What is Veeam Availability Orchestrator?


Summary:                               Backup is king but recovery is queen. The only reason to backup is to recover and having the ability to recover isn’t enough. You’ve got to be able to prioritize, document, practice and test so you’ll be ready when you need to be. Disaster recovery isn’t a routine event so practice is critical. Documenting the procedures and naming the stakeholders and assigning their responsibilities is key. In this short video, learn how Veeam is making this all much easier.


Mike Matchett:                  Hi, I'm Mike Matchett with Small World Big Data, and we're going to talk a little bit today about protection, and backup, and disaster recovery, all hot topics especially when it comes to our large virtualization environments. I'm going to have Veeam on in a second. We're going to talk with Melissa Palmer who's the Product Strategy Technologist for Veeam and knows tons of real world examples and tons of use cases. She's been there. She's done it herself. Before I introduce her on thought let me just say, look, our virtualization worlds are getting bigger. Our environments are getting bigger. Disasters are happening with more frequency. The more eggs we have in our baskets, the more critical those baskets become. It's really critical to increase our ability to provide data disaster recovery, and part of being able to do that, add scale and complexity is automation. That's going to be our theme today. Welcome Melissa. Tell us a little bit about what's going on at Veeam.

Melissa Palmer:                Thank you so much for having me. My name is Melissa Palmer as Mike mentioned. I'm a Product Strategy Technologist at Veeam and also a VMware certified design expert. One of my product specializations at Veeam is a brand new product that just came out and we call it Veeam Ability Orchestrator.

Mike Matchett:                  What does Availability Orchestrator mean? You're not really changing-

Melissa Palmer:                It orchestrates availability.

Mike Matchett:                  Yeah, so this is really a story about you have Veeam being sort of like the market leader in doing backup and recovery and those kinds of things, but when the environments still get big and large, you want to be able to grab your hand around lots of things and do it all at the same time, or make sure it happens with regularity, so what are some of the things that the Orchestrator allows us to do?

Melissa Palmer:                What we're going is we're going to build all that great stuff that Veeam backup and replication has historically done, and we're going to add a couple different components to orchestrate your DR. First of all, documentation and plans, right? So we're going to have dynamic documentation that we can fully customize on an application basis or whatever granularity we like. That's going to specifically show us what components are in here for our application, who are the key stakeholders who need to make a decision. It's also going to be leveraged by things like different tests that we're going to do. With Veeam Availability Orchestrator we have the ability to test our applications in an isolated environment to, A, make sure they work, and B, we can leverage that to do things like patch testing, security testing, pen testing, anything we would want to do to a production environment that we can't today, we can leverage our DR environment to deal with Availability Orchestrator. Then finally, yes-

Mike Matchett:                  So this is really about taking to another level and saying, I can actually make a plan, it creates an artifact, that plan is something that can be printed out, and can be shown, and you can actually work at the level of that plan. I can say, implement this whole plan, test it, test that whole plan, validate that whole plan, and document that whole plan, right?

Melissa Palmer:                Exactly. And I can customize that plan however I need to. I can use some of the canned tests that we have for things like SEQUEL, and Exchange, or I can use my own scripts that I might be leveraging today to use in that plan.

Mike Matchett:                  All right. I sort of interrupted you. You were about to tell us once you have this plan and it's executable, and repeatable, and automated, now you can use it for a bunch of other use cases as well as just saying, hey, it's a DR plan sitting on the shelf.

Melissa Palmer:                Exactly.

Mike Matchett:                  What are some of those?

Melissa Palmer:                Application testing, let's say, unfortunately I've gotten ransomware and I have a critical patch I need to deploy, I can spin up and isolate a production environment, test my patch before I deploy it versus taking the risk, but this patch might make work things worse. I can use this system for security audits, right? We always have the security team wanting to come in and break stuff, but we don't want to let them. Sometimes it would be in our best interest to let that happen, but we just can't take the risk, right? So we can use these isolated environments. They're powered by Veeam data labs to do all that kind of testing, all those things we would never want to do in our production environment before.

Mike Matchett:                  And data labs, just for those who aren't familiar with that is a way to create an isolated environment to recover into and keep it on demand.

Melissa Palmer:                Exactly. It's a fully isolated environment that we create.

Mike Matchett:                  Yeah, on demand. Some of the things we were talking about doing involve taking copies of our production and now making other use of them. We also talked about a few compliance regs. I'm not very good at the acronym soup of compliance regs, but I know there's all sorts of them out there. How are you see people now use this Availability Orchestrator in sort of like the, give me some examples say, in financial services, or healthcare, or something.

Melissa Palmer:                Sure. Security audits are a big thing, but also being able to provide proof that these are the virtual machines that are in our plan. Here's what we actually do to them, and here's the proof that they can be recovered, and all the testing works, so we do a readiness tract to make sure the plan looks okay. We can take it a step further and do a virtual lab test, so spin up that data lab and actually go and verify that all those applications work. Then finally, in the event of an actual DR situation, we'll have a report, a plan execution report that tells us that everything has happened successfully.

Mike Matchett:                  Once you have this DR plan, it's pretty easy, I guess then to say, I want to move my data center to A or B.

Melissa Palmer:                Exactly.

Mike Matchett:                  But, also to change it and say, I actually now don't need to move it to C, and take the plan off the shelf, and really quickly change that plan to look at C.

Melissa Palmer:                Exactly.

Mike Matchett:                  Yeah. I think that when people say they have a DR plan, and then they only execute it once a year, if ever, it is-

Melissa Palmer:                If ever, that's a good point. DR planning and testing has always been so difficult that corporations say, we're going to test twice a year, but they never actually get to do it because there's so many other priorities, and it's going to take so long, there's going to be such an impact to resources.

Mike Matchett:                  And we were talking before, and I was searching for the word, and it's confidence, right?

Melissa Palmer:                Yes, confidence.

Mike Matchett:                  It's what you're trying to establish here is confidence. There's certainly a TCO advantage to doing things with a plan and an object where you can repeat it and automate it. But then, what you really want at the end of the day is confidence.

Melissa Palmer:                I want the confidence that my DR is actually going to work when I need it to, and I can do that through all the planning and testing with the VAO.

Mike Matchett:                  All right. So automation equals confidence and availability. Where can someone find out more about Veeam Availability Orchestrator? Where would you point them at?

Melissa Palmer:                Sure. Go to veeam.com. You'll find many resources on the Veeam website. And also, the VeeamOn Conference is upcoming. There'll be a number of tracks on VAO. There's a couple of sessions. I'll be leading one of them. So if you'd like to see me talk more about VAO in person, or you'd like to see anymore of our over 60 technical sessions at this conference, VeeamOn is the place to be. That's veeamon.com.

Mike Matchett:                  Awesome, awesome. Thank you for being on today, Melissa, and explaining that. I hope to have you on again and we'll maybe dive deeper into some of the details of disaster recovery. Thanks for being here.

Melissa Palmer:                Thank you so much for having me, Mike.