Monday, April 10, 2017

Veeam VMware vSphere Web Client Plug-in

Somehow I keep on getting back to restarting this activity, which is very rewarding, but also time consuming. Since I've accepted a new position with another company, I am reviving the blog. Again. I'm starting to see a pattern here. 

First, let me start with a disclaimer: the posts and opinions herein are my own. Not representing the company I work for, or the vendor, or anything official.

First topic on the list is Veeam vSphere Web Client Plugin. I've chosen this because it integrates Veeam Backup & Replication console (VBR from now on) with vSphere Web Client allowing the virtualization admin to have an understanding of what is going on with "those backups".

The plugin provides the following widgets:
- VMs Overview - details about protected VMs, restore points, source VM size, backup size
- Processed VMs - backed up and replicated
- Repositories - capacity, bakup size, free space
- Jobs statistics - running jobs,  successful jobs, errors

In addition to all the information displayed, it also enables the virtualization admin to run VeeamZIP (full backup file that acts as an independent restore point) and QuickBackup (on-demand incremental backup - needs the existence of a full backup) tasks.

Now let's see how we get the plugin installed and configured.

First, we need to have Veeam Enterprise Manager (EM) installed in the infrastructure. It is not usually installed since EM is utilized to manage multiple VBR installations from a single console. Having only one VBR instance doesn't make a use case for EM, unless you are using encryption in your environment. In this case, EM is used in the encryption/decryption process. There are a few other considerations for Enterprise Manager, one them being deploying vSphere Web Client Plugin. The installation of EM is not covered in this article. It needs a Windows server and SQL database. In our demo lab, EM was installed on the same server with Veeam ONE using the already deployed SQL Express.

After installation, open EM console and login. Go to Configuration and add VBR servers that you will manage from EM:

Next, go to vCenter Server tab and you will see the list of Veeam managed servers populated. Looking at the plugin status you will see "Unknown" meaning no check has been done for that particular vCenter Server:

In the above image, there are 2 servers that have already been configured with the plugin. For those it shows the status "Installed" and the plugin version. In order to install the plugin on a new vCenter Server, select the server and then press Check version. Fill in username and password for connecting to vCenter Server and press ok. The status will change from "Pending" to "Not installed".

You will notice the "Install" button is activated. Press "Install" and wait for the status to change to "Installed":

Next, login to vSphere Web Client and on you should see the plugin on the home page of vCenter Server client:

The plugin displays two tabs - Summary and Settings. The Summary tab contains four widgets:
- VMs Overview

- Jobs statistics
- Processed VMs

- Repositories 

Settings tab allows configuration of EM server, the user account for web plugin to connect to EM and Veeam ONE (if it exists in the infrastructure). 
When Veeam ONE is configured, predefined reports can be accessed directly from the widgets. For example the Repositories widget provides a link to Capacity Planning for Backup Repositories report:

Finally, the web client plugin implements VeeamZIP and Quick Backup functionality in the VM context menu, empowering the virtualization administrator to create full and incremental on demand backups. 

Before being able to run the backup actions, we need to configure the plugin by selecting VeeamZIP to.... Next you configure the destination backup server, repository, retention policy and compression level 

After selecting the desired values, press VeeamZIP button to save the configuration. From now on, you can run backups directly from vSphere Web Client. 

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