VeeamOn, man ;-P

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During Storage Field Day 5 we got a little introduction into a big event Veeam was planning for october in Las Vegas. As I’ve been quiet busy the last couple of months (Became father for the 3rd time in July) I wasn’t able to spend to much time to dive further into this. Now evenings are getting a bit better I can spend some time on reading into what will be happening in Las Vegas.

First let’s point to the SFD5 presentation by Veeam in april. First on stage was Mr. Doug Hazelman, he made the announcement on VeeamOn during his presentation:

 

After this Doug eleborated on the availability for the Modern Data Center with Veeam and NetApp:

 

Second on stage was the one and only Rickatron (Rick vanOver) on Veeam Explorers:

He then introduces the Veeam Explorer for MS SQL:

Last but certainly not least the stage was given to our Storage Field Friend Luca Dell’Oca with some super secret stuff (back then) we all got to now by the name Veeam Cloud Connect, which will be available in the Veeam Availability Suite 8.

Let’s be honest, Veeam knows how to present, how party and how backup, replicate and explore your VM’s and they will be hosting a great event in Las Vegas.

Where a lot these events cost a lot of money to attend Veeam made sure the can be attended for a great price and with only $ 150,- extra you can do the Veeam certified engineer training, making this a great deal during an event packed with awesome session. Let’s look at a view of the sessions:

In session VT-09 Luca Dell’Oca will discuss Multi-tenancy: Roles, scopes and encryption in Veeam Enterprise Manager:

Veeam Enterprise Manager has introduced in its latest version’s advanced multi-tenancy capabilities. By properly configuring it, service providers and large companies can allow different customers and lines of business to safely access their own content, browse backups and start restore activities, guaranteeing, at the same time, complete data confidentiality and total isolation from others’ information. Come learn how to configure Enterprise Manager, its roles and scope and how the new encryption feature can further improve multi-tenancy, including:

  • How to ensure data confidentiality in a multi-tenant environment
  • How to tweak repository storage settings as a provider
  • Configuring source backup jobs for multi-tenancy

In session VT-10 Doug Hazelman and Anton Gostev will talk on What’s new in Veeam Availability Suite v8:

Join us for a deep dive into Veeam’s next generation of Data Center availability—Veeam® Data Center Availability Suite v8. Anton Gostev and Doug Hazelman will introduce Veeam’s new features and enhancements designed to help you manage the complexities of virtualization, storage and the cloud to meet the demands of the Always-On Business. The session will show you:

  • How to achieve efficient and affordable offsite backup
  • How to back up your vSphere virtual machines (VMs) using storage snapshots
  • How to put your DR site to work

Stick around to learn about all of our easy-to-use, industry-leading features, including secure and efficient backup to popular deduplication appliances, monitoring of backups directly from the vSphere Web Client, protecting Hyper-V VMs with shared VHDX, high-speed recovery with Veeam Explorers and much more!

In session CS-02 Joep Piscaer and Robbert Erents will be talking about Using Veeam B&R in an IaaS-environment with vCAC, Nutanix and NSX:

In 2014, Joep Piscaer and his team designed and implemented an IaaS-environment using a stretched Nutanix and vSphere cluster, vCloud Automation Center, VMware NSX and Veeam Backup & Replication. In this session, you’ll learn how Veeam plays a big part in the DR strategy for this environment. We will share specifics about multi-tenancy, integration with vCAC, the dependency on NSX and much more!

  • Learn how to implement Veeam Backup & Replication in a multi-site, multi-tenant vSphere deployment.
  • Get real life, tested and proven best practices for using Veeam Backup & Replication with a Nutanix infrastructure.
  • See how we integrate into vCloud Automation Center and discover how we make backup and restore operations available to end users.
  • Discover the caveats of NSX when backing up and restoring tenant VMs

And in session CS-04 Spongebob friend Chris Wahl will do a story on:

vSphere does an amazing job at abstracting away all of the hardware resources from virtual machines, there’s still a lot of design and configuration work to be done around plumbing the physical network into the virtual switches. There are a number of recommended practices for connecting your management, vMotion, IP storage, replication, and virtual machine traffic flows without sacrificing performance or incurring costs. In this session, join Chris Wahl, a VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX) as he shares his experiences and secrets around real-world deployments of virtual networks for a myriad of use cases just like yours. In this breakout session, the following will be covered:

  • The differences, advantages and caveats between using standard and distributed vSwitches.
  • How the ESXi hypervisor handles switching, routing and network lookup tables
  • All of the networking jargon necessary to request or build the right 802. 1Q VLANs to successfully tag your port groups.
  • Methods to integrate your iSCSI and NFS storage networks into a vSphere environment.
  • Proven ways to design for server hardware that uses 1 GB, 10 GB, and mixed-speed network interface cards (NICs).

As you can see there is a lot of great content during the event but Veeam won’t be Veeam if there wasn’t an awesome party (or two or three…) during the event.

Make sure you see what will be going on at this awesome Veeam Event and if you do haven’t already signed up, this might be a good time ;-P

All information and signup can be done here:

http://go.veeam.com/veeamon

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PSOD vSphere 5.5 U2 HP BL460c Gen8 v2

After an upgrade to our HP BL460c Gen8 blades we had multiple blades showing a Purple Screen of Death (See screenshot)

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In our environment we have multiple DC’s as well as multiple versions of the HP BL series blades. Multiple adminstrators across multiple DC’s experienced the same problem. The problem only seems to affect the latest HP BL460c Gen8 v2 series (as far as we can tell), but it might be other vendors with Intel Haswell Xeon v2 CPU’s might be affected as well (please let me know if you’re having the same problems on other hardware).

We decided to roll the affected servers back to 5.5 U1 and wait for a solution but Frank Büchsel (@fbuechsel) of fbuechsel.eu provided me with following workaround. In the BIOS when you turn of the Intel VT-D option, your server will start without trouble:

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Thanks Frank!

VMware is working hard to process the logfiles and making sure this problem is solved ones and for all! Keep you updated on the status. If you have a solution or questions/answers please give us a tweet or something!

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Nutanix Offers Structure (NOS) 4.1

About a month ago, just a week before VMworld 2014 US, Nutanix announced their version 4.1 of their already famous Nutanix Operating System (NOS). While investigating all the features already included within NOS one might overlook a couple of great features. Let’s dive into a couple of the features and strength of the Nutanix Offering and the new 4.1 features:

Multi Hypervisor Support:

I’m a very big fan of VMware and as VMware fanboy I’ve always been weary about multi hypervisor environments. But the last couple of months I’ve seen (and heard) more and more companies talking about choosing the right hypervisor for specific jobs. Where people always talked about doing it all on ESXi, it seems Hyper-V (and in some cases KVM) are cheaper and better then ESXi.

That’s why it is important to have a choice. Nutanix as one of the view Hyper-convergence solution offers you the choice of all these Hypervisors. As said it might be you do everything on ESXi but having a choice is important.

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Multi Hardware choice:

While we’re at it, let’s keep the multi thing up. Software Defined is everything these days. Although I’m still not a big fan of this term I do use it but only when the hardware part is well covered.

Nutanix offers a great hardware platform as the base of their offering. Using commodity hardware is one thing, leverage this hardware to build for all the challenges produced by a virtual environment is another. Nutanix uses different terminology for their hardware. A block is 2U hardware unit which can hold 1, 2 or 4 compute units, known as nodes. Don’t worry the intelligence is in the nodes, and the 2U Block is not some sort of blade chassis with intellegence in it.

Due to the great solution Nutanix was (and is) for VDI a lot of environments started with a PoC in this area, and then noticed this was a solution for most of there environment. In some cases Nutanix needed to evolve their portfolio to better service the customer and with that the Nutanix hardware platform has grown into a great line of products, namely:

– The NX-1000 series (NX-1020 and NX-1050 and 4 nodes per block. More information below).

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Perfect for Small to medium businesses. The power of Nutanix lays in the fact you can start small and grow big. So let’s jump over to the next product line:

– The NX-3000 series. (NX-3050 and NX-3051 and the NX-3060 and NX-3061 also with 4 nodes per block. More information below)

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These are targeted much more on Medium and Enterprise businesses where scale is important. Starting with 2 blocks and being able to grow fast is an important expect of these machines, as well as providing a lot power as well as possibilities. Next:

– The NX-6000 series. (NX-6020, NX-6050 and NX6051, NX-6060, NX-6070 and the NX-6080 all with 2 nodes per block. more information below)

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These nodes are both capacity as well as compute power. With two of these high capacity nodes you’ll have about twice the capacity of the 4 node blocks, and still you get a whole lot of compute power. Next in line are the 7000 series where GPU power is most important:

– The NX-7000 series. (NX-7110 which contains 1 node per 2 U. more information below)

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VDI has always been a big part of Nutanix. First of all it is an easy use case to start with the Nutanix offering and a PoC is setup and running within the hour (VMware and Citrix installation and configuration not included). Dealing with VDI is a complex task that involves a lot of different user types. Most users don’t need a whole lot of GPU power, and the NX-1000 and NX-3000 series will be more then sufficient for them. But for the GPU intensive loads (CAD, Animation creation, 3D modeling and others) the NX-7110 is the bomb. They need this and providing it is just awesome. Last but not least the brand new 8000 series.

– NX-8000 series. (The NX-8150 also contains 1 node per block. more information below).

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Why in the … would you need a monster like this? No clue? Think Oracle, SQL and SAP. Where most of the NX nodes provide multiple of thousands (10s of thousands) IOPS. But some applications just need more… That’s where the NX-8150 comes in. This is the machine you need for your Tier 1 apps, with 2-4 times the SSD density of the other NX nodes this monster will help you to tame every application in your environment.

If you thought you wouldn’t be able to build a whole “SD” DataCenter with Nutanix, Think Again!!!

The NOS 4.1 new featueres:

When you make a list of all the features already included in the NOS, you might wonder if there were any new and important updates. With features like reduplication, compression, replication, PRISM. NDFS, SRA and so on the list is long, but still Nutanix is capable of providing awesome new features:

  • Cloud Connect:

The era of cloud is alive and kicking… Using the Public cloud is still a step to far for a lot companies especially outside the US. So providing companies the ability to backup to EC2 and S3 looks awesome, is awesome, but might just not be used that much outside the US. Being able to Backup other Nutanix infrastructures on any hypervisor is a great feature. Where a lot companies struggle with the licensing fees of the hypervisor, this feature gives a company the ability to backup to another site with another hypervisor installed. So If your main datacenter runs VMware and your second datacenter runs Hyper-V, Nutanix got you covered.

As said a lot of companies are still struggling with putting their data into the public cloud. Using AWS (EC2 or S3) might be something for the US only at this moment, but I’m sure Nutanix will not leave it with this. Other Cloud providers and even local cloud providers (think vCloud Director and Microsoft Azure) will probably follow in the near future.

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  • Data at rest Encryption:

For a multitude of companies Data at Rest Encryption is a must. Think Government, Banking and hospitals for one, but there are many more that need this feature.

Nutanix provides this feature for the following nodes: NX-3060-E, NX-3061-E and the NX-6060E and there are a couple of requirements that must be met. First of all this feature is ESXi only for the moment. Mixing clusters with host with and without DRE is not possible. Either you have DRE or you don’t. You can still manage everything via the same PRISM interface, though. To enable DRE you need a third party key management server, for the time being the only certified by Nutanix is the SafeNet KeySecure Cryptographic Key Management System. I know, that’s another at the moment, but I’m absolutely sure this offering will grow over time.

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  • One click Hypervisor and Firmware upgrade:

I really love this new feature, as there aren’t that many product featuring this kind of solution while extremely important. In many environments I work the upgrades of both soft- and firmware are a pain in the …. Most of the time the Software part of the upgrade is doable thanks to tools like VMware Update Manager, but when talking about firmware most of the time administrators are talking about 20 to 30 minutes per server to take care of it… When talking about 100’s of servers per datacenter and multiple datacenters you can do the math….

This new feature provided by Nutanix is a timesaver of big proportions… In an environment of a 1000 hosts this can save you up to 80 days (yes days) of work. Doing it in an automated way, and doing the updates and upgrades that don’t need a reboot quickly and on the fly, while providing the possibility to update and upgrade and reboot all your hosts through one and the same interface in this automated way is just awesome, and for as I know a Nutanix only feature (correct me if I’m wrong ;-)).

These are some awesome features added to an already awesome product line. The only thing that was missing in the Nutanix offering was the ability to leverage hardware provided by the „big” vendors… That might seem like a strange thing to ask for, but with large enterprises and governments holding a tight policy on which vendors they do business with this is a must if you ask me. Where everybody shouts Software Defined it’s kinda weird to only support your own (OEM) hardware. This all changed with the announcement made by Nutanix and Dell that Dell hardware (DX-series) will be supported to run the Nutanix software… For me this is great news and I can only hope others will follow soon ;P

To find out more of the Nutanix Operating System 4.1 features I would like to point out to these great blogs and sites:

Andre LeiboviciNutanix 4.1 Features Overview (Beyond Marketing) – Part 1

Don’t forget to read the rest of this blog for some awesome information and tools.

Dwayne LessnerHypervisor Agnostic Backuup -> Hyper-V -> ESXi -> AWS

Again don’t forget to read the rest of this blog ;P

NutanixThe Nutanix Website

Great resource!

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The PernixData PowerCLI plugin

Two days back I posted PernixData and PowerCLI in which I used PowerCLI to show me which Hosts had PernixData installed. A lot of reactions came through twitter and facebook, but Andy Daniel (@vNephologist) replied directly on the blog telling me I could use the PernixData FVP PowerCLI plugin to accomplish the same thing.

The installation of the plugin is as easy as starting PowerCLI and importing the module:

import-module prnxcli

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Let’s check if the command did what we wanted it to do:

Get-Module

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When this is done, we will need to connect to the PernixData Management Server. Use the following line:

Connect-PrnxServer host-ip -Username name -Password password

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Let’s see what our PernixData FVP environment looks like at the moment using the following line:

Get-PrnxObject

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As you can see there is not a whole lot of information shown here, but that’s mainly because of this being a small homelab with PernixData not installed on any host yet. I’ll be diving into installing and managing PernixData FVP with PowerCLI in later posts.

A great resource for this is the following post by Byron Schaller (@byronschaller):

Guide to PernixData FVP PowerShell Commands

For now a big thanks to Andy for pointing this out. See you later ;P

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Unitrends Enterprise Backup 7.5

A couple of weeks ago Unitrends announced their latest release of Unitrends Enterprise Backup, namely version 7.5. The last couple of days I’ve been able to try this new version and I must say I’m pretty impressed by all new features and the ease of use of this new version. First let’s start with the feature list and dive in to some of these further:

  • CloudHook for archiving to your cloud storage provider.
  • Navigation grouping for easy management of clients and virtual machines.
  • Support for Exchange incremental backups.
  • Support for multiple SQL restores.
  • New Policies report and Storage Footprint report.
  • System performance enhancements, including faster backups, faster replication, and faster VMware inventory scan.

CloudHook

With Unitrends CloudHook you have the possibility to archive your backups in the cloud. In earlier days we had to put our long-term backups on tape, because having the data that was been backuped in the same datacenter was no option. Getting it on tape and then moving it to another location ensured us of data salvation in case of a major event. With cloud storage becoming more and more available, companies are looking for this option to archive their backups. With Unitrends CloudHook you have the possibility to archive your backups into the cloud in a very efficient way. At the time of writing there are 3 cloud storage solutions supported by UEB 7.5 namely:

  • Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3)
  • Google Cloud Storage
  • Rackspace Cloud Files

Navigation Grouping

With Navigation grouping UEB 7.5 making backups of multiple VM’s or physical servers in an organized manner is easy. Group servers together to make navigation, monitoring, backup, restore, archiving and reporting much easier. The following list of items can be grouped together:

  • Physical Clients like Windows and Linux Servers
  • VMware VM’s
  • vApps
  • VMware templates
  • Resource pools
  • HyperV VM’s

Removing these groups is just as easy as creating them, and it will return the interface to the original state.

Exchange incremental backup support

UEB 7.5 provides the possibility to make incremental backups of your Exchange Database. This has a couple of benefits:

  • Incremental backups are quicker than differential backups and can thus be done more frequently. This benefit lays in the fact that a differential backup includes all changes since the full backup (it does not change the Archive flag) while incremental backups only backup the changes since the last incremental (it changes the archive flag)
  • Another benefit of incremental backups is the fact that log after completing a successful incremental, unneeded transaction log files are automatically truncated, freeing space on the Exchange server.

To use the Unitrends Exchange incremental backups the following requirements must be met:

  • The Unitrends appliance must be running version 7.5 at least.
  • The Windows agent must be version 7.5 or higher.
  • Differential and incremental backups cannot be in the same schedule.
  • A full backup must be in the schedule. The incremental forever strategy is not supported.

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Multiple SQL restores support

Now you can restore multiple SQL databases with a single click. You can also create custom folders of protected servers and virtual machines – significantly reducing the clicks needed to manage protected assets. The only limitations on this is the Windows limitation which is 6 simultaneous restores can run at the same time

To use this feature you must meet the following requirements:

  • The Unitrends appliance must be running version 7.5 at least.
  • The Windows agent must be version 7.5 or higher.
  • Databases must be restored to the original SQL instance and name.

New reporting capabilities

With the UEB 7.5 release a couple of new reports are available, which will help you to produce better and more efficient reports on your UEB environment:

  • Policies report. This report contains information about the general data protection policies applied to your systems, including systems protected, retention settings, schedules, data included or excluded from backup, and backup type. This report, along with the Schedule History report, may be used to assist in satisfying regulatory compliance audits
  • Storage Footprint report. This report needs to run on replication targets to determine the amount of physical storage consumed by each replicating source system

System performance enhancements

UEB 7.5 features the following performance enhancements:

  • As UEB 7.5 now uses hardware assisted encryption leveraging the AES instruction set on the processor as well enhanced space reclamation algorithms provides for much faster backups.
  • Pipelining optimizations, hardware assisted encryption and improvements made to the algorithms that manage the replication queue provide a significant increase in faster replication.
  • In release 7.5 UEB provides a much faster VMware inventory scan for all environments.
  • With all the new features and improvements UEB 7.5 provides a smaller backup window and increased retention.

Arjan’s view

With all these new features and (performance) improvements as well as the fusion between two great companies (Unitrends and PHD Virtual), and their products, UEB 7.5 is a feature rich product which I can easily promote to all my customers. With the Unitrends team growing larger and larger and international the support for the Unitrends products is great. With backup and recovery on a modern way but with the possibility to leverage old and new infrastructures and features the UEB 7.5 is an awesome release which shows that Unitrends is a company to keep in mind.

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