Backup to the cloud using Windows Azure Backup

One of the use cases of cloud computing Infrastructure as a Service is data recovery. IaaS service models have unlimited compute and storage capacity without upfront investments. More and more vendors are adding support for backup to the cloud. Some examples are Microsoft who acquired StorSimple. Storsimple is a hardware appliance which offers local storage and a gateway to various cloud storage providers. Veeam Backup & Replication Cloud Edition offers the same kind of functionality delivered in software.

Windows Azure has a preview feature named Azure Backup  which offers an unlimited storage capacity for backup purposes. This post will give some insights in this feature and how to connect to it.

azure-backup

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Veeam announces Veeam Explorer for Microsoft SharePoint

Veeam Software is adding some very cool features in its upcoming Backup & Replication v7 release.

Earlier announced is support for VMware vCloud Director
Also announced is the plug-in for VMware vSphere Client.

Today Veeam announced another feature:Veeam Explorer for Microsoft SharePoint

This will be included at no additional charge in both the next release of Veeam Backup Free Edition and in Veeam Backup & Replication v7, which will become generally available in the second half of this year.

Capabilities include (all without the use of agents):

  • Browsing SharePoint databases within compressed, deduplicated image-level backups of SharePoint virtual machines (VMs) without having to restore the entire database
  • Searching for specific SharePoint items with rich search capability for e-discovery purposes
  • Recovering and exporting items directly to the original SharePoint server, or sending items as email attachments to specific users
  • Support for SharePoint running on both Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware vSphere.

This blog posting on the website of Veeam clearly explains the use case of Veeam Explorer for Sharepoint.

Veeam Explorer for Microsoft SharePoint introduces a single tool that can easily be used to backup, compress and deduplicate SharePoint data stores. But—the real beauty of this powerful tool comes when it’s time to restore.  Imagine a user calls your helpdesk and says…

“I accidentally deleted a file from SharePoint and I really need to get it back!”

At this point your helpdesk Tech smiles and opens Veeam Explorer for Microsoft SharePoint. Now your Tech can access the SharePoint database from within the compressed, deduplicated backup file. No restoration of the backup file is necessary. The data is displayed just as if your Tech were looking at files in Windows Explorer.

“Can you tell me the name of the file?”

As the user gives the name of the file your Tech simply browses to the desired file location.  And, if the user doesn’t know the name or location of the file, don’t worry, your Tech can use the built in search feature to find it.  And when your Tech finds the file, just right-click the file and choose to restore it to SharePoint, send the file to the user or simply copy it to another location. No full database restoration is necessary.  It’s that simple, and the process literally takes a couple minutes to accomplish.

 

Registration for public beta is now open.

A short video explaining can be watched here.

 

 

Veeam announces Backup & Replication plug-in for vSphere Web Client

Today Veeam announced that Veeam Backup & Replication v7 (to be released in Q3 2013) will feature a plug-in for the vSphere Web Client.

From the same console used for management of hosts, vm’s, networks and storage administrators are now able to get an overview of protection status of VMs.

The vSphere Web Client plug-in will have good information such as success, warning, and failure counts for all jobs as well as some cumulative information on key backup infrastructure topics such as storage space used and available. The figure below shows the main view of the vSphere Web Client plug-in for Veeam Backup & Replication.

More information including a video at Veeam.com

 

Storage issues on Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V. Microsoft struggling to fix!

Storage is a crucial component of any virtualization platform. Issues on storage will have an effect of performance and availability of virtual machines.

In Windows Server 2008  Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) had a couple of issues. I remember redirected io issues during backup operations, the way iSCSI is used to handle reservations of volumes (see this issue) and third party drivers (McAfee Antivirus, see this issue) could harm performance and/or reliability.

It is always a  good idea to fully test your backup solution before implementing Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V in your production environment.

Microsoft improved quite a bit on CSV storage in Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V. Also integration between storage arrays and Hyper-V was improved. ODX or  Offloaded Data Transfers improve copy performance by offloading the data copy to the storage array instead of doing the work by the Hyper-V host.

ODX enables a large improvement in duration on actions like a storage migration or regular copy of a file.

However still some issues are being noticed.

One of the issues is related to ODX. As ODX is a new interfacing technology it needs to be implemented in the storage array firmware. Not all storage vendors support ODX at the moment. However ODX is default enabled in Windows Server 2012. This might cause issues. Read Aidan Finn blogpost titled Enabled ODX In Hosts With Non-Supporting SAN Can Cause CSV Stability Issues on this.

Veeam Backup & Replication does not like ODX either. It will disable ODX as can be read in this thread. VeeamFCT is a service installed on each Hyper-V host which VMs are protected by Veeam Backup & Replication. It handles Changed Block Tracking (CBT) by installing a driver (VeeamFCT.sys) so only changed blocks of data in the virtual machine disk file are processed during backup. Veeam is working on a fix as can be read in this thread.

Last but not least there has been a major issue on backup of CSV. This could cause VMs to go in pause of CSV volumes to go offline. Microsoft needed several patches to get this fixed and it still seems to be not fixed for all users. I blogged about this here.

An overview of fixes:

KB2799728 did not fix the backup issues as it had a memory leak .
workaround is to de-install the KB2799728 and enable per host and lun serialization in dpm ( http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh757922.aspx )

Then Microsoft released KB 2813630 ( available here.) which is supposed to solve both backup issue and memory leak. However users in this Microsoft forum are complaining that this fix of fix does not fix the issues either. They are awaiting v3 of KB2813630.

update June 13
Around the 15th of May Microsoft released a new, important bugfix which solved many issues. Read my post for more information.

 

Zerto announces Virtual Replication 3.0

For disaster recovery  (DR) of virtual machines running on vSphere just a few rocksolid solutions are available, in particular for enterprise environments. In April 2012 I published an overview of the three major vendors of DR solutions for vSphere. VMware Site Recovery Manager is  well known. Zerto Virtual Replication is another great solution. It is increasingly being used by enterprise sized organizations and service providers.

Today the company announced their 3.0 version.

New enterprise features include:

  • Remote Office / Branch Office (ROBO) support: Standardize protection across the organization with support for branch offices, delivering the same tight SLAs of the main office.
  • 100 percent assurance for DR testing: New ‘test-before-you-commit’ capability delivers comprehensive recovery.
  • Parallel recovery feature accelerates large application availability.

New Cloud Service Provider features include:

  • Zerto Self-Service Portal (ZSSP): Offer mission-critical protection quickly and easily with a SSP that integrates into the existing infrastructure with little to no effort.
  • Zerto Cloud Manager (ZCM): A centralized management point for CSPs to get a complete view of disaster recovery customers across multiple sites. This feature is also useful for enterprises building private clouds.
  • vCloud 5.1 seamless integration: Native support for vApps, Storage Profiles, Org Networks, Provider vDC and more.
  • VMware vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) integration: The only disaster recovery solution for vCAC environments.

The addition of features since the 1.0 release are shown in this table.

See the Zero Pressrelease  for more information.

Veeam Backup & Replication v7 announced

At VMware Partner Exchange Veeam announced one of the new features of the yet to be released Backup & Replication v7 (B&R v7). The 7.0 version is expected to be released in Q3 2013.

B&R v7 will support VMware vCloud Director.

Using the vCD API, Veeam will display the vCD infrastructure directly in Veeam Backup & Replication, backup all vApp metadata and attributes, restore vApps and VMs directly to vCD, and support restore of fast-provisioned VMs.

YouTube video explaining vCloud Director support here.

More information here.

Microsoft releases 2nd bug fix to fix issues on CSV backup of Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V

update June 2013:

at June 19 I blogged about another update released by Microsoft which solved several storage related issues. Read more here.

——————————————————————————————————-

Microsoft customers using Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V had serious issues when back-ups were made of virtual machines running on CSV volumes of Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V hosts.

Virtual machine enters a paused state or a CSV volume goes offline when you try to create a backup of the virtual machine on a Windows Server 2012-based failover cluster. This issue also occurs when you try to create a snapshot of the virtual machine by using a backup software that uses the Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider

This happens with any backup tool including Microsoft Data Protection Manager 2012 SP1 and Veeam Backup & Recovery v6.5

Initially Microsoft released a hotfix which was supposed to solve this issue. However applying the hotfix resulted in a serious memory leak  which could lead to no available memory for virtual machines.

Background information on this can be read at Hyper-v.nu , Technet forum and SCDPM blog of Matthijs Vreeken.

At Saturday February 16 the Windows team has  released a V2 of the fix to address CSV backup issues and is available for download. This will address the known memory leak issue along with some other issues that were discover during testing.

This fix supersedes the original fix and includes all fixes contained in the original.

Virtual machine enters a paused state or a CSV volume goes offline when you try to create a backup of the virtual machine on a Windows Server 2012-based failover cluster.

Download the hotfix at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2813630

The Windows team is investigating other issues found during testing and not included in this release. However they wanted to get this fix published since the memory leak issue is fixed and provide immediate relief.

VMware Announces VMware vSphere Data Protection Advanced

VMware vSphere Data Protection (VDP) is a backup and recovery solution that was introduced with vSphere 5.1. The software license is included for free in  vSphere 5.1 Essentials  Plus and higher editions.

VDP leverages mature, proven technology from EMC Avamar to provide reliable, space-efficient, disk-based data protection for VMware virtual machines (VMs). VDP is fully integrated with VMware vCenter Server and the vSphere Web Client. One of the real beauties of VDP is its ease of deployment and management which explains why thousands of VMware customers have already downloaded VDP since it was introduced just a few short months ago. Today, VMware announced VDP Advanced which further extends the capabilities of VDP. Here are the highlights of the new functionality found in VDP Advanced:

  • Higher scalability (up to 8TB of de-duplicated backup data)
  • Application-aware backup and recovery of Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Exchange
  • Dynamically increase capacity
  • Migration from VDP to VDP Advanced

As many of you already know, VDP (included with vSphere Essentials Plus and higher) scales up to 2TB of de-duplicated backup data. VDP Advanced extends that capability to 8TB of de-duplicated backup data. VDP Advanced also supports protecting a maximum of 400 VMs per applianced (VDP supports up to 100 VMs).

The cost of VMware vSphere Data Protection Advanced is $ 1095,- per CPU.

Continue here and here.

 

Veeam releases Veeam Backup & Replication Cloud Edition providing cloud storage gateway

Veeam Software today released a new product named Veeam Backup & Replication Cloud Edition.  This edition has the same features which Veeam Backup & Replication 6.5 delivers plus it offers a storage cloud gateway.

This enables backup admins of small to midsized VMware or Hyper-V shops to store and retrieve files to and from cloud storage providers. Veeam Backup & Replication Cloud Edition enables the storage of for instance the Veeam backup repository (known as .VBK files) to an external location. The cloud storage gateway software is targeted at the enduser of Veeam Backup & Replication (not yet at Service Providers) and will be sold as part of Veaam Backup & Replication.

An impressive number of 15 different cloud storage providers are support in this 1.0 release. Even more as each OpenStack based cloud storage provider is supported as wel.

The Edition is especially targeted at small, single site customers which are looking for a  simple and cost-effective
way to perform periodic offsite backups.

To reduce costs upfront a new subscription based license is available for 1, 2 or 3 years including 24/7 support.

See this video on YouTube for an overview of the new product.

Read the Press release  here.

cloud-edition

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Recorded Veeam webinar available: ‘Building bi-directional DR and backup for the business ‘

 

Disaster Recovery procedures just aren’t the same in a virtualized environment as they are in a physical one and they require a different approach. Join VMware VCDX and vExpert, Joep Piscaer, during this one-hour recorded webinar as he highlights the most important implementation steps and gives a very detailed analysis of a DR project he implemented.

Joep explains the project goals and how Veeam Backup & Recovery 6.0 was used to protect two sites. The recording on the webinar is available and takes around 1 hour. It gives a detailled explanation of architecture and lessons learned.

The recorded webinar is here.

The slidedeck in PDF format can be viewed and downloaded here.

Topics discussed:

  • Evaluating a datacenter (DC)—Designing and documenting SLA requirements.
  • Developing a new DC design—Overview of products and components.
  • Choosing a DR approach—Analyzing, implementing and testing a DR solution

The agenda:

Veeam-DR-webinar

 

 

VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5.0.2 and 5.1.0.1 released

December 20 has been a busy day at VMware HQ. Many new software releases were made available for download.
VMware released two new versions of vCenter Site Recovery Manager:  5.0.2 and 5.1.0

The difference between the versions is the vSphere support.SRM versions are in lockstep with the vSphere releases.

SRM 5.1 supports VMware ESX5.1 while SRM 5.0.2 does not support ESX5.1
SRM 5.1 supports vCenter Server 5.1. SRM 5.02 is limited to support for vCenter Server 5.0 releases.

SRM-compatibility-matrix

For compatibility see this matrix.

VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5.1.0.1

Release notes can be read here.

SRM 5.1.0.1 provides the following improvements:

  • Resolves critical issues in SRM 5.1. If you have installed SRM 5.1 (build 820150), you must upgrade your installation to SRM 5.1.0.1 (build 941848).
  • Includes vSphere Replication 5.1.0.1. If you have installed vSphere Replication 5.1, after you upgrade SRM to 5.1.0.1, you must also vSphere Replication to vSphere Replication 5.1.0.1.

VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5.0.2

It offers improvements and bug fixes.
Release notes are here.

VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5.0.2 offers the following improvements:

  • Added support for protection and IP customization of the following guest operating systems:
    • Windows 8 (32-bit and 64-bit)
    • Windows Server 2012 (32-bit and 64-bit)
    • RHEL Server 6.2 and 6.3 (32-bit and 64-bit)
    • Ubuntu 12.04

    NOTE: To protect virtual machines that run the above operating systems, you must upgrade ESXi Server to version 5.0 update 2 on both the protected and recovery sites.

  • The vSphere Replication management server accepts MD5 certificates. See Caveats and Limitations.
  • Upgraded OpenSSL 0.9.8m to 0.9.8t for improved security. This addresses the security advisory that was issued for OpenSSL in January 2012.
  • Auto-generated certificates use RSA keys of 2048 bits.

Case study: Building bi-directional DR and backup for the business

Virtualization adds some challenges when it comes to disaster recovery (DR). DR procedures just aren’t the same in a virtualized environment as they are in a physical one and they require a different approach. Join VMware VCDX and vExpert, Joep Piscaer, during this one-hour webinar as he highlights the most important implementation steps and gives a very detailed analysis of a DR project he implemented.

Topics that will be discussed:

  • Evaluating a datacenter (DC)—Designing and documenting SLA requirements.
  • Developing a new DC design—Overview of products and components.
  • Choosing a DR approach—Analyzing, implementing and testing a DR solution

The second part of the session will be devoted to a practical application of the lessons Joep learned:

  • How to improve the recovery performance and Recovery Time Objectives?
  • Find out possible bottlenecks of the DR implementation.
  • Technical deepdive: how was Veeam Backup & Replication leveraged to achieve a reliable DR?
  • Live demo

The webinar should be interesting for IT managers and system administrators.

Register now!

Two Dutch VMUG Event 2012 presentations online

Two of the many presentations given at dutch VMUG Event 2012 are placed online by the speakers.

Mattias Sundling & Eric Sloof presented  a new version of their famous ‘Mythbusting Goes Virtual’ presentation. This time the myths to be busted are:

1.VMware HA works out-of-the-box
2.VMware snapshots impacts performance
3.Disk provisioning type doesn’t affect performance
4.Always use VMware tools to sync the time in your VM
Download the presentation from NTpro.nl
Viktor van den Berg did a presentation titled “vSphere – What option do you choose for Disaster Recovery” (or in Dutch: vSphere – Hoe is uw Disaster Recovery geregeld?). This session presents a general DR framework  and discusses two popular DR solutions: vSphere Metro Stretched Cluster and Site Recovery Manager.The slides of this session are available for download below, the presentation/slides are in Dutch. The link will bring you to a blogposting of Viktor with lots of links to resources on Site Recovery Manager and Metro Stretched Clusters.
Presentation for Dutch VMUG Event: vSphere DR – Stretched Cluster versus Site Recovery Manager

HP Cluster Extension now supports Windows Server 2012 and CSV

Begin December 2012 HP announced that HP Cluster Extension (CLX/3PAR 3.00.00) will support Windows Server 2012.

The sofware also supports Failover capabilities for Windows Server 2012 Clustered Shared Volume (CSV) disks.

See the quick specs document here.

HP Cluster Extension (CLX) software offers protection against system downtime from fault, failure, and disasters. It enables flawless integration of the remote mirroring capabilities of HP Continuous Access or Remote Copy with the high-availability capabilities provided by clustering software in Windows. This extended-distance solution allows for more robust disaster recovery topologies as well as automatic failover, failback, and redirection of mirrored pairs for a true disaster tolerant solution.

CLX provides efficiency that preserves operations and delivers investment protection. The CLX solution monitors and recovers disk- pair synchronization on an application or VM level and offloads data replication tasks from the host. CLX automates the time-consuming, labor-intensive processes required to verify the status of the storage as well as the server cluster, thus allowing the correct failover and failback decisions to be made to reduce downtime. HP Cluster Extension offers protection against application downtime from fault, failure, and disasters by extending a local cluster between data centers over large geographical distances.

I found none other technical information on the Cluster Extension software support for Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V  using cluster shared volumes. I guess this is a matter of time.

Veeam Explorer for SAN snapshots adds support for HP 3PAR StoreServe first half 2013

The good thing about snapshots at the storage level is the ease to recover a volume. However recovering a single virtual machine, let alone a file inside the virtual machine is a different story when using legacy tools made available by the storage vendor. This requires quite some manual labour.

Now that is a thing of the past. Veeam has developed software named Veeam Explorer for SAN snapshots. The software is part of the Veeam Backup & Replication 6.5 software as well as Veeam Backup Free Edition and can be used to recover VMs, files and objects from  HP StoreVirtual VSA and Lefthand snapshots . Using the Instant VM Recovery feature VMs can even run from storage snapshots! This allows a combination of very low RPO and RTO. Best of both worlds.

At HP Discover 2012 in Frankfurt Veeam announced it will support 3PAR StoreServe storage as well for recovery of SAN based snapshots. Veeam Explorer for SAN Snapshots with support for HP 3PAR StoreServ 7000 Storage and all other 3PAR models is expected to be available in the first half of 2013. To learn more, visit: http://go.veeam.com/san-snapshot-explorer.html . Every 3PAR model is supported as long as the Virtual Copy license is available.

Luca Dell’Oca has a series of blogpostings on how to use Veeam Explorer for SAN Snapshots.

 

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