Recently Hornetsecurity announced the latest major release of their flagship data protection software VM Backup v9. VM Backup is a mature and feature-rich product, and in this post, we’ll look at the overall solution and latest functionality.
Data protection is more important now than ever before. Data and its corresponding digital services are at the heart of our modern lives. Organisations are extracting value and enhancing customer experience from data, whilst simultaneously ensuring data is available and durable for business continuity.
Cyber security is now on the agenda at executive boards regardless of industry. The potential impact of cyber-attacks, specifically ransomware, is now well publicised.
It’s great to see VM Backup v9 add a ransomware protection feature, storing an immutable copy of the data in the cloud. The immutability of the objects ensures that they cannot be deleted or changed, either accidentally or by a bad actor. Using cloud storage provides flexibility and cost efficiencies; cloud object storage is often cheaper than buying dedicated storage arrays because of the consumption-based pricing model.
VM Backup integrates natively with Azure Blob storage, AWS S3, and Wasabi for secure and seamless data transfer. What’s more, the Offsite Backup Server agent can be used with an IaaS VM to proxy data transfer to other cloud providers, like Google and Oracle.
The extension of hyperscaler support will please many organisations who are starting to utilise the capabilities of public cloud. For a lot of these companies, a hybrid-cloud operating model is the most likely approach. To this end, VM Backup offers full support for the latest releases of Azure Stack HCI (21H2) and Windows Server (2022).
Another popular approach for forward-thinking organisations is multi-cloud. A multi-cloud strategy helps ensure applications are running on the most suited platform, with higher levels of flexibility and availability. VM Backup can support multi-cloud strategies with the introduction of multiple offsite locations for virtual machine copies.
With so many options for running VMware and Hyper-V infrastructure, a potential challenge for dispersed environments can be operational consistency. Really pleased to see VM Backup tackle this with a consistent REST API, allowing backup administrators to scale environments through a consistent toolset.
Speaking of scaling, VM Backup v9 can now handle much larger environments, with more backup repository and long-term storage options. Improvements have been made to disk space utilisation and backup efficiencies; with automated disk space reclaim, and the ability to run more concurrent backups and tasks, reducing backup windows.
When it comes to backup storage, capacity requirements for local and offsite locations are reduced significantly with inline deduplication. This means only unique or changed data is sent to your backup repositories, creating incredibly fast backup speeds.
VM Backup further enhances an organisations disaster recovery strategy through WAN-Optimised Replication. This feature reduces the Recovery Time Objective (RTO), providing faster recovery, by creating a continuous copy of a virtual machine to a remote site. The IT team can switch to the remote copy (or copies) immediately should there be an issue at the primary site.
As I mentioned at the start, VM Backup is now a mature product and has built an impressive feature-set over time. This includes things like Continuous Data Protection (CDP) for improving Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) with backups as frequently as every 5 minutes, granular backup scheduling and retention policies, Cluster Shared Volumes support, live backups leveraging Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS), Grand-Father-Son-Archiving, and 3-2-1-1 backups. You can view the full list of features here.
The technical capabilities of a solution don’t paint the full picture. We really need to know how this solution will be adopted by teams such as IT Operations, Service Management, and Finance. As good as the feature-set is, and we’ve seen that so far in this article, there are some vital operational elements I’m pleased to say VM Backup excels at. Let’s take a look:
Operations – VM Backup is easy to install and configure out of the box. When it comes to protecting valuable business data, simplicity and reliability are key. VM Backup doesn’t require complex architectures or components, which means there is less to go wrong. The product is easy to use day-to-day with an intuitive User Interface (UI). Backup administrators don’t need extensive training courses to start using the software, and Hornetsecurity run a series of free webinars and demos which are all you need to get up to speed.
Support – Having support on a product is another critical element to maintain that reliability. The support model for VM Backup is exactly what you want, instant access to product experts through a variety of channels, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No chatbots or first line call screeners.
Licensing – VM Backup has flexible license and purchase options, whether you want perpetual licenses or a subscription. You can license environments per physical host or per virtual machine, and there are 3 paid for editions plus a free version. You can download a fully functional free 30-day trial of VM Backup to try for yourself here, without any sales walls.
In summary, VM Backup v9 for protecting VMware or Hyper-V virtual machines looks like an essential part of an IT administrator’s toolkit. The software is mature enough to boast an impressive list of features, whilst maintaining a cost-efficient licensing model.
I’m really pleased to see the ransomware protection included this time around, and the improvements to multi-site locations with native public cloud integration. Having these options with a consistent operating experience and REST API are going to help organisations with multiple platforms or who are transitioning to the cloud.
The number of awards and industry recognition VM Backup v9 has picked up speaks volumes. The easiest way to see if VM Backup is a good fit for your infrastructure is to try it out yourself, using the free 30-day trial with full functionality here.
The major announcement in San Francisco at VMware Explore US was vSphere 8 IA (Initial Availability) and some of the game-changing features to unlock the value of GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) and DPU (Data Processing Unit) hardware.
First off, the eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed the vSphere 8 release tagged as IA . This new iteration replaces the previous GA (General Availability) in the sense that it has been through all the previous quality controls and is production ready.
With perpetual and on-premises software, VMware has found that many customers will wait for the first service pack or update, before installing software on their production infrastructure. As the industry shifts to subscription and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), operational processes change as rolling feature updates are received. To reflect this, VMware has introduced IA allowing for a period of wide scale adoption and feedback, before certifying a build to be GA. This period of adoption and feedback from the field is typically expected to be 4-6 weeks, but can be anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months, and is designed to give customers more confidence and stability.
At VMware Explore Europe in Barcelona, following 4 weeks and 18,000 deployments with no major issues or escalations, VMware announced vSphere 8 GA. Some of the great new functionality includes:
Introduction of vSphere Distributed Services Engine (Project Monterey)
DPU offload for network, storage, and management services to improve performance
Enhanced Kubernetes run-time with TKG (Tanzu Kubernetes Grid) 2.0 and 2.1
The cloud capabilities delivered through the VMware Cloud integration include triage of alerts and events, global inventory view, anywhere VM provisioning, detection of configuration drift, and automated one-click updates of vCenter instances. You can read more in the VMware Project Arctic Graduates to vSphere+ overview.
Of course baked in to vSphere 8, comes vSAN 8. There are improvements to compression algorithms and native snapshot integration, but the big news is the new ESA (Express Storage Architecture).
With NVMe-based devices offering significantly greater performance than SAS/SATA, and prices steadily declining, the stage is set for NVMe to become the dominant storage technology in the coming years. The optional next-generation Express Storage Architecture provides a single tier pool of independent NVMe devices:
Cloud and Edge Infrastructure Announcements
On stage during the general session key note, VMware CEO Raghu Raghuram announced the latest initiatives and partnerships to the VMware private cloud portfolio.
First was HPE Greenlake for VMware. HPE Greenlake provides a pay-as-you-go cloud consumption model for HPE hardware; now fully integrated with VMware Cloud to include the VMware enterprise software overlay. More flexibility around payment and commitment terms for customers.
Next was VMware Cloud on Equinix Metal; combining VMware-managed and supported cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service, with Equinix automated bare metal and connectivity. This service will help extend cloud environments into distributed and metropolitan locations with consistent infrastructure and operations, for business-critical performance at the edge. Equinix are a major connectivity hub for many regions, with private, low-latency connectivity to private and public clouds, and access to thousands of IT and network providers through the Equinix Fabric Interconnection.
Later, William Lam introduced a plethora of VMware Sovereign Cloud product innovations and ecosystem services. Earlier in the year VMware released a framework of guiding principles and best practices to help partners deliver cloud services that adhere to data sovereignty requirements of a specific jurisdiction. This framework and reference architecture is about complete control, beyond individual areas like data residency. You can find out more on VMware Sovereign Cloud in the VMware Sovereign Cloud Overview.
Several developer ready services were announced for the VMware Sovereign Cloud solution at Explore Europe; such as sovereign Kubernetes clusters with multi-tenant Tanzu Standard, and support for air-gapped Tanzu Application Platform and Tanzu Mission Control deployments. Meanwhile Tanzu Application Catalog can now provide a sovereign application pipeline.
The partner ecosystem also gained a significant upgrad. Key Management as-a-Service is now available with Fortanix, and data protection and Ransomware Defense as-a-Service through Veeam and Cloudian. Various data services, lakehouses, and compliance solutions were also added. You can see the full list here!
VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery (VCDR) was upgraded with purpose-built Ransomware Recovery-as-a-Service (now GA). On top of the existing functionality, Ransomware Recovery will:
Identify recovery point candidates with dedicated ransomware recovery workflow and guided deep snapshot history, such as change rate and risk of infection vs data loss
Validate recovery points with NGAV (Next-Gen Anti-Virus) and behavioural analysis
Prevent reinfection at recovery with on-demand IRE (Isolated Recovery Environment) and VM network isolation
There was good news for multi-cloud resilience fans, with technical preview of Site Recovery pairings between VMware Cloud on AWS and Azure VMware Solution. Let’s look at what else was revealed for Azure VMware Solution:
Azure VMware Solution is now part of VMware Cloud Universal providing more financial flexibility, savings, and buying options
Log Insight Cloud for Azure VMware Solution is now available for log analysis, audit, and monitoring integration
Support for Azure Arc now extends Azure governance and management into vSphere
New independently-scalable storage with Azure NetApp Files
Improved internet connectivity options with simple AVS managed SNAT gateway, and Azure Public IP to NSX Edge support
Next, at the enterprise edge VMware announced Edge Compute Stack 2.0. The Edge Compute Stack provides an integrated edge platform delivering real-time intelligence. Building on last years v1.0 release, v2.0 adds GPU passthrough support for AI & ML (Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning), vendor-agnostic AIOps, and a smaller cluster size to run efficiently on smaller off-the-shelf hardware. The Edge Compute Stack has vSphere, vSAN, TKG, and SDWAN/SASE all built-in.
At VMware Explore US Project Northstar made its debut in tech preview. This is a really exciting new project promising to deliver SaaS-based multi-cloud networking and security services to the masses. We’ve already seen how projects like Arctic and Monterey have become fully fledged features or products after their announcement. The immediate benefits that jump out from Project Northstar are scalable lateral security, flexible consumption, and faster time to value. Let’s drill down further:
Policy as-a-Service – manage networking and security policies centrally for all clouds, with a single touch point and consistent controls and policies across sites and regions
NSX Intelligence as-a-Service – enhance security planning and visibility with NSX Intelligence offering real-time visualisation, recommendations, and insights on threats and behavioral anomalies
NDR as-a-Service – scalable threat detection and response with Network Detection and Response (NDR); analyses IDPS (Intrusion Detection and Prevention System), malware, and anomalies for a single , simplified SOC monitoring process aligned to the MITRE ATT&CK framework
Advanced Load Balancing – (ALB) cloud hosted controllers that can be used standalone or in conjunction with other Project Northstar SaaS services
Workload Mobility – workload mobility as a service with fully managed workload migration and secure connectivity across multiple sites
To support these initiatives, at VMware Explore Europe HCX+ was announced to provide central management, automation, orchestration, and observability for workload migration, repatriation, and rebalancing initiatives across clouds. Deeper insights and a unified dashboard for licensing, threat telemetry, and proactive support were also added to VMware NSX Advanced Load Balancer’s PULSE Cloud Service.
Finally, at Explore Europe VMware unveiled Carbon Black XDR to extend VMware’s visibility and detection to VMware Carbon Black Enterprise EDR. The new XDR solution enhances lateral security using telemetry from VMware Contexa, which records and processes over 1.5 trillion endpoint events and over 10 billion network flows each day, along with strategically captured data through technology partnerships.
Cloud Management Announcements
Throughout VMware Explore US and Explore Europe, VMware announced the next chapter in their multi-cloud management story; introducing VMware Aria, a unified management solution for cloud native applications and multi-cloud.
VMware had previously been developing cloud management products under the vRealize banner. Whilst these are great products they offer individual perspectives to different personas and teams. As IT moves away from traditional silos and more towards Cloud Center of Excellence (CCOE) models, a unified end-to-end service is required. With the addition of CloudHealth and Tanzu Observability also providing FinOps and DevOps capabilities for cloud management, VMware has taken the opportunity to launch not only a single portfolio, but a new centralised single platform.
VMware Aria is absolutely not just a rebranding of the vRealize Suite, and here’s why:
VMware Aria Graph provides a near-real time single source of truth for all operations and events, with unified GraphQL API for developers and operations
VMware Aria Hub provides centralised views, relationships, and controls for managing the entire multi-cloud environment from a single interface, powered by Aria Graph
The word ‘aria’ actually means a single voice above all others, and summarises perfectly the value of the new Aria Hub and Aria Graph. What’s more, at VMware Explore Europe a free tier of VMware Aria Hub powered by VMware Aria Graph was announced. The new free tier will allow you to understand the relationships of your resources and policies for up to 2 native public cloud accounts (currently from either AWS or Azure).
We now have end-to-end management across clouds, and as well as ongoing innovation within each of the product sets, VMware are also announcing new end-to-end overarching solutions for multi-cloud:
VMware Aria Guardrails – enforcement automation for networking, security, cost, performance, and configuration across clouds
VMware Aria Migration – assessment, planning, and execution automation for the multi-cloud migration journey
VMware Aria Business Insights – full-stack event correlation with AI & ML analytics to present relevant business insights across clouds
In terms of features, we heard about Tanzu Mission Control integration with Aria Automation (formerly vRealize Automation), and a new application dashboard for Aria Operations for Networks (formerly vRealize Network Insight).
Aria Operations Cloud (formerly vRealize Operations Cloud) now supports synthetic monitoring to track the performance and availability of public facing applications. At Explore Europe, Aria Operations 8.10 was announced. The latest release will include a no-code management pack builder, to expand operations anywhere that has a Rest API. Capabilities for public cloud monitoring, using Telegraf agent, and basic actions for AWS, Azure, and GCP virtual machines were also added, as well as support for Raw Device Mappings (RDM).
Log analysis hasn’t always been the most exciting of topics, but there were some big announcements for Aria Operations for Logs (formerly vRealize Log Insight) at Explore Europe. The first was Log Root Cause Analysis (RCA), which will save hours on log forensics. Log RCA will take a specified date and time, and use Machine Learning (ML) to sift through potentially millions of logs, before presenting back outliers relavant to a breakage or major issue. A confidence score is provided and the operator can dig deeper into the individual events. Log Compare will allow simultaneous queries to be run side-by-side. There were also content packs released for Azure VMware Solution (AVS) and Oracle Cloud VMware Solution (OCVS).
Modern Apps Announcements
The latest updates to Tanzu Kubernetes Grid (TKG) were announced at Explore US (v2.0) and Explore Europe (v2.1). TKG 2.x introduces a new unified API (ClusterClass) for declarative state deployment, scale, and lifecycle management. ClusterClass support for the supervisor cluster was brought in with TKG 2.0, followed by management cluster support in TKG 2.1.
Tanzu Application Platform (TAP) 1.3 has brought in Red Hat OpenShift support, and Jenkins CI/CD integration. TAP 1.3 air-gap support was added for disconnected and highly regulated environments, as well as secure software supply chain enhancements and supported vulnerability scanners. You can read the full list of announcements in Tanzu Application Platform Updates.
Finally, enhancements were made to Tanzu Service Mesh Advanced, allowing operators to automatically discover Kubernetes clusters across multiple clouds, and onboard them for secure connectivity.
Anywhere Workspace Announcements
The big news in the SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) space was the new SD-WAN client to provide consistent connectivity, performance, and security capabilities to remote and mobile workers. The SD-WAN client will enable zero trust security, integrated AIOps for end-user experience visibility, Dynamic Multipath Optimisation for fast and reliable connections, and access to a worldwide network of SASE Points of Presence (PoPs) for multi-cloud access. SDWAN and SASE continue to grow this global connectivity by also adding new PoPs and delivering VMware Private Mobile Network.
At VMware Explore US and Europe, VMware presented a strategic north star vision of autonomous workspaces – self-configuring, self-healing, self-securing – as the future of hybrid work. To support this vision, product enhancements were made across virtual apps and desktops, anywhere workspace, security, and digital employee experience. Let’s take a look:
New next-gen Horizon Cloud thin-edge architecture reduces infrastructure costs and increases scalability, the API-driven console also extends automation and integration capabilities
At Explore Europe VMware announced that existing Horizon 8 on-premises environments will be able to connect to the Horizon Cloud control plane for consistent management
Phew.. that’s it for another year! A huge congratulations to all the Customer Achievement Award Winners, including in the UK The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and to Lloyds Banking Group for taking to the main stage during the general session!
VMware Explore is the new flagship conference from VMware. This year the Europe event is back to real life, hosted in Barcelona November 7-10 2022. Explore replaces VMworld and has big shoes to fill; the latter running for a consecutive 18 years and attracting a combined 35,000+ visitors each yeah across 2 different regions.
VMware is known across the industry for innovation. First pioneering virtualisation, then the software defined datacentre, and more recently the multi-cloud universe. The new Explore event expresses some of the transformational areas of the VMware portfolio like modern applications and multi-cloud.
Although there is no hybrid or digital offering, many of the in-person sessions will be recorded and added to the VMware Explore Video Library, along with a significant amount of on-demand technical content. Check back to the Video Library after the event, as accessing the content is free of charge with a Customer Connect account.
You can browse the 300+ sessions in the VMware Explore 2022 Europe Content Catalog, or check out some of the interesting sessions I have pulled out below. What’s more, the back catalog of VMworld sessions from 2021 and 2020 is also available to view for free in the Video Archive. It’s great to see so many customer success stories this year, as well as several themes that tie in with the wider UK Public Sector policies and initiatives.
Public Sector and Customer Sessions
The Royal Air Force – Gaining Information Advantage [DOSB1822EUR]
Kingston University: Customer Journey with HCX [MCB3058EUR]
Police Pursuits and Microsoft Azure: Surrey and Sussex Police Talk SD-WAN [CEI1930EUR]
Migration to Cloud Using VMware Cloud on AWS: Police Digital Services [CEIB2777EUR]
Unleashing the power of AI in Healthcare with Nvidia and VMware [VIB8000EUR]
The Future of Healthcare was Yesterday [VIB2027EUR]
Keeping a University Medical Centre running during a VCF transition [MCLB1452EUR]
EDGE and IoT, the Next Public Sector Revolution? [CEIB1819EUR]
#TechForGood – Breaking Cycles of Criminality & Poverty in Criminal Justice [VIB2462EUR]
UK’s National Crime Agency is fighting crime with Horizon, NSX and Nvidia [SECB1455EUR]
Transforming the network of the UK’s largest public service department to improve citizen experience and increase efficiency [CEIB2901EUR]
Accenture Partners with VMware for Multi-Cloud Load Balancing Strategy [NETB3072EUR]
Deploy a Simplified and Resilient Disaster Recovery: Capgemini Success Story [CEIB2402EUR]
Data Spaces: enabling the digital economy [VIB2915EUR]
Multi-Cloud Adoption Framework: Moving from Chaos Cloud to Smart Cloud in 5 Steps [CXS2947EUR]
Need to Migrate Thousands of Workloads? No Problem! [CXS4056EUR]
A Way to Get from Cloud A to B – An App Migration Story [CMB2229EUR]
10 Exciting Things to Know About VMware Cloud Flex Storage [CEIB1327EUR]
Secure Your vSphere Workloads in VMware Cloud [CEIB1446EUR]
What’s New in Azure VMware Solution [MCLB1426EUR]
Google Keynote – Accelerate Transformation with Google Cloud VMware Engine [MCLB3096EUR]
Bring the Power of Google Services to Google Cloud VMware Engine [MCLB3097EUR]
Horizon on Google Cloud VMware Engine: Deployment and Migration Deep Dive [MCLB3098EUR]
Planet Scale Networking for Google Cloud VMware Engine [MCLB3099EUR]
A Unified Cloud Management Control Plane – Update on VMware Aria [CMB2210EUR]
Reduce IT Downtime and Maximize Productivity with Proactive Intelligence [CMB2525EUR]
How VMware IT Optimized Carbon footprint in Datacenters utilizing vRealize Operations [NETB2242EUR]
An Overview of Cost and Capacity Management in vRealize Operations [CMB2339EURD]
A Better Way to Onboard and Govern Native Public Clouds – AWS, Azure and GCP [CMB2355EUR]
Innovation and Self Development
Formula 1: No-Limits Engineering Delivered at the Edge by VMware and Lenovo [CEIB2262EUR]
Compelling New Innovations from the VMware Office of the CTO [VIB1542EUR]
Design Thinking in IT [VIB2801EUR]
How to Thrive in Today’s Remote or Hybrid Workplace [PCB4022EUR]
How to Justify What Cloud Training is Needed by Your Team [CXS1344EU]
Acquiring Practical Cloud Native, Kubernetes and Open Source Skills [OSB1812EUR]
Career Growth Fireside Chat: Cloud Path [PCB4024EUR]
Career Growth Fireside Chat: Security Path [PCB4017EUR]
10 Amazing Innovations in vSphere 8 That You Absolutely Need to Know [CEIB1574EUR]
Technical Overview of vSAN 8 and vSAN Express Storage Architecture [CEIB2172EUR]
60 Minutes of Virtually Speaking LIVE: Accelerating Cloud Transformation [MCLB2804EUR]
End User Computing
Create the Future of Candidate & Employee Experience in the Digital Space [EUSB1936EUR]
How BMW Delivers a VDI in 10 Minutes or Less [EUSB1814EUR]
On the Front Lines: Workspace ONE for Frontline Workers Technical Deep Dive [EUSB2082EURD]
Explore the Future of VDI and DaaS with VMware Horizon [EUSB4003EUR]
Horizon Cloud Service on Microsoft Azure: Nuts and Bolts [CXS1894EUR]
Architecting Multi-Cloud Horizon [EUSB2088EURD]
What’s New with Horizon 8? [EUSB2095EURD]
Load Balancing Use Cases for VMware Horizon [MCL2478EURD]
Networking and Security
Enforcing a Strong Zero Trust Ransomware Defense [SECB1960EUR]
A Light in the Darknet: Stopping Cyberthreats with SASE [CEIB1234EUR]
How Can Great User Experience Improve Security? [EUS1350EUR]
VMware SASE: What’s New and What’s Next [CEIB1892EUR]
Workspace ONE + SD-WAN – The First Step into SASE [CEIB1672EUR]
VMware SD-WAN Makes Working From Home Seamless [PCM3009EUR]
Evolve SD-WAN Use Cases for Enterprise, Government, Home, Cloud and Beyond [CEIB1931EUR]
SD-WAN to transition a global corporate WAN from MPLS [NETB2418EUR]
Day in The Life of a Cross Functional Security War Room [SECB2988EUR]
Defining XDR with Forrester and the XDR Alliance [SECB2360EUR]
Supercharge the Implementation of Micro-Segmentation with NSX Intelligence [NETB2791EUR]
Delivering Ransomware Protection with VMware NSX, VMware Carbon Black, and VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery [SECB1237EUR]
First Line of Defense: Secure Ingress Before Attacks Reach Your Apps [SECB2152EURD]
Flexible Cyber DRP in the cloud with VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery (demo) [CEIB2721EUR]