The purpose of this article is to quickly show the main steps for a Veeam VAO Failover plan. This is part of an article series dedicated to Veeam Availability Orchestrator (VAO). So far the initial steps included:
- Veeam VAO Server DR install
- VAO Server first configuration steps
- How to create a Veeam VAO Virtual Lab
- Installing the Veeam VAO Agents
At this point everything is ready to create the first Veeam VAO Failover plan. In this instance a simple Windows Server 2016 is used for testing. When creating the fail over plans in VAO the wizard offers several options that can be customised based on several requirements. Actually this is the opportunity to run the test and verify what is actual outcome vs. what it is expected. This is very important as when taking backups or replication jobs everything is working as expected. A different story is when outages happen and in case of disaster recovery knowing that particular applications work as expected is a different story.
Creating Veeam VAO failover plans provide the opportunity to further customise the behavior of such applications when recovered. In fact, it is possible to add and customise the so called “VM Steps”. A group of actions that Veeam VAO automatically executes and output the results into a document with the current status. These actions can range from simple heartbeat and ping to even more sophisticated services and applications status. This means that enterprise applications like Active Directory, Exchange, SQL, Oracle and more can also be verified before the fail over. And this includes the ability to create custom “VM Steps” for specific applications and configurations. For example scripts parsing the content of configuration files like Web servers and more. Any script that is manually executed in the Production environment can now be executed and verified when failing over a particular application.
Another important detail to consider is Veeam VAO will automatically read the VMware vSphere Tags. It is essential for replicated VMs to have tags. These will be used by Veaam VAO to capture the VMs replicas as part of the job configuration. This allows for example to create a subset of vSphere Tags used for Veeam VAO testing. When the results are satisfactory it is just a matter to assign the “right tags” in order to associate these VM replicas to the same Veeam VAO failover plan. This operation can also be done in bulk for multiple VMs using Veeam ONE.
Veeam VAO Failover plan configuration
In the main view the link to create Veeam VAO failover plans provides links to create, launch, verify and access the documentation generated by the execution of these plans.
From the Manage menu the option to create the VAO failover plan. This includes the fields for contact details. Very useful during failover scenarios as knowing the relevant resources for that particular application. All this information is automatically captured in the documentation VAO is generating.
Next is to select the vSphere Tag which identifies the VM replicas that should be part of this Veeam VAO failover plan. There are many examples on how to structure the tags and surely they are a flexible tool for all sorts of environments.
For each selected tag it is also possible to review which virtual machines are included. This is also an opportunity to make sure the plan scope is targeting the correct VMs. This info are automatically retrieved from the VAO Agents installed on the Veeam VBRs managing the vCenter environment.
During the execution of the plan it is possible to set default actions:
- if any VM recovery fails
- if VM recovery should be simultaneous or sequential
- maximum number of simultaneous recoveries
A very important part of the fail over plan consists in the execution of the “VM Steps”. There are plenty of existing steps already shipping with the Veeam VAO server and ready to use. Additionally the option to create custom ones by using PoweShell or Bash scripts based on the operating system type. More on this in a dedicated article.
For each VM replica where the fail over occurred also the ability to protect the application with a custom Backup job. Traditionally this backup job will be executed either from the standalone VBR in the DR Site or the one embedded in the Veeam VAO server.
With regard to the automatic documentation the wizard offers the option to use either a PDF or DOCX format. Veeam VAO already provides a default template and of course these can be fully customised using the most popular editors for PDF and DOCX formats. More on this in a separate article.
For plans that are executed more often and with constant changes it makes sense to automatically update the reports generated. So within dynamic environments it is easier to have a fail over documentation that is always up to date.
As a last screen in the wizard the summary which shows the main settings for the Veeam VAO failover plan. Now that the plan is created, next step is to run test and validate the VM replica. This provides the option to review and tweak settings also within the plan and also gives the opportunity to understand the dependencies with other applications. Useful in disaster recovery scenarios.