailable

I was then able to delete this old NFS mount with

# esxcfg-nas -d VeeamBackup_DEMO-VEEAM

After cleaning up my hosts file I then retried adding the NFS datastore through the GUI and it worked correctly.

 

Veeam Fast SCP has been part of many virtualisation engineers / administrators toolkits for quite some time, however updates on it have been a little scarce in recent times. On Monday Veeam announced Veeam Backup Free Edition replacing the Veeam Fast SCP Product.

awesome

With a typical Veeam countdown clock Veeam announced the free edition of their backup product with a new feature called Veeam ZIP. Veeam ZIP allows administrators to be able to select a VM from the vCenter tree view inside Veeam Backup Free Edition and choose to ZIP it up to their local machine using Veeam’s compression algorithms into a .VBK file.  Of course the free version is limited to allow only one time backups of VM’s using Veeam ZIP and doesn’t include a scheduling engine of any of the other advanced feature seen in the full product.

FreeVeeamBackup

Veeam Backup Free Edition wasn’t the only release on Monday with the new GUI used with the free product also appearing in Veeam Backup and Replication 6.1. Veeam have used Microsoft UX (User Experience) Guidelines to clean up the view and split of the sections of the product with a new ribbon and tabbed menu to the right.

 

Also for any Microsoft Hyper-V users out there Veeam have taken the much loved Instant Recovery Feature previously only available for VMware to now also be available for Hyper-V backups.

HyperVInstantRecovery

To download Veeam Backup Free edition please head over to Veeam’s site here >> http://www.veeam.com/virtual-machine-backup-solution-free.html

I’m really liking the new Veeam ZIP feature in both the new free and paid for versions as being able to take a one time backup of a VM without needing to create a dedicated job can be useful for many reasons, such as prior to upgrading a VM or prior to retiring and deleting a VM. I hope in the future we may see a vCenter plugin that either a. allows us to Veeam ZIP the VM to our local machine or more interestingly for me b. Allowing you to directly Veeam ZIP a VM to you Backup Repository.

Dell Acquires AppAssure

February 26, 2012 — Leave a comment

Friday Dell announced that they were to acquire backup vendor AppAssure, more information for the Acquasition can be found here >> http://en.community.dell.com/dell-blogs/direct2dell/b/direct2dell/archive/2012/02/24/dell-acquires-appassure.aspx

AppAssure

In the announcement above Dell gave some clues to their intentions for AppAssure with tight integration with the Dell storage portfolio to further assist with the fluid data vision.

Dell will extend the benefit of AppAssure across our enterprise solutions and services portfolio. Initially, it will be a software-only solution, and then over time we will offer additional data protection solutions tightly integrated in our Fluid Data architecture as we’ve done with our other acquired IP, including EqualLogic, Compellent and the Fluid File System. Customers will be able to manage data end-to-end, not in silos of servers and storage, or islands of sites.

Other than a base understanding of the AppAssure product I haven’t got any previous experience with using the product so I will leave those thoughts for another day, but you can see why Dell would want to have a backup product in the fold, the likes of HP, EMC and NetApp are all able to offer a backup product with their storage solutions and quite commonly I am asked what is the best way to backup VM’s from a replica or snapshot which isn’t easily done without a third party product at present.

However Dell have always been pretty good with their relationship with backup vendors particularly Symantec and increasingly Commvault, personally if it was Commvault that had been acquired I wouldn’t have been surprised at all.

Dell and Commvault

Dell and Symantec

My personal hope is that with the acquisition of AppAssure it doesn’t cause Dell to put their guard up against other backup vendors on the market, as a hardware vendor I believe it is important for them to be able to maintain the flexibility to allow end users to use their choice of backup products. I look forward into seeing how AppAssure is integrated into the storage family and also personally learning what AppAssure has to offer.

veeamgift

Similar to last years offer from Veeam they are offering all VMware vExpert, VCP, VCI, VMUG member, Microsoft MVP or MCP a free two-CPU socket Not for Resale license of Veeam Backup & Replication™ v6 for evaluation and demonstration use. So if you have a home lab or a lab at work and want to play with Veeam or use it to your advantage in a non production environment here is your chance.

My VM’s have been backing up nicely with Veeam Backup and Replication V6 since it’s release a few weeks ago, although my poor little NAS is now feeling the strain and I need something with some more grunt, so if there are any friendly vendors out there who would like to sponsor some new storage for my home lab let me know 😀

To grab you free licenses visit here >> http://www.veeam.com/news/holiday-gift-from-veeam-free-veeam-backup-and-replication-v6-licenses-for-your-lab155.html