VMCE logo

Ever since the release of the VMCE certificate I have been receiving questions related to Veeam products. More often I received questions if Veeam has a full practice exam and besides the VMCE 7 to VMCE 8 practice exam there is no official practice exam.

However there is a practice exam created by Rasmus Haslund. He is a Veeam Certified Engineer trainer who created 50 questions when VMCE 7 came out and this has recently been updated to version 8. Make sure you try these as well as this is a perfect example compared to the real exam. This practice exam is also devided into categories just like the VMCE course.

As explained in my personal experience post I also passed the VMCE exam. After completing it I had a discussion with my colleague Timothy Dewin about creating an additional practice exam as more and more people ask for it.

This practice exam will grow as we receive more specific questions which may be interesting to add.

The practice exam is now published and can be started here.

Best of luck!

This blogpost is a bit overdue but I still wanted to share my experience with the Veeam Certified Engineer exam.

VMCE logoThe Veeam Certified Engineer (VMCE) course is a technical deep-dive that provides extensive information on Veeam solutions. This 3 day course will go further then the Veeam Sales Technical Professional as this course also adds lab time with an overview on Veeam Backup & Replication and Veeam One. Currently there is no Management Pack module but I am sure this will be added soon as it is part of the Veeam portfolio.

In short (taken from the VMCE page): The VMCE certification gives Veeam experts knowledge that’s highly sought-after for implementing Veeam solutions.

As a VMCE, you can:

  • Identify and resolve issues more efficiently
  • Distinguish yourself from your peers
  • Get more functionality out of Veeam solutions

After following the course you are allowed to book an exam via Pearson VUE. After passing you will be granted the certificate and you can call yourself a VMCE. The exam itself currently holds 50 questions which should be answered within 1 hour. The exam is in the same style as for example the VMware Certified Professional exam meaning you can go back and forth between questions and mark a question for review if you aren’t sure about your answer.

Preparing for the exam

The best way to be prepared for the exam is to have a lab where you can test all features discussed in the course. Veeam offers free NFR licenses (1 year, 2 sockets) or you can also request these if you are a Veeam partner (in case you require more then 2 sockets).

My advise here is that even if you did all the labs during the course, redo them again. Take a look at all the extra buttons and see which are the advanced options. If you follow the coursebook from A to Z you will know everything you need to know to pass the exam but hands on will be needed.

An additional way of resources is the Veeam helpcenter. Is something unclear on how it works? Look it up using the helpcenter. You can also use the user guide but personally I prefer the helpcenter as it is easier to bookmark things then searching a full PDF again.

Keep in mind that Veeam offers multiple technical resources which are nicely listed on the resources page. And if you don’t like to read things you can always search for a specific video in the recorded webinars.

If you want to do a VMCE 7 to VMCE 8 test exam make sure to check the Veeam University as there is a small test exam.

Finally use your contacts if you want to know more about a certain feature. This can be a local Veeam contact or you can even use social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Taking the exam

The exam is straightforward as mentioned: 50 questions, 60 minutes. To pass the exam you will need to score 70%.

I scored 82% the first time and I realised after the exam that if I would have spent some more time on specific course elements I could have scored higher. In my case I didn’t look into the full Veeam One details and even though I know the product there are some questions which really put your knowledge to the test. If you are like me and there is a question where you think all answers might be correct then go for your first impulse.

Don’t overthink the questions as this will cost you time, it’s better to mark a question for a review and come back to it later. By the time I was finished going through the exam I marked 4 questions but I was already sure that I passed. I did review those 4 questions but didn’t change my answer.

The VMCE course is split into modules but I found that the questions are totally random. It’s not made in that way that you will get 3-4 questions about a specific module. For example I had 6 questions related to specific product features where in terms of licensing questions I only had 2. Another important side note; even though Veeam support both VMware and Hyper-V none of the questions are really specific. Everything is quite general with the exception on “Backup from Storage Snapshots” as this is a VMware feature only.

Important things you should know before starting:

  • Don’t overthink questions to long, mark them and come back
  • Write down things you found hard to remember as soon as you enter, you might need them and this way you have them on paper
  • 60 minutes is plenty of time
  • Certain questions are straightforward and easy, use these to reclaim lost time
  • You will only know if you passed once you leave the room, finishing the exam will not tell your score directly

Best of luck to everyone going for VMCE and as mentioned feel free to contact me or Veeam via social media. Do keep in mind that we don’t have the questions nor will we ever give them to anyone ;-).

Last friday Veeam announced the RC for Veeam Endpoint Backup and with it also the integration towards Veeam Backup & Replication v8.

The video below demonstrates how easy it is to backup any endpoint computer towards the Veeam Backup repository and afterwards export the backup to a VMDK and use it with a virtual machine.

To test this there are 2 requirements:

  • Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE RC has to be installed on an endpoint device
  • Veeam Backup & Replication v8 patch 2 has to be installed

Currently patch 2 is also available as a RC built but it can’t be used on a production server. You will need to install a temporary Veeam server. This is done to prevent any impact on your production server. If you try to install it on your production server the following error will appear:
VBR Patch 2 RC error

What’s new (taken from the forum post)

New Veeam Endpoint Backup features include:

  • Backup directly into Veeam backup repositories.
  • Full support for Bitlocker drive encryption on backup and restore.
  • Ability to control power state of the computer after daily backup.
  • “When backup target is connected” event (former “On storage attach” event) now supports both USB drives and remote storage, and triggers when you connect to a network from which your remote backup target is reachable.
  • Metered internet connections are now detected and not used to perform backup to remote targets.
  • More smart way of handling retries (both in scheduler and UI).
  • Customizable backup destination folder.
  • Support for rotated USB drives.
  • Backup is automatically prevented from starting when a device is running off battery and battery level is less than 20%
    Slightly improved backup performance (local data movers “talk” over shared memory, as opposed to network sockets)
  • Recovery Media enhancement (virtual keyboard w/multi-language layout support, USB 3.0 devices support)
  • New shiny setup!

New B&R features around integration include:

  • Restore guest files and application items from endpoint backups.
  • Export physical disks contents from backup into VMDK/VHD/VHDX virtual disk files.
  • Basic monitoring and management of all incoming backups, including email notifications to B&R admins about endpoint backup status.
  • Ability to assign end users permissions on individual backup repositories (permission settings dialog becomes available upon the first connection
    attempt from Veeam Endpoint Backup to a B&R server, before that it can be accessed by Ctrl-right-clicking the backup repository).
  • Traffic throttling settings from Global Network Traffic Rules now apply to Veeam Endpoint Backup jobs as well.
  • Support for endpoint backups in Backup Copy and Backup to Tape jobs.
  • Ability to encrypt endpoint backup stored in Veeam backup repositorites.

For more information about the current RC check out the Veeam forums.

For more information about Veeam products check out www.veeam.com.

Enjoy!

Getting the best availability for Microsoft Exchange with VeeamAs a follow-up to a series of webinars based on Exchange 2013 (Get started with Microsoft Exchange 2013), Veeam now published the whitepaper. This whitepaper has a bit more focus on the Veeam part and how to get the best availability for your Exchange infrastructure.

This whitepaper is written by my Veeam colleague Johan Huttenga and myself. You can get it here. Any feedback is appreciated!

Enjoy!

Veeam Availability Suite v8
The Veeam Availability Suite v8 (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!

Veeam Backup & Replication v8 also includes a workaround for the recent found CBT bug in VMware vSphere (KB2090639). Another good reason to use SureBackup!

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

1. Backup I/O Control

Backup I/O ensures your workloads availability by reducing impact of backup and replication jobs on production VMs running on the same storage where backed up VMs reside by monitoring the production datastore read latency, and controlling jobs I/O to keep the latency within user-defined acceptable limits. This ensure availability of production workloads during the backup window without unnecessarily sacrificing jobs performance when datastore as load is low, as this happens with legacy solutions offering static per-datastore task limits.

Backup I/O Control works in conjunction with Automatic Intelligent Load Balancing to ensure no new I/O intensive tasks (such as virtual disk backup, restore or snapshot removal) are assigned to the same datastore if its latency is above defined first latency threshold.
Additionally, Backup I/O Control actively throttles Data Mover I/O for existing tasks if the production datastore latency goes above second latency threshold, for example due to production VM starting to execute I/O intensive operation.

To ensure that backups can complete under any circumstances, Backup I/O control will always allow at least one active task per each datastore, and will never throttle any give task to less than 10% of full I/O capacity.

This is for me personally by far the most cool feature in Veeam Backup & Replication v8. No more issues with VM’s struggling for resources because the backup is running, no more applications becoming unresponsive because the backup is killing the database,… The list goes on and on. This feature will increase the availabilty AND most important: performance!
Backup I/O Control Settings

2. Veeam Explorer for MS SQL

Veeam Explorer™ for SQL enables you to achieve low RTO and RPO with Microsoft SQL Servers databases protection with the following all-new functionality:

  • 1-click individual SQL database recovery for lowest RTO. No more searching for database files or spending time reattaching them to SQL server using native management tools!
  • Web-based restore portal for SQL database restores by delegated database administrators
  • Agentless transaction log backup and replay for no-impact low RPO protection of your SQL databases. Backup your databases as often as every 5 minutes!
  • Point-in-time SQL database recovery down to individual transaction with the unique transaction logs viewer to ensure lowest possible RPO
  • Full support for SQL AlwaysON Availability Groups on both backup and restore

How I wish this Veeam Explorer was available back in version 6 when the Explorer for Exchange came out. Never struggling with doing database restores as with Veeam it will become even more easy to recover to a specific transaction or export a database!
Veeam Explorer for SQL Server

3. NetApp integration (and some IBM as well)

Veeam’s storage snapshot integration technologies have been extended to support NetApp storage. Achieve an unprecedented level of data protection through a combination of NetApp’s low RPO capabilities and Veeam’s low RTO enablement.
The integration of NetApp and Veeam® allows you to:

  • Create VM backups from storage snapshots up to 20 times faster than the competition
  • Recover individual VMs, guest files and application items quickly and efficiently from NetApp Snapshot, SnapMirror and SnapVault
  • Improve DR protection by creating instant, secondary backups from storage snapshots to SnapMirror and SnapVault
  • Create frequent, zero impact storage snapshots with snapshot-only “backup” jobs managed directly in the Veeam Backup & Replication console, including support for application-aware processing.

NetApp integration support NFS, FC and iSCSI connectivity, and both 7-mode and cluster-mode deployment options. All Data ONTAP storage is supported, including NetApp FAS, FlexArray (V-Series), Edge VSA and IBM N Series.

We could do cool things with HP but thanks to SnapMirror and SnapVault achieving the 3-2-1 rule becomes really easy. This integration can do a lot and we support all ONTAP storage (atleast firmware 8.1) to work all this magic.
NetApp

4. Certificate-based authentication

Support for certificate-based authentication for both Linux servers used as backup repositories, and guest OS for application-aware processing and guest file system indexing has been added. Supported SSH keys formats include OpenSSH RSA, OpenSSH DSA, OpenSSL PEM, Open SSL PKCS#8, SSH.com and Putty Private Key (PPK).

This is not 1 of the major features but I am happy this has finally been implemented. Years ago I made a feature request about this and it finally got added. This will increase security a lot in regards to those working in Linux environments.

Oh and Veeam can now index Linux machines using mlocate.

5. Snapshot hunter

Detects and automatically consolidates hidden VM snapshots to prevent production VMs from stopping due to datastores overfilling with snapshot files.

Finally no more issues with hidden snapshots in a VMware infrastructure, Veeam will help you find them and eliminate them.

What else?

Besides the features above there is a lot more in the new Veeam Availability Suite. Over more then 200 features and enhancements in total!

Some other cool things are:

  • Veeam Explorer for Active Directory
  • AES-256bit End-to-End Encryption
  • Direct SAN restore: restore thick virtual disks directly through SAN fabric!
  • Tape proxy: put your tape device anywhere you want!
  • WAN acceleration for Replication
  • Replicate from backup files!
  • New backup method: Forever forward incremental
  • Self-Restore Portal for Application Owners: restore directly from the application server

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.

Oh and expect more technical/practical information on certain subjects in upcoming blogposts ;-).