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Veeam Availability Suite v8 released

Veeam-v8

Today Veeam released their long-awaited Availability Suite v8 (Veeam Backup & Replication and Veeam One combined). With this release Veeam aims to enhance the availability for the modern data center and bridge the availability gap found in many companies.

Leveraging the technologies of the modern data center, including virtualization, modern storage, and the cloud, Veeam Availability Suite v8 provides five key capabilities that enable the Always-On Business: High-Speed Recovery, Data Loss Avoidance, Verified Protection, Leveraged Data, and Complete Visibility.

Veeam Availability Suite v8 includes some major new features and enhancements. Check out the selection below.

Backup I/O Control

IOControlSettingsBackup I/O Control ensures your workload’s availability by reducing the impact of backup and replication jobs on production VMs running on the same storage where backed-up VMs reside by monitoring the production datastore read latency and controlling job I/O to keep the latency within user-defined,
acceptable limits. This ensures availability of production workloads during the backup window without unnecessarily sacrificing backup job performance when the datastore load is low (as is often the case with legacy solutions offering static per-datastore task limits).

Backup I/O Control works in conjunction with Automatic Intelligent Load Balancing to ensure no new I/O-intensive tasks (such as virtual disk backup, restore or snapshot removal) are assigned to the same datastore if the datastore’s latency is above a user-defined first latency threshold. Additionally, Backup I/O Control actively throttles Data Mover I/O for existing tasks if the production datastore’s latency goes above a user-defined second latency threshold (e.g., due to a production VM starting to execute an I/O intensive operation). To ensure that backups can complete under any circumstances, Backup I/O Control will always allow at least one active task per datastore, and will never throttle any given task to less than 10% of full I/O capacity.

Self-restore portal for application owners

Veeam Backup Enterprise Manager v8 includes a new, dedicated self-service, file-level restore portal for application owners. The portal will automatically detect what VM the user logs on from, find the given VM backup, and check if the user was a member of a Local Administrators group on the given VM at the
time when the backup was executed. If this is the case, the user is immediately provided with the ability to browse, search and restore files and folders from the latest restore point of this VM or select another restore point if necessary.

The self-restore portal simplifies restores for application owners, as they no longer have to guess the VM name of the server from which they need to restore files (and thus increase their restore times). Since delegation is fully automated and leverages the existing Microsoft Windows permissions already in place,
the portal also reduces TCO by eliminating the need for portal administrators to constantly tweak the restore delegation settings as new VMs are added to the environment, or new users requiring privileges to be granted for performing file-level restores.

Forever forward incremental backup mode

This new, default backup mode for primary backup jobs creates forward incremental backups for all the following runs after the initial full backup, which always remains the oldest restore point in a full backup chain. When the retention policy needs to remove the oldest restore point, the job merges the oldest incremental backup into the full backup file, discarding any data replaced in the full backup file by this process. This is identical to how Backup Copy jobs store
the backup files.

Because forward incremental backup creation involves mostly sequential write I/O, the forever forward incremental backup mode reduces the time a VM runs off of a snapshot by up to 3x when compared to the reverse incremental backup mode. This prevents a VM snapshot from growing large and making
its commit much faster, thus reducing both backup window and load on production storage.

Quick rollback

When restoring an entire VM, the new quick rollback option can be used to restore only the data blocks known to be changed since the last backup was taken. This option is not selected by default, and should only be enabled in case of application-level issues. This option should not be used in scenarios with storage corruption or power loss, because CBT data cannot be trusted in such cases, which is why the entire VM restore is highly recommended. However, quick rollback can significantly improve RTOs in disaster scenarios that were not caused by hardware problems.

Automatic Intelligent Load Balancing

With the Job start time priority setting, the backup infrastructure resource scheduler will now prioritize all jobs according to their start times, and attempt to finish any particular job as soon as possible once it has been started. This means that if you start multiple jobs at once, the scheduler will assign newly appearing processing resources to the job that started earlier, as opposed to assigning them between all running jobs. This approach ensures that the backed-up state of all VMs within the same job remains as close together as possible.

Microsoft Exchange VSS improvements

If standard VSS processing of a Microsoft Exchange Server times out, the job will retry processing using persistent in-guest VSS snapshot, which should prevent VSS processing timeouts commonly observed with Microsoft Exchange 2010. Persistent snapshots are removed from the production VMs once backups are finished. All VM, file-level and item-level restore options have been enhanced to detect and properly handle restores from Exchange backups created with the help of persistent VSS snapshots.

NetApp integration

Veeam’s storage snapshot integration technologies have been extended to support NetApp storage. Achieve an unprecedented level of data protection through a combination of NetApp’s low RPO capabilities and Veeam’s low RTO enablement.
The integration of NetApp and Veeam® allows you to:

  • Create VM backups from storage snapshots up to 20 times faster than the competition
  • Recover individual VMs, guest files and application items quickly and efficiently from NetApp Snapshot, SnapMirror and SnapVault
  • Improve DR protection by creating instant, secondary backups from storage snapshots to SnapMirror and SnapVault
  • Create frequent, zero impact storage snapshots with snapshot-only “backup” jobs managed directly in the Veeam Backup & Replication console, including support for application-aware processing.

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NetApp integration support NFS, FC and iSCSI connectivity, and both 7-mode and cluster-mode deployment options. All Data ONTAP storage is supported, including NetApp FAS, FlexArray (V-Series), Edge VSA and IBM N Series.

Snapshot Hunter (VMware)

Detects and automatically consolidates hidden VM snapshots to prevent production VMs from stopping due to datastores overfilling with snapshot files. To detect hidden snapshots before exiting, and in addition for checking “Consolidation Needed” VM status, the jobs will physically scan datastores for snapshot files belonging to snapshots not registered in vSphere. If hidden snapshots are found, the job will attempt to automatically consolidate them by following
the procedure described in VMware support KB article KB1002310. If the job fails to remove hidden snapshots due to snapshot files being locked, the job will log an informational event and exit, however a background system process will attempt to perform consolidation three more times every four hours in the hope that file locks will be removed. If these attempts fail too, Snapshot Hunter will stop trying, and a warning email will be sent to the global notification recipients urging them to take manual action.

Direct SAN restore (VMware)

This enables thick virtual disk restore directly through the SAN fabric for faster performance and no impact on the production network. Using thick disks is common among users who choose to do thin-provisioning on a storage level. This functionality is explicitly disabled for thin disks, because it impacts vCenter Server and does not provide acceptable performance due to vSphere storage architecture. We recommend using hot add for fast restore of VMs with thin disks.

Consistency groups (Hyper-V)

Jobs can now process more than one VM from the volume snapshot at a time instead of creating a separate volume snapshot for each processed VM. For reliability reasons caused by Hyper-V backup architecture, the maximum amount of VMs is limited to four per snapshot by default in case of software VSS, and eight per snapshot in case of hardware VSS, but can be increased on fast primary storage with the MaxVmCountOnHvSoftSnapshot (DWORD) and MaxVmCountOnHvHardSnapshot (DWORD) registry values under HKLM\SOFTWARE\Veeam\Veeam Backup and Replication key.

Built-in WAN Acceleration

Data processing performance has been improved up to 3x compared to v7 with the latest patch. The enhanced data processing engine includes additional optimizations specifically aimed to better leverage faster CPUs and SSD cache. The WAN accelerator cache will now consume the entire allocated space
immediately upon creation to prevent fragmentation and avoid unexpected lack of disk space issues at a later time as the cache grows. The WAN accelerator cache population can now be triggered without having to run the job by selecting one or more backup repositories to crawl for OS data. Cache reset was also
made available directly in the user interface for troubleshooting purposes.

Tape

Remote tape server which enables leveraging tape libraries and standalone drives connected to any Windows server in the environment, as opposed to the requirement of attaching them directly to the backup server. Adding multiple tape devices connected to different servers is supported. Backup to Tape jobs now support backup jobs using backup modes without periodic full backups as the source. For such jobs, on the full backup day, Backup to Tape jobs will synthesize the full backup file on the fly, using data from source backup files on disk. The synthesized full backup file will be compatible with the following incremental backup files created by the primary backup job.

 

And the list goes on and on and on. Check out the full list of Veeam Availability Suite features and enhancements here.

About

Erik Scholten is the founder of VMGuru and works as a Specialist SE for SDDC at VMware Benelux (per 1/1/2015). He has over 17 years experience as a system/network engineer, consultant and Solution Architect and he specializes in virtualization. His current job includes selling, presenting, designing and developing virtual infrastructures for some major companies in the Netherlands. Erik is a certified VMware VCP (3, 4, 5), VCP Desktop (5), VSP (3, 4, 5) and VTSP (3, 4, 5). In 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 VMware awarded him the vExpert award for his virtualization community efforts. In 2014 Cisco also recognized him as a Cisco Champion .