Vembu 4.0 -What’s new?

Data protection provider Vembu are due to release the 4.0 version of their Vembu Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) suite 4.0 imminently.  This release is heavily focused on enhancing the existing features and adding new functionality related to Hyper-V backup.

Hyper-V Backup Enhancements

Cluster aware backups – previously if a VM was live migrated to a different host the backup would fail as the backup software could not find the VM on the host it was expecting. Vembu 4.0 adds cluster awareness so that a VM can be migrated to any host in the cluster and the backup will still work, this is an important feature to facilitate enterprise adoption

Shared VHDX backup – A shared VHDX allows a virtual hard disk to be shared between several VM’s, this is useful for example creating a cluster. Vembu 4.0 now supports the backup of these shared VHDX files

Application aware processing –  It is now possible to select application aware settings on a per VM basis for Hyper-V VMs

Vembu BDR 4.0 – What else is new?

Other new features in Vembu BDR 4.0 include:

VM Disk Inclusion – Prior to 4.0 when a new disk was added to a VM this would not be added to backups until the next scheduled full. Now that additional disk is backed up on the next run even if the scheduled backup is an incremental

Virtual hardware selection – You can now amend the hardware of a VM CPU, Memory disks etc when it is recovered

Storage detail API’s – APIs are now available to deliver analytics into storage.  Available metrics will include size of the VM, storage space utilized by the backup job, compression etc

Quick VM recovery job report – Reports on the status and information surrounding recoveries such as time, target hypervisor, recovery point used

Credential manager – this allows the credentials for all the VMs and hosts to be stored in a single place

Image backup resume feature – If a backup job is interrupted it is now able to resume the job from where it left off

Improved live recovery – When a live recovery is initiated an agent is pushed to the recovery VM for performing the restore

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

blockchain for business

Blockchain and the Enterprise

Understanding what is the blockchain can be difficult when first approaching the subject. A second challenge is understanding its relevance beyond cryptocurrencies and potential use for the enterprise.  This article seeks to give a high level overview on what the blockchain is and how it could be potentially useful tool to businesses.

How did Blockchain come about?

Blockchain technology was invented in 2008 when Satoshi Nakamoto published a proposal for a Peer to Peer electronic cash system.   Some mystery is added to the exact origins of the technology since Satoshi has never been identified and the name is likely to be a pseudonym for a person or group of people.

The Blockchain system that was proposed was a distributed ledger that allowed transactions to be recorded in a verifiable and permanent way between non trusted parties.

blockchain for business

How does it work?

The best way to understand the blockchain is to run through an example of a transaction, we will use the Bitcoin network since it is the best known example of a blockchain.

  • Transaction – A Bitcoin user spends Bitcoin, this is recorded in a transaction.
  • Blocks – Many thousands of transactions are occurring on the Bitcoin network, these individual transactions are grouped together and written into blocks every ten minutes.
  • Hash – Each block has a unique hash based on its content i.e. the transactions in the block.
  • Blockchain – As blocks are written they contain not only the transactions that have occurred but a link to the next and previous block. The link refers to the blocks unique hash, this chained group of blocks is called a blockchain.
  • Distributed – The blockchain is not held on a single system like in traditional IT but distributed across thousands of nodes across the world. Nodes in the Bitcoin network race to solve a math problem and become the first to add the next block to the blockchain.  When a node is first to add the next block it broadcasts the solution to its neighbours which in turn broadcast it to its neighbours, thus propagating it across the entire network. This enables all nodes to have a record of the same blockchain.

What are it’s Properties?

The design of the blockchain leads to have some unique properties:

  • Trustless – Blockchain has solved the challenge of transactions between trustless parties. Today we rely on institutions such as banks to ensure that every one plays fair in a transaction, blockchain removes the need for middlemen.
  • Decentralized – Blockchain systems are distributed across many nodes removing single points of attack and public blockchains do not require control by any one body, the architecture and code act as arbitrator. Code is law.
  • Immutable – Since each block is written with a unique hash and then linked to the previous and following blocks the vast computing power that would be required to recalculate an entire chain of blocks makes it immutable. The longer the chain the harder that it is to change.

Potential use cases?

Blockchains allow trust without trusted parties which becomes increasingly important as more transactions take place across the internet between untrusted parties at distance. But it is not just payment that blockchain is useful for, every asset you can think of cars, houses, land, software, artwork can be registered tracked and transferred via the blockchain. Some examples of companies currently using the blockchain:

Walmart supply chain management – As food products are transported to store they must go through several hops from producer to store, each step along the way the food could spoil if not managed correctly.  Blockchain allows the journey to be tracked between untrusted parties, and the results stored in an immutable form all have access to.  Walmart are working with IBM to deliver their blockchain solution.

De Beers Diamond tracking – De Beers are using blockchain technology to ensure that Diamonds have been ethically mined and their authenticity can be tracked as they are traded. CEO Bruce Cleaver told Reuters “It’s a huge public ledger, as immutable as anything invented, it’s a much more un-hackable system than anything on a single server.”

Ford, General Motors and BMW – Have joined a consortium to look at how the Blockchain can help the automotive industry.  They are utilising blockchain to track the identity and history of cars. Future plans include investigating blockchains role to collect data from multiple parties to facilitate insurance, energy, congestion, pollution infrastructure etc.

Sony – Is using blockchain for digital rights management DRM

Differences with a traditional database?

Blockchains are essentially a type of database, so when should an organisation consider deploying a blockchain rather than a traditional relational DB?  Blockchains whilst useful have a specific use case and will generally require significantly more computing power, be slower than a traditional DB plus require new skills to support it.

Blockchains will be a good choice when multiple untrusted parties require access to the system, immutability of data and security is important with scale and speed being less so.

Deployment options

When organisations have chosen to pursue using blockchain they have several deployment options.

Public v Private – First they must choose between creating their own blockchain or utilising an existing public blockchain such as Ethereum.  Public blockchain will allow quicker time to deployment and greater security due to the computing power of the network.  Choosing a private blockchain may be influenced by the need for greater control and the nature of the data stored and the laws governing it.

Self-hosted or BaaS – Several of the large cloud providers now have BaaS (Blockchain As A Service) offerings. This allows blockchain to be deployed in a cloud model allowing quick deployment, an opex model and reducing some of the complexity of the initial setup. BaaS are based on blockchains such as Corda, Hyperledger and Ethereum.

Conclusion

Blockchain has many interesting use cases but businesses using it should be clear on the unique business benefits it would deliver for them.  Often deploying a more traditional database would be simpler and give more performance.

Businesses that do decide to deploy blockchain G will need to invest the time to understand it and plan the deployment considering key decisions such as if to use a public or private blockchain and if to use a BaaS provider. Let us know in the comments if your business is considering using blockchain.

 

VeeamON Why Go

VeeamON Virtual

VeeamON is due to hit screens near you in the near future.  VeeamON is an online webinar held annually by Veeam covering data management tips and tricks, industry trends plus the latest product updates. The online webinar format makes it handy to fit around your work day, but like a transitional conference there will be a number of learning tracks available: Business, Technical or Cloud.

VeeamON Why Go

My picks for the sessions to watch will include Veeam Availability Suite 9.5 Update 4 . I like to see whats new with the product and the direction the team is taking it in.

Veeam predictions 2019 – Backup used to be boring, not now with an ever changing landscape of multi-cloud and massive data growth, I will be tuning into this one to see what Veeam thinks is around the corner.

Save your data securely off site with Veeam Cloud Connect – this should hopefully answer something customers regularly ask me about, Where can I offsite data? Should i use the cloud and how? Take a look at the agenda to see what other sessions are available.

There will also be chat rooms where you can ask any questions you may have.  I will be helping out in the chat rooms so pop in and say hi.

Registration is free