The different flavours of application hosting

When it comes to application hosting, and all things cloud, there is no single way of achieving the desired end solution.

This can often cause confusion for developers, as Infrastructure solutions come in a variety of ‘flavours’, where you can design the best platform for your software. From operating systems to fire walls, all elements can be customised. This is why partnering with an experienced vendor is important.

At a basic level, there are two well noted platform options for hosting software. These are Single-tenant SaaS, which is actually a basic hosting method, and Multi-tenant SaaS. These can then be supported by different layers of managed hosting, often provided by the cloud vendor.

Single-tenant SaaS or Hosting

application hostingSingle tenant SaaS is actually just plain and simple hosting, that has been swept up in the cloud acronym trend. With this ‘single-tenant SaaS’ method, the developer would have a dedicated Private Cloud platform for their business. Each of the developer’s customers would then have an individual, isolated stack dedicated to them.

Typically, this means that customer application is more isolated from other customers applications and that the developer can change each application to suit the customer if it’s required. This means that, if needed, customers can run on different versions of the software.

Multi-tenant SaaS

Application Hosting in this manner is delivered through an infrastructure platform, which is shared with other customers that belong to a vendor. All data and resources are separate and isolated from other customers but they all operate on the same platform infrastructure.

There are a number of advantages for a developer choosing to host their application in this way.

Firstly, upgrades are managed for all of the users on the platform and upgraded simultaneously.

This means that the developer doesn’t have to manage patches and upgrades, they’re automatically applied.
Secondly, developers don’t have to worry about scaling hardware in reflection to business growth as the vendor manages this. They can also easily scale up or down the requirements in your rented area, as needed.

Critical bugs are typically fixed faster and if any issues should occur on the platform, the vendor support team will be able to duplicate the environment quickly for testing, this should help reduce support time.

The future of SaaS

If you work with a competent cloud hosting provider then there are infinitely more advantages to utilising a multi-tenant SaaS environment. This is why it’s quickly becoming the norm for businesses utilising cloud technology.

Whichever form of application hosting your chose to deliver your software with, overall the cloud provides an array of business benefits for developers that were previously unavailable. Some of which include the ability to access new customers internationally, simplicity in performing proof of concepts, lower total cost of ownership, and painless upgrades.

These features are driving the industry forward and this fast paced cloud division is not set to slow down, in fact, by 2020 it’s estimated that the industry will be worth $132.57 Billion.

SaaS and your business

Whether you’re a budding software developer new to the cloud, or an experienced software house interested in changing providers then we can help. Our team has worked with software houses in a variety of sectors, helping them to grow and develop their software business in the cloud.

We provide a trusted and highly available solution that’s managed by people who you can talk to, usually at a fraction of the price of International brands.

We’d like to prove that we can help you, which is why we also offer a free 30 day proof of concept and trial. For more information, please contact the team.

How to perform a Veeam Cloud Connect partial failover

In the event of a disaster, utilising Veeam Cloud Connect ensures that data can be accessible again within a matter of minutes.

When a customer replicates to our platform they have two options for failing over VMs, these are full or partial failovers.

What’s the difference between full and partial failovers with Veeam Cloud Connect?

A Partial Failover is where customers can failover their VMs one at a time with the assumption the customers platform is still live and only a specific VM or VMs are experiencing issues

Customers will only perform a full site failover if a customer’s platform has been destroyed and they require all the VMs failing over. They will failover via a ‘Failover Plan’, which should have been created and tested previously.

This guide is a walk through on how to perform a partial failover of a VM within the Veeam Backup & Replication Console.

Partial failover walk through:

First of all, if you haven’t already, you need to create a replication job. Point it towards your  ‘Hardware Plan’ / Cloud host and ensure it finishes successfully.

 

veeam cloud connect - partial failover

 

Now, the best way to test the functionality of the ‘Partial Failover’ is to ensure another machine on the source network can ping the VM on the LAN IP address once failed over. This will ensure the VPN connection to the ‘Service Provider’ side is working successfully.

Here it is pinging successfully on the LAN before any failover has taken place. You can also see the tracert is going directly to the target, as you’d expect on the LAN, pay attention to the change following the failover.

 

veeam cloud connect - partial failover

Now, before we start the failover. We will navigate to the ‘Replicas’ section to ensure the replica is ready to be failed over. To do this, navigate to the following area:

Backup & Replication > Replicas > Ready > Ensure ‘Replica’ status is set to ready.

 

veeam cloud connect - partial failover

 

For this test, I am going to power off the source VM to stage a VM failure. As you can now see, the IP address is no longer pinging:

veeam cloud connect - partial failover

 

We can now begin the ‘Partial Failover’ within the Veeam console.

Within the ‘Replicas’ section, right click the VM you want to perform a ‘Partial Failover’ with and select ‘Failover Now’:

 

veeam cloud connect - partial failover

 

 

Now within the failover wizard, the customer can choose which restore point they would like to failover to (usually the most recent).

 

veeam cloud connect - partial failover

 

 

Once selected, they can input a restore reason, this is optional.

 

veeam cloud connect - partial failover

 

Click next.

 

veeam cloud connect - partial failover

 

We can now select ‘Finish’ and begin the partial failover process.

Now the log will appear, summarising what steps are currently being implemented. This part of the process can take several minutes, but it will keep you informed of when the failover has successfully completed.

 

veeam cloud connect backup and replication

 

Following several minutes, you should see the VPN tunnel successfully establish.

 

veeam cloud connect replication

Once we see this, we can try to ping the VM once again and we should see some pings!

Veeam cloud connect backup and replication

As you can see, the VM is now pinging and there is a slight difference to with the tracert from earlier. You can now see it is taking an additional ‘hop’ through the IP of the NEA.

You should now find the VM is available on the network as if it was powered on in the live environment. You can RDP, browse to the network shares etc. The VM however is powered on in the failover site and being accessed via the VPN connection between the tenant and Service Provider network extension appliances.

We hope you found this helpful!

 

How to create failover plans with Veeam Cloud Connect

When using Veeam Cloud Connect replication, to protect your critical VMs and initiate a smooth full site failover, you need a failover plan in place.

This blog outlines the steps and configuration needed to create the failover plan on the customer’s Backup & Replication console.

First, navigate to the ‘Backup & Replication’ tab and then expand ‘Replicas’ then right click on ‘Failover Plans’. You then want to configure either the ‘Cloud VMware’ or ‘Cloud Hyper-V’.

Veeam cloud connect failover

On the first step of the ‘Cloud Failover Plan’ wizard enter a name for your failover plan and a description. This can be useful if you’re going to be creating multiple failover plans.

Click Next.

Within the next page of the wizard, we will be picking which VMs we want to use within this failover plan. This will usually be all VMs protected with Veeam Cloud Connect Replication.

After selecting the VMs, we can set a delay for each VM. This is usually handy if you want specific VMs to be booted first such as RD Gateway servers, Domain Controllers etc.

Once we are happy, we can proceed to the next step and click ‘Next.

Now we will be shown a summary of our ‘Default Gateways’. This should be the default gateway of the production network you are replicating.

 

If it is not correct, we can always amend it by clicking on the ‘Manage default gateways’ option at the bottom right hand corner.

Now we can begin configuring the NAT rules.

The NAT rules are an essential part of the failover plan. If customers are replicating application machines, which require specific ports opening or NAT rules configuring. Here is the place they do it.

Now they will be configured for each VM rather than a generic rule. I have found that the most critical rule to create is simply the RDP rule. This will be port 3389, NAT from the public address to the internal address. These rules are transferred or copied to the Network Extension Appliance on the Service Provider side. As previously mentioned, it acts as a firewall also for the failover VMs.

Finally, we will be shown a summary of the failover plan.

Now that the failover plan is configured, the customer has a few options:

  • Start – This will start the failover plan from the most recent restore point(s)
  • Start to… -This will present an option to choose a restore point to start the failover plan from.
  • Test – This invokes a test failover. It will not touch the live VMs, but it will power on the failover VMs and ensure they respond to pings and boot correctly.

An example of a test failover is attached below:

How frequently should you test your Disaster Recovery strategy?

Creating a Disaster Recovery plan is essential, yet despite this fact, half of recovery plans are tested less than once a year.

Recent findings suggest that businesses still fail to realise that for a Disaster Recovery(DR) plan to be effective, it needs to be regularly tested. When creating its latest Infographic, CloudVelox uncovered that infrequent testing is actually putting businesses at substantial risk.

This information also correlates to virtualDCS findings, where the team uncovered that 35% of Yorkshire businesses do not have a Disaster Recovery plan in place.

Disaster Recovery strategy 1

 

Why are companies not testing?

Industry experts suggest that the anticipated costs associated with implementing a Disaster Recovery plan may actually be deterring companies from testing. Perceived costs could include consulting time, downtime and reduced productivity. However, this is nothing compared to the cost of being unable to access data after an incident.

In addition to this, the CloudVelox survey also discovered that 58% of IT departments actually lack the internal resources to support the required business continuity tests, with 34% of participants stating that the overall process is too complex.

 

Disaster Recovery strategy

Frequent testing

Unfortunately, there is no set rule for how often you should test your Disaster Recovery plan, however, the more testing companies conduct, the more efficient they are when reacting to an incident.

It’s recommended that the business completes a cost-benefit analysis, to work out the right testing strategy for the company, exploring RPO and RTO options. This will also help avoid spending more time on your DR than your data is worth.

For advice on protecting your systems and creating an effective Business Continuity plan, contact the team.

We’re currently offering a 14 day free trial on Veeam Cloud Connect technology, which provides simple and flexible protection.

How the cloud has improved Disaster Recovery

Taking advantage of the cloud makes Disaster Recovery solutions more cost effective and reliable.

It’s now crystal clear for businesses that in order for organisations to survive a Disaster Recovery incident, they need a strong Business Continuity plan in place. After all, only 6% of businesses that experience downtime without a plan will survive long term.

Prior to the cloud and solutions like Veeam cloud connect, traditional DR was typically time-consuming and expensive but thanks to innovation, customers can now take advantage of both backup and replication technology, with customisable Recovery Time Objectives (RPO) and Recovery Point Objectives (RTO).

Traditional solutions

Disaster RecoveryBefore cloud technology became the norm, most DR solutions were based around the process of physically storing information on external disks and then transporting this data off-site to a ‘secure’ second location.

Preparation and recovery time

As you’ve probably experienced, transferring large amounts of data can be time-consuming. Now imagine copying over hundreds of terabytes of data for a business.  Not only is it time-consuming, but the business would have also had to pay for the engineer to monitor the backups and ensure that the data transfer is successful. The organisation would then have to arrange for secure transportation to escort the files to another location.

Simplicity

Not only is the preparation time lengthy, in the event of an incident, an engineer would have to collect or arrange for the data to be transferred back to the primary site should an incident occur. They would then either have to restore all of the business data, which is a repeat of the lengthy process above or find the specific files that need restoring.

Managed services

With technology today, data can be protected instantaneously and transferred to a second location via the internet. When they are lost they can also be restored quickly. With customisable recovery points and times, businesses are truly in charge of their recovery process and even better, data is backed up or replicated automatically so there’s less human error involved, meaning the IT department can focus on more important aspects. If this isn’t suitable for your organisation, you could also completely outsource your disaster recovery solution to your cloud vendor.

Reduced costs

Through faster recovery times and reduced downtime, organisations are also preventing loss of income. As Recovery as a Service solutions are typically provided through a third-party cloud vendor the business avoids paying for engineers to complete mundane tasks such as backing up the information, they can be focusing their attention on other important areas of the business.

Not only this but by utilising a virtual service there is no need to purchase disk space to back up the data, let alone paying for a secure location to store the information. It’s also important to consider what would happen if a disk was to corrupt and the data was to become unavailable. If the business couldn’t justify any data loss, then two backups would have to be taken.

Security

Looking back, it’s also quite interesting to ponder how many businesses would have cut corners. How many IT managers actually stored the tapes offsite? Were they actually stored in a secure place or just in someone’s house? Were compliance regulations met? Thankfully, with modern Business Continuity solutions, these files can be stored offsite on a vendor’s platform as part of the solution.

For advice on protecting your business in the cloud, speak to the experts or take part in our 14 day Veeam Cloud Connect trial.

 

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