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Does your organisation use Veeam Backup? Learn about the latest updates

Recently Veeam Software announced the general availability for its Veeam Availability Suite 9.5, Update 3a and Update 4. Veeam also made announcements around its upcoming Veeam Availability for AWS and Veeam Availability Console v3. According to the company, these new cloud data management capabilities will deliver cost effective data retention, easy cloud migration and data mobility, cloud-native backup and protection for Amazon Web Services (AWS), portable cloud-ready licensing, increased security and data governance.

This advisory document notifies you about updates that must or can be installed to enhance your work experience with the product. These updates eliminate the risk of using out-of-date components in the backup infrastructure or missing critical updates that can have a negative impact on data protection and disaster recovery tasks.

As the result of an on-going R&D effort, and in response to customer's feedback, the recent update of Veeam Backup and Replication 9.5 Update 3a and Update 4 features a large number of enhancements which are listed below.

What are the new features in Update 3a?

This release focuses both on new features as well as an increasing number of platforms supported. The full list of new platforms supported is:

  • 1. VMware vSphere 6.7 support- Includes the new HTML5 version of vSphere Web Client plug-in for Veeam Backup and Replication, and asynchronous NBD/NBDSSL support for improved read performance of network transport mode with ESXi 6.7.
  • 2. VMware vSphere 6.5 U2 preliminary support - This update addresses all outstanding U2- specific compatibility issues that can be managed from the Veeam side. However, there is a major regression in ESXi 6.5 U2 code that makes the vSphere API fail randomly during high host CPU load periods, consequently impacting a variety of Veeam Backup and Replication functionality. VMware is currently troubleshooting this bug, and fixing one will most likely require the new ESXi 6.5 U2 build issued.
  • 3. VMware vCloud Director 9.1 - Update 3a provides compatibility for existing vCloud Director support functionality.
  • 4. VMware Cloud on AWS version 1.3 support - and preliminary out-of-the-box compatibility with future VMC updates through the removal of the API version match requirement. Additionally, support for processing virtual machines with dynamic disks has been added.
  • Microsoft Windows 10 April 2018 Update. Includes support as guest virtual machines and for installation of Veeam Backup and Replication and all of its components.
  • Microsoft Windows Server 1803. Update 3a provides Windows Server 1803 support as guest virtual machines, for installation of Veeam Backup and Replication remote components, and as a domain controller for Veeam ExplorerTM for Microsoft Active Directory.
  • Microsoft Windows Server Hyper-V 1803. Update 3a provides Hyper-V 1803 support as a hypervisor host, including support for processing VMs with virtual hardware version 8.3.
  • Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 1801. Update 3a adds SCVMM 1801 support as a source for Microsoft Hyper-V VMs backup jobs.

Update 3a brings improvements for Microsoft users too. In addition to the new platforms supported listed above, Veeam Backup and Replication now supports Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure for environments with ExpressRoute or site-to-site VPN connectivity to Azure. Direct restore on Azure should also now process Linux machines with EFI boot more reliably. Critically, Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows' jobs should no longer fail when the backup server uses a custom certificate.

Veeam has also tweaked Windows file level recovery (FLR) to now process large numbers of NTFS reparse points faster and more reliably.

What issues does Update 3a resolve?

Update 3a resolves the following common support issues:

  • User interface performance has been improved for large environments, including faster VM search and lower CPU consumption while browsing through job sessions history.
  • Restores through Direct NFS transport should no longer produce corrupted VMDKs on storage devices with advanced NFS server implementations.

  • VeeamZIPTM operations should no longer consume a license.
  • Backup copy job should no longer trigger health checks outside of the scheduled start time when GFS retention is in use and will behave more reliably in a few corner cases.
  • Incremental backup runs should no longer keep setting ctkEnabled VM setting to "true", resulting in unwanted events logged by vCenter Server.
  • SATA X:7 disks should no longer be skipped with backup jobs by default.
  • Windows file level recovery (FLR) should now process large numbers of NTFS reparse points faster and more reliably.
  • Linux FLR should now correctly process directories with. and \ symbols in their names. In addition, encountering a named pipe object should no longer cause FLR to hang.
  • Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure should now process Linux machines with EFI boot more reliably.
  • Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows' jobs should no longer fail when the backup server uses custom certificate.
  • Veeam Explorer for Storage Snapshots now supports VMs located on LUNs larger than 16TB.
  • An HPE 3PAR integration should now handle large number of concurrent jobs more reliably, thanks to multiple improvements implemented based on support cases.
  • An HPE StoreOnce Catalyst SDK host process will now be restarted automatically when a Catalyst API call hangs, preventing Veeam jobs from hanging as a result.
  • IBM SVC integration should no longer fail at collecting iSCSI adapters.

What are the new features in Update 4?

With the latest release from Veeam Availability Suite 9.5 Update 4 there has been a large set of new functionality.

Below is the list of the new functionalities and capabilities that has been added to the latest version from a service provider perspective:

Cloud Tier: Provides unlimited capacity for long term data retention by using native, cost-effective object storage integrations with Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Azure Blob Storage, IBM Cloud Object Storage, as well as Amazon S3-compatible service providers and on-premises storage solutions. With Veeam, customers avoid double charges for storing data in the cloud – unlike with other backup providers who impose "cloud tax" on top of the cloud provider's storage cost.

Cloud Mobility: Businesses can easily migrate, move and recover any on-premises or cloud-based workloads to AWS, Azure and Azure Stack in just two steps to maintain business continuity and availability, increase agility and optimize cost across hybrid cloud environments.

  • Enhanced Veeam DataLabs: Businesses will have increased security and data governance options including GDPR readiness and malware prevention with DataLabs Staged and Secure restore.
  • Intelligent Diagnostics: Companies can reduce management and support costs through proactive resolution of configuration problems.
  • Enhanced Veeam Cloud Connect Replication for Service Providers (VCC-R): Service providers using VMware vCloud Director can leverage existing networking, infrastructure and self-service management investments for Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) solutions for lower TCO and higher margins.
  • Cloud-native, Agentless Data Protection: With this feature, customers have purpose-built data protection for AWS using AWS snapshots and allowing for instant recovery.
  • Cloud Mobility and Cost Savings: By decoupling backups from the Amazon Elastic Compute
  • Cloud (Amazon EC2) infrastructure and storing data in a low-cost format inside Amazon S3 object storage or in an on-premises backup repository, customers will achieve advanced cost savings and the data separation required by the 3-2-1 rule of backup.
  • Powerful, Reliable Recovery Technologies: Customers can achieve industry leading RTOs by leveraging proven Instant Recovery, DR to an on-premises data center, and restore to the Cloud.
  • Reseller Tier: Cloud service providers (CSPs), managed service providers (MSPs) and resell channel partners (VARs) can collaborate to deliver more value to joint customers by leveraging three-tier (SP – VAR – customer) capabilities including a partner-branded portal, customer setup features, monitoring capabilities – all with the best-fit level of access for their role.
  • Scale-out Architecture: Service providers will experience unprecedented levels of scalability to support multiple Veeam Cloud Connect (VCC) installations, more customers and more devices – all leading to increased revenue streams.
  • Enhanced License Management and Usage Reporting: Partners can more easily go-to-market with Veeam-powered services by aggregating management and reporting across Veeam
  • Backup and Replication, Veeam Cloud Connect and Veeam Agent installations.
  • Expanded RESTful API support: Providers can increase efficiencies with the addition of several new RESTful APIs, enabling integration with even more home-grown or third-party systems.

What are some other benefits that our relevant to our Veeam customers?

In addition to the above-mentioned major features, Update 3a and Update 4 also includes other enhancements that are relevant to our Veeam customers. The most significant updates and its benefits are listed below -

  • VMware vSphere: Performance of Direct Storage Access (DirectSAN) and Virtual Appliance (Hot Add) transport modes has been improved for backup infrastructure configurations through optimising system memory interaction
  • Archive Tier 2.0: Though there was never an Archive Tier 1.0 that got released. They previewed this at VeeamON in 2017 that was hinted at being in version 10, but it'll come out in v9.5 update 4. According to Veeam, they rewrote the feature from the ground up, hence its 2.0 suffix. Archive Tier allows you to build archives into your primary backup jobs. The archive tier can be on a slower piece of storage, a de-duplication appliance or even cloud storage. For example, you could have your local backup jobs continue to do daily restore points of 7-10 days on fast, local storage while also storing it in your archive tier in the same backup job. Before, you had to set up a copy job to go along with the backup. Now, it's done in one step. This doesn't replace copy jobs, but it does allow your backup jobs to have more of a traditional structure in keeping long-term restore points. The most exciting part of this feature is the AWS/Azure integration, which allows a more simplistic way of using cloud storage for archive purposes. With any kind of cloud build out, you first must understand your connectivity and how you interact with that cloud service. Veeam utilises metadata caching to improve the speed of how this feature interacts with the cloud in hopes to minimise how often it has to connect to the cloud. There will be more details about this when the features go GA.
  • Updates to Scale-Out Backup Repository: Veeam made updates to how the scale-out backup repository works. The way the archive tier works seamlessly is through Veeam's re-engineered scale-out backup repositories. The Veeam data movers can now read the backup file transparently and Veeam keeps a metadata cache to track where files are without having to read or rehydrate the data. This conserves space locally but moreover, it cuts down on the bandwidth and subsequently latency by limiting the amount of requests the data movers make to read the data (whether it be in the cloud or at a remote site).
  • Staged Restore: This feature has been requested a lot by enterprises who want to prep restores before they go live. Essentially, with Staged Restore, you can take a point in time of your choosing and alter it before you restore it to production. For example, Europe's General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) requires the ability to remove user data when requested, so having the ability to modify your backup and then restore it makes this much simpler.
  • Antivirus Quarantine: With Staged Restore, you can stage a backup to be restored in a virtual lab and quarantine it to allow your antivirus to scan it before you push it to production. This removes a lot of the guesswork of restoring from a ransomware attack if you don't know the exact point in time you were infected. With this tool you can double-check and make sure it's not there before you go live. This also allows you to test or even have multiple antivirus tools. If you have a few higher-end enterprise antivirus programs you want to use to just to handle these mission-critical remedial instances you can buy a couple of licenses of the robust versions, and cross-check it with other programs. This is also a great way to execute a POC of antivirus products.

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