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What’s New with vSphere Data Protection 5.8 and vSphere Replication 5.8

This post originally appeared on the vSphere Blog

Along with all of the announcements at VMworld 2014, I am happy to report on the latest versions of vSphere Data Protection (VDP) and vSphere Replication. As most of you may already know, there are two editions of VDP: VDP, which is included with vSphere Essentials Plus Kit and higher editions, and VDP Advanced, which is purchased separately. vSphere Replication is included with vSphere Essentials Plus Kit and higher editions. This article highlights the most prominent new features and updates in VDP Advanced and vSphere Replication.

VDP Advanced

Perhaps the number one feature request we heard was supporting the backup and recovery of databases on SQL Server AlwaysOn and Failover Clusters. The other was Exchange DAG support. With vSphere Data Protection Advanced 5.8, you get both! The VDP Advanced agents for SQL Server and Exchange have been updated to support these high availability solutions including the ability to select a replica backup policy such as “prefer secondary” for SQL Server AlwaysOn or “prefer passive” for Exchange DAG.

sqlserver alwayson backup

VDP Advanced has further enhanced its replication capabilities to enable “Replicate and Restore Anywhere”. Replicated backup data can be re-replicated – either back to the source location or another location. Examples – Scenario 1: I back up data at Site A with VDP Advanced and replicate the backup data to VDP Advanced at Site B. If needed, I could replicate that backup data (again) from Site B to Site C. Scenario 2: If Site A were to sustain a disaster and the original VDP Advanced appliance is lost, I could deploy a new VDP Advanced appliance, “Recover replicated backups” from Site B, and restore data in Site A.

recover replicated backups

It is now possible to deploy external proxies with VDP Advanced enabling more efficient backups in remote locations where the VDP Advanced appliance does not have direct access to the storage on which protected VMs are running, e.g., a separate cluster or remote site. An external proxy also supports VMs with Linux Logical Volume Manager (LVM) and EXT4 file systems.

Reporting has improved in VDP Advanced 5.8. If there is a task failure, detailed client log information can be viewed in the VDP Advanced UI and saved to a text file. In addition to information on backup jobs, replication jobs, and automated backup verification jobs, a list of unprotected clients, i.e., VMs not currently included in a backup job, is available. These reports can be exported to CSV files.

vdp unprotected clients

vSphere Replication

The primary new feature of vSphere Replication 5.8 is the integration of replication to a cloud provider such as VMware vCloud Air. When configuring vSphere Replication for a VM, the first step is selecting replication to a vCenter Server environment (on premise) or a cloud provider.

vr config vcloud

This makes it easy to configure, manage, and monitor vSphere Replication both on premise and to the cloud using the vSphere Web Client.

vr monitoring

vSphere Replication reporting has also improved. Various graphs and charts are available including Replicated VMs (by VC), Replicated VMs (by Host), RPO Violations, and Transferred Bytes.

vr reports

The items above are in addition to numerous bug fixes. Those details will be available in the release notes for each product.

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New Offer Designed for Remote and Branch Offices (ROBO): vSphere Remote Office Branch Office Standard and Advanced Editions

Post by Mike Rose, VMware Systems Engineer

At VMworld 2014 in San Francisco, VMware introduced the VMware vSphere Remote Office Branch Office Standard and Advanced Editions.  You can read more about this announcement in Sai Gopalan’s blog post from September 9th 2014.  These new editions are designed specifically for IT infrastructure located in remote, distributed sites. These new offerings will allow us to provide new and existing customers of all sizes with enhanced service level, standardization and availability capabilities for remote and branch office locations (See a short 3 minute Product Video). It’s important that we spend a moment to reflect on these changes because the changes are significant, for the better, and it is important we know all the details in order to properly license our ROBO environments.

Today, vSphere Remote Office Branch Office offerings are now available in two flavors:

  • vSphere Remote Office Branch Office Standard
  • vSphere Remote Office Branch Office Advanced

This is different from the previous offerings of vSphere Essentials and Essentials Plus for Retail and Branch Office or generally referred to as Essentials/Essentials Plus for ROBO (old ROBO kits).  It is important to highlight these differences because now, the Standard and Advanced editions of ROBO, contain different vSphere features sets that were once not available with the previous editions of ROBO.  We also added more flexibility in the deployment methods you can use with ROBO and removed some restrictions.  So here is what you can expect from the new ROBO kit offerings.

  • A more robust feature set
  • New and easier licensing model
  • Fewer restrictions
  • More flexibility with vCenter Server
  • Clear conversion process for existing customers who have purchased vSphere Essentials and Essentials Plus for Retail and Branch Offices

A more robust feature set

Let’s take a look at how the old ROBO kits compares with the new vSphere Remote Office Branch Office editions (based on ESXi version 5.5 Update 2) in terms of vSphere features. The below chart outlines these differences in the old and new kits as well as highlights the feature additions in the two new ROBO kits.  It’s important to call out the new features as you will see the addition of Fault Tolerance and Storage vMotion is now included in the Standard edition and additionally vSphere Distributed Switch, Host Profile and Auto Deploy are now included in the Advanced edition.

  •  Please note that although not included on the slide, the Hot Add feature is included in both editions of vSphere Remote Office Branch Office offerings.

It is easy to see that the features of the vSphere Remote Office Branch Office Standard are have additional features over the old Essentials Plus for Retail and Branch Offices (storage vMotion, Fault Tolerance) and the Advanced edition has some key additional features that were previously available only on the per-CPU vSphere Enterprise Plus editions.  vSphere Remote Office Branch Office Advanced has the features of vSphere Remote Office Branch Office Standard with the addition of vDS, Host Profiles and Auto Deploy features.

New and easier licensing model

Gone are the socket based licenses that came with the old ROBO kit.  Instead we are simply offering a 25 Virtual Machine pack bundle for both Standard and Advanced.  The great thing about this is you can now simply divide and deploy any number of these VM licenses within that same pack across any number of sites.  For example, if a customer has 5 sites, each running 5 workloads/virtual machines, he/she can simply buy 1 pack of the new vSphere Remote Office Branch Office edition and distribute the VMs in the pack across the 5 sites.

  • vSphere Remote Office Branch Office offerings will be available in packs of 25 Virtual Machines priced at
    • $3,000 for the Standard edition
    • $4,500 for the Advanced edition
    • (Note: All reference pricing above is suggested MSRP for the US, in USD. Regional prices will vary).

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Live from VMworld Europe: Announcing Updates to VMware’s Software and Cloud Services Portfolio to Help You Innovate, Compete, and Succeed

Today at VMworld® Europe 2014, we announced updates to our cloud management, hybrid cloud, and virtual workspace solutions that allow IT to be more nimble and automated, empowering you to deliver the apps that drive revenue and competitive advantage faster and more reliably than ever. Hear these announcements first-hand by visiting VMware NOW and read on for the full details.

Realize the Potential of Comprehensive Software-Defined Data Center Management– The latest VMware product updates bring all management tools under a single family name—VMware vRealize™—as the next step in our management product evolution, offering a breadth of solutions that only VMware can deliver. 

VMware’s cloud management solutions are optimized for VMware vSphere® and also offer a unified management experience across physical systems, other hypervisor platforms, and public cloud services such as VMware vCloud® Air™ (formerly vCloud® Hybrid Service™), Amazon Web Services, or those based on OpenStack.

  • vRealize™ Operations™ 6.0 (formerly VMware vCenter™ Operations Management Suite™) — Features a re-platformed architecture that can deliver up to 8x greater scalability with unified management across vSphere and other domains. Analytics, smart alerts and problem detection capabilities identify complex issues and then recommend automated tasks that streamline remediation before problems impact users.
  • VMware vRealize™ Operations Insight™ 6.0 – Extends intelligent operations management beyond vSphere to include operating systems, physical servers, storage and networking hardware, as well as new predictive capacity and project management across physical and virtual environments. Now smart alerts include automated remediation to take operations speed and efficiency to the next level.
  • VMware vRealize™ Log Insight™ 2.5 (formerly VMware vCenter™ Log Insight™) — Delivers powerful log management across physical, virtual and cloud environments, now offering better integration with vRealize Operations to help improve performance and avoid disruption. Today, more than 20 Log Insight content packs are available on VMware Solution Exchange, supporting leading IT providers such as Cisco and Microsoft.
  • VMware vRealize™ Air™ Compliance (Beta) – Quickly measures and reports on configuration compliance of vSphere environments. This event-driven change detection solution delivers a simple at-a-glance view of configuration compliance against a variety of security and regulatory content, including the VMware published Hardening Guide.

Read more on the new capabilities of the vRealize cloud management family in the full press release.

Gain Choice and Control with Hybrid Cloud Expansions – vCloud Air expands to Germany, demonstrating VMware’s ongoing commitment to providing customers everywhere access to an easy, fast path to achieve the agility and efficiency of the public cloud, while enabling them to meet local data compliance and sovereignty regulations. In addition, the vCloud Air Virtual Private Cloud OnDemand Early Access Program will be available for purchase on November 17, 2014, in Northern California, Virginia, and the United Kingdom.  Read more about these vCloud Air expansions in the full press release.

Experience the Secure Virtual Workspace for Work at the Speed of Life – New end-user computing products, programs and services further expand virtual desktop solutions from VMware, including Horizon® FLEX™, which allows employees to bring their own laptops while enabling IT to support Macs in their business.

  • VMware Horizon FLEX –A local solution that enables the quick deployment of virtual Windows desktops to Mac and PC users so companies can embrace BYOPC policies without compromising security or control
  • VMware Horizon® Air™ Desktop DR – New cloud service that enables organizations to easily protect their business and ensure workforce continuity with affordable cloud-hosted desktops and apps. In the event of a disaster, end-users can be productive instantly, from any device, anywhere, with a secure workspace connected to corporate resources. Horizon Air Desktop DR is part of the Horizon® Air™ family of desktop cloud services (formerly known as Horizon® DaaS®) that also includes cloud-hosted desktops and apps.
  • VMware Horizon Air European Expansion – The complete line-up of VMware End-User Computing hosted cloud services that includes VMware Horizon Air Desktops, VMware Horizon Air Apps and VMware Horizon Desktop DR will expand  to new locations  in France and Germany.  As a result global customers with employees in France, Germany and U.K. will be able to take advantage of the agility and speed of VMware cloud services.
  • VMware App Volumes™ — Provides just-in-time application delivery at scale   to virtualized desktop environments. IT can use App Volumes to build a real-time application delivery system that enables applications to be centrally managed, always available, and always up-to-date, at lower costs and without compromising end-user experience. Learn More
  • VMware Horizon Fast Track 2.0 Program – This new program helps customers accelerate the adoption and deployment of virtual desktops by offering access to validated partners, reference architectures and converged appliances for exceptional performance and predictable scale and cost.  Highlights include:
    • Turnkey Appliances Program – Validated, converged and scalable appliances that help customers rapidly deploy virtual desktops.
    • Validated Reference Architectures Program – Implementation blueprints for storage, networking and servers to ensure interoperability with VMware Horizon.
    • Proven Storage Program – Storage solutions certified to offer predictable performance for 1,000 and 2,000 seat VMware Horizon deployments

Read more on the updates to the VMware end-user computing solutions in the full press release.

See the full coverage of what was announced today at VMworld Europe on VMware NOW  to hear more about how VMware is delivering solutions to help your SMB innovate, compete, and succeed in today’s mobile-cloud era.

How To Seed a vCloud Air Disaster Recovery Replication Without Downtime

This post originally appeared on the vCloud Blog

In a recent blog post, VMware’s Chris Colotti shows step-by-step how to replicate a virtual machine in vCloud Air Disaster Recovery at a faster speed through data seeding.

With data seeding, you run the risk of a huge data transfer reduction. But there is a silver lining – you trade off the loss of data for a faster replication. To validate the process, Chris compared the results of three different methods:

1. Full ground up replication to establish an initial sync time

Pic1

2. Traditional vCloud Connector data seeding

Pic2

3. Live vSphere clone with vCloud Connector data seeding

Pic3

Visit Chris Colotti’s blog for results and complete instructions on how to seed the replication using Offline Data Transfer without the need to power off the source machine!

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IT is the Cornerstone of Your Business. Shouldn’t You Protect It?

We’ve all heard about the cost savings you can get from virtualizing your infrastructure. But did you know that virtualization can also dramatically improve disaster recovery and business continuity (BCDR)?

In today’s competitive environment, your business can’t afford a minute of downtime. Even a short outage can impact your revenue, productivity, and your company’s reputation.

VMware can help your business up & running. Learn how in our paper, “5 Ways Virtualization Can Protect Your Business Now.” We’ll discuss how virtualizing with VMware can help you improve your BCDR strategy, including:

  • Simplified backup and recovery—Learn how vSphere Data Protection gives you total protection for your virtual infrastructure and your most important applications so you can minimize downtime and avoid lost data. With VMware tools you already know, deployment and management are fast, simple, and intuitive.
  • Protection against hardware and software failures—The quicker your team can spot a failure and respond to it, the better you can safeguard your business. VMware solutions protect your entire virtualized environment from failures at the physical server or OS level, and help ensure nonstop application availability.
  • Get protection from site-level failures—Virtualization lets you easily recover from site-level failures that can cost weeks of productivity. Discover how vSphere Replication makes it easy for you to easily replicate virtual machines to a recovery site.
  • Handle maintenance with zero downtime—Upgrading and patching hardware and software is important, but it’s time consuming for your team and might involve taking your applications offline. VMware solutions enable live migration of running virtual machines and virtual machine disk files, giving your IT teams the agility and flexibility they need to support other areas of the business.
  • Improve visibility across your virtualized environment—Without a single view of your IT environment, you’ll need to spend time and money managing and monitoring different administrative tools. vSphere with Operations Management delivers insight into the health, resource utilization, and capacity consumption of your entire virtualized environment.