ANZ Veeam User Group – Brisbane

The inaugural ANZ Veeam User Group meeting has been scheduled for 6:00 PM on Friday the 22nd of September in BrisVegas.  The location of the meeting will be at the Saxons Office, Level 11 300 Adelaide St Brisbane City.

We are planning for 3 speakers covering a range of Veeam topics and we expect the event to run for 1.5 hours.

The Veeam ANZ User Group has a strong focus on community and networking with other Veeam users so come join us for a wonderful night learning and discussing all things Veeam.

To register, please go to this Eventbrite link.

Indexing guest OS files in Veeam

So you may have noticed that when you’re configuring a backup job in Veeam Backup & Replication there is an option to ‘Enable guest file system indexing’. The menu tells us it will “create catalog of guest files to enable browsing, searching and 1-click restore of individual files” which sounds quite important but then it also says that “indexing is optional and not required to restore instant file level recoveries”. So you may be thinking whats the point of it then or whats the advantage here and should I enable it?

What is it? Allows you to perform searches within guest OS files stored inside the backups without having to mount the backup files first.

How does it work? It’s worth pointing out that Veeam is agentless so this indexing happens without agents, nor does it need to scan the whole file system, instead when a backup job runs, during the guest OS freeze process, Veeam creates a catalog (or index) of the VM guest OS files by directly reading from the NTFS Master File Table (MFT). For a typical VM, the required data is captured and parsed nearly instantly, which Veeam calls Instant Indexing. After the index has been created, this information is stored on the Veeam Backup & Replication server.

Before going further let’s just cover the services that are running this show, basically, there is a windows service named ‘Veeam Guest Catalog’ service which runs on each Veeam Backup & Replication server and is running on the Veeam Backup Enterprise Manager server. This service enables the guest OS file indexing feature.

The ‘Veeam Guest Catalog’ service on the Veeam backup server works as I described at the beginning of this article,  by collecting indexing data from backup jobs running on itself and then the storing of this data locally in the Veeam Backup Catalog folder.

The ‘Veeam Guest Catalog’ service on the Veeam Backup Enterprise Manager server works a bit differently though, it basically functions as a global, federal catalog service. It communicates with Veeam Guest Catalog services on all our Veeam backup servers connected to Veeam Backup Enterprise Manager and performs the following tasks:

  1. Replicates indexing data from Veeam backup servers to create a federal catalog
  2. Maintains indexing data retention
  3. Lets you search for VM guest OS files in current and archived backup file

For both Veeam Backup & Replication servers and Veeam Backup Enterprise Manager servers, the default location the Veeam Backup Catalog is the same;  C:\VBRCatalog folder

After indexing data has been replicated from our Veeam Backup & Replication server to our Veeam Backup Enterprise Manager server we can browse any VM backup for OS guest files. Just remember that for VMs processed without indexing, you can only use browsing or Quick search to find the necessary file within the selected restore point. Advanced search capabilities (including search through multiple restore points) are available only for VMs processed with guest indexing enabled, i.e .you can only browse and search for files in the selected VM backup at a specific restore point only if ‘Enable guest file system indexing’ was not enabled.

Worth mentioning is that if you are using Veeam Backup & Replication Standard then you can only search through available restore points on disk in the catalog. Compared to Enterprise or Enterprise Plus license edition which keeps index files for backups that are currently stored on disk and for archived backups i.e backups stored on tape, this means you will be able to browse and search through backup contents even if the backup in a repository is no longer available.

Because Veeam Backup Enterprise Manager can federate multiple Veeam Backup & Replication servers, the feature not only enables searching across multiple Veeam Backups for any file on a backed up VM’s but when used in conjunction with Veeam Backup Enterprise Manager, it enables searching across supports multiple Veeam Backup & Replication Servers, we can search for files no matter which B&R server was used to back them up.

How do I use it? You will need Veeam Backup Enterprise Manager installed and configured along with the Veeam Backup & Replication server that performed the backup of the VM you wish to search will need to be added to the Enterprise Manager.

Once the Veeam Backup & Replication server is added you simply open up Veeam Backup Enterprise Manager, open the Files tab and go to the Search tab.

In the VM name field, select the VM that you want to browse and type the name of the file you are searching for in the search field.  Simple

Should I enable it? If you don’t care about guest OS file searching across multiple restore points then you don’t need to enable ‘Enable guest file system indexing’. You can still browse backed up VM Guest OS Files select but it will be individual restore points which are at one restore point at time.

Sounds pretty I/O intensive? Veeam Backup Enterprise Manager can process indexing data by itself which is perfectly fine for most environments but there is an option to deploy a separate Veeam Backup Search by using Veeams integration with MS Search Server. When using MS Search Server it improves search performance by offloading the guest file system catalog to its own dedicated server. This could be useful in cases where you need to search across a significant number of backups (thousands of VMs) for better search performance.

Poor performance on your File to Tape Job?

Are you experiencing poor performance for your Veeam File to Tape jobs? It is likely caused by your SQL Express database that the Veeam B&R server is running from. It may be time to upgrade to a licensed version of SQL Server just as this customer has done below, a job that took 25 hours has now reduced down to 5 hours.

click to open a larger version

The new SQL Standard 2016 instance was installed on the same Veeam B&R server where SQL Express 2012 was running.

vExpert 2017 Award

A few days ago VMware announced the second half of 2017 list for vExperts recipients. A vExpert is someone that has demonstrated significant contributions to the VMware community, as well as the desire and willingness to share expertise with others.  Contributing is not always blogging or Twitter as there are many public speakers, book authors, script writers, VMUG leaders, VMTN community moderators and internal champions among this group.

I am stoked to share that I was awarded the vExpert title under the Evangelist path for 2017.

Congratulations to all the other VMware evangelists, partners, and employees that have made the list for this year.

The announcement page can be found here.

The secret life of VBM files

What do they do? VBM files are an XML dump of relevant backup metadata pertaining to the relevant backup job from the Veeam DB. A VBM file will be created for each backup and backup copy job.
Why do we create VBMs? Before VBM files, Veeam would read metadata information from the backup files themselves. As Veeam was deployed into larger and larger environments it soon became apparent that this method of reading metadata information was too I/O intensive and needed to be improved, so the VBM file was born.

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Max concurrent tasks in Veeam B&R

A quick post regarding max concurrent tasks in Veeam B&R which are tunable options in both proxies and repositories. The default max concurrent task for proxies is set to 2, for backup repositories the default is set to 4. An important thing to note is that we are limiting different things when configuring this max concurrent task between proxies and repositories.

When configuring proxies, the max concurrent tasks are based on a single virtual disk. So for example, if we had a single virtual machine with 4 virtual disks or a 4 virtual machines with a single virtual disk each, the units of resource scheduling required is the same, the units of resource scheduling required being 4 virtual disks that need to be processed.

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Deployment Projects in Veeam ONE

Did you know that Veeam ONE has a tool called deployment projects that has the ability to simulate how a task such as adding or evicting hosts and VMs impacts your virtual infrastructure? These simulations help us to review predicted resource capacities against future resource demand, provide practical recommendations and help identify potential resource shortages. It’s a quick and easy way to check your resources before making small or large changes. Think of it as a way to perform due diligence and gain insight before making any changes to your virtual environment.

Deployment Projects can be found under Veeam ONE Reporter, to access Veeam ONE Reporter we browse to the URL of the Veeam ONE Reporter website. This website runs on the machine where the Veeam ONE Web UI component is installed. Assuming you have are using the default port it would look similar to https://veeamoneip:1239

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FREE & NEW Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows v2 PROMO

Veeam is giving away FREE 6-month subscriptions of Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows licenses until the 30th of June for both existing Veeam customers and new users.

The “Any User” offer includes Evaluation Support, and does not require the user to be a Veeam customer.

To be eligible for the “Existing Veeam Customer” offer, the user must own Veeam Availability Suite, Veeam Backup & Replication or Veeam Backup Essentials by June 30, 2017 and must be current on maintenance. Offer is for full production license including Basic Support. Upgrade to Production Support offer is available to existing Veeam customers only. Only one registration per corporate domain will be accepted for existing customers.

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Veeam Explorer for AD – the search filter is invalid

These blog posts serve more as a reminder to myself than anything else, especially if I can’t find any other information regarding the problem encountered. So as is tradition, my next post is again about documenting an error I’ve witnessed that was simple and easy to resolve but easily forgotten (at least for me it is).

So my job involves a fair bit of demonstrating what features and capabilities Veeam has along with knowledge transfers. I especially love showing off the Veeam Explorer’s, they certainly making restoring application items a breeze for the most part. I find one of the easiest and quickest ways to demonstrate what the Veeam Explorer’s are all about is to demonstrate a quick restore using Veeam Explorer for Microsoft Active Directory.

With full permission granted, I like to make a small adjustment to the ‘description’ field for an inactive user that lives on the domain, making a small typo for example. After making the change, loading up Veeam Explorer for AD, letting Veeam filter out the unchanged data between production and the restore point, finding the change I introduce and attempting to restore the original ‘description’ value back. Usually, this goes without a hitch but this time Veeam came up with the below error.

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