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.

Read more…

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!

 

Veeam – Probably not well known features: VeeamZIP

update

This second post will continue with the small series of blog posts. This series will talk about some probably not well know features of Veeam Backup & Replication.

Usually you’ve got your infrastructure set up, your Veeam backup server up and running, and your daily backup and replication jobs are working fine. And then, all of a sudden, the manager arrives at your desk (or calls you by phone, I leave it to your imagination…) and would like you to decommission an old virtual machine. You don’t need this machine anymore. But the management (and probably you too) are not sure, so just kill and delete this VM isn’t an option. I think this is pretty common in various companies. Getting rid of old and already replaced virtual machines frees up costly hardware ressources (CPU, Ram, Disk). One of the most reason to not kill a VM is that people aren’t sure if it’s still in use, if there are still people working with it. Like, for example, and old account program or something the like.

But let’s go back to your infrastructure. You’ve set up a nice running system, which is some terabyte in total size. You can now tell the manager that you have to postpone the decommission of this virtual machine because you have to configure a special backup job.

Or you go the easy way and tell your boss that backup and archival of this particular VM is just a matter of minutes. And afterwards this virtual machine can be retired in dignity.

But why? And how? Let me tell you this with just one word. VeeamZIP.

What is VeeamZIP?

Let’s quote again from the Veeam helpcenter:

You can quickly back up running and powered off VMs with VeeamZIP. Creating a VeeamZIP file can be helpful if you want create an ad-hoc backup for VMs, archive VMs before decommissioning and so on. You can create a VeeamZIP file for one or more VMs.

Another great feature! Just a quick backup of a VM, running or not, for ad-hoc backup or archive purpose in case you want to decommission this VM. Nice!

And this is really easy to be done. Let me show you how you do this. I assume you already opened your Veeam console.

  1. Click on „Virtual Machines“ in the menu on the left hand side.
  2. Expand your Infrastructure and look for the VM you wan’t to do a quick backup.
  3. Right-click this VM and choose „VeeamZIP…“

You’re done. That is it.

If you click on „VeeamZIP…“ (the second from above) you will be asked were you’d like to save the file. You can save the zip file to a Veeam repository or chose to save it on a local or shared folder.

veeamzip

Hint: If you click the first position „VeeamZIP to C:\Backup“ then it’s pretty clear were this zip file will be stored. Make sure that there is enough free space…

If you’d like to encrypt the backup (for whatever reason; just keep the key / password save!) you can do that too. Click on „More >>“ and you’ll get some more options to configure:

Now you can easily decommission old and unused VMs without worries, and thus free up costly ressources in your infrastructure.

Read the other post from this series to:

Veeam – Probably not well know features: Quick Backup

Veeam – Probably not well known features: VeeamZIP

Veeam – Probably not well known features: Quick Backup

update

With this post i’d like to start with a small series of blog posts. This series will talk about some probably not well know features of Veeam Backup & Replication.

Usually you’ve got your infrastructure set up, your Veeam backup server up and running, and your daily backup and replication jobs are working fine. And then, all of a sudden, the manager arrives at your desk (or calls you by phone, I leave it to your imagination…) and would like you to install a patch from software development. I think this is pretty common in various companies. Installing patches for your software (doesn’t matter if it’s a Microsoft Exchange server or your internal Apache web server with your intranet running on it) is not only necessary to get the latest features and bug fixes, but it’s also a matter of security to get security flaws patched.

But let’s go back to your infrastructure. You’ve set up a nice running system, which is some terabyte in total size. You can now tell the manager that you have to postpone the patch installation because it’s not possible to get a backup in a reasonable time. Even with incremental backup.

Or you go the easy way and tell your boss that backup of this particular VM is just a matter of minutes. And if there goes anything wrong, we won’t lose as much data as possible.

But why? And how? Let me tell you this with just three words. Veeam Quick Backup.

What is Veeam Quick Backup?

Let’s quote from Veeam helpcenter:

Quick backup lets you perform on-demand incremental backup for VMs. You can use quick backup if you want to produce an additional restore point for one or more VMs in a backup job and do not want to configure a new job or modify the existing one.

Isn’t that great? Just have an additional restore point, which means an additional backup state, of your specific VM, and this without to configure an additional backup job. Nice!

And it is really that easy. Let me show you how you do this. I assume you already opened your Veeam console.

  1. Click on „Virtual Machines“ in the menu on the left hand side.
  2. Expand your Infrastructure and look for the VM you wan’t to do a quick backup.
  3. Right-click this VM and choose „Quick backup“.

You’re done. That is it.

quick backup

There will be only a small notification that Quick backup started now for this particular VM:

quick backup started

But… Yes there’s a „but“. You can use Quick backup only for a VM, when this VM is already protected by an existing backup job. As mentioned in the helpcenter quote above, for a Quick backup there is no need to create an additional backup job. That’s because Veeam Backup & Replication does a check if the VM is already protected, and then triggers this job, but only to backup the specified VM.

Read the other post from this series to:

Veeam – Probably not well know features: Quick Backup

Veeam – Probably not well known features: VeeamZIP