As a Service Provider, what are the ways available to you to protect your tenants data? What ways are there to offload aged data to keep storage costs under control? When looking at data archiving, is Cloud storage the only way to archive your tenants backup data?
I chose this topic because I feel that the Backup to Tape as a Service feature not getting the attention it deserves.
The Tape as a Service feature was included in Veeam Update 4 to help Service Providers free up space in their storage repositories and to help customers to safely archive their backup data for longer retention time.
In the same Update 4, Veeam also released the Cloud/(Archive) Tier. This allows Service Providers and customers to tier their backup to the cloud for archiving. But somehow this Archive Tier feature grabbed the market’s attention and neglected Tape as a Service.
As someone who is still a big fan of Tapes, and believes that tape is not going to disappear in the near future, I think this blog post is a great read for Service Providers to learn more about the Tape as a Service feature included with Veeam Update 4.
So let’s learn how it works.
The tenant Backup to Tape architecture is an add-on to the Veeam Cloud Connect architecture, but with the addition of the Tape Infrastructure. For Service Providers who want to offer this feature, the Tape infrastructure must be added to the Veeam Cloud Connect. A tape backup job must then be configured to off-load the tenant backup from the cloud storage/repository to the tape using the Veeam Backup to Tape job.
The diagram below illustrates how the Veeam Tenant Backup to Tape feature integrates with Veeam Cloud Connect.
After the Tape infrastructure has been added to the Veeam Cloud Connect, the Service Provider can now create a GFS (Grandfather, Father, Son backup routine) backup job to back up the tenant data to tape for both these reasons:
- Archival for long retention, and
- Offline Archive.
The configuration starts with creating a GFS media pool. The Service Provider can create a pool for each tenant, retention, or any other business offering. On the examples, we are going to use here, and to achieve full data segregation, I will create a single GFS media pool for each tenant. On the screenshot below, I created a Media Pool with five tapes to be used when I want to backup Tenant01 data:
The next step is illustrated below, where I created the Tape Backup Job and then selected Tenants as the data source:
Next, I selected the appropriate tenant repository; in the example below, it is Tenant01_Repo:
The last step is to schedule the job to run the backup:
Recover Tenant Data from Tape
It is important to mention that Veeam Tenant Backup to Tape as a Service is managed and operated by only the Service Provider to help protect and archive the tenant data on behalf of the tenant. That said, the tenant will not be aware of the job or the restore process. To benefit from this service, the tenant and the Service Provider must agree to the policy to be implemented.
In the case of data loss, the Tenant can ask the service provider to restore the data using one of the following options:
- Restore to the original location,
- Restore to a new location, or
- Export backup files to disk.
The screenshot below illustrates the options:
With the options are shown above, Service Providers can restore the tenant data to the original location, a different location, or export the data to removable storage. Original location restores the data to the same location it was backed up from, i.e. the tenant cloud repository. But sometimes the tenant wants to compare the data on tape with the data in the cloud repository; this is where the restore to a new location option becomes very useful. Service providers can create a temporary tenant where the tenant is provided with access to check the data before committing the restore to the original location or sending the data using removable storage. The screenshot below illustrates the Service Provider restoring the tenant data to a new location using the temporary tenant name of Tenant01_Repo.
After the restoration was completed, the tenant can connect to the Service Provider using the temporary tenant to access the restored data:
As I mentioned at the start, I’m a big fan of tape backups for several reasons. They include secure recovery in the event of a Ransomware attack, doesn’t cost very much, and more. I am also aware of the limitations and challenges that can come with Tape backup, and maybe that can be the topic for another blog post. The Backup to Tape feature described here is a great feature, yet somehow several Service Providers I spoke to missed this feature. They were very happy to finally find a cheap and effective way to use their Tape infrastructure; some of them started using this feature as ransomware protection.
I hope this blog post provides a clear understanding of how you as a Service Provider can benefit from this Tenant Tape Backup feature and maximize your infrastructure return on investment.