In the first part of this article we have discussed how easy and convenient is to use vSphere Tags with Veeam Backup and Replication jobs. As promised in this part we’ll now review the steps on how to manage vSphere Tags with Veeam One Business View. This solution in fact will help us importing, managing and assigning to multiple objects the pertinent tags in one go.
Assigning specific tags one by one to selected objects can be time consuming and not scalable for large environments. This is where Veeam One Business View comes handy when it relates to classify and group several objects. For example based on Business Unit, Department, SLAs and a lot more.
In order for Veeam One Business View to manage vSphere Tags we can start from existing tags, create new ones directly in Veeam One and even update the existing ones or leave them untouched. Pretty much complete freedom of choice on how to categorise all these assets in our Virtual Infrastructure. And this pretty much applies to Host, Clusters, Virtual Machines, Datastores and more.
Furthermore Veeam One Business View also include a dashboard which shows the status of groups and categories. Very useful to understand how many and which objects are “uncategorised”. An example? Let’s say we want to quickly spot all machines which are not protected or maybe belong or not to the intended Business Units, Departments or other groups in the Business.
Yes we can. We can quickly report on them and assign the pertinent tags.
As a follow up from the previous article we’ll use Veeam One to import and manage vSphere Tags created using the Virtual Center. The steps also include the process to manage vSphere Tags for individual and multiple objects at the same time.
Before proceeding a few details that can come handy. Within vSphere we can create Tags and associate multiple Tags into Categories. In Veeam One Business View we have Categories and associate multiple Categories into Groups. In addition, Veeam Categories can be Static or Dynamic. The former requires a manual assignment to the object. The latter automatically detects and assign itself to the object based on criteria we have defined. We can import existing vSphere Categories into Static Veeam Categories and automatically populate / map Veeam Groups with pertinent vSphere Tags. It will all make sense with some more screenshots, I promise!
At this point we are ready to start.
Manage vSphere Tags with Veeam One Business View
From the Veeam One Business View (usually on port 1340) let’s move to the Workspace Tab. This one shows all the object that still need to be associated to Static Categories. The object type drop down can be used to filter Clusters, Hosts, Storage and Virtual Machines. In this case the screenshot shows different virtual machines which need to be categorised.
The existing tabs are a combination of Statis and Dynamic Categories. The former unless a value is selected is showing “Uncategorized”. The latter automatically displays the associated with the object. In fact ADS2012R2 vm is sitting on the “Prod-VM” Datastore and so on.
Likewise when we filter to Storage view we can see all the Storage locations, either Shared or Local.
If we want to review or edit the values for the Tags it is sufficient to select the object and hit o Edit Category button (hidden in this screenshot). From here only the Static Categories are editable. The Dynamic ones are automatically populated. It is interesting to note we can also exclude objects from the categorisation process. So the entire process is very simple and intuitive.
If we move to the configuration tab now we have the option to review and edit Veeam Categories and Tags to manage vSphere Tags. For example in the Category view we can create both Static and Dynamic ones. The latter requires a “Grouping Expression”. More info on this one in a dedicated article.
The Groups View shows all the Categories associated to Groups. In the Datastore Group for example the Dynamic Category has automatically detected the names of the Datastores from the vCenter Environment.
Like I was mentioning at the beginning of the article the vSphere Tags will automatically populate the Static Categories in Veeam.
So the question at this point is: how do I make sure all vSphere Tags I want to manage can be imported in Veeam One?
Simple. All we need to do is either wait for next synchronization job in Veeam One Reporter or we can manually run this job as per screenshot below. We need to login to Veeam One Reporter component (usually on port 1239) and from the Configuration > Servers view we can check the schedule and start manually the synchronization. The Sessions view will actually show the progress.
Depending on the environment this operation can take a long time. But usually completes within few minutes even for large environments as it works with increments.
The Sessions view shows the progress and the status. Useful for troubleshooting and to understand last godd synchronization job.
At this point when all data is synchronized we can use Veeam One Business View to import and manage vSphere Tags. From the Configuration tab let’s move to the Import/Export view.
In this page we have many options to import and export data also through a CSV file. Very useful when importing data from Active Directory or Management Products. Editing a CSV can be a lot easier and also provides a “Backup” of all attributes and values.
At this point we are ready to run the wizard.
The wizard now detect new vSphere Categories. As per previous article these are Backup Policy, GRC Policy, Replica Policy and Storage Policy. OS and SLA are existing ones.
Now the wizard is not automatically mapping imported vSphere Categories as no suitable ones appear in Veeam Category column.
At this point let’s start creating the Veeam Static Categories which will be populated with imported vSphere Tags. First one will be “Backup Policy” from vSphere with the friendly name of “Veeam Backup Policy”. Let’s make sure to choose Group Type “Static” and object set to Virtual Machine. This way we can do the association. Additionally, we can also choose to exclude this group from main Dashboard as mentioned at the beginning of the article.
Let’s proceed with the remaining Categories and we’ll end up with something similar to this one.
At this point if we run the Import wizard now we can see the suggested mapping. Of course we can accept this or change with something suitable.
For each vSphere Category we can now review and manage vSphere Tags individually if desired. Also by adding a description. All this data will be saved into Veeam One database and not the vCenter one. vSphere Tags are still untouched.
Let’s review the mapping for all intended vSphere Categories we want to import or we can simply exclude them by mapping to a dash “-“.
When we visit the Groups view now we can see additional Groups populated with Categories. These Veeam Categories are vSphere Tags.
At this point from the workspace tab we can notice additional columns for categorization.
Let’s select one object, a virtual machine in this case and from Edit Category button we can review the values. We can now manage vSphere Tags with Veeam One Business View.
What if we want to apply/edit multiple categories to multiple objects?
Simple. Let’s select multiple objects at the same time and click on Edit Category. In this screenshot the option to manage vSphere Tags for multiple objects at the same time.
And there’s more! As per previous screenshot in Configuration > Import / Export view we can also export to a CSV and use a spreadsheet application for mass editing of multiple categories. And eventually also run a script to trigger other applications like for example Active Directory on a regular basis.
A sample scenario would be:
- New VMs are provisioned
- VMs join the Domain
- VMs are assigned to BU / Departments with Group Policies
- We can export from AD / Import to Veeam One new VMs
- Veeam One can automatically Tag VMs with specific Categories
- Veeam Backup and Replication jobs automatically resolve newly provisioned VMs based on Tags
There are plenty of other scenarios where a proactive approach with tagging is really helpful.
One more thing I would like to add: By default all Categories and Groups information are stored in Veeam One Database. vSphere Tags remain untouched. When we are ready and have tested Backup and Replication jobs we can also decide to synchronize Veeam Business View Categories and Groups back to vSphere Tags and Categories.
There’s a lot more still we can do with Veeam One Business View around categorizations. I will leave these to a more advanced article diving into custom attributes and grouping expressions.
The great news is such categorizations in Business View can also be used to create compelling Reports for the Business Owners which not necessarily need to have a full understanding of the infrastructure rather than the Applications they need to support which are key to their core business.