Veeam Availability Suite U4 Features Countdown

The Veeam Software R&D Team is working at full throttle to deliver new features and capabilities to the Veeam flagship products in the Veeam Backup & Replication lineup. Let’s find out a bit more about the  new features and capabilities you can expect on Update 4.

Last week, I took my blog readers, and to be specific, the Service Providers community, through the new features and enhancements of Update four to the Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 product. Today I will run through the new features for everyone else.

Today’s blog post been created with the help of Antony Marijanovic, an ANZ System Engineer who spent many hours trying out and testing the new features.

Note: There are some features we can’t check due to the lack of software and hardware specific to that feature in my lab. Also note, the count down is related to the feature test order in my lab only.

With no further delay, let’s start run through the features we tested on our lab.

No 10 – Direct Restore to Azure Stack

You may familiar with Direct Restore to Azure Cloud from a previous release. In Update 4, Veeam R&D and the Azure Cloud Team have introduced Direct Restore to Azure Stack. The feature is an integrated feature, much like the old Azure Cloud restore feature introduced a while back. To use this newcomer as a user running the restore process,  you now have the option to choose the Azure deployment restore location: to On-Premises, or into Azure Cloud. This option is in addition to all the other restore features.

Upon selection, you must provide the Azure Stack with the necessary environment details, and then begin the restoration process.

No 9 Direct Restore to EC2

As we are still talking about restoration options, our next feature in this list is a Direct Restore to EC2 or Amazon AWS. As with all the other restore options, and during the restore process, you must choose the Restore to Amazon EC2 option to get started.

After the EC2 option has been selected, you will be required to provide your AWS credentials on a form of Access and Shared ID before continuing. The great thing about this new option, as with the old Direct Restore to Azure, you can customise the new Restored EC2 resources elements; such as Region, EC2 Type, Name, Network, License, and more:

No 8 Veeam Availability for AWS

You may be familiar with the Veeam offering in AWS (Veeam N2WS Cloud Protection Manager) providing Native data protection of multiple workloads (EC2, EBS, RDS, Auora, Redshift, DynamoDB, and others). Veeam has bridged the gap between Veeam Backup and Replication 9.5 and Veeam N2WS CPM by providing an External Repository in Veeam Backup & Replication. This change allows all EC2 backups within a CPM S3 bucket to be populated and managed with Veeam Backup and Replication. For example, use Direct Restore to EC2 from an S3 bucket as mentioned above, or replicate backups in S3 to an on-premises repository or another AWS region.

External Repo

No 7 Veeam Cloud Tier

Finally, a Cloud Tier has been added to the Veeam backup targets. Veeam allows a variety of Tiers to be added and used, starting with these: Amazon S3, Azure Blob Storage, IBM Cloud Object Storage, and S3 Compatible. To use the Cloud Tier, you must first add a new repository and choose an Object storage, The setup is as follows:

After the Object Repository has been added, you must add this new repository as part of your Scale-Out-Backup-Repository (SOBR), Capacity Tier:

Many options are included in this configuration window. After you have chosen the Capacity Tier, you can set a policy to do these two tasks:

  • Move the backup file to archive repository every x day (by default 30 days); or
  • Move the order backup if the SOBR repository reaches x%.

No 6 Staged Restore

Let’s discuss the following scenario; you are backing up your environment regularly. One bright morning, you discover that you have been the victim of a ransomware attack, and at the same time, also picked up some viruses. You have a catastrophe in your datacentre. Of course, you are not stressed; you have been backing up regularly using best practice. Your remediation is simple; simply restore your data from the backup. But the big question is, how can you be sure that the restore point is not infected? This is one of the scenarios for which this feature of Secure Restore and Quarantine has been introduced. Veeam Update 4 will ensure that you restore to a staging location where the restored data will be quarantined and checked for malware and viruses before committing it to your PRODUCTION environment. This feature helps you to recover quickly and safely from the disaster.

When you decide to restore, you will be able to select “Staged Restore” from the three available options:

Secure Restore –

The third option on the Restore Wizard is the Staged Restore option. From here, you can restore a VM to a starting location. Here you can modify the original copy with scripting before committing it to the PRODUCTION environment. If you check the screenshot below, you can see that this option requires the configuration of, and access to, the Veeam Virtual Lab. An example of data that you may want to remove could be data that would put your company in breach of European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws. For example, your data might require modification to remain compliant with the EU “Right to be forgotten” rules. Before restoring into your PRODUCTION environment, you can remove data that is in breach of privacy and data governance laws to ensure full compliance.

No 5 VMWare Delegation Mode

The Restore Delegation is a function of the Veeam Enterprise Manager. In Update 4, Veeam raised the bar of this functionality to integrate it with VMware users and groups, in addition to the previous methods. If you restore to VMware, why not use this feature to make the experience seamless?

After you set this up, VMware users can connect to the Enterprise Manager self-service portal to carry out backup and restores tasks without creating a separate user for each user or tenant. The self-service URL is: “https://EM:9443/vsphere

No 4 Instance based licensing

Do not be alarmed when you first open Update 4 and find that you are using Veeam’s newer subscription-based licensing for Agents or Virtual Machines. You will see this alert window:

Instance Based Licensing

You will not see this alert if you own perpetual licenses.

In Update 4 there is an adjustment to the subscription-based licensing that has been around for most of 2018. This adjustment ensures that a customer’s transition to Hybrid Cloud environments is more seamless when using Veeam. The change introduces an instance-based concept rather than multiple different subscription licenses for multiple products. This new instance-based licensing allows customers to consume almost all of Veeam’s products from one single license, and to consume varying level of “instances” based on the product being used. Thus, making our licenses completely portable between on-premises, public and private cloud workloads.

For example, say I have 10 instances of Enterprise Plus; I can protect 10 VMs on ESXi, Hyper-V, AHV or in Cloud, or I can protect 10 Windows or Linux Servers on-premises. I can also protect five of each with the one single license, thus removing the need to procure and hold many different licenses. As you retire platforms and are no longer protecting their workloads, they no longer consume Veeam instances; they go back into the pool of available instances. As you can see, this is a much more flexible method of protecting workloads as your environment changes, and there is no requirement to throw away all your existing licenses when you move to a hybrid cloud computing model.

Example Consumption Table:

Instance licensing Example

You can see that Workstation Agents consume fewer instances than Enterprise Plus VMs:

Instance VBR

No 3 Veeam Agent for Windows

A welcome addition to the Veeam third iteration of Agent Backup for Windows is a multi-job configuration for the same Veeam Agent. Now the backup administrator can configure multiple backup policies for each Veeam Agent for Windows. For example, a policy to backup the system drive once a week, and a second policy to backup the data drive every day:

Note: The new Agent has a sliding interface too.

Another great surprise add-on is an option to backup an attached USB drive.

No 2 Significant Mentions 

In addition to the new features shown today, the following items count as significant additions to the features to Update 4:

Enterprise enhancements with application plug-ins:

  • Oracle RMAN Plug-in
  • SAP HANA Plug-in

No 1 – Enterprise Tape Updates:

  • NDMP to Tape for Enterprise NAS storage
  • WORM media support for critical data retention

Conclusion

As you can see, it was a big exercise to test the new Veeam Backup and Replication 9.5 Update 4 and its many exciting features. I am impressed by the new features, and in my opinion, Update 4 is putting Veeam Software on the fast track to those enterprises seeking to adopt a Cloud strategy; whether it be a private, public or hybrid cloud. There are many other features that I haven’t listed here, or yet tested. We will have opportunities in later blogs to visit these.

To summarise, I think that the Veeam R&D Team has once again surprised us with great features; and to be honest, these features are needed in today’s data centres, and not just as features checkboxes. Update 4  has many new features, and I can absolutely recommend it to datacentre operators wanting to take the next step to improved reliability and functionality.

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