Managed agents, Veeam, physical workloads, Whats that about then?
Well then, Veeam has come full circle from its roots as a virtual infrastructure backup platform, to a full availability suite. Offering backups to the public cloud, Veeam cloud connect and now full management for physical Windows and Linux workloads. The Veeam Agent for Windows, formerly Veeam Endpoint Backup, has existed since April 2015 so it’s not a new idea from Veeam, however central management of the agents with Veeam Backup and Replication is. Let’s take a look at what this looks like in Veeam 9.5 U3.
What does it look like?
To give you some background on my setup, I was using a Veeam 9.5 U2 server as a target backup repository for Veeam Agent for Windows 2.0 (VAW). Other than seeing the backups in the backup repositories, there was nothing else that could be done as far as management of the agents. Now the environment has been upgraded to 9.5 U3, there is a new Inventory section where the agents can be managed from (or left unmanaged). One thing to note, passing management of the Agent to the Veeam Backup and Replication console removes the ability to edit the job schedule locally on the agent. The task tray icon is removed from the endpoint and it can not be ran. A paid for license also has to be applied to allow central management of the agent. I will cover this further down in the post. I am also only covering Workstation agent rather than the Server agent. its the same agent, just different license SKU.
Overview prior to Veeam Agent for Windows upgrades.
Clicking properties on Win7Demo shows some details, but it thinks the agent is not installed.
On the desktop we can still see the task tray icon is present.
And the current agent edition – Free, managed by VBR server
VAW Upgrade and Management.
At this point, everything looks good. We would like to upgrade the Veeam Agent to the latest version and initiate that upgrade from the Veeam Backup and Replication server. Veeam has a concept of protection groups. This is a group of agents that a common backup policy can be applied to. Agents can either be added manually or by Active Directory lookup. THe agents need to reside in a protection group before an agent upgrade can be initiated.
Right click the existing agent and move to new protection group.
Give the protection group a name.
I am adding an individual computer, you can choose another option if required.
Win7Demo computer present. You can lookup fully qualified machine names or add an IP address by clicking add.
Specify discovery intervals and specify whether or not to upgrade agent if it needs to.
Note that distribution server can be set to something geographically close to the computer in the protection group.
Review the deployment.
Finished. I opted to run a discover now.
The scan box should pop up and hopefully update the agent on the machine. The machines do require a reboot following upgrade. This can be performed as part of the upgrade or just wait until the machine has been rebooted.
Note, I did have some issues with this step initially with Veeam being unable to connect to the endpoint. I will cover the fix in a separate blog post.
Following the reboot of the agent, we can now see that it is present in the Demo Protection Group and some more info is displayed such as status, OS, IP address etc.
Now I mentioned that the task tray icon would disappear from the endpoint following the upgrade. You are unable to launch the application, if it is being managed by VBR server.
VAW Backup Job Creation.
Once the protection group has been created, a backup job for the agents needs to be defined, otherwise they will not do anything. Any previous job config that was defined locally on the agent is removed once the agent is managed by VBR.
Create a new backup job. Choose agents.
Choose the type of agent job to define. Note there is no Free mode here.
Add a protection group or computer to the job.
Choose the protection group created earlier.
Choose what level of backup is required. Entire Computer and Volume are block based backup, File level is just that.
Choose where to backup to.
Type in the details of the server the backups are going to be sent to. This option here suggests to me that agent management can be handled by one VBR server whilst backups could be sent to another VBR server. Why you would do this when geographically dispersed repositories can be handled by the same VBR server is achievable, I don’t know?
Select an available repository.
Set the backup schedule.
and done. Now I said this would not work with the free edition of Veeam agent. You will receive the following error.
Changing License Type.
Lets assume you have come this far and actually, you have purchased some licenses for the Veeam agents. This is how to apply a license to an agent running in free mode.
Click the Agent for Windows tab and then assign a license to the endpoint.
You may need to temporarily remove the endpoint from the agent backup job to be able to change the license type.
And that’s it. Manage the agents, create backup jobs, jobs a goodun.