Protecting your critical enterprise applications

Enterprises routinely face challenges when it comes to protecting their critical workloads. Meeting demanding Service Level Agreements (SLAs), unsought multi-team workflows, and convoluted or sprawling toolsets are just a few of the common constraints that organizations routinely face. When these challenges start to compound, you quickly wind up in situations where simple tasks can grind your applications to a halt. 

Operations such as backing up Microsoft SQL Server databases can be as simple as capturing an application-aware image-level backup. Complexities start to come into the picture when the discussion shifts to restores. Common questions that organizations need to ask themselves in such scenarios include:

  • Who should be able to restore this data? Database administrators, backup administrators, or both?
  • Whether it is protecting backups or concerns around transmitting data over the network, are security or compliance requirements being met? Is the backup admin even authorized to see the data being recovered?
  • Can your solution and teams effectively protect and quickly recover the application in question?

I recently discussed some of the security improvements that we’ll be seeing in the upcoming Veeam Platform v12. Although security is of paramount concern to many organizations, any tasks that require interaction from multiple teams can lead to inefficiencies. By implementing secure and robust tools that allow for well-defined and controlled delegation, many organizations can reduce friction. With the upcoming Veeam Backup & Replication v12 release, we’ll be seeing many such improvements, that will not only ease these pain points but may also provide opportunities for valuable collaboration between teams.  

Fine-tuned workload protection

When it comes to enterprise systems, four of the most critical applications commonly found in large environments are SAP HANA, SAP on Oracle, Oracle RMAN and Microsoft SQL Server. Veeam has been providing application-aware processing for Microsoft SQL Server for many years now. Additionally, existing plug-ins for Veeam Backup & Replication have allowed users to protect the first three of these workloads safely and consistently. With V12, we are going to see improvements, particularly on the day-to-day management side of operations that will make your DBA smile!

Customers who have used Veeam Agent, an integrated part of Veeam Platform, are likely familiar with Protection Groups as they provide a quick, easy and automated path to install, configure and manage endpoint installations. A similar functionality will now be available for SAP HANA, Oracle RMAN and SAP on Oracle plug-ins. Tasks such as installing the plug-ins and managing group backup jobs can now be handled right from the Veeam Backup & Replication console. Not only will this provide increased control to backup administrators when required, but it will also provide an opportunity to entrust database administrators when it comes to protecting their applications.

Extending application support

Veeam Backup & Replication has long been touted as not only one of the pioneers, but as one of the leaders when it comes to application-aware backups. With the ability to define SLAs or perform granular restores, database and backup administrators alike have long loved the consistency and reliability provided by Veeam. In addition to the existing plug-ins, V12 will introduce a new Microsoft SQL Server plug-in which will grant even more granularity when it comes to protecting enterprise data.

The new plug-in will bring features such as specifying individual or custom sets of databases to protect. No longer will entire database instances need to be backed up when not required, resulting in reduced storage utilization. If technologies such as SQL Always On availability groups are in place, administrators will now be able to provide the same level of protection while only backing up the preferred backup replica.

To provide the best fit into existing workflows, the plug-in will integrate right into SQL Management Studio, a tool that database administrators should already be comfortable with. If SQL Management Studio is not available, the plug-in will still be configurable via separate executables. Tasks such as creating backup jobs or restoring databases to points in time will be available without logging into the Veeam Backup & Replication console or Veeam Enterprise Manager. In the same vein, automation such as creating SQL Agent Jobs to perform scripted backups will be available with the click of a button.

Securely delegate restores

Backup administrators typically have no shortage of items on their to-do lists, and many of those items often include performing restores. Whether full VM restores, application-level restores, or individual files, performing any or of all these tasks can quickly take up a significant amount of time in the workday. For years now, organizations of all sizes have been using Veeam Enterprise Manager as a one-stop portal. By leveraging Active Directory corporate network directory accounts, and limiting permissions and scope, it’s the perfect tool to grant non-backup administrators, including application owners and database administrators, the permissions required to restore critical data in a timely fashion.

To offer increased flexibility to users, and hopefully lighten their workload, Veeam Enterprise Manager will be seeing some advances as well. Firstly, Instant Recovery will now be a recovery option right from the web interface. This is something that will assist application owners who are requesting copies of their backups be restored “right now.” Hand in hand with that, the Entire VM Recovery restore option has also been improved to allow for a more granular and streamlined process. Lastly, virtual machine templates will be available for Veeam Enterprise Manager restores as well. Perfect for those situations where an OS update has gone bad and the team responsible needs to roll it back.

Protecting your physical workloads

Physical servers are still commonplace in many enterprise organizations, despite the year-over-year increase in continued virtualization and cloud adoption. One challenge, especially at scale, is dependably protecting these physical servers that may be running your largest applications on bare metal. Whether protecting physical workloads or deploying in a virtual workload, we’ll be seeing considerable enhancements coming to Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows and Veeam Agent for Linux, both included in Veeam Platform v12.

From a storage perspective, both Agents will support direct-to-object storage as a backup target. When paired with immutable S3 Object Lock technology, this creates a powerful layer of security and defense against hackers, ransomware and possible internal threat actor. For organizations that are looking to reduce their interactions with tape backups, this can be an ideal replacement.

If disaster does strike your Windows or Linux Agent protected application, Secure Bare Metal Recovery is an option to get you back up and running quickly and securely. As part of the restore process, a unique recovery token can be generated, which is then entered as part of the recovery process. This will allow backup administrators to ensure that only specified restore points are available and will prevent unauthorized recoveries.

In addition to supporting Modern Authentication for email notifications, Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows v6 will also be introducing changed block tracking support for file-level backups. Previously with this type of backup job, if only a small portion of a file was altered, the entire file would have to be backed up again. With the new optimizations, when not exceeding size thresholds, only changed blocks will be copied. In addition to the improvements already mentioned, the Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows installer has decreased in size.

Summary – empower your enterprise

Complexity is a common foe in enterprises, and typically the larger the environment, the more complexity there is to fight. Veeam is here to help you strengthen your cross-functional team by putting tools in place that reduce limitations. By consolidating and standardizing the tools in your cross-functional environment, enterprises can maximize their efficiencies while reducing risk exposure. The above list (and recent webinar) is but a glimpse of some of the advancements that enterprises of all sizes will be able to leverage with the upcoming Veeam Platform V12 release. Be on the lookout for an invite to our exciting launch event!

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