What’s new with Veeam Backup and Replication 5

/ Technical
March 25th, 2010

review of new features in veeam backup and replication 5

To Recover or not – that is the question?

Today I sat in on a first look at what’s new in Veeam’s revolutionary new backup product – Veeam Backup and Replication 5 (Sure Backup).

Initially, when I first heard about this product I was excited and trawled the web to read people’s expectations. When I got the mailshot on that eagerly awaited March 22nd (and believe me it was eagerly awaited) I felt somewhat dismayed.

But today after listening to the Veeam tech guys it just reinforces Veeam’s ability to deliver time and time again to the virtual backup and recovery market. It looks to be a brilliant cost-effective product.

The product

The new feature included in Veeam Backup and Replication 5 answers a question which always sits at the back of IT managers’ minds – ‘in an emergency can I recover from my backups?’ We all have our DR drills and undertake regular test restores and rebuilds in a lab. But on the whole, if the backup product says it was successful then we trust it.

Veeam is going to stop that niggling question for machines in your virtual environments forever. Veeam Backup and Replication 5 will not only backup your machines at the high speeds seen in version 4, but now also test those backups will boot for you. Now you know they are there when you need them in a crisis.

The way it works is to create a Veeam snapshot backup with a number of restore points you choose for that backup set like you would in version 4 of the product. After backups are complete you can then create a scheduled test window for your backups to be verified as working. Veeam will then attach a temporary VM to a chosen host booting the VM straight from the compressed backup file in a read-only format so you can see your backups are 100% reliable.

This whole process is fast and automated as part of your backup job. You also create the settings for the test if required. You can specify application groups such as a domain controller and exchange server to test your Exchange environment. Then apply boot conditions on the job so the domain controller boots first followed by the exchange server. This allows application dependencies to be in place for the test to be successful. You can add scripts to tests that will run within the operating systems when they boot. You can choose resources such as a host or even resource pools stored in Virtual Centre so your tests don’t affect the performance of production machines. Veeam’s claim is that a 150GB Exchange server hosting 200 mailboxes can be booted from the compressed file in 2 minutes.

So, in brief, here is a step by step process of what would happen:

  1. Backups are taken in normal backup Window and finish successfully.
  2. Backup test windows start.
  3. Veeam Backup and Replication creates test networks.
  4. Veeam Backup and Replication creates temporary VM’s for backed-up servers within resource pool and on the chosen host.
  5. The servers are booted read-only from the backup files.
  6. Scripts and tests are run as requested.
  7. Servers are shut down and removed from your environment.
  8.  You are notified of the result.

More news from Veeam

Veeam also says this method will support your previous backups in version 4, so the transition should be quite painless. They are also providing support for ESX 3.0 upwards so no need to overhaul your current VMWare environment.

One question I did pose to the team was that if we can run operating systems from compressed files to test backups, then why not use this as a disaster recovery product? It would remove the need to replicate servers which need high availability. Their answer is “it’s not included in this release, but watch this space.”

Veeam Backup and Replication 5.0 will be available to partners from the second quarter of 2010 and estimated release dates of late 2010.

I’ll post again once I’ve put this product through its paces and let you know my thoughts. If it does what it says on the tin then it’ll be a must for any IT manager’s toolbox.

NEXT>> QuoStar launches Veeam cloud storage