Veeam – Using Starwind VTL with AWS S3 in Veeam

StarWind Cloud VTL

I wanted to test this use case for a long time. Now it’s finally done and i’m happy that everything worked at the first try. Or should i be worried? Well, as Veeam always says „It just works (TM)“. So it did also during the write up of this guide.

Most of you will know this kind of backup media type. And some of you will not only have good memories of them. I’m talking about tapes. Tapes we’re once used for backups. Daily incremental and weekly full backups. It took ages the more data you had. You’ve been happy if a full backup fitted in a 8 hour window throughout the night. You know that. But tapes are coming up more and more again. If you heard about the recent ransomware WannaCry then you know what it means to airgap your backups. Even Google has it’s tape backup system. Yes, Google. And there are reasons why some companies still invent and develop new tape technologies like new LTO standards, new drives and libraries.

To be honest, most of us homelabbers don’t have a tape drive nor a tape library neither. And that’s the point where a Virtual Tape Library comes in very handy! You can emulate a complete tape library with software and even use this emulation in a availability software like Veeam Backup & Replication or Veeam Availability Suite! But that isn’t awesome enough. We want more awesome and that’s the reason we go to the next level.

To make it clear, i’m not only talking about homelabbers. This software is not a beta or alpha or something other. It’s a rocksolid production version which is available on the market. This guide will show you how to install and configure StarWind VTL for AWS and Veeam.

With StarWind Cloud VTL for AWS and Veeam you can leverage your backup data for the usage with a virtual tape library to archive your backups to Amazon S3 storage in the cloud. If you want you can even go further and archive your archived data from the Amazon S3 buckets to Amazon Glacier. Isn’t that awesome?

So let’s do this now! I’ll show you how to install and configure this solution, and how to make it work.

Read more…

Veeam – Backup Copy „Block is not initialized. Failed to download disk.“

Recently a customer reported an issue with a backup copy job. At this customer we implemented a new leased line with synchronous 1Gbit/s bandwidth from the main site to a secondary site. That gave us completely new possibilities regarding the backup of data and making it available. There is no need for a WAN Accelerator anymore, we can replicate VM’s with Veeam directly to the secondary site. And also backup copy jobs to this site go now A) directly and B) in a regular manner (what wasn’t possible before because of lack of bandwidth).

By the beginning of the last week, around the 30th of May, one backup copy job started to fail. This job contains all VM’s and should backup copy the data once a day to the secondary location. But one server, the main fileserver, failed with this error message:

Error: Block is not initialized. Failed to download disk. Reconnectable protocol device was closed. Failed to upload disk. Agent failed to process method {DataTransfer.SyncDisk}.

First i thought, ok, that can happen. No worries. After the second failure i did some checks and also opened a support case at Veeam support. If you don’t know how to collect log files for a Veeam support case, please have a look here.

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Veeam – Prepare yourself and your infrastructure against Ransomware

A little more than a week ago a new ransomware called WannaCry hit various computers and IT systems, private persons and businesses, all around the world. More than 200’000 computers in up to 150 countries, experts say. That’s a lot. It happend fast. And this ransomware created also some serious damage.

ransomware

Yes, the red marked countries are those affected by WannaCry…

(Image by Wikimedia Commons)

Ransomware preparedness and recovery

Not only firewall, even hardware appliances or software firewalls on your computers, should be installed, but also a decent antivirus and anti-malware scanner should be in place. Obviously with daily updates and new signatures at least.

But when desaster strikes, it’s probably to late to update your security systems. The digital pest is on your system, somehow it made it’s way through various security barriers. Probably through security flaws, undetected by any antivirus or firewall, via mail, drive-by downloads or what not. What can you make then? Glad you have a backup of your systems and your data! Oh, did i mention to air-gap your backups? It doesn’t help when you’ve got ransomware-encrypted backup. The air-gap becomes more and more popular, not only for private users but also for big companies.

To have a 1TB external USB drive with your data, which is safely ejected after successful backup (Veeam Agent for Windows FREE does that), is ideal for your home computer, or your laptop. And absolutely recommended to do so. But imagine your 20 or more terabytes in your office? All your virtual (and physical) servers? Mail data? SharePoint and so on?

Veeam recently released some blog posts and white papers about ransomware topics. I’d like to share those valuable bits and bytes and ressources with you.

White paper

Rick Vanouver, Director of Technical Product Marketing at Veeam, created a white paper with the name „Designing Veeam Availability Suite to Protect Against Ransomware Threats“. Get your copy here:

https://www.veeam.com/wp-veeam-availability-suite-protection-against-ransomware-threats.html

…and learn more about:

  • Offline storage, the most effective ransomware resiliency technique
  • Using different credentials for backup repositories
  • The need to have more types of restore points that are more frequent

Blog post

But Rick created not only the white paper but also a comprehensive blog post about „Ransomware resiliency & Availability: The endpoint is a great place to start“ which is available here.

This blog posts shows you how you can use both Veeam Agent for Linux and Veeam Agent for Windows in your environment. It doesn’t matter whether it’s installed on a server or a computer, Veeam Agent for Linux and Windows are two pieces of software which are tightly integrated into the Veeam Availability Suite yet, and will be even tighter integrated into the next version 10 of Veeam Availability Suite.

At this point I would also like to refer to the early tipps for some of the early attacks and some practical tipps when using Veeam Backup & Replication.

E-Book

Last but not least, Veeam and Conversational Geek are offering a free e-book about the above topic. This e-book not only gives you an insight into the ransomware threat, but also reviews the fundamentals of top notch ransomware preparedness and recovery, in order to help you protect yourself and your organization.

Download it here:

https://go.veeam.com/ransomware-awareness-education

Learn more about:

  • Ransomware milestones, key capabilities and impact
  • Key layers of ransomware protection and preparedness against attacks
  • Quick and painless recovery from backups
  • And much more!

 

VeeamON 2017 – General Session Wednesday – a review

veeamon

Thanks to the live stream there wasn’t an NDA on the announcements today made at the General Session. People announced stuff and did live demos of new features awaiting us in the next version of Veeam, the Veeam Availability Suite v10. Let’s now dive into it.

Kicking off the General Session

Peter McKay, COO and President, was on the stage. He’s greeted all attending people, even those who were streaming the general session event to their computers at home or at the office.

Peter McKay introduced himself and showed us about his career. He showed us the example of his children, they’re living a real digital life already. And we all are doing so. It’s all about digital transformation. It’s our digital future.

the past and the future

Read more…

VeeamON 2017 – VMCE-A Training on Monday and Tuesday

veeamon

The VeeamON week started early for me. When i did all the booking for VeeamON, i signed up for the VMCE-A course. This is the course required for the VMCE Advanced certification. If you’re already VMCE (Veeam Certified Engineer) you can go a little further, do the course, learn a little more and then get certified again. Engineers who complete both VMCE and VMCE-Advanced: Design & Optimization programs (courses + exams) will be granted with the „Veeam Certified Architect“ (VMCA) title by Veeam.

Monday, 15th of May – First day of VMCE-A training

I got up early, heading for a breakfast and then walking to another hotel just around the corner, where all the courses were located. I registered there for VeeamON to receive my event badge, and then i registered for the classroom.

We were about 20 people in the class. Some very experienced people, from all kinds of IT, like storage professionals, server specialists and so on. Our teacher did very good. He knows the stuff, and he is anything but boring. We had some good laugh and very good discussions. People are sharing examples of their experiences, from the real world and real customers. During the morning we went through some theoretical things, numbers and calculations. And these numbers are another sign that SMB (Small and Medium-sized businesses) are in different size in different countries…

During the afternoon we had a case study. Some fictional company (no, not Contoso…) had its infrastructure and some requirements regarding RPO / RTO, backup, failover and all those things. Our task was to analyze the infrastructure, plan some optimizations and create a concept of how we could fulfill the customers requirements. That task was a group work.

Tuesday, 16th of May – Second day of VMCE-A training

Today i was up on time and heading directly to the class rooms. It’s great to have a Starbucks coffee right in the reception area of the hotel where the trainings and class rooms are located. I grabed a iced cold brew, something with coconut in it. Waiting there for my coffee a guy showed up and greeted me, and made compliments about my blog. The coffee tasted great and meeting this guy was a great start in the day 🙂

The morning began also with some theoretical things, numbers and a little math. We talked a lot about personal experiences and shared real life stories. Shortly before lunch we received the task to build groups again and check our design from Monday. The fictional company for which we planned our design on Monday was now operating for a year. We had again to analyze the actual situation and create a new concept how to backup, replicate and keep the data available.

For me those two days were really interesting and educational. I did not many design-things in my actual IT career. We had a great class, good discussions and a great teacher. Many thanks to Bart Pellegrino, you did a great job!

Follow up:

VeeamON 2017 – Travel and first days in New Orleans