The Veeam Agent for Linux became generally available last week. With this release Veeam released the first of 2 agents which will help in covering availability for cloud and physical servers. There was a huge demand for this and therefor Veeam created the Veeam Agent for Linux and Veeam Agent for Windows (coming soon).

Veeam Agent for Linux is the perfect solution for scheduling automatic backups for your Linux instances, regardless if they are running on physical machines, in the public cloud or both.

Veeam Agent for Linux includes:

  • Entire computer, volume-level and file-level backup
  • Built-in snapshot and changed block tracking (CBT) drivers
  • Support for multiple jobs
  • Pre-freeze and post-thaw snapshot scripts
  • Choice of a user-friendly UI or traditional Linux command line interface (CLI)
  • Integration with Veeam Backup & Replication™

The cool thing about Linux is the big choice of automation tools out there nowadays. There is Chef, Ansible, Salt, Puppet and probably some more. Ever since there was an alpha available on the Veeam Agent for Linux I started working on a Puppet module.

The first version of this module is now available via Github.

This module can be used for:

  • Create a repository (Veeam Backup & Replication repository, local, NFS or CIFS)
  • Create a backup job (entire computer or volume based)
  • Configure the license mode (free, workstation or server)
  • Define the schedule (cron based)

It has been tested against the following operating systems:

  • Debian 6/7/8
  • CentOS 6/7
  • Ubuntu 12.04, 14.04, 16.04
  • Fedora Core 23/24

Currently this module allows you to deploy the Veeam Agent for Linux with several options. The full list is available via the readme file.

Feedback is appreciated and feel free to modify it as you want!

Happy holidays!

In case you missed it last week, the Veeam Availability Suite 9.5 (Veeam Backup & Replication and Veeam One combined) is available for download right now.

Both the What’s New documents are available for Veeam Backup & Replication and Veeam One so I am not going to list it all here.

With the new release there is now support for another storage vendor: Nimble! This one is probably the most requested on our forums but besides this it’s a known fact that the people over at Nimble wanted us to work together. I spoke a few times with them at events and they stated they had the need for a proper integration and felt this task was up to Veeam.

If you are looking at upgrading to Windows Server 2016 (or any related application such as Active Directory, SQL Server or SharePoint) make sure you upgrade to 9.5 however keep in mind that the 9.5 release currently does not support vSphere 6.5! This is related due changes under the hood and therefor support is currently planned for update 1 so you might want to hold of on the jump to vSphere 6.5.

Another cool thing about Windows Server 2016 is the new version on ReFS. I am not going to cover these details as Rick Vanover already did this in a blog post but I can tell you it is a big deal and gamechanger for storing Veeam backups.

Personally there are 3 other features in the Veeam Availability Suite I want to highlight.

1. VMware vSphere infrastructure cache

Maintains an in-RAM mirror of vSphere infrastructure hierarchy to dramatically accelerate job start up (Building VM list operation) and user interface responsiveness while browsing a virtual infrastructure.

This approach removes the load from a vCenter Server, making it more available to perform its core infrastructure management duties, and improves backup success ratio in the environments where jobs would often time out or fail due to an overloaded vCenter Server. The cache is maintained up-to-date with real-time updates via a subscription to vCenter Server infrastructure change events.

2. Parallel processing for full VM restore

As the feature title states this restores multiple disks in parallel, similar to the way backup is performed. This technique is automatically used for all disk-based backup repositories (except Data Domain deduplicating storage for which a new improvement has been added by leveraging a custom tailored logic for both backups and restores).

3. Veeam One Scalability

One major improvement is related to Veeam One and are mostly related to under the hood changes but this is a major step forward in terms of enterprise needs. There are 3 improvements towards the data collection engine which achieve this.

Backup data collection mode: In this mode, Veeam ONE collects Veeam Backup & Replication™ data only and skips virtual infrastructure performance data. This allows you to improve scalability of your Veeam ONE server.

Enhanced advanced scalability mode: This mode collects performance metrics that are used in predefined alarms and reports. This allows users to improve scalability of their Veeam ONE server.

Granular performance metrics selection: The enhanced data collection engine now allows users to select individual performance metrics for each monitored object type (e.g. VMs, hosts, datastores), to improve Veeam ONE server scalability.

As a final note make sure to read the release notes for Veeam Backup & Replication and Veeam One before upgrading.

If you have any questions or need a demo you can always contact your local Veeam represent or hit me up on Twitter.

v9-available

Update 2 for Veeam Backup & Replication v9 is now available and brings some improvements to the product.

Most important is the fact that Veeam Backup & Replication v9 now fully supports Cisco HyperFlex HX-Series for Direct NFS backup mode as well as VMware VSAN 6.2.

Furthermore on the EMC part support has been added for Data Domain DD OS 5.7 for DD Boost integration as a backup target. As production storage this update also adds support for Unity for Backup from Storage Snapshots as well as the Veeam Explorer for Storage Snapshots functionality.

Some Enterprise enhancements which would be introduced in Veeam Backup & Replication v9.5 were also backported and added in this support to benefit from it early!

The full release notes as well as the download can be found here.

v9-available

The Veeam Availability Suite v9 (Veeam Backup & Replication and Veeam One combined) is finally here. We have been giving hints about features for the past months and these are now available for you to use and improve your environment and increase availability!

Instead of just listing all the what’s new things I decided to talk about my personal top 5 on new smaller, unannounced features. We have a “What’s new” document afterall.

1. Per-VM backup file chains

Per-VM backup file chains provide a new backup repository option that makes any backup job written to a repository store each VM’s restore point in a dedicated backup file, delivering 10x faster backup performance with multiple write streams by leveraging parallel VM processing.

For me this is the biggest feature because this allows you to leverage your backup storage investment to a maximum. Before v9 a backup job containing multiple VM’s would be stored in 1 backup file (for either full and incrementals). By using the new option Veeam Backup & Replication will store 1 backup file chain per VM (for either full and incrementals).

Combine this with the new Scale-Out Backup Repository and you can use your backup storage to a better maximum compared to before (usage and performance wise). You could even make one job where you add your vCenter or SCVMM cluster, point to to a Scale-Out Backup Repository and let Veeam take care of everything :-). For more information on Scale-Out Backup Repositories I suggest you read this post by Luca Dell’Oca.

This setting is configured by default when using a Scale-Out Backup Repository however when configuring a new backup repository or editing an existing one this is an option which can be found under the advanced button. Also if you change the behaviour on an existing one Veeam Backup & Replication will take care of everything for you.

v9-per-vm-backuo-chain

2. Parallel processing for Backup Copy Job and Tape

With v9, Backup Copy jobs will now process multiple VMs in parallel, like primary backup jobs. This improves the backup copy and retention processing performance due to removing “dead time” between each VM, and will further speed up processing when per-VM backup file chains are enabled on the target backup repository.

As it states this will help you in getting a copy of your backups to disk more rapidly. The best thing about it is that this option is enabled by default so no configuration is needed.

Parallel backups no longer require the creation of multiple media pools. Backup to Tape and File to Tape jobs can now run in parallel even when pointed to the same media pool. Backup to Tape jobs will process multiple backup chains (either from different source backup jobs, or created with a per-VM backup file chain option) and span them across tape drives automatically to significantly reduce your tape backup window.

A big requested feature finally made it into the release. This setting can be configured per media pool while creating or editing it.

v9-parallel-processing-tape

3. vPower cache

vPower® engine will now cache recently accessed backup file blocks in RAM, which will help speed up all functionality that relies on Instant VM Recovery™.

This is important for faster recovery (Instant VM Recovery, file level recovery,…) and especially when you are using deduplication storage (such as HPE StoreOnce, EMC DataDomain, ExaGrid,…) as a backup repository. By default every VM has 40 cached blocks (meaning backup block, 1Mb by default).

4. Storage-level corruption guard

Backup files produced by primary backup jobs can now be periodically scanned to identify storage issues, such as a bit rot. Corrupt data blocks are auto-healed by retrieving correct data from the production storage, increasing the reliability of forever-incremental backups and removing the need for periodic full backups.

This is a feature which was already possible on backup copy jobs and has now been made available in the primary job. This is something you should run atleast once a month to guarantee your files to be fine so you can recover from them. As always running SureBackup is also advised.

v9-health-check

5. BitLooker

BitLooker™ is Veeam’s unique, patent-pending, advanced data reduction technology designed to further reduce backup file size and replication bandwidth usage by 20% or more. It allows customers to easily find and reduce useless chunks of data congesting their backup storage resources by providing the following three capabilities:

  • Excluding deleted file blocks
  • Excluding swap and hibernation files
  • Excluding user-specified files and folders

BitLooker will even optimize the backup storage usage even better (combined with Per-VM Backup Chains) for any Windows server with NTFS disks. There are 2 options to configure in the interface.

Option 1 is to exclude deleted file blocks which is an advanced option under the Storage tab.
v9-bitlooker-1

Option 2 is the exclusion of specific user files and folders which can be found under the Applications button on the Guest Processing tab.
v9-bitlooker-2

What else is there to check out?

Besides the features above there is a lot more in Veeam Backup & Replication v9. Other great things are:

  • Veeam Cloud Connect Replication (easily create a DR plan using a Veeam Cloud Provider)
  • On-Demand Sandbox for Storage Snapshots (run a sandbox with the same performance as your production VM’s)
  • Direct NFS Access (works by default)
  • Veeam Explorer for Oracle (for both Windows and Linux)

For a full list make sure to read the release notes.

As you can see Veeam does it again. We are very happy with the release and again we prove that we are listening to you, building the tools you need.

If you have any questions or need a demo you can always contact your local Veeam represent or hit me up on Twitter.

Veeam Cloud Connect

Since the introduction of Veeam Cloud Connect getting backups off site has never been more easy. Veeam Cloud Connect makes it easy for Veeam customers to extend their backup infrastructure to the cloud. It also makes it easy for service providers to offer hosted backup repositories or complete backup services with Veeam.

This feature is available since version 8 in Veeam Backup & Replication (part of the Veeam Availability Suite) and with the upcoming release of version 9 this feature will be improved by adding replication as an additional feature. This improvement ensures availability of your mission-critical applications without the cost and complexity of building and maintaining a disaster recovery (DR) site. Veeam Cloud Connect with VM replication provides fully integrated, fast and secure cloud-based DR through a service provider.

Via the Veeam cloud & Service Provider portal it is possible for any Veeam user to find a service provider with ease. While looking at this portal I was thinking “what if these were put on a world map?”. The idea was born and after some coding and deepdiving into the platform I managed to create a world map based on Google maps.

This map offers you the possibility to zoom in to a specific country, fill in your location and define a radius. Once submitted this will output all the providers in the specific radius near you!

You can find the world map here. Do keep in mind that the current status is a beta and feedback is appreciated.

Veeam Cloud Connect: getting backups & replicas off site the easy way.

Veeam Cloud Connect