Backup System state using Azure Backup

A new version of Azure backup has just been released and it now includes the ability to backup system state.
Previous this would have required deploying the more advanced Azure Backup Server, but can now be accomplished using the simpler Azure backup agent.

Also new, you can now set policies and backup retention from the Azure portal and not just the endpoint server/computer.

Backing up of System state is good for Active Directory servers, IIS and file servers (shares) as it allows for easier recovery of these systems in case of a failure.
Now I’m just waiting to see when full image backup and recovery will become part of the system 🙂

For anyone looking to upgrade an existing agent, you can either download it from the Azure portal or directly from here



New De-Dupe features coming to Windows 2016

In its current beta Windows 2016 offers new Dew-Dupe features and rumors say that more are to come.

What we currently know is the following:

1. Volume size of up to 64 TB will be supported.

In Windows 2016 the recommended limit was 10 TB mainly due to processing rates. The new De-Dupe has a new engine with multiple threads supported to improve performance.

2. File sizes up to 1 TB are good.

Although supported in Windows 2012, again not recommended because of performance issues. In Windows 2016 1TB file sizes are good to go (DE-Dupe).

3. New type of DE-Dupe scenario – Backup.

Windows 2012R2 supported general File Server & virtualization (VDI) De-Dupe.

Not sure exactly what the improvement here is, but we’re promised better performance for De-Duping backup files. Can’t wait to try it out with Veeam.


Veeam Backup & Rpelication 8 Released

Last week Veeam released to RTM version 8 of Backup & Recovery and Veeam One.
As of yesterday it is available for general download from their site.

The new version has a ton of new features, updates and improvements. So I’m going to spread it out.
In this post I’ll focus on major new features and in following posts minor changes and a third post with an update regarding Veeam One.

So let’s get started – Whats New:

1. Explorer for SQL – This simple interface allows for recovery of SQL Databases from your VM backup. The DB is restored and connected to your SQL server of choice.

2. SQL Log Backup – Veeam can now backup transaction logs allowing for continuous (15 min+) protection of SQL with point in time restores.

3. Veeam Explorer for Active Directory – This simple interface allows for recovery of Active Directory objects from your VM backup.You can recover user accounts, computer accounts, atributes etc.

4. Netapp snapshot integration – similar to HP snapshot integration introduced in version 7. Netapp snapshot integration allows backing up from N snapshots, performing Netapp snapshots, replication of the snapshot to a 2nd Netapp device and item level restoration from the snapshots.

5. EMC Data Domain Boost – Allows for integration with EMC data domain allowing for integration with built-in dedupe of the appliance thus offloading deduplicaton and synthetic backups to the appliance,

6. Encryption – Allowing for full AES 256 encryption of backup files.

7. Wan acceleration for replication – Introduced in ver 7 for backups Veeam now supports WAN acceleration for replication. A major improvement for performing DR replication over WAN to a remote location.

8. Self restore options – Veeam enterprise manager has been improved to allow for delegation restore of objects including SQL. Now a SQL DBA can login in to the enterprise manager web portal and perform the restore himself.

9. Backup I/O Control – Monitors storage I/O & latency during backup. If latency climbs above a set threshold the backup will throttle to prevent storage performance degradation.


I think that about wraps up all major improvements. In my next post we’ll continue to talk about some of the 150+ other improvements that have been implemented.


Veeam Endpoint Backup Free

Veeam just announced a new free product – Veeam Endpoint Backup Free.
As the Name implies the product is going to be free. So what exactly can it do?
Well Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE is a product that allows you to back p your Windows-based computers to an internal or external hard drive, a NAS share or a Veeam Backup Repository.

It supports Windows 7 and later and Windows Server 2008 and later. The product is completely standalone and is not part of Veeam Backup & Replication.
The Product allows for recovery of files, Volumes or an entire bare metal recovery (using a recovery boot media) all based on scheduled backups or log off & logon triggers.

The Product should hot Beat in November and be available in early 2015.

All this does make me wonder if Veeam will add agent based backups to Veeam Backup & Recovery in the future? I know their goal is VM based backup but an agent could solve issues even with in virtual backups (VMware snapshot latency for example).
For now we’ll just have to and see.

You can read the anouncment on Veeam’s website


How to backup your Hyper-V enviroment – Part III

In part I we talked about the concepts and fundamentals of backing up a Hyper-V environment.
In Part II We talked about Microsoft DPM as a Hyper-V backup application.
In Part III wich is also the final part we’re going to talk about Veeam Backup & Recovery.

A few words about Veeam. The company’s first release of backup and replication was in 2008. The company itself was founded in 2006 and specializes in virtual environments. Originally just VMware and later on added support for Microsoft Hyper-V. Their latest version of Backup & Recovery is Version 7 wich was released last month and adds a lot of new features to the product.
Veeam supports backing up to nas, DAS , remote Windows or Linux servers & as of version 7 tape. There is also a cloud edition which supports backing up to Windows Azure and other popular public cloud solutions.

The main features of Veeam Backup & Replication are:

  • Forever incremental backups – After initial backup all future backups are incremental. This can be in one of two ways, either reverse incremental which produces a single full backup file at the end of each backup with separate files containing roll back chains or synthetic full which produces an individual incremental file at the end of the backup and according to a set schedule will run a synthetic backup job to combine all these files into a single backup file.
  • Compression & Dedupe – All backup Jobs are compressed and deduped to save backup disk space.
  • Item Level Recovery – Veeam Supports item level recovery of Files, Exchange 2010/2013 items & Sharepoint 2010/2013 items. Enterprise edition also includes options for restoring of Active Directory objects and Microsoft SQL server tables. All of this is based on your existing VM backup and does not require a separate application backup.
  • Archive copy Job – A job that will copy backed up VM’s from an existing backup to a new backup (optimally in a 2nd location) and also allow you to archive the VM’s on a weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly rotation.
  • Tape Support – A great option for archiving, copies disk based backup to tape.
  • Instant Recovery – Allows almost instant recovery of a failed VM. The VM is run directly from backup with the need to perform a full restore. After the initial restore the VM can be migrated from the backup repository to your production Storage/Disk.
  • VSS support for the guest VM (In Hyper-V scenario also for the host).

Apart from Backups, Veeam backup & Replication (as it name indicates) can also replicate VM’s. It basically replicates entire VM’s between hosts & storage allowing you to effectively create a DR environment. This functionality is similar to Hyper-V replica. I feel that Veeam provides a greater level of control, visibility and failover functions. You also have the option for item level restore from a replicated VM. Another nifty feature of replication is the ability to keep restore points. So if you say replicate a VM every 4 hours and keep 6 restore points you’ll have the options to roll back up to 24 hours with 4 hour intervals.

Veeam advantages:

  • Forever incremental backups.
  • Full VSS support
  • Built in replication
  • Disk to disk to tape backups
  • Instant recovery

Veeam disadvantages:

  • No support for physical machines.

On a personal note I can say that I find Veeam Backup & Replication to be an excellent product. I have been implementing it for a couple of years now and nearly all of my Hyper-V implementations include Veeam as the backup solution.

In these three post we’ve covered the fundamentals of backing up a virtual environment, what you need to look out for and why. we’ve also covered two backup applications which can be used to achieve these goals. there are of course other backup vendors out there.
I hope I’ve enlightened you on backing up your virtual environment.
Good luck and let’s hope your never required to restore 🙂

How to backup your Hyper-V enviroment – Part II

In part I we talked about the concepts and fundamentals of backing up a Hyper-V environment.
In Part II we’re going to talk about Different software that can be used to achieve this.
Now obviously there are multiple vendors offering backup applications, I cant go over them and I’m going to stick with the two that I personally work with.

I will however mention that most traditional backup software has now evolved to support backing up of Hyper-V, however they seem to support less options and be less flexible as they try to back up hyper-V using the same guidelines that they’ve used for years for traditional backup and most of the time these guidelines just don’t fit. Another thing worth mentioning is that you can actually use windows 2012 built-in backup to back up Hyper-V. It does a reasonable job and is free. however it is of course limited and I wouldn’t use it in a clustered environment.

Now the two programs I’m going to focus on are:

  • Microsoft System Center DPM (Data Protection Manager)
  • Veeam Backup & Replication

Both these programs follow the guidelines that I outlined in my previous post regarding VSS and both have a degree of visibility into the VM including item level recovery of objects from with in the VM.

Lets start with DPM.

DPM is part of the System center package so if you have purchased System Center then you have DPM. Therefor anyone using SCVMM is also entitled to use DPM. DPM supports backing up of any Microsoft VSS Product with specific support for Hyper-V, Exchange, SQL & Sharepoint.
The first thing to note about DPM is that it supports backing up to tape or to DAS (or any other form of local disk like iscsi or fiber), backing up to a nas is not supported. In the upcoming 2012R2 version you will also be able to back up to Azure and VHD storage pool disks.
When you run your initial Hyper-V backup a full backup will be performed know as a “replica”. After the full backup is created all future backups will be incremental know as “express backups” This meeans that after your initial backup all backups are incremental and take a short time to run, this in turn allows you to run multiple backups during the day and not just a single backup during night hours. Now that you have a backup or backups of your VM’s you can of course perform restores. With DPM we have two restore options for VM’s. The first is a full restore of the VM. This is basically used if your VM was accidentally deleted or harmed so badly that you just want to restore a previous copy of it. The second option is file level restore. In this case DPM will show you the actual files from within the VM (provided that the VM is a windows based VM) and allow you the option to restore specific files from with in the VM.

Now although I said that DPM supports Exchange, Sharepoint and SQL you can not perform Application level restores of these services from a VM backup. So your basically going to have run a second backup that is not Hyper-V based (this will require an agent in the windows server VM) to backup your Exchange & SQL Databases.

DPM Advantages:

  • Part Of the System Center Package
  • Once full forever incremental Backups
  • Support for all VSS aware applications

DPM Disadvantages:

  • Application layer protection requires a separate backup
  • Limited choices for backup destination

In this post we’ve covered Microsoft System Center DPM in a Hyper-V environment. In part III I”ll explain the benefits of using Veeam Backup & Replication to protect your Hyper-V enviroment.