How to setup Veeam replication with VMware vCloud Director

Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 update 4 has now finally been released (to the VCSP community first and the general public on the 22:nd of January). There are loads of really interesting updates and new features.

Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 update 4

To name a few of the enhancement/new features:

  • Capacity tier: Support for object based storage, gives you access to BLOB storage from Microsoft Azure, Amazon S3 and S3 compatible as well as IBM Cloud Object Storage. This is a new addition to Scale-Out backup repository users. You have your local “performance tier” as per usual but you can offload data based on age or space to object based storage.
  • Staged restore (GDPR compliance for instance, the right to be forgotten  or other use cases where you’d need to run a script on the VM before restoring it)
  • Secure restore where you can do a virus scan on the VM before restoring
  • Direct restore to Amazon EC2 – restoring to Azure has been available for a while but now you can also choose to restore your on-premises infrastructure VMs to Amazon EC2 – combined with the functionality of the backup vendor Veeam acquired a year ago called N2WS for backing up EC2 instances we now have a whole other level of portability of our data: backup everything, restore where it makes the most sense.
  • Self-service backup and restore portal using Enterprise manager
  • Enhancements to various Veeam explorers
  • Plugins for SAP HANA and Oracle RMAN
  • Platform support: vSphere 6.7 update 1, Windows Server 2019 and vCloud Director 9.5

But going back to the fact that update 4 now is available for VCSPs (or Veeam Cloud & Service Provider), there have been some updates for VMware environments as well (VMware calls their service provider program “VCPP”). Included in the VCPP program is a great product called vCloud Director that has been around for ages but is only available for service providers to use nowadays. VMware vCloud Director is an abstraction layer on top of vCenter so up until now there has been no support for vCloud Director for Veeam Cloud Connect usage when replicating VMs from a customer to the service provider environment. The solution previously was to replicate VMs to the service provider vCenter using Cloud Connect and then manually import VMs to the correct organization from vCloud Director. With update 4 that manual step has now been removed, and the process has in fact been improved since the customer can – using cloud connect and a single port mind you! (no VPN required) – replicate virtual machines from the onsite vSphere environment directly to their own Organization and Org vDC. The customer can also set up failover plans and run those if needed all using the same vCloud Director credentials they already received from the service provider.

It’s really easy to setup, below is a video where I show you how to configure the service provider bits such as adding vCloud Director, setting up tenants but also how the customer would configure their environment i.e. how to connect to a service provider using Cloud Connect and setting up replication jobs from a local environment and replicating VMs to the service provider vCloud Director and the customers org vDC within that environment.

(The video is in swedish but just turn off the sound if you don’t understand)

You’re missing out as a Service Provider if you’re not providing backups for Office 365

Hopefully you’ve already heard, Office 365 is a big hit for just about any vertical and customer type but have you had the much, much, needed conversation with your customers on the necessity of protecting the data that’s now landed in Office 365? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Microsoft is fantastic in providing availability of the service they’re providing but however they also say that any data you store in Office 365 is yours – meaning you have the responsibility to actually think about how you’re going to protect that data and in the end also providing some sort of backup mechanism that executes the backups for you. This is described in a blog post from Veeam called the Office 365 shared responsibility model, which is an essential read if you haven’t already seen it.

A few months ago Veeam released the update version of Backup for Office 365, version 2.0,  and we’re now able to not only backup the mail part of Office 365 but also Sharepoint and Onedrive.

As a Service Provider, Veeam has a program called VCSP (Veeam Cloud & Service Provider), you have the ability to provide Backup as a Service and Disaster Recovery as a Service based on a specific Veeam Backup & Replication function called Cloud Connect available only to Service Providers. Now in relation to Office 365 you have the ability to leverage Cloud Connect to provide backup for Office 365 as a service as well for your customers. So if you are a service provider today, already using Cloud Connect – Why are you not providing backup for Officec 365 as a service? If you have Cloud Connect already installed it takes less than 10 minutes to set up the new service.

So how difficult is it to set up? Not difficult at all – in fact I’ll show you in the video below (Swedish only, but it’s not rocket science so if you’re not swedish speaking it should be fairly easy to follow along anyway). But it basically boils down to these 5 steps:

  1. Install Veeam Backup for Office 365
  2. Install a certificate
  3. Enable tenants authentication with organization credentials
  4. Configure a repository for the customer
  5. Add the customer account and set up a backup job

That’s it! In the video I will also show you how to set up a restore environment at the customer site that will let them restore items themselves using their administrative Office 365 credentials using a local installation of Backup & Replication Free edition and Veeam Explorers for Exchange and Sharepoint, but there are actually a few different ways of restoring – I’m just showing one of the options. You could also have the customers logging on to the Backup server itself for instance or provide a web portal to manage the retores. When restoring items, as always with Veeam, you have multiple destinations for your restore jobs; restore back to Office 365 (as shown in the video), restore to a .pst-file or restore an item and send it as an attachment to a mail to someone. But that’s not all, you can actually restore back to an on-premises installation of Microsoft Exchangeas well  if you’d like. In fact you can use Backup for Office 365 to do backups of your on-premises Exchange server so you have not only a backup tool but a migration tool as well – working bi-directional anyway you want!

Here’s the installation and configuration video! (Swedish only)