Veeam Content Roundup for July 2014

I don’t know if you watched the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but many Veeam employees, including myself, did. (And despite the fact that the team I supported left the tournament on the group stage, I watched the rest of the matches with great pleasure.)

Nevertheless, during all of the craziness, the Veeam Team managed to work even harder than normal to bring you high-quality educational articles and videos. See what the Veeam Resource Library added in July:

 

The top 10 things every IT Pro using Hyper-V needs to know

The top 10 things every IT Pro using Hyper-V needs to know

By John Savill, Windows tech specialist, 11x MVP and MCSE

In 12 pages, John Savill, a technical expert holding certifications in many Microsoft Technologies, shared his thoughts about the top ten things to help Hyper-V users in day-to-day activities.
Continue reading Veeam Content Roundup for July 2014

You imported a Management Pack now what… Part 1

Introduction

System Center Operations Manager is a great component of the system center suite. It’s a framework that helps you monitor and manage all of your components in your infrastructure. From the hardware like compute, storage, network to the virtualization layer, VMs, OS and applications. It can be your single pane of glass to view & manage your infrastructure in a single glass of pane.

And it gets better, in combination with the other system center components such as Service Manager, Orchestrator and more it is your window to manage the entire lifecycle of your infrastructure.

But as always in infrastructure management, life isn’t always as shiny as you hope. Operations Manager is actually a rather “dumb” framework. With “dumb” I don’t mean that is a bad solution, I mean that it is indeed a powerful framework that won’t give you information until you actually feed it the knowledge it need to become the best monitoring solution. The framework provides you the possibility to create dashboards, performance views, reports, monitors, rules and much more, but unless you tell it what it needs to look for and collect information… it won’t do anything.

So how do we get in that information, that knowledge so it starts working? The answer… Management Packs

What are Management Packs

So what are Management Packs exactly? I like to explain it as following: It’s a big box that contains the information to monitor and manage a part of your infrastructure. There are management packs for applications such as SQL, Exchange and more. There are also management packs for Operating Systems, hardware (delivered by the hardware vendor itself), 3rd party management packs for non-Microsoft applications like Oracle and many more. Each management pack (or packs) contains events it need to keep an eye on (and alert if necessary), other rules or monitors, the performance counters (specific) that it needs to collect and store in the frameworks database, views, reports, dashboards and so on

Depending on what you have in your environment you are going to import these management packs into your system so that it can start doing its monitoring and give you the information what you need!

So life is good again? All shiny and well? Not really… I have seen too many imports of a huge amount of management packs and then let it sit there and throw a bunch of alerts at you. This mostly results in the monitoring guy or girl saying that the solution doesn’t work and ignore it complete.

The reason for this is very simple. Every environment isn’t the same and you need to fine-tune those management packs to fit your environment.

Management packs are written with thresholds, rules and monitors that are considered best practices in an average environment. The thing is, an average environment doesn’t exist. So you need to fine-tune those thresholds and more yourself, to fit it in your environment.

Let me give you a small example from the past that explains this very well. A couple of years ago, Microsoft released a management pack for Active Directory (there is of course newer versions of that MP now to reflect current versions but follow me here for a second…) In that MP, there was a rule that created an alert when you didn’t had enough DC’s running in your environment. That meant that when you have less than 50% of your DC’s available, it started to alert that your AD environment wasn’t healthy anymore. It did exactly the same thing from the moment you had less than 3 DCs alive, even if you didn’t had 3. The reason at that time was because MSFT’s best practice was to have at least 3 DCs running. Many companies in Europe however didn’t had 3 DCs but only 2 (or sometimes only 1…) So in those cases, that alert appeared always. Overriding that alert with new thresholds was the solution (again, fit to your environment) but it needed to be done. This probably is a very simple example and could be done very quickly, but you can imagine many more scenarios that will need to be adjusted. Think about the 90% memory rule inside an OS, or the alert for telling you when you are running out of disk space. Some companies want to have at least 10% available before alerting, other ones think that 5% is still enough…

So we need to fine-tune.

Conclusion

Importing an MP into system center operations manager won’t magically make your life shiny. You need to adjust that MP to fit your specific needs. But how can you start with this process and how do you do this.

This is the first part of a blog post series that explain what you need to do and how you can perform this into your own environment. In the next parts, we are going to look on what you can do and how you can do this for your own environment including some best practice tips.

Users pick Veeam as TOP backup application!

Recently TechTarget’s Storage Magazine published a report that named Veeam as one of the TOP backup applications of Storage Magazine’s Quality Awards.

The award was a result of Storage Magazine surveying 450+ qualified readers, who gave 1,000+ product evaluations and picked the most reliable data protection products from existing products that are currently on the market, regardless of brand, vendor reputation and vendor size.

Veeam has been named one of the winners of Storage Magazine’s Quality Awards for Backup and Recovery Software

 

Veeam Backup & Replication got the top score in the overall ranking for midrange backup applications, and ALL categories, including Sales-force competence, Initial product quality, Product features, Product reliability, and Technical support categories.

Midrange backup applications: Overall rankings

Pic. 1 Midrange backup applications: Overall rankings

 

94% of respondents said that they would buy Veeam Backup & Replication again:

Midrange backup applications: Would you buy this product again?

Pic. 2 Midrange backup applications: Would you buy this product again?

 

You can download the original report at Storage Magazine: Veeam named one of the TOP backup applications in Storage Magazine’s Quality Awards

A Customer Perspective: VMware NSX, Micro-Segmentation & Next-Generation Security

VMware NSX and Palo Alto Networks are transforming the data center by combining the Columbia-S12_WTR_MGHI_564fast provisioning of network and security services with next-generation security protection for East-West traffic. At VMworld, John Spiegel, Global IS Communications Manager for Columbia Sportswear will take the stage to discuss their architecture, their micro-segmentation use case and their experience. This is session SEC1977 taking place on Tuesday, Aug 26, 2:30-3:30 p.m.

Micro-segmentation is quickly emerging as one of the primary drivers for the adoption of NSX. Below, John shares Columbia’s security journey ahead of VMworld

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When I started at Columbia, we were about a $500 million company. Now we’re closing in on $2 billion and hoping to get to $3 billion rather quickly. So as you can imagine, our IT infrastructure has to scale with the business. In 2009, we embarked on a huge project to add a redundant data center for disaster recovery. As part of the project, we partnered with VMware and quickly created a nearly 100% virtualized datacenter.  It was a huge success. But something was missing; a security solution that matched our virtualized data center. There just wasn’t a great way to insert security in order to address east-west traffic between VMs, nor have the security tied to the applications as they moved around dynamically.

 We set out looking for a solution to bridge that gap.

To address our security needs in the data center, we looked at several different strategies and at that time, there really weren’t any good solutions. Many of the solutions were physical in nature. They required us to do some crazy configurations to apply security. We looked at the Cisco 6500 firewall blades, Juniper’s virtual solution and a few other lightweight security offerings, but they just didn’t have what we needed. The solutions at the time didn’t have what we needed. We kept looking.

At VMworld last year, we were introduced to VMware NSX. I saw the power of the platform, and it all started to click. And when Palo Alto Networks (our perimeter firewall vendor) announced they were a major partner, and that their technology integrated with NSX to give us an additional level of security, things really came together for us. The ability to drive security down into the infrastructure, down to the kernel level, and then take advantage of Palo Alto Networks next generation security was very attractive. Doing micro-segmentation with NSX, and then having the option of inserting next generation firewalling services from Palo Alto Networks in those areas of the business that require them, will really help us improve our overall security posture. A solution like this is where we need to be. These tools give us the ability to manage both physical and virtual security policies centrally with Palo Alto Networks management tool Panorama. I know that when workloads move the security and policies follow the workloads.

To me, that’s what it is about – advanced security inside the data center, plus automation via software that’s completely independent of the underlying physical infrastructure. With solutions such as NSX and the integration with Palo Alto Networks to provide advanced security services, we are going put security back in the data center, the right way.=

Jspiegel

 

Happy SysAdmin Day!

Every year on the last Friday of July, we show our appreciation for system administrators worldwide for all of their hard work, long weekends and the sometimes very difficult circumstances they have to work in.

At Veeam, many of us have a background in system administration. Many of us went through the entire cycle of starting at the helpdesk and working our way up to become a system administrator. So we know what it is to be a system administrator and we know the amount of work and effort you all do on a daily basis. We also know very well that it is sometimes difficult to get some appreciation for your hard work.

Today, let us raise a glass, get some cake and cookies together with you and cheer on YOU!

As a company, we love the IT community. So as a token of our appreciation, and to make your lives easier, here is a list of free stuff you can get from us:

 

Get a $200 discount for VeeamON 2014. Enter the promo code VEEAMONSAD14 in the appropriate field when purchasing your ticket (valid until August 1, 2014):

VeeamON Code

 

Are you a VCP, MCT, MVP, MCTS, MCP or VMware vExpert? Then check out our free NFR page and request your NFR keys today!

 

Download a free edition of Veeam Backup & Replication: http://www.veeam.com/virtual-machine-backup-solution-free.html. This includes many of the great features in the paid versions including VeeamZIP and the Veeam Explorer for both Exchange and SharePoint! (And soon to come: Veeam Explorer for AD and SQL!)

 

Our RDP Appliance for Hyper-V is a great addition to your Hyper-V toolbox and it is open source! You can find the RDP Appliance here and the documentation here.

 

If you want to monitor your Hyper-V, vSphere and/or Veeam Backup & Replication environment, use Veeam ONE Free Edition to make your life easier!

And if you are a System Center Operations manager user, we also have good news for you. We announced this week that we will be giving away a FREE product license for Veeam Management Pack for System Center Enterprise Edition for Hyper-V environments up to 100 sockets plus one year of maintenance!

 

And be sure to stay tuned with Veeam in the next few weeks. We’re going to announce another great, free tool!

Until then, enjoy the day!

SysAdmin Day

 

HAPPY SYSADMIN DAY from Veeam