VBA – Azure Workload Protection

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In times like these, many organisations are looking for an easier and faster way to offer their services to a broader audience. They want their internal services and external customers to be able access the organisation’s offerings from anywhere. When moving your critical workload to Azure cloud, you also, must plan to protect your workloads quickly and efficiently

Introduction

Early this week, Veeam Software released the most anticipated Azure backup product, Veeam Backup for Azure, or VBA for short; not to be confused with Visual Basic for Applications.

On this blog post, I am sharing my Veeam Backup for Azure testing experience focused around the Veeam Backup for Azure Value proposition. As stated by Veeam, it covers:

  • Native Design,
  • Cloud Mobility,
  • Lower Cost, and
  • Secure Backup and Recovery

Before I start sharing my testing experience, let’s first cover a few points about the newly released product:

Veeam Backup for Azure

Veeam Backup for Azure is a newly released product. It is a new Veeam software delivered as an Azure Linux appliance. It is deployed directly from Azure marketplace.

After it is deployed, you can schedule it to backup your Azure virtual machines manually, or at any specific time. The screenshot below shows the setup screen:

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Selecting your backup workloads also includes setting up the backup policies; these are based on your Azure Subscriptions, Resource Groups, Tags and virtual machines:

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The backup is stored on the Veeam Backup repository; it is basically a Blob Storage container:

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You can enable encryption to secure your backup:

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Architecture

If you are new to Veeam backup products, you notice that Veeam R&D has put a lot of effort into simplifying the deployment process of any product they offer, and Veeam Backup for Azure is no exception. As I wrote in the previous section, you can deploy the Veeam Backup for Azure from the Azure marketplace. The deployment process takes you through the Azure VM deployment process, and ends with a Linux based VM called the Controller Server.

Controller Server: It is the brain of the entire solution. It is responsible for orchestrating and managing the Backup infrastructure, snapshots, and scheduling. All the configurations of your Veeam Backup for Azure are stored on this Linux based VM. Protecting the Controller Server is a straightforward task. It can be accomplished using the built-in Auto-Backup feature; this is a scheduled VSS snapshot that can be used to recover the server in case of corruption or migration:

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Backup Repository: This is an Azure storage account where you store and keep your backup. During the configuration, you create, or list, your Azure Storage Accounts. In the storage account, you create the container to save your backup.

Workers: This is a server role based on Linux. It is responsible for fetching data from Azure, then redirecting the data in a backup format to be saved on the Veeam Backup for Azure backup repository. Each worker can handle and backup one Azure virtual machine at a time; you can provision up to 30 virtual machines. By default, only five workers are allowed at any one time:

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A Worker’s life span begins at the job start; and finishes ten minutes after the job completion.  In addition to backup tasks, the Workers also play an important part in the recovery process.

Recovery

Veeam Backup for Azure offers a variety of restoration options to help to you recover quickly from an outage. The restoration options offered are:

VM Restore: This offers full recovery of your Azure Virtual machines, including their configurations. This option also allows you to restore to the original location, or a new location, including your Azure Subscription location:

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Disk Restore: This option allows you to recover the Virtual Machine virtual disk with the same flexibility of the previous option, and to restore it to the original location, or to an alternate location.

File-Level Recovery: This offers granular recovery of an individual file from the backed-up Virtual Machine. When you chose this option, the Worker mounts the backup file and provides access to the file-system to Download the required file, or files:

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One great feature included is the file-level URL share. With this feature, you can share the mounted URL with your users to recover their files:

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Cloud Mobility

Veeam Software understands the importance of data mobility. Today’s organisations want to access all their data from anywhere. This can be achieved easily with Veeam Backup for Azure. If you are using Veeam Backup on-premises, you can connect the two product to work seamlessly, and share their backup data with each-other. This can be done from on-premises by adding an external repository to Veeam Backup and Replication:

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After the external repository has been added, you can access the backup from your local Veeam Backup Repository server, and use the Veeam Backup Repository recovery option; such as, Instant Recovery, Export, or even migrate to EC2 (Amazon Elastic Compute for Cloud):

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Summary

I can summarise my Veeam Backup for Azure experience with one word, WOW! It is a simple, yet flexible, backup solution to help organisations to not just back up their Azure Virtual Machines, but to also move the backup data between the organisation’s hybrid cloud deployments quickly and easily. In my lab, I have been able to use the instant recovery feature to quickly recover one of my Azure Virtual Machines to my local VMware environment without difficulty. There are many more features that I liked about this newcomer product; but as you know, I like to keep my posts simple and short. I encourage you to give it a try for free (10 VM free) and experience this incredible product yourself.

Until the next blog, stay safe. Don’t forget to share if you find this blog post useful.

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