Veeam’s ‘Next Big Thing’ announcement did take some flack as far as how ‘corporate’ it was to start things off. To their credit, I did receive a survey within a couple of days asking me to review the event, and there were a lot of questions focusing on the content. I think that their overall vision may have been lost due to the fact that folks got bored with the ‘business stuff’ and just took the product announcements at face value.
Let’s take a look at the Veeam Availability Platform for Hybrid Cloud overview again. I’m going to break this up into two sections: backup, and availability.
First off, on the backup side of things they announced some changes with their ‘agents’ – I don’t love the name, but whatever, it is what it is. The product is solid, so let’s move on. The Linux agents will now be able to use Veeam B&R repositories, just like the Windows equivalent could. Cool! That’s great – we’re getting some feature parity going on. But, one other announcement was the ability to use Cloud Connect repositories as backup targets. OK … let’s think about this … It’s cool to be able to back up to ‘the cloud’, but what’s the big deal?
Consider this: if we can now backup to cloud repositories, we can capture field staff’s (or folks who travel) backups while they are out and about. Combine this with the fact that Veeam will be introducing a cache engine for local backups, and now you are looking a situation where endpoints will be protected, even when they are offline.
Say I’m coming back from VMWorld on a plane (offline), and I decide to write this post in Word. I save the document to my desktop, but then I accidentally delete it two hours later. The caching engine will have a copy if a backup was scheduled to run during that time. Prior to this (and with most other endpoint backups as far as I know), if a backups service couldn’t connect to a repository, it would just fail. Now we are looking at a situation where backups will run, even if the target is unavailable.
Now let’s take this a step further. What if your endpoint isn’t a laptop … what if it is a VM? Well, why would you run this on a VM vs. just running it against the ESXi or Hyper-V host? What if you don’t have access to the host? What if this VM is running on AWS or Azure? So, if we install the Agent on our VMs running in the cloud, we can now back them up. All we need to do is install the client, point it to the cloud connect repository (or local repository if you a VPN connection going) and we’re good!
Data Availability is a term I really like. Backups are great and all, but the data isn’t available until it is restored. Veeam has excelled with restores for a while now. Their Instant VM Recovery is a feature that I hold near and dear to my heart. So now they are taking things a little further. How do we get our data back up and running in the event of a DR situation?
There aren’t many details available yet (and for the record, as a Vanguard I don’t know any more about the product than what is publicly known at this time), but we do know that Veeam Availability Orchestrator seems to have the ability to create documentation (awesome) and to do testing – presumably by leveraging the Sure Backup engine.
We also know that Veeam will be able to do restores to Azure .. I think this is huge, especially when you combine it with Endpoint …. Sorry Agent. What if your Amazon instance goes down (it has happened after all) and you need to get critical VMs back up and running ASAP? Restore it to Azure. What if we can automate that? What I would like to see from the VAO product (and once again I want to stress that I don’t have any inside info on this) is a product that is able to build these workflows. Something like a playbook that says ‘hey VM-01 in AWS is down, take the latest backup and do a restore in Azure, run these scripts to update DNS, and create a report to summarize what steps were taken, what the results were, and what (if any) intervention was required (and by whom).
With the above in mind, let’s not forget the Office 365 integrations. I currently use a 3rd party to do email archiving (which I love); what Veeam introduced is different, though. This is a backup – so if someone deletes a bunch of messages, you’ll need to restore a backup from prior to the deletions. An archive, on the other hand, would have those messages. But, what an archive likely won’t have is other mailbox items (such as folders, contacts, calendar items, etc.). With the new Office 365 integration, you can now backup (and restore) that info to a local target. Veeam has extended their reach – your Office 365 email (which is a good chunk of corporate data) is now safeguarded.
We also know that this component will be free for existing customers initially. What we don’t know is that ongoing cost.
From the way I see it – Veeam’s ‘Next Big Thing’ really was big – but the message may have been lost. What they are doing is giving organizations a chance to backup data from anywhere (local / field / cloud / Windows / Linux) and restore it back to on-prem or Azure. They are also introducing the mysterious Veeam Availability Orchestrator product – will that take care of automated failovers and all the auditing for us? Hopefully so. If you look at this as a package, it really does give you an opportunity to backup just about all of your data, regardless of where it is.