Veeam Cloud Connect Case Study: Hyper-V Environment - Wowrack Blog

veeam-cloud-connect-case-study-hyper-v-environment

March 31, 2017 - admin

Veeam Cloud Connect Case Study: Hyper-V Environment

 Case Study – Hyper-V Platform

Our company is a manufacturing company which relies on our well established ERP systems for the entire business process. There are five plants across the country, which need to be able to access the ERP systems at all times, because the manufacturing process are running 24/7.

We use Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP system that is built on top of Microsoft’s virtualization solution (Hyper-V) as VMs. The Hyper-V servers are operating as standalone (non-cluster) hosts.

We have at least three critical VMs (Active Directory Domain Services Server, Dynamics AX application server, and SQL Database Server) which must stay online 24/7 to avoid any interruption on the manufacturing process.

The critical VMs are currently hosted on the main plant, which is located somewhere in West region of US.

Recently, we were having several incidents on the main plant which involves power outages and hardware failures on the physical servers. Our Management Team also concerned about data security and integrity, especially with the increased incidents involving ransomware.

Therefore, we need a solid backup platform, which can be used to ensure that our business can continue running in any case of disasters.
However, our company is currently tight on budget, as the sales performance was decreasing on last year’s report due to inflation.

 

Infrastructure Details

Physical (Hyper-V) Servers
HV1.company.com
HV2.company.com

Virtual Machines
DC1.company.com (lives in HV1)
Roles: Active Directory Domain Services, DHCP Server

DYNAMICS.company.com (lives in HV1)
Roles: Microsoft Dynamics AX Application server

SQL1.company.com (lives in HV2)
Roles: SQL Server

 

Solution

Looking at this case, this company needs both Backup and Disaster Recovery solution, which should be reliable, scalable, cost-effective, and can be brought online in a matter of minutes when disaster strikes.

Based on this requirement, we can utilize Veeam Cloud Connect technology, which allows the company to backup and replicate their VMs into a Disaster Recovery site, which is situated on Service Providers that offer Veeam Cloud Connect.
Wowrack Veeam Cloud Connect service, with its flagship Tier-3 datacenter located in Tukwila, Seattle, ensures that your backup and replication data is safe and can be accessed at all times.

From the infrastructure details above, we can build a topology diagram as follows:

Hyper-V-Case-Study-768x340

 

How does it work?

In order to start using the Veeam Cloud Connect technology, there are several steps that must be done on both the Service Provider’s side (Wowrack) and the Tenant’s side (the Customer).

 

Service Provider

On the Service Provider’s side, Wowrack will provision your Cloud Connect account on the Veeam Cloud Connect console and allocate the necessary storage quota and processing power.

After the account has been provisioned, Veeam will automatically create the Network Extension Appliance (NEA) specifically assigned for the account on the Service Provider’s host server. The Network Extension Appliance will provide a VPN tunnel in case of a full/partial failover event.

 

Tenant

On the Tenant’s side, the customer needs to deploy an instance of Veeam Backup & Replication software on their Hyper-V host.
If the customer doesn’t have any Veeam Backup & Replication license, they can opt to obtain the license themselves via Veeam, or by using the Service Provider’s hosting rental license (in case the Veeam Backup & Replication instance will be managed by the Service Provider).
For more information regarding the hosting rental license, please read our Veeam Cloud Connect Overview article.

Once deployed, they will need to connect to the Wowrack’s Cloud Connect DNS name, which is: baas.wowrack.com

Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to setup the Veeam Backup & Replication software, connect to Wowrack’s Veeam Cloud Connect service, and start backing up and replicating the VMs:

  1. Create a VM in the customer’s Hyper-V server with the following specifications:
    CPU: 4 vCPUs
    RAM: 8GB
    Virtual Disk: 100GB virtual disk
    OS: Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2016
    Note: OS Installation will not be covered in this article
  2. Install Veeam Backup & Replication software on the VM and install the appropriate Veeam Backup & Replication license
  3. Once Veeam Backup & Replication has been installed, go to the “Backup Infrastructure” menu -> “Service Providers” and click “Add Service Provider”
  4. On the “DNS name or IP address” field, type the Service Provider’s Cloud Connect DNS name. Wowrack’s Cloud Connect DNS name is: baas.wowrack.com
    If the Service Provider is going to manage your backup & replication jobs remotely, click on the “Allow this Veeam Backup & Replication installation to be managed by the service provider”checkmark.
    service_provider_add
  5. On the next screen, click the “Add” button and enter the Tenant’s Cloud Connect credentials that were given by the Service Provider. After that, click “Next”
    service_provider_credentials
  6. On this screen, the Tenant can see the cloud repositories that are assigned to his account. Click “Next”service_provider_resources
  7. On the “Hardware Plans” screen, the Tenant can see the hardware plans that are assigned to his account. Click “Next”
    service_provider_hwplans
  8. On the “Network Extension Appliance” screen, the Tenant can deploy a Network Extension Appliance (NEA) on his Hyper-V host.
    The Network Extension Appliance is used when a partial or full failover is initiated. It will function as a Layer 2 bridge between your internal network and the isolated internal network on the Service Provider’s side, so that the other servers on your internal network can talk to the active VM replica on the Service Provider’s side in case of a partial failover.
    In both partial and full failover, the NEA will also function as a way to replicate back the data on the replica VMs to the original VMs.
    To deploy the NEA, click on the “Add” button and on the dialog box, specify the following settings:
    – The Host that the NEA will be deployed
    – The folder where the NEA VM data will be located
    – The internal VM network on the Hyper-v server (with internet access)
    – (Optional) Specify the VLAN ID of your internal VM network, if there is any
    – For IP addressing, the Tenant can choose between the following:
    * Obtain an IP address automatically (requires a working DHCP server on the internal network)
    * Use the following IP address (if there is no DHCP server, or if the Tenant wants to specify a static IP address for the NEA)
    service_provider_neaservice_provider_nea2
  9. Finally, click the “Apply” button, and Veeam will start saving the configuration and deploy the Network Extension Appliance on the specified Hyper-V host
    service_provider_apply
  10. The Summary screen will show a summary of every cloud resources that is assigned on the Cloud Connect account. To close the window, click “Finish”
    service_provider_summary
    After Veeam Backup & Replication has been successfully connected to the Service Provider, the Hyper-V Servers will need to be added to Veeam.
    At this point, the Tenant can start creating the backup and replication jobs and point the target backup repository to the Cloud Repository.

Create Backup Jobs

To create backup jobs for the VMs, please follow the instructions below:

  1. Go to the “Backup & Replication” tab
  2. Click the “Backup Job” button on the toolbar
    2 backup_job0-768x508
  3. Type the name of the backup job on the “Name” field. For example: Critical Servers
    2 backup_job1
  4. Select the virtual machines that are going to be backed up by clicking the “Add” button. Expand the Hyper-V server that contains the VM, select the VM and click “Add”. If you have finished adding the VMs, click “Next”
    2 backup_job2
    2 backup_job3
  5. On the next dialog (Storage), please make sure that you select the Cloud repository on the “Backup repository” drop-down menu, and specify the restore points that you want to keep (for example: 7 days)
  6. On the “Guest Processing” dialog, you can opt to enable the application-aware processing, which will detect and prepare applications for consistent backup, truncate transaction logs, and use the backup technologies that is available on the VM (e.g. Volume Shadow Service (VSS) backup technology).
    If you opt to enable the application-aware processing, please specify the a credential with administrative privileges on the “Guest OS credentials” drop down menu. If the credential is not available, you can add it by clicking the “Add” button.2 backup_job5
  7. On the “Schedule” dialog, please specify the schedule that you want the backup to run. On the following example, the backup is scheduled to run daily at 10PM everyday.2 backup_job6-1
  8. Finally, click “Finish” to end the backup job creation process. You can also opt to run the job right away by clicking on the “Run the job when I click Finish” checkbox.2 backup_job7

 

Create Replication Jobs

To create replication jobs for the VMs, please follow the instructions below:

  1. Go to the “Backup & Replication” tab
  2. Click the “Replication Job” button on the toolbarreplication_job0-768x508
  3. Type the name of the replication job on the “Name” field. For example: DYNAMICS.
    Tick the “Separate virtual networks” checkbox, so that we can choose the target network later. Untick the other two options.
    After that, click “Next”replication_job1
  4. Select the virtual machines that are going to be replicated by clicking the “Add” button. Select the Hyper-V server that contains the VM and and click “Add”. If you have finished adding the VMs, click “Next”replication_job2
  5. On the “Destination” dialog, on the “Host or cluster” field, click on the “Choose” button and click “Cloud host”replication_job3-768x514
  6. Select the hardware plan that you subscribed on the Service Provider and click “OK”. On the example below, the hardware plan is “HyperV-Basic”.
    replication_job4
    After that, click “Next”
    replication_job5
  7. On the “Network” dialog, click the “Add” button to map the source network to the target network.
    On the “Network Mapping” dialog box, click the “Browse” button next to the “Source network” field to select your local network. After that, click on the “Browse” button next to the “Target network” field to select the network on the Service Provider’s side.
    For the network on the Service Provider’s side, the “(internet)” text next to the network name indicates that any VMs connected to that network will have internet access (via source NAT).Network Mapping dialog box
    replication_job8
    Source network dialog box
    replication_job6
    Target network dialog box
    replication_job7
    After you have finished mapping the network, click the “Next” buttonreplication_job9
  8. On the “Job Settings” dialog, select the repository for replica metadata, and determine whether you want to add suffix to the replica VMs or not.
    Also, specify how many restore points that you’d like to have on the replica VMs on the “Restore points” field.
    On the following example, the repository is set to “Default Backup Repository”, the VM name suffix is set to “_replica”, and the restore points is set to 7.replication_job10
  9. On the “Data Transfer” dialog, you can specify the source proxy and the data transfer mode.
    If there is no WAN accelerator setup on your Veeam Backup & Replication environment, select “Direct”.
    replication_job11
    If you have WAN accelerator on your Veeam Backup & Replication environment, select “Through built-in WAN accelerators” and select your WAN accelerator from the drop-down list.
    replication_job12
  10. On the “Guest Processing” tab, select if you want to enable application-aware processing by clicking on the “Enable application-aware processing” checkbox, and specify the Guest OS credentials.replication_job13
  11. On the “Schedule” dialog, please specify the schedule that you want the backup to run. On the following example, the backup is scheduled to run daily at 10PM everyday. replication_job14
  12. Finally, click “Finish” to end the replication job creation process. You can also opt to run the job right away by clicking on the “Run the job when I click Finish” checkbox.replication_job15

 

Failover Process

There are two types of failover process on Veeam Backup & Replication: Failover Now and Planned Failover

Failover Now is used when the Tenant wants to instantly turn on the replica VMs on the Disaster Recovery site, regardless of the state of the VMs on the Production site. When you perform failover, the state of the original VM on the source host is not affected in any way.
This is useful if you totally lost your Production environment, whether it’s caused by power outage or network outage.
The Failover Now option can also be used to test the VM replica and its restore points for recoverability. After all necessary tests, you can undo failover and get back to the normal mode of operation.

Planned Failover is used when you know that your primary VMs are about to go offline, as a result of electrical maintenance or server maintenance.
A planned failover is smooth manual switching from a primary VM to its replica with minimum interrupting in operation. You can use the planned failover, for example, if you plan to perform datacenter migration, maintenance or software upgrade of the primary VMs. You can also perform planned failover if you have an advance notice of a disaster approaching that will require taking the primary servers offline.

When you start the planned failover, Veeam Backup & Replication performs the following steps:

  1. The failover process triggers the replication job to perform an incremental replication run and copy the un-replicated changes to the replica.
  2. The VM is powered off.
  3. The failover process triggers the replication job to perform another incremental replication run and copy the portion of last-minute changes to the replica. The replica becomes fully synchronized with the source VM.
  4. The VM is failed over to its replica.
  5. The VM replica is powered on.

When your primary host is online again, you can switch back to it.

After you performed either the Unplanned Failover (using the Failover Now option) or the Planned Failover, the finalizing options for both of them are: undoing failover, permanent failover or failback.

Failover Plans

In a failover plan, you set the order in which VMs must be processed and time delays for VMs. The time delay is an interval of time for which Veeam Backup & Replication must wait before starting the failover operation for the next VM in the list. It helps to ensure that some VMs, such as a DNS server, are already running at the time the dependent VMs start. The time delay is set for every VM in the failover plan except the last VM in the list.

The failover plan must be created in advance. In case the primary VM group goes offline, you can start the corresponding failover plan manually. When you start the procedure, you can choose to fail over to the latest state or select the point in time to which VM replicas must be started. Veeam Backup & Replication will look for the closest restore points to this point in time and use them to start VM replicas.

The failover process is performed in the following way:

  1. For each VM, Veeam Backup & Replication detects its replica. The VMs whose replicas are already in Failover or Failback state are skipped from processing.
  2. The replica VMs are started in the order they appear in the failover plan within the set time intervals.
    failover_plan

 

Failover via Wowrack Cloud Connect Portal

If you lost your entire Production environment, whether it’s caused by power outage or network outage, which also caused your Veeam Backup & Replication console to be inaccessible, you can still failover to the VM Replicas using the Cloud Connect Portal.

Our Cloud Connect Portal is accessible via the following URL: https://cloudconnect.wowrack.com

You can use your Cloud Connect credentials to login to the Cloud Connect Portal.
cloudconnect_failoverplans-768x274

After logging in, you should be able to see your Cloud Failover Plans there, as all Cloud Failover Plans on your Veeam Backup & Replication software will be automatically synced to your Cloud Connect account.

cloudconnect_failoverplans-768x274

You can also view your failover history on the “Session History” tab.

cloudconnect_sessionhistory-768x333

 

Failover Examples

Imagine the following situation:
The company’s Production site is experiencing heavy storm and shows no sign of stopping in the next few hours. The lights are flickering and power outage is imminent.
The UPS on the Server Room can only provide power backup for about 15 minutes, and the generator can only cover the entire Server Room’s power for another 1 hour.
The IT Team must act fast in order to keep the core applications up and running so that the other branches can still access the applications to keep the manufacturing process running.

Actions
As the applications are holding the company’s ERP data, it’s important that the failover is performed gracefully. It means that no data loss should occur when failing over to the Replica VMs.

In this case, Planned Failover must be used so that the VM data between the Production and Disaster Recovery site are synced before it finally fails over to the Replica VMs. The one hour and 15 minutes window should be enough to perform Planned Failover, as Veeam utilizes Changed Block Tracking, which can detect changed data on the VMs and replicate only the differences between the Primary and the Replica VMs.

For example, to perform Planned Failover for the DYNAMICS VM, open the Veeam Backup & Replication console on the Tenant’s side, and follow the instructions below:

  1. Go to the “Backup & Replication” tab
  2. Click the “Ready” menu under the “Replicas” tree
  3. On the right pane, click the VM that you want to failover
  4. Click the “Planned Failover” button on the toolbar

See the following screenshot for more details:

planned_failover1_edit-768x453

On the Hyper-V Planned Failover Wizard dialog box, please verify that the listed virtual machine is correct. You can also add another VMs to be failed over as well.

planned_failover2

On the next dialog box, provide the reason for the Planned Failover (optional). In this case, I wrote “Power outage at the Production site” on the Restore reason text box.

planned_failover3

Finally, click the Finish button to begin the Planned Failover process.

planned_failover4

Perform Planned Failover on DC1 and SQL1 as well, and once the failover is completed successfully, the Hyper-V servers (HV1 and HV2) can be shutdown gracefully.

At this point, when both the UPS and generator power are down, the VMs are already safe and sound running on the Disaster Recovery site, and remains accessible to the other manufacturing plant sites via its public IP address.

Once utility power is restored, we must perform several steps to fail back the VMs to the Production site.

failback1

As can be seen from the screenshot above, there are several options for the failback process:

  1. Failback to Production: this action will replicate the changed data on the replica VM to the original VM on the Production site. After that, the replica VM will be turned off, and the original VM will be turned on. At this point, we are given a chance to validate the failback results on the original VM.
  2. Undo Failback: this action will simply undo the failback process. The original VM will be turned off again, and the replica VM will be turned on.
  3. Commit Failback: if the original VM has been functioning properly after the failback, this action will commit the replicated data permanently into the original VM and finish the failback process.

To perform the failback, please follow the steps below:

  1. Go to the “Backup & Replication” tab
  2. Click the “Active” menu under the “Replicas” tree
  3. Select the VMs that will be failed back to the Production site
  4. Click on the “Failback to Production” button.
    failback2
  5. Select the VMs that will be failed back to the Production site.
    failback3
  6. On the next dialog, since the original VMs are still intact, select “Failback to the original VM” option to perform failback to the original VMs
    failback4
  7. Tick the “Power on VM after restoring” if you want the original VM to be powered on automatically after the failback process has been completed.
    Finally, click the “Finish” button to begin the failback process.failback5
  8. Veeam will start the failback process by replicating the changed data on the replica VMs to the original VMs on the Production site.
    failback6
    Once the failback process has been completed, the replica VMs should be powered off, and the original VMs should be turned on. At this point, we are given a chance to check the VMs before Veeam commits the replicated data.
  9. If the VMs are working properly after the failback, click on the “Commit Failback” button to commit the replicated data permanently into the original VMs and finish the failback process.
    You will be asked for confirmation before the Commit Failback process is executed.
    failback7
    Below is a screenshot of the Commit Failback process. failback8

Otherwise, if the VMs are not functioning properly, you can opt to fall back to the replica VMs (undo the failback) by clicking on the “Undo Failback” button. The original VMs will be turned off, and the replica VMs will be turned on again.
This concludes the case study and the detailed explanation on how the Veeam Cloud Connect and Veeam Backup & Replication works.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us by sending email to support@wowrack.com (for existing customers), or sales@wowrack.com for any inquiries regarding Wowrack Veeam Cloud Connect product.

References:
[1]https://helpcenter.veeam.com/docs/backup/vsphere/failover.html?ver=95
[2] https://helpcenter.veeam.com/docs/backup/vsphere/planned_failover.html?ver=95
[3] https://helpcenter.veeam.com/docs/backup/vsphere/failover_plan.html?ver=95

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