Everytime a new software is released, reading through the release notes is a nice activity to spot not just a confirmation that planned features have been implemented, but also the perfect opportunity to spot some “hidden gems”, thos heavy technical features that are not promoted as part of a marketing campaign, but nonetheless are extremely important for our daily activities and long-term plannins as IT professionals that use those software.
Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 has just been released in its GA (General availability) version yesterday, which means that every customer can download the new version and upgrade their own installation. While you download the software from here, let’s have a look at the What’s New document. There are as usual some really interesting things!
Veeam Backup & Replication
– Advanced Data Fetcher and VMware vSphere Infrastructure Cache should deserve by themselves a dedicated post each, and I’m probably going to do so in the next weeks. About the latter, let me just re-post the description in the what’s new document: Maintains an in-RAM mirror of vSphere infrastructure hierarchy to dramatically accelerate job start up (Building VM list operation) and user interface responsiveness while browsing a virtual infrastructure. You are going to see that every operation inside the console is damn faster!
– Direct restore from tape. I’ve never been a huge fan of tapes, but the more I work with large customers, the more I see the value they still bring in terms of cost efficiency and durability. So far, restores from tape required the staging of the VM backup files in a disk repository before being restored to the final datastore. This meant the need to plan for enough free space to hold the backup files. Even with Per-VM chains, this would have meant additional disk space needed, and more time to complete the restore as data had to be copied twice. Now, full VM restores will go directly from tape to the production datastore.
– Advanced Resilient File System (ReFS) integration for Windows Server 2016: I’ve blogged about this already in a dedicated post, and more will come in the near future. Together with the new vCloud Director self-backup portal, this is for me one of the best feature in 9.5.
– Enhanced VMware vCloud Director Support for Service Providers: I’m totally biased here as my main focus in Veeam are service providers, but this single feature has given me hours and hours of talks with many telco and service providers. Everyone who’s using vCloud Director has immediately understood the value of this single feature, and reached out to me to ask for more details. If you attended VMworld 2016 either US or EMEA, I presented about this technology at both events, look for my recorded session, or read the blog post I did a few months ago: Self-service backup and restore capabilities for VMware vCloud Director coming in Veeam Availability Suite 9.5.
– Thick disk type selection. Users can now choose thick disk type (lazy zeroed or eager zeroed) when performing a full VM restore or setting up a replication job. Some storage arrays like HPE 3PAR work better with thick-provisioned disks, as they remove the zeros transparently, so now you can force a restored VM to be written in this format, thus having faster restores or replication.
– Scale-out Backup Repository Temporary expansion. Enterprise edition had in v9.0 a limit of a single SOBR instance, with up to three extents. In 9.5, this limit has been increased to allow a fourth extent, even though no more than three extents can be online at the same time, with the fourth remaining in maintenance mode. This will help with upgrading scale-out backup repository capacity by attaching a new storage unit, followed by evacuation of backups from one of the original three. In this way, during a migration the group is never reduced to less than three extents.
Veeam Cloud Connect
– Parallel processing: this is the big one for me. Before, only one concurrent operation was possible for tenants. The workaround for backup copy jobs was to create multiple cloud repositories for the same tenant, but there was no real workaround for replication jobs. It was fine, as VCC-R was starting to grow, but now with 9.5 service providers can allow tenants to run multiple replication and backup tasks concurrently. This is a great addition to scale Cloud Connect to larger and larger customers, where large number of virtual machines need to be replicated in a given time frame.
– Replication from backup in a cloud repository. The best feature for small customers that cannot afford to consume the small bandwidth they have to run both backups and replications of the same virtual machines. Now, they only need to run backups towards Cloud Connect, and when configuring Cloud Connect replicas, they can select as a source the virtual machines in the backup files already stored into Cloud Connect. Replica traffic will be completely local to the service provider.
– Configuration backup to cloud repository. A small but huge addition that I pushed for a while. Now a tenant can use a cloud repository to save its Veeam configuration backups to a cloud repository (except those backed by a scale-out repository). If a customer loses completely its Veeam installation and even its local backup, can now easily re-install a fresh copy of the software, re-link it to his service provider, retrieve the configuration backup and restore all the existing configurations. I hope this option will be heavily promoted to every cloud connect customer.
– Per-VM backup file chains and Scale-out Backup Repository support. I’m sure I don’t have to add anything here, as these two options allow now Cloud Connect backup to grow the back-end storage used by service providers seamlessly.
Veeam ONE 9.5 has also a long list of enhancements and new features. If you want to see the complete list, read the dedicated what’s new document here. These are the ones I like the most:
– VM backups in cloud repository alarm: This alarm allows service providers to track the number of VM backups stored in the cloud repository. Even if service providers sell cloud storage per GB or TB, they can now have a deep control on how many VMs are stored in the different repositories, for both billing and chargeback purposes.
– Veeam Cloud Connect user (replica) report: This report provides data about a Veeam Cloud Connect user’s replication activity and quota usage over the last period.
– Enhanced Veeam Cloud Connect user (backup) report: This report includes a new layout and new parameters (data transferred) added for reporting. The amount of transferred data has been a major request from service provider, that now can track also this information.
– Tenants backup compatibility report. This report shows product versions of all the tenants’ backup servers to avoid incompatibilities. As Cloud Connect guarantees backward compatibility to previous versions, but some features like per-vm chains can only be assigned to customers using v9.5, it’s important to check which version of Veeam Backup & Replication a given tenant is using, before assigning them a specific resource.
Even if technically 9.5 is considered a minor release, the list of enhancements is impressive as always. And you, what are your favorite new features?