Veeam Vanguard Summit 2019 – (Fairly) Full Disclosure

Disclaimer: I recently attended Veeam Vanguard Summit 2019.  My flights, accommodation, and some meals were paid for by Veeam. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated by Veeam for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.

Here are my notes on gifts, etc, that I received as an attendee at Veeam Vanguard Summit 2019. Apologies if it’s a bit dry but I’m just trying to make it clear what I received during this event to ensure that we’re all on the same page as far as what I’m being influenced by. I’m going to do this in chronological order, as that was the easiest way for me to take notes during the week. Whilst every attendee’s situation is different, I was paid by my employer to be at this event.

 

Saturday

My wife kindly dropped me at the airport on Saturday evening. I flew Emirates economy class from BNE – DXB – PRG courtesy of Veeam. I had a 3 hour layover at DXB. In DXB I managed to locate the Emirates Business lounge and eventually found the smoked salmon. The Emirates lounge at BNE is also super nice compared to the Qantas one (sorry Qantas!).

 

Sunday

I landed in Prague Sunday afternoon and took a taxi to my friend Max‘s house. We went for a wander to Hanga’r Bar where I had 3 beers that Max kindly paid for. We then headed in to the city centre so Al Rasheed could drop his luggage off. We then dropped by Restaurace Mincova and had some sausage, pickled cheese and a couple more beers. Al kindly paid for this. We then returned to Max’s house for dinner with his family. Max’s family also put me up for the night.

 

Monday

On the way to the hotel (the Hilton in Prague Old Town) Monday, Max and I stopped by the Macao and Wok Restaurant for lunch. I had a variety of Chinese-style dumplings and 2 beers. I then caught up with the other Aussie Vanguards (and Drew). We stopped at a place called Sklep Na Porici and I had 2 Pilsner Urquell unfiltered beers. At the hotel before dinner Steven Onofaro bought me a beer in the hotel bar.

For dinner we had a welcome reception at T-Anker. It was a rooftop bar / restaurant with stunning views of the city. The staff were a little surprised that we all wanted to eat our meals at the same time, but I eventually managed to get hold of a chicken schnitzel and mashed potatoes. I also had 4 beers. We stopped at a bar called Potrefená Husa (?) on the way back to the hotel. I had another beer that David Kawula paid for. At the hotel I had another beer, paid for by Shane Williford, before heading to bed.

 

Tuesday

I had breakfast at the hotel, consisting of eggs, bacon, chicken sausage, and a flat white. The beauty of the hotel was that it didn’t matter what coffee you ordered, it would invariably be a flat white. Matt Crape gave me a 3D-printed Vanguard thing before the sessions started, and I picked up a Vanguard pin as well.

During the break I had coffee and a chicken, ham, and cheese panini snack. Lunch was in the hotel, and I had beef, fish, pasta, roast vegetables and some water. During the afternoon break I helped myself to some coffee and an apple tatin. Adam Fisher kindly gave me some CDs from his rock and roll days. They were really cool.

For dinner a few of us went to the Restaurant White Horse in the Old Town Square. I had a few beers and the grilled spicy sausage. I then had 2 beers at the hotel before retiring for the night.

 

Wednesday

For breakfast on Wednesday I headed to the hotel buffet and had mushrooms, bacon, scrambled eggs, yoghurt, cheese, ham, and 2 flat whites. During the morning break I helped myself to a bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese and some coffee. Lunch was in the hotel, and I had basmati rice, chicken, perch, smoked salmon, water, and chocolate cake.

During the afternoon break I had some coffee, a small cheese cake tart, and a tiny tandoori chicken wrap. I had two beers at the hotel bar before we caught a shuttle over to the Staropramen brewery. There I had a 5 or 6 beers and a variety of finger food, including a beef tartar, dry egg yolk, capers, onion, mayo and bread chips served in bone. From there we headed to The Dubliner bar for a few more beers.

 

Thursday

I skipped breakfast on Thursday in favour of some sleep. I had a light lunch at the hotel, consisting of some pasta, rice, and beef. When I got back to my room I found a gift glass from Staropramen Brewery courtesy of Veeam.

For dinner about 10 of us headed to a Mexican restaurant called Agave. I had 3 Coronas, a burrito with prawns, and some guacamole. The food was great, as was the company, but the service was pretty slow.

 

Friday

On Friday I had breakfast at the hotel, consisting of mushrooms, bacon, scrambled eggs, yoghurt, cheese, ham, and 2 flat whites. I then walked around Prague for a few hours, and took a car service to the airport at my expense. Big thanks to Veeam for having me over for the week, and big thanks to everyone who spent time with me at the event (and after hours) – it’s a big part of what makes this stuff fun. And I’m looking forward to sharing some of what I learnt when I’m a little less jet-lagged.

Random Short Take #22

Oh look, another semi-regular listicle of random news items that might be of some interest.

  • I was at Pure Storage’s //Accelerate conference last week, and heard a lot of interesting news. This piece from Chris M. Evans on FlashArray//C was particularly insightful.
  • Storage Field Day 18 was a little while ago, but that doesn’t mean that the things that were presented there are no longer of interest. Stephen Foskett wrote a great piece on IBM’s approach to data protection with Spectrum Protect Plus that’s worth read.
  • Speaking of data protection, it’s not just for big computers. Preston wrote a great article on the iOS recovery process that you can read here. As someone who had to recently recover my phone, I agree entirely with the idea that re-downloading apps from the app store is not a recovery process.
  • NetApp were recently named a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Primary Storage. Say what you will about the MQ, a lot of folks are still reading this report and using it to help drive their decision-making activities. You can grab a copy of the report from NetApp here. Speaking of NetApp, I’m happy to announce that I’m now a member of the NetApp A-Team. I’m looking forward to doing a lot more with NetApp in terms of both my day job and the blog.
  • Tom has been on a roll lately, and this article on IT hero culture, and this one on celebrity keynote speakers, both made for great reading.
  • VMworld US was a little while ago, but Anthony‘s wrap-up post had some great content, particularly if you’re working a lot with Veeam.
  • WekaIO have just announced some work their doing Aiden Lab at the Baylor College of Medicine that looks pretty cool.
  • Speaking of analyst firms, this article from Justin over at Forbes brought up some good points about these reports and how some of them are delivered.

Random Short Take #16

Here are a few links to some random news items and other content that I recently found interesting. You might find them interesting too. Episode 16 – please enjoy these semi-irregular updates.

  • Scale Computing has been doing a bit in the healthcare sector lately – you can read news about that here.
  • This was a nice roundup of the news from Apple’s recent WWDC from Six Colors. Hat tip to Stephen Foskett for the link. Speaking of WWDC news, you may have been wondering what happened to all of your purchased content with the imminent demise of iTunes on macOS. It’s still a little fuzzy, but this article attempts to shed some light on things. Spoiler: you should be okay (for the moment).
  • There’s a great post on the Dropbox Tech Blog from James Cowling discussing the mission versus the system.
  • The more things change, the more they remain the same. For years I had a Windows PC running Media Center and recording TV. I used IceTV as the XMLTV-based program guide provider. I then started to mess about with some HDHomeRun devices and the PC died and I went back to a traditional DVR arrangement. Plex now has DVR capabilities and it has been doing a reasonable job with guide data (and recording in general), but they’ve decided it’s all a bit too hard to curate guides and want users (at least in Australia) to use XMLTV-based guides instead. So I’m back to using IceTV with Plex. They’re offering a free trial at the moment for Plex users, and setup instructions are here. No, I don’t get paid if you click on the links.
  • Speaking of axe-throwing, the Cohesity team in Queensland is organising a social event for Friday 21st June from 2 – 4 pm at Maniax Axe Throwing in Newstead. You can get in contact with Casey if you’d like to register.
  • VeeamON Forum Australia is coming up soon. It will be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Sydney on July 24th and should be a great event. You can find out more information and register for it here. The Vanguards are also planning something cool, so hopefully we’ll see you there.
  • Speaking of Veeam, Anthony Spiteri recently published his longest title in the Virtualization is Life! catalogue – Orchestration Of NSX By Terraform For Cloud Connect Replication With vCloud Director. It’s a great article, and worth checking out.
  • There’s a lot of talk and slideware devoted to digital transformation, and a lot of it is rubbish. But I found this article from Chin-Fah to be particularly insightful.

Veeam Basics – Configuring A Scale-Out Backup Repository

I’ve been doing some integration testing with Pure Storage and Veeam in the lab recently, and thought I’d write an article on configuring a scale-out backup repository (SOBR). To learn more about SOBR configurations, you can read the Veeam documentation here. This post from Rick Vanover also covers the what and the why of SOBR. In this example, I’m using a couple of FlashBlade-based NFS repositories that I’ve configured as per these instructions. Each NFS repository is mounted on a separate Linux virtual machine. I’m using a Windows-based Veeam Backup & Replication server running version 9.5 Update 4.

 

Process

Start by going to Backup Infrastructure -> Scale-out Repositories and click on Add Scale-out Repository.

Give it a name, maybe something snappy like “Scale-out Backup Repository 1”?

Click on Add to add the backup repositories.

When you click on Add, you’ll have the option to select the backup repositories you want to use. You can select them all, but for the purpose of this exercise, we won’t.

In this example, Backup Repository 1 and 2 are the NFS locations I configured previously. Select those two and click on OK.

You’ll now see the repositories listed as Extents.

Click on Advanced to check the advanced setttings are what you expect them to be. Click on OK.

Click Next to continue. You’ll see the following message.

You then choose the placement policy. It’s strongly recommended that you stick with Data locality as the placement policy.

You can also pick object storage to use as a Capacity Tier.

You’ll also have an option to configure the age of the files to be moved, and when they can be moved. And you might want to encrypt the data uploaded to your object storage environment, depending on where that object storage lives.

Once you’re happy, click on Apply. You’ll be presented with a summary of the configuration (and hopefully there won’t be any errors).

 

Thoughts

The SOBR feature, in my opinion, is pretty cool. I particularly like the ability to put extents in maintenance mode. And the option to use object storage as a capacity tier is a very useful feature. You get some granular control in terms of where you put your backup data, and what kind of performance you can throw at the environment. And as you can see, it’s not overly difficult to configure the environment. There are a few things to keep on mind though. Make sure your extents are stored on resilient hardware. If you keep your backup sets together with the data locality option, you’l be a sad panda if that extent goes bye bye. And the same goes for the performance option. You’ll also need Enterprise or Enterprise Plus editions of Veeam Backup & Replication for this feature to work. And you can’t use this feature for these types of jobs:

  • Configuration backup job;
  • Replication jobs (including replica seeding);
  • VM copy jobs; and
  • Veeam Agent backup jobs created by Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows 1.5 or earlier and Veeam Agent for Linux 1.0 Update 1 or earlier.

There are any number of reasons why a scale-out backup repository can be a handy feature to use in your data protection environment. I’ve had the misfortune in the past of working with products that were difficult to manage from a data mobility perspective. Too many times I’ve been stuck going through all kinds of mental gymnastics working out how to migrate data sets from one storage platform to the next. With this it’s a simple matter of a few clicks and you’re on your way with a new bucket. The tiering to object feature is also useful, particularly if you need to keep backup sets around for compliance reasons. There’s no need to spend money on these living on performance disk if you can comfortably have them sitting on capacity storage after a period of time. And if you can control this movement through a policy-driven approach, then that’s even better. If you’re new to Veeam, it’s worth checking out a feature like this, particularly if you’re struggling with media migration challenges in your current environment. And if you’re an existing Enterprise or Enterprise Plus customer, this might be something you can take advantage of.

Veeam Vanguard 2019

I was very pleased to get an email from Rick Vanover yesterday letting me know I was accepted as part of the Veeam Vanguard Program for 2019. This is my first time as part of this program, but I’m really looking forward to participating in it. Big shout out to Dilupa Ranatunga and Anthony Spiteri for nominating me in the first place, and for Rick and the team for having me as part of the program. Also, (and I’m getting a bit parochial here) special mention of the three other Queenslanders in the program (Rhys Hammond, Nathan Oldfield, and Chris Gecks). There’s going to be a lot of cool stuff happening with Veeam and in data protection generally this year and I can’t wait to get started. More soon.