Tag Archive: Veeam


I got wind of a new project launched by Veeam from one of the many, many, many tweets that flooded by tweetdeck during VMworld US week – when my fellow vExpert, Blogger & Colleague Rick Vanover hinted that Veeam was due to launch another free community resource, I was keen to discover !

 

Having made the transition to vendor world, finding content as a blogger can be a little bit more of a search. For some reason, many of Veeam’s competitors don’t seem to want to give me a sneak peak of their products Winking smile ,however in this case the product in question isn’t one that Veeam will be selling !

 

When we shifted into virtualisation, many of us from the physical server world had to make a little bit of a leap of faith into the new mind-set around virtualisation, now that we’ve made it, its is almost second nature to us. If you cast your mind back to those days of 7u file servers, imagine how alien the concept would be that they could be represented as a handful of files running of a single half height blade. Fast wording that concept to today and many people have yet to make that similar leap of faith when it comes to image based backup of VM’s

 

The Backup Academy as developed by Veeam to provide administrators with the foundations and fundamentals of Virtual Machine level backups, no matter who you choose for the solution. Veeam are by no means the first vendor to produce “neutral” training, EMC for example have paved the way with  Their Cloud Certifications last year.

The solution consists of a series of Videos produced by well known community contributors and trainers, such as David Davis, Eric Siebert & Greg Shields . The Academy Professors will be an ever growing list of subject matter experts around the backup and management of virtual machines.

Users of the site will be able to take an exam based on the content and even get a certificate for passing. I personally see the academy as a great way for current backup admins & virtualisation specialists to move to the next level – now that you have made game changing strategies to your production infrastructure, why not do the same for your backups ?

 

to find out more, head to http://backupacademy.com

No, I’m not buying a Prius ! Its much better than that , As of today I’m no longer with my current employer – it was an amicable parting of ways and I would recommend them to anyone interested in the Datacenter space , especially around the Bucks / Beds areas ! If you are, please let me know.

 

I will be starting a new role next week with Veeam as a Solutions Architect for the UK & Northern EMEA – being part of the “dream team” of staff helping existing & new customers get the best from their investments – you never know you may be unlucky enough to see me at a tradeshow near you at some point on “Booth Babe” duty. I’ve known the company for a few years and am really looking forward to being part of a team of professionals with such a great drive and approach to technology & the people that use it.

 

I will continue to blog and co-host the vSoup podcast and will endeavour to keep both a plug free zone ! While I don’t normally make a huge thing of pushing my employers I felt it important to post in the interests of disclosure. Outside of my job I will not be receiving any additional sponsorship from Veeam for the blog or podcast.

I’ve just spent a couple of hours this morning having a kick about with some of the more advanced features of Veeam backup & replication v5.  I’ve been able to run instant restores of my machines without any issues , but what I really wanted was some backup verifications. I had a Virtual Lab & Application group built , but could not get the VM’s to ping. I’ve been digging into the setup of the router and on the verge of hair pulling – how hard can it be ? all of the VM’s are on the same VLAN/Subnet.

I tried a slight change of tack and selected a different test machine , simple because the sizable server 2008 r2 VM I used was taking a little longer than I was hoping for each test. When I used a smaller Server 2003 VM for the test the ping test worked just fine.

 

This led me to go back to the base virtual machine & its own settings. I’m trying to keep my lab network as secure as possible , and make use of the security settings Microsoft has been kind enough to provide. As a result , the windows firewall is enabled and set up correctly for the production environment. However as I am restoring the VM in isolation (without a domain controller ) it would appear that the following happens.

 

Windows Firewall on the Source VM.

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Windows Firewall on the Recovered VM

 

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File and printer settings in Firewall exceptions.

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There’s ya problem ! I don’t have a Virtualised DC to test to see if a DC is in the same Surebackup application group that the windows firewall will not switch to Public settings , but in the interim I’ve had to open up the file and print sharing on the public domain. However it is possible to be a little bit more granular than just allowing all file and printer sharing. If you go to advanced settings, you can Enable the inbound rule “File and Printer Sharing ( Echo Request – ICMPv4-In)” for the Public domain.

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I was asked last week to be a guest on the Veeam Communities Podcast , hosted by Rick Vanover. It was a nice change to be the interviewee rather than the interviewer. Rick , Doug Carson and I talked about Hyper V and its state of readyness for the real world ™

 

I also get put on the spot for the big three questions & you get to hear about the biggest IT “fail” of my career…

I’ve embedded the podcast below but head over to www.veeam.com/podcast for some of the other episodes !

 


Podcast Powered By Podbean

I’ve finally recovered from the non stop week that’s been VMworld Europe 2010. My feet no longer hurt, I’ve come down from the caffeine rush , and I can purchase a pint of beer for less than a week salary.

Its been a very different experience this year for me. I think that because its the first year that I’ve been more active within the community and as a blogger ( with the badge to prove it ) So the list of people to talk to has also snowballed.

Id badge with various "pins"

I attempted to compensate for this by extending my stay slightly to arrive on Sunday and leave on the Friday , giving me what I thought would have been more than enough time to meet , speak to and listen to what people had to say. I think I could have been there another week and still missed someone ! I was also able to spend a little time with some of my colleagues from around the world , which I’m sure will pay dividends both in the short and long terms.

I left my planner pretty open this year , having made the mistake from previous years of trying to fit too many sessions in , instead concentrating on the things that I wouldn’t be able to catch up online a few weeks later , such as the interactions at the solutions exchange, bloggers lounge & lab sessions.

 

 

There are 1001 other reports of what people did during their time in Copenhagen, so I wont dilute the blogosphere with yet another one but will leave you with a few things that I saw that hopefully will be worthy of some further investigation. 

 

Cisco UCS Express – the branch in a box issue is one that crops up time and time again. This could well be the perfect solution. I really want one to have a play with and if it comes in at the price point mentioned I’ll be impressed !

VAAI Integration – since the 4.1 release , the major storage vendors have been working hard to get this into place and working. Some great demo’s of this from IBM , EMC and 3PAR.

Veeam Backup Version 5 – I usually get a little annoyed at marketing of stuff you can’t actually buy yet , but with an announced release date of 20th of October, I’ll let them off. If you’ve managed to be on the web for more than a month without hearing about these guys , you probably don’t have your router switched on.

 

As well of plenty of things that got me excited , a few things left me baffled , confused and a little irate. They can be summed up by the Infrastructure Center from http://www.mysoftit.com/

I’m still a little bit confused by what this actually offers over using vCenter & a decent backup product. It claims to be able to manage Xen and Hyper-V in the next release but not under the same pane of glass. “in the next release” was a phrase used almost every second sentence , leaving me to wonder what actually was in the current product. The Guys on the stand were not native English speakers, but I have a hunch the pitch makes just as little sense in German as it did in English. Sorry to single you out guys , but perhaps you just accosted me at the wrong time Smile

 

The Party as ever was immense on its scale though like others I felt the venue was a little on the monolithic side – the Palais at Cannes offered the multi level , multi room experience that added the wow factor that the Copenhagen Party was slightly lacking in. I was impressed by the various acts , including a good old fashioned breakdance-off. As fellow bloggers have said, its the people that make the party and there were plenty of opportunities for networking with the other attendee’s

Its been a busy weekend – not only have I been to a most excellent Chilli Festival but I’ve been migrating the backend storage for my 2 Veeam Proxies from a temporary LUN on our main IBM XIV over to a dedicated MSA p2000 . Its cost effective and will allow us to replicate the backup data offsite for some extra resiliency. Its taken me a while but now that I have plenty of storage , I wanted to be able to crank up the retention time for the backups from the current 14 days.

 

If you’ve read the previous posts about the setup I have , you’ll remember that its split into a fair number of jobs , which I didn’t particularly fancy having to mod via the GUI. I remembered that there was a Powershell plug-in for Veeam backup installed with the application , so thought I’d open up the help file and see if this could be scripted.

 

You’ll be glad to know it can. With the following command I was able to add an extra 5 days retention to all backup jobs on the server. I’ll keep an eye on the consumed storage by this and hopefully be able to up retention to a target of 30 days.

 

Get-VBRJob|Set-VBRJobOptions -RetainCycles 20

I’m the furthest thing from a  powershell guru that you’ll ever imagine , but can still string a 1 liner together when I have to :)

Doing a few daily checks today and wanted to compare utilisation between the 2 Veeam backup proxies that are now running in production. After bribe of a cup of coffee to a colleague on the storage team I got a nice load of graphs from our back end storage showing the utilisation of the LUN’s designated for the backup storage. You can quite clearly see the when the full backups finish and the incremental ones start. This combined with the built in compression and inline de-duplication that Veeam Backup uses allows me to make good use of that backup space – only consuming 5.5 TB for nearly 10 days of backup for 20TBs of machines. To use a marketing calculation I’ve seen presented by a well known vendor of de-duplication hardware  that’s (20*10)/5.5 = 40x compression. Not bad for a software product.

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footnote : the blue trace is the 2nd backup proxy – its just finished its full backups , so hopefully that plateau has just been hit.

trainsignal

Great as it is to take a week off to go on a classroom based training course , its not always possible due to restrictions on work / home life. Do not despair , you can still assimilate knowledge quicker than Neo in a battered recliner chair thanks to some of the many video training providers. These allow to to press your study at your own pace from work or from home. If you are looking for VMware training videos , then you need look no further than Trainsignal , who have been producing some of the best VMware training videos I’ve seen for quite some time.

The most recent release is the second volume of the vSphere Pro Series, a video training series that seeks to really go beyond VCP level , not only teaching you things you need for the exam but skills you are much more likely to need in your day to day life as a VMware admin. Series 1 covered such topics as VMware view, Power CLI and the Cisco Nexus 1000V virtual switch. Series 2 takes you into some vSphere Advanced features , VMware Site Recovery Manager , more PowerCLI , VMware Data Recovery and what I think is a first of many a section on 3rd party tools , in this case the Veeam series of products for vSphere , but more detail on all of that to follow.

The Keystone presenter of the Trainsignal VMware videos is David Davis – a voice you’ll recognise well from the old videos in the series and also from his free video site at http://www.vmwarevideos.com/ – if you like the content on there , you’ll know the Trainsignal videos are worth every penny.

He’s not alone though , in this series you’ll also hear from Eric Siebert ( http://vmware-land.com/ ) , Sean Clark ( http://seanclark.us/ ) and Hall Rottenberg (http://halr9000.com/ ) a Trio of fellow vExperts who should all feature heavily in your RSS Reader & twitter feeds.  Having more than one presenter makes this series for me as not only does a change of voice break things up a little , you get the feeling that each presenter is giving a talk on his strongest subject the he really does know inside and out ( and in many cases *did* write the book on! )

For a summary of the lessons , I’ll refer you to the link below – The TS folks describe their products much better than I can !

http://www.trainsignal.com/VMware-vSphere-Pro-Series-Training-Vol-2-P98.aspx

As you can see – there is a LOT of content in this pack – and mean a lot- 21 Hours. I anticipate needing a lot of redbull to try and watch them all in one session. However if I had to pick my favourites out  of the lessons so far, I felt that the Direct Path & VMCI sessions from Eric Siebert’s sections really taught me something new – not having the biggest home lab , I’ve yet to get a play with SRM , but found great value from Sean Clarks sessions. The most topical for me personally was the sections on Veeam’s Backup & Replication – as a product I am in the middle of rolling out I am going to try and persuade the powers that be that the purchase a multiple licence for this set so we can make use of the videos as on demand training sessions.

You are also spoilt for choice in terms of formats – not only do you get the DVD’s them selves , but on disk 3 there is also a copy of the Videos in MP3 / iPOD video / WMV and finally high quality AVI. As a non apple type person , I uploaded the WMV versions straight to my Touch HD2 to keep me occupied on the train back from the London VMware user group, The MP3’s went straight onto a USB stick to play in the car on my drive to work. The videos are also available as streaming content via the Trainsignal website – handy when you find yourself with a little spare time and a web connection.

I still have a few more videos to watch but I have a pretty quite weekend ahead , so I’m going to find a comfy chair , laptop and before you know it….

lolcate0b6c9a7ee5db24f9355ba079bf8df270d0020d3

EDIT: In the interests of disclosure I would like to make it clear that I received a complimentry copy of the video reviewed.

I tried to avoid a “me too!” post on today’s vSphere 4.1 release , but afraid I failed miserably. I’m not going to cover a full set of updated features as there are many many of my fellow bloggers who have done a very fine job of that, and to emulate them would be a little watered down as I’ve yet to have much time to play with it. If you have been hiding under a rock for the last 24 hours or so , then head on over to http://vsphere-land.com/ and click away to your heart’s content!

 

One of the aspects that caught my eye however was the announcement of a new licensing model for some of the vSphere Management products.

from : the official press release 

“VMware vCenter AppSpeed, VMware vCenter Chargeback, and VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager will be sold in VM packs on a per VM basis starting on September 1, 2010. VMware vCenter Application Discovery Manager and VMware vCenter Configuration Manager are already licensed on both a per VM and physical server model. Per VM licensing for VMware vCenter CapacityIQ will take effect in the fourth quarter of 2010.”

This new model supersedes the existing per processor model in place for AppSpeed , Chargeback and SRM products that you can still purchase today. VMware suggests that this will enable customers to move to a more cloud like model for their virtual estate ( as far as the “side dish” products go , this announcement does not cover the core product … yet )

It got me thinking about possible scenarios , along with a couple of comments made by the community on twitter , that it seems possibly a little counter productive. However , playing my own Devils Advocate , I can also think of situations where it would be advantageous.

Currently SRM is licensed per CPU on the Hosts you want to run protected VM’s on. Lets take a hypothetical enterprise. They have a primary Datacenter , running vSphere across 10 hosts. In order to drive utilisation/consolidation ,these hosts host a mixed lifecycle of machines , some production (say,50% ) , some non production hence not really considered important enough to require automated recovery.

A smaller VI estate is provisioned at the secondary site , to host those production VM’s are part of an SRM Install. However as the production VM’s are spread over 10 hosts , they end up buying 40 SRM licenses ( lets assume they are running quad socket hosts )

Due to growth or political reasons , they decide to separate out their life cycles and move the non production VM’s onto a different environment , possibly even running a lower cost hypervisor. No further SRM licences required of course.

The business grows and due to all the spare capacity on the production cluster , they are able to double the number of VM’s on that cluster and really push for a high consolidation ratio. All without having to purchase any further hypervisor licences (or OS licences , if they where clever and purchased Windows Data centre edition licences for the hosts )

Under the new cost model , they will have to go through an audit of VM count to cover the increased average growth in production VM’s ( VMware’s graph showed VM numbers going up and down quite quickly , but in my experience in a production environment , once a server is commissioned for production , it tends to stay there unless there is a very good reason to decommission it )  This may well be balanced out by the lower initial cost but that’s down to the consolidation ratio on those production hosts. The new model would seem to favour a lower consolidation ratio for your hosts , possibly diluting all those cost savings you told your management about that would come from a highly consolidated environment!

If you can pick and choose which guests you would like to cover with these “side dish” products , then the model does enable clusters which cross lifecycles as you may not need the full functionality for every guest , but it does require careful licence management – wasn’t Virtualisation supposed to reduce management overheads like this ?

I can however see some benefit on the financials , especially where organisations have made those steps towards a cloud model as the licence is easier to roll into the setup charge / periodic charge for a VM rather than having to commit to the capex for the licence cost for the whole cluster before you have got any money back from chargeback.

If this is the future for VMware’s licensing across the board , is it going to lead to “host sprawl” as new hosts are popped up with lower spec or possibly reuse/extended lifetime of old machines – a bit of a plus point when it comes to not requiring disposal , but not when you have to power and cool legacy kit which may be less efficient than the hosts at the top of your list. More hosts also means more patching and even with the best automation models in place it’ll still end up causing more work. Financially stretched clients might decide to scale applications up rather than out due to increased licence costs – before we know it , we’re back to 4 years ago with a large number of servers running consolidated services on them.

Time will tell , but in the mean time I think I’ll continue to support ecosystem partners such as Veeam & vKernel – I like my all you can eat buffet :)

 

thanks to @rootwyn & @kendrickcoleman for the feedback & sanity check !