VMworld always provides an opportunity to better understand VMware’s strategic direction for the coming year. This year, there were several key announcements including VMware Cross Cloud Architecture, which allows customers to run, manage, connect and secure their apps across any cloud using a common operations platform. But, you may have missed an announcement pertaining to the VMware vSphere Client for Windows earlier in the year.
In May, VMware announced that the C# client (AKA Desktop Client/thick client/vSphere Client for Windows) will not be available for the next version of vSphere. Though current versions of vSphere (6.0, 5.5) will not be affected and will follow the standard support period, VMware is finally moving forward. Just a note regarding nomenclature, VMware is now referring to the client as the vSphere Client instead of the much longer version (vSphere HTML5 Web Client). The name change isn’t the only product attribute that VMware is attempting to simplify. VMware has been working towards transitioning the Platform Services Controller UI, vCenter Server Appliance Management UI and the Host Client to HTML5. The vSphere Client is no exception and VMware has announced (publically and to Veeam) their intention to perform this migration as fast as possible as it offers a great user experience and removes the dependence on Flash. I assure you Veeam is watching this transition very closely so our plug-in advances in step with VMware to offer the best functionality and user experience.
VMware had designated the vSphere Client as the intended replacement for the Desktop client and users have embraced this during the vSphere 5.5 and vSphere 6.0 periods. It’s important to note that Veeam continues to improve our functionality and integration with the vSphere Client but we have not spent much time educating you as to what is possible in conjunction with Veeam Backup & Replication or what has improved in recent versions.
Back in Veeam Backup & Replication v7, Veeam introduced a plug-in for the vSphere Client. The goal for this initiative was to bring as much information about the Veeam backup infrastructure into the vSphere Client. Information about the status of Veeam Backup & Replication was now available inside vSphere Client. While we’ve had attribute settings to help distinguish from a VM to being backed up as a way to self-indicate its protection status, this was a great new way to see it within your vSphere administration space.
In the forums and in person, we heard from you that we should find a way to integrate the Veeam Backup & Replication console with the vSphere Client. By gathering and consolidating information pertaining to success, warning and failure counts for all jobs as well as cumulative information on key backup infrastructure topics (such as storage space used and available), this was not just another complicated interface. You can see this from the screenshot below:
In addition to the previously mentioned capabilities, this functionality allows a vSphere administrator to easily identify unprotected VMs and perform capacity planning, as well as create restore points for selected VMs using VeeamZIP and Quick Backup functions – all directly from the vSphere Client!
In the dashboard pane under the summary information, you can explore backup infrastructure in further detail:
- The VMs Overview widget provides the information on how your VMs are protected including the number of protected VMs (backed up or replicated), available restore points, source VM size, full and incremental backup size and replica restore point size and successful backup sessions ratio. If Veeam ONE is installed, you can also click the link and examine the Protected VMs report that provides a list of which VMs are protected by Veeam Backup & Replication and those which are not.
- In the Jobs Statistics widget, all running jobs are displayed, as well as scheduled jobs and max job duration. With Veeam ONE, you can click the link and examine the Latest BU Job Statistics report.
- In the Repositories widget, detailed information for each backup repository is displayed, including repository name, overall capacity, free space and backup size. Adding Veeam ONE will allow you to examine the Capacity Planning for Repositories report, providing you an estimate of when the repositories may run out of space.
- The Processed VMs widget shows a graphical representation of how the jobs ran (1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month filters can be applied).
Since the original launch of this plug-in for Veeam Backup & Replication v7, v9 now allows IT admins to quickly create a restore point for a selected VM using VeeamZIP (full backup) or Quick Backup (incremental backup) right from VMware vSphere web client, with no need to use Veeam backup management console. To utilize these capabilities, you need a user account, a security role assigned in Veeam Backup Enterprise Manager and minimal privileges in vCenter (VirtualMachine.Interact.Backup, Task.Create, Task.Update). As you can see from the screenshot below, you can perform the backup by simply right clicking the VM in the inventory tree.
Note that this can be a full backup with VeeamZIP or an incremental with Quick Backup.
You may remember from its introduction in Veeam Backup & Replication v8 that 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. Quick Backup can run for both incremental and reverse incremental backup chains.
Quick Backups are extremely helpful when you need to quickly create a point in time copy of one of your virtual machines before making any modifications. You may wonder, why wouldn’t I just take a snapshot? Snapshots can be taken every few seconds and if you experience challenges, you can quickly revert to the previous state of the VM. However, more than one snapshot can also have negative effects as the snapshot itself grows in size. Not only can the VM experience I/O performance degradation, the space on the datastore can be consumed excessively and if the snapshot is forgotten, serious issues can result. Large snapshots may also impact Availability of production VM due to excessive datastore I/O and VM stuns during snapshot commit. With Quick Backups, your’re safe from such issues.
It is important to note that as a Quick Backup is an incremental backup task, Veeam Backup & Replication copies only changes data for the selected VMs and saves this data to a new restore point in the backup chain. Similar to incremental backup, Quick Backup can only be run for VMs that have been successfully backed up at least once and have a full restore point. If there is no full restore point for a VM, Quick Backup cannot be not performed.
This is just another way Veeam is helping you leverage other tools to perform activities related to the backup infrastructure. For more information regarding installing the Veeam plug-in for the vSphere Client, be sure to visit the Veeam Help Center.
For more tools and upcoming features, be sure to stay informed on the upcoming Veeam Availability Suite 9.5 release by signing-up or view the countdown page.