v10: Introducing Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows v4

Veeam is well known for offering capable and easy-to-use products since its founding in 2006, and today I would like to begin by recalling a moment back in 2015. Endpoint backups were well-known to be a tedious task and headache for IT professionals. Veeam addressed these concerns with Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE, a solution that simplified backing up Windows-based desktops and laptops. And did you catch that “FREE?” There was no price to end those headaches; it was a gift to the IT world. This kicked off Veeam’s offerings of backup solutions for physical workloads

In the five years since, Veeam Endpoint Backup, now known as Veeam Agents for Microsoft Windows, has evolved from just a standalone, free Windows backup tool into a more feature-rich solution. In 2016, we launched Veeam Agent for Linux for Linux users. In 2017, with the introduction of Centralized Agent Management, Veeam Agents took its first significant step to becoming a fully integrated part of Veeam Backup & Replication. 2018 brought the introduction of Veeam Agent for IBM AIX and Oracle Solaris 1.0, and 2019 delivered improvements to Veeam Agents for Microsoft Windows and Linux v3. Now 2020 is already off to a great start with the recent release of Veeam Backup & Replication v10 as well as Veeam Agents for Microsoft Windows/Linux v4. Veeam continues to stay true to its heritage by offering both free and paid versions of these products, and Veeam Agents for Microsoft Windows and Linux v4 are offered as both a Standalone option as well as integrated with Veeam Backup & Replication.

Now that we’re all up to date on the history of physical workload protection at Veeam, let’s dive into what Veeam Agents for Microsoft Windows v4 has to offer and why this release is hugely important.

Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 version 1909 support

We live in a world of constant updates, but sometimes new releases can give even the most seasoned admin a roadblock or two. Veeam strives to always be ready to protect your up-to-date Microsoft Windows and Server workloads. We fully support backing up versions 1909 of Microsoft Windows now with v4, and we already supported the latest releases of 2019 Microsoft Enterprise Applications to provide application-aware image processing for Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange Server, and Microsoft SharePoint with v3. However, backups is just a half of the story. Recovery is just as, if not more, important, and with application item-level recoveries through the corresponding Veeam Explorers, users can achieve RTOs of less than 15 minutes.

Parallel disk processing

Have you ever started your morning expecting your overnight backups to be complete, but find out they’re nowhere near finished and will go beyond your scheduled backup window? Leave those worries behind when you experience the speed and efficiency of our new Parallel disk processing. Now, with fast backup repositories, it’s possible to complete an entire machine backup in the time it takes to back up a single drive with the previous version.

Good news, there’s nothing to change or enable as parallel disk processing is automatically enabled on all Server backups when targeting Veeam repositories. Let’s take a closer look at how this works. Once the VSS snapshot is created, the Veeam agent copies the data blocks from the snapshot in the following way:

  • The Veeam agent first starts by processing data from disk one.
  • Once the agent recognizes there is multiple disks in the system, it will immediately process the data of the second and subsequent disks to the target storage simultaneously.

NOTE: The number of simultaneously processed disks is limited by repository settings on the Veeam Backup & Replication side. To learn more, see the Limitation of Concurrent Tasks section in the Veeam Backup & Replication User Guide.

Smart Resume

Try to remember how many times you closed your laptop or put your desktop into sleep while a backup job was running. Or perhaps you’re someone who’s always on the go and depends on spotty network connections that are all too eager to cause problems dropping in and out? Veeam’s new backup cache with Smart Resume capability is a big help in these scenarios. Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows can prevent those long job retries and reprocessing times with the new Smart Resume functionality.

When a backup job targeting a Veeam backup repository or Veeam Cloud Connect repository, in interrupted for whatever reason, Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows will attempt to reconnect for up to 1 hour. If successful in reconnecting, the job will pick up right where it left off. If the reconnection period expires, upon a retry the Veeam Agent switches to the local backup cache and writes only the remaining data needed to complete. Once the backup to cache has completed and the target repository is available, the Veeam Agent will only upload the remaining data blocks needed to complete the restore point to the target repository. And, if cache upload itself is interrupted for whatever reason – v4 is now able to continue upload from where it stopped.

This same logic also applies if your laptop or workstation was put into sleep or hibernation while the backup was running – the job will simply resume once the computer wakes up.

To learn more about what happens when targeting a network-shared folder or if the target repository is unavailable at the start of a job, please refer to the How Backup Cache Works section of the Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows User Guide for more information.

Unified backup repositories

Before the release of Veeam v10, Veeam Agent backups were limited on what Veeam repositories could be the target for agent backups. This limitation created an undesirable situation for our customers that complicated Veeam’s simplistic and agnostic approach to storage. We were able to solve this complication with the unification by moving all repository-specific logic to the Veeam Backup & Replication server side, thus allowing all current (and future) Veeam Agent to transparently utilize the full scope of repositories Veeam Backup & Replication has to offer. This includes support for many popular deduplication targets, including HPE StoreOnce with Catalyst, EMC Data Domain with DDBoost.

Manual mapping for backups

Many common backup management scenarios, such as backup seeding or backup storage migrations, require the ability to point an agent to the existing backup chain, so that it is re-used and continued on the backup storage where it was moved to.

Automatic backup mapping for Veeam agents has been around for a while, and all you needed to do was to target an agent to a Veeam repository with the existing backup chain, and we would take care of the rest. For some cases though, automatic mapping was too complex to perform. So, we’ve decided to provide our users with a very familiar approach — the same manual mapping option from Veeam Backup & Replication.

These were just a small portion of what Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows v4 has to offer, with new use cases emerging every day. Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows and Linux are available as an integrated part of Veeam Availability Suite v10, or as standalone solutions.  Both options are licensed in the same fashion.  If you’re curious to learn about other Agent capabilities, check out my colleague’s blog: V10: Key Enhancements for Linux Agent Users. Think of Veeam Agents as the utility player here at Veeam and how it’s the only Veeam tool that can protect cloud, virtual and physical workloads in a single job. So next time you encounter a roadblock or speed bump along your backup journey, keep Veeam Agents in mind as it just may be that final piece that you need to solve the backup puzzle. Learn more and check out Veeam’s powerful agent technology here today!

 Veeam Availability Suite v10 is a huge hit and the new capabilities really deliver benefits for what our customers, large and small, need. Check out all of the latest capabilities here and download v10 now!

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