The question that has been on everyone’s mind is: “Which array will Veeam integrate with next?” Well, we are happy to announce that Veeam Availability Suite v9 will integrate with EMC storage.
This is a big deal, as this announcement really includes two different array families and scores of configuration possibilities. Both the EMC VNX and EMC VNXe families of arrays are supported. This integration is also powerful as it includes both the Veeam Explorer for Storage Snapshots recovery technique and Backup from Storage snapshots.
Leveraging storage snapshots is the natural choice to deliver Availability for the Modern Data Center as we can take backups from storage snapshots up to 20x faster than the competition. Couple that with the restore capabilities of Veeam Explorer for Storage Snapshots (which is included in Veeam Backup Free Edition by the way!) and your data center is ready for anything.
The news today is important but it is also just as important to outline the process of how we got here. Every now and then, we’ll do polls in the Veeam Forums. If you ever see a poll in the forum asking “what do you use for primary storage?” or more recently “what version of vSphere do you plan to use by the end of this year?” are good indicators of what’s next. The forums and in particular these polls go directly to the product management team and they review the direct feedback from our customer base. This insight is critical to our forward decisions. There are more factors in the decision however. In fact, we frequently have to answer questions about who is the next array to be supported with Veeam Availability Suite. I like to say that there are three guiding principles to the process:
- There must be a good snapshot engine on the array. Quite simply, we don’t want to build great availability features around an inferior snapshot engine.
- There must be large market share. We want to provide solutions for the market and have it be used, it doesn’t make sense to build awesome technology that few would use.
- We need close cooperation from the storage vendor. It’s a business endeavor and Veeam commits resources to developing the storage plug-ins for integration with storage; and we’ll need their engagement to promote this great technology.
With all of that being said, let’s review how this awesome technology works with EMC storage. Let’s look first at Veeam Explorer for Storage Snapshots. I love this feature for a number of reasons, including the fact that it is included with Veeam Backup Free Edition. This integration will allow Veeam Backup & Replication to read the storage snapshots of the VNX and VNXe arrays. This can be the snapshots set up via a schedule on the storage array or within the Veeam Backup & Replication interface. Once you have a storage snapshot, you can browse those snapshots and launch these powerful restore options:
Leveraging the storage snapshots for restores are indeed handy and help deliver the best recovery time objectives. It’s still recommended to have a proper backup on different storage however. That’s where Backup from Storage Snapshots comes into play.
Backup from Storage Snapshots truly allows you to take backups at any time of day, even on the busiest VMs. The first step with Backup from Storage Snapshots is to prepare the VM for the backup with application-aware image processing and take a VMware snapshot on the VM. An underlying storage volume snapshot is then taken and the VMware snapshot is immediately released. This is where it gets interesting, as (unlike the competition) the Veeam backup proxy will read the data directly from the storage snapshot. There is no need to mount the storage volume snapshot to an ESXi host and register it as a datastore first before the backup. The best part is that with our patent-pending approach, we are still able to leverage VMware changed block tracking (CBT) information; which keeps incremental backups incredibly fast. Finally, once the backup is done the storage snapshot is removed. The figure below shows the steps involved with Backup from Storage Snapshots:
Integration with EMC storage will be a big hit to our joint customers, partners and prospects. Veeam Availability Suite v9 is coming soon in Q3 this year (that’s right from Gostev!). I’d expect that like previous major releases we’ll have betas so you can test drive this incredible new functionality yourself. The Veeam Forums weekly digest will be the place to see that when the time is right, but until then you can sign up to be the first to know when v9 is available.
Here are some links for more information on this exciting upcoming new feature and more about Veeam Availability Suite v9:
More information on Backup from Storage Snapshots [currently written to v8 supported arrays]
More information on Veeam Explorer for Storage Snapshots [currently written to v8 supported arrays]