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Veeam Vanguard Summit 2018

I recently had the opportunity to visit Prague courtesy of the Veeam Vanguard program, this is my second year being a member of this fantastic community which is arguably one of the best evangelism/advocacy programs run by any vendor out there. While it was a long journey to get to Prague it was well worth it, to not only catch up with the other Vanguards but to get access to Veeam’s Product Strategy team, R&D personnel and Product Managers for in-depth discussions of everything Veeam related.

The summit consisted of two and a half days of sessions that included content filled to the brim with Veeam goodies ranging from upcoming updates to entirely new products that were still very early in their development cycle (kudos to Veeam for sharing). Veeam certainly was not holding back as questions raised from fellow Vanguards were answered honestly and truthfully, nothing was off the table including any questions about v10. All of this provided an insightful glimpse into the inner workings of the Veeam team and further cemented the value I place in the Vanguard program.

The real golden nuggets of information were found whenever we delved into the reasoning behind how and why certain features and capabilities were developed. For example, session speakers might detail the limitations of a particular feature and how they have worked to address them even if it might mean investing more time than anticipated in developing the feature. Yes, it’s a difficult decision to make but Veeam isn’t in the business of making half-baked software and it certainly shows in just how reliable their software has been to date.

Some new features covered during the summit include the upcoming Veeam Capacity Tier (previously known as Archive Tier) which enables VBR to integrate natively with Azure Blob storage, Amazon S3 or other S3 compatible storage. Also covered were the upcoming improvements to Business View found in Veeam ONE. I recently covered Business View in a previous post and one thing I found was the relatively high complexity involved when configuring some of the more powerful functionality it offers so any simplification being made here is very welcome. For a more detailed review of upcoming features, I recommend checking out Karl Widmer’s Blog post.

Tweets, blog posts and podcasts were aplenty during the summit mixed in with Goulash, local beer and some awesome sightseeing along the way. You may have even seen #VanguardTakeover or #VanguardSummit goes crazy on Twitter, I know my feed certainly did.

Vanny Vanguard, of course, was there for the entire summit, enjoying the local cuisine and helping out at the speaking podium during the sessions. I must say that Karl Widmer took the responsibility of Vanny caretaker very seriously and Vanny never left his sight.

One of the most memorable sessions during the summit was a presentation run by Cristal and Dave Kawula in which they covered how to become a  community rockstar. It was an excellent piece on how to get your presentation selected at any event and several tips for slide decks creation and writing content.

I can’t thank Veeam and the Vanguard team enough for the time spent in Prague. Rickatron and his team really put on a great event which is no small feat considering the number of speakers and the logistical challenge of getting all the Vanguards to Prague.

Asiana Air Crash Survivor’s Data Survives

Great read from

When Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed at San Francisco Airport on July 6th, we all watched in horror at the wreckage on the TV screens and could barely imagine anyone could have walked away. Amazingly, as details began to emerge, it sounded as though there may be many who made it.

One of the first survivors I saw on TV, Benjamin Levy, would later be lauded for helping dozens of people escape from the burning plane. While some raced out of the plane and others grabbed their luggage, Benjamin calmly helped as many people as he could, saying it was just “gut instinct” to help.

A month later, I received an email from Nicolai Wadstrom, founder and CEO of startup accelerator BootstrapLabs, who I had met a few years back at a tech event. He said:

“So wanted to connect you with Ben Levy, a good friend and also a partner at BootstrapLabs, that was on the Asiana 214 flight that crashed on SFO, he luckily got away in once piece, but his Macbook Air was not as lucky. Fortunately, he was using Backblaze per my recommendation…”

Ben happened to be a few blocks away at that moment and we met up. He talked about feeling incredibly lucky to be alive; said it felt like a second chance. He told me that while some asked him if it made him reexamine his priorities, he felt it just made him all the more grateful for the life he has – where he gets to enjoy time with his family and love the work that he does.

The next day, Ben signed into his Backblaze account and ordered a restore. His computer was ominously backed up right up to July 5th, 2013 at 9:45 pm PDT.

Since he wanted approximately 50 GB of data back quickly, he chose to order a USB Flash Drive to have sent to him via FedEx with his data on it. The next day he had all his data back.

After getting his data back, Ben sent me this email:

“Among the millions of things you have to handle after such a horrific event, having all my computer data backed up with Backblaze was very comforting and the recovery process was effortless. I was concerned for a minute that my computer had not been backed-up for a while as I was hopping planes and jumping between countries for a few weeks, not staying connected for long stretches at a time, but it was, down to the last bit.”

Obviously, the loss of data on someone’s computer pales in comparison to the other tragedies of that July 6th crash. But I am glad we were able to play one very small part in helping at least one person return to a normal life, and we’re sending our best wishes to everyone else aboard and affected.

Benjamin Levy with his data back on a Backblaze USB Flash Drive restore:

The Golden Rules to Home Backup

Follow these three golden rules for the simplest way any home user to ensure their data is backed up and safe.

3 copies of anything you care about – Two isn’t enough if it’s important.
2 different formats – Example: Hard Drive+DVDs or Hard Drive+Memory Stick or CD+Cloud, or more
1 off-site backup – If the house burns down, how will you get your memories back?

Remember that using just one kind of backup (eg, an external hard drive or SD card backup) is really not a backup. You need both off-site backup storage (eg, cloud backup), plus backups to different media types and multiple copies of everything you want to protect.