I was lucky enough to attend Microsoft Tech-Ed this year in Amsterdam and was very impressed with the new functionality Microsoft has managed to cram into its new release of Server 2012. It has massive scalability advancements such as with the new VHDX file format, lots of new hardware interaction and plenty of DR focused features to keep your private\public cloud floating. At the same time I was pleased to see that they hadn’t forgotten about the SMB IT shops that run a small number of servers but are also looking to benefit from virtualisation. Options like shared nothing live migrations and the use of CSV file servers to host virtual disks for the Hyper-V hosts themselves will allow SMBs to fully embrace virtualisation without massive hardware costs.
It is the use of virtualisation in the SMB space that makes me stop and take note because it is critical to make tools available in this market to ensure that virtualisation adoption is readily available, no matter what size your organisation may be. This new functionality from Microsoft fits right in with the Veeam Essentials bundle which has recently been simplified to offer enterprise class data protection, monitoring and reporting for use on up to 3 physical hosts (6 CPU sockets) purchased in 2 socket bundles. With Windows Server 2012 offering so many great virtualisation benefits a SMB could now just as easily run an enterprise class infrastructure with high-speed backup and replication with very minimal investment.
Windows Server 2012 coupled with Veeam Essentials will help to deliver the essential toolkit of virtualisation – a cost-effective solution that is easy to use and intuitive, allowing IT to build a functioning virtual data centre as well as a spontaneous data protection solution on a shoestring budget. The Veeam on-host proxy gives the added benefit of using the Hyper-V hosts as backup servers pushing Veeam data moving services into the Hyper-V kernel itself reducing the infrastructure footprint.
Ease of use and affordability screams out – make things simple and affordable – Veeams agentless technology means no need to install anything into the virtual servers themselves. Veeam Essentials leverages storage based snapshots and integrates with VSS to give the IT manager transaction consistent backups directly across the SAN fabric to any location on their network as a backup repository. The inline block level de-duplication and compression of VHD files minimises the size of the resulting backup files and in turn minimises storage usage on the repository.
The graphical user interface is easy to use; additionally all functionality is accessible via PowerShell scripts for automation of tasks. Restoring couldn’t be easier or quicker with the ‘Instant restore’ feature allowing you to run a virtual machine directly from a backup file bringing restores down to a few minutes and then running a full restore behind the scenes.
But the ultimate cherry on the cake or should I say the final tool in the SMB toolkit comes with the Veeams bundle including a monitoring and reporting solution for your Hyper-V deployment giving you real-time alerting on CPU, memory, network and disk performance which is hardware agnostic. The monitoring and reporting dashboards allow you to identify bottlenecks and trends in your virtual environment so you can resolve them quickly and before they cause service outages.