Windows Azure Pack Released

Last week Microsoft released the Window Azure Pack.
Now the name is slightly confusing as Azure for most of us is associated with Microsoft Public Cloud offering.
However the Windows Azure Pack is not a public cloud offering, quite the opposite it is an interface for your Private Cloud.
What Windows Azure Pack basically gives you is the same interface used by Windows Azure  for you private cloud.
The Windows Azure Pack integrates with System Center and Windows Server to help provide a self-service portal for managing services such as websites, Virtual Machines, and Service Bus; a portal for administrators to manage resource clouds and a portal for multi-tenant services.


The Azure Pack is offered free to all Microsoft customers.
More information and downloads of Azure Pack can be found here


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 🙂