Every day, we learn a company has experienced a serious disaster in the operation of the IT infrastructure, which has led to serious financial loss and reputational impact. System failure is the first thing that comes to mind when possible risks are calculated for the operation of IT services and the organization as a whole. However, more often than not there are other reasons: the human factor, equipment disruptions, power cuts, malware, data corruption. All this can lead to a complete shutdown of systems and applications. The successful emergency switchover to a backup site (planned or urgent) will be poor if you don’t take care to the process, the switching plan / Recovery Plan, and if you don’t update it in a timely manner and don’t test it at the right time. Incorrectly specified dependencies of Machines and Applications, undocumented changes, incorrect processes, unverified applications and services, the incorrect sequence of Virtual Machines started from Replicas are just some of the problems that can prevent successfully switching both one application and the whole data center. For this reason, Veeam recently released a new Veeam Availability Orchestrator solution to automate the management of VM replicas when switching to a backup site (the first version of the solution supports Virtual Machines on the VMware vSphere platform).
This article provides a step by step guide to install Veeam Availability Orchestrator (VAO) (version 1.0). VAO allows ensuring Disaster Recovery compliance through a reliable, automatically tested and documented DR plan (automated Disaster Recovery and Recovery Plan, automated documentation DR plan, automated testing with Virtual Labs etc.).
The plan for switching to the backup site is an integral part of the plan of action in the event of an accident and a Disaster Recovery (DR plan). So, if critical applications depend on one another on Virtual Machines, then in order to protect the system’s operability (crash), it’s necessary to failover to Replicas of these VMs with a specific timeline (first Domain Controller, then Exchange etc.). To automate the process, a Failover Plan is created from Veeam Backup & Replication.
Veeam Availability Orchestrator includes:
- Veeam Availability Orchestrator,
- Veeam Backup & Replication Enterprise Plus (built-in),
- Veeam ONE (built-in),
- Microsoft SQL Server Express.
Important: Embedded product editions are licensed only to support Veeam Availability Orchestrator (VAO) and are not intended for their full-featured use in a production environment. If you have already deployed Veeam B&R then keep in mind that to work with the new solution its version should be 9.5 Update 3 (and higher), and the Enterprise Plus edition, since the API required for integration with Veeam Availability Orchestrator, is presented only in this edition. Note that the product cannot be installed on the same machine where Veeam Backup & Replication or Veeam ONE is already running.
The interaction scheme of the components is shown in the figure below:
- VMware vSphere 5.x et 6.x,
- Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 U3,
- License Enterprise Plus,
- IMPORTANT: Installation of the VAO server on a machine already running Veeam products is not supported.
- Deployment Modes.
You can specify ports to be used by Veeam Availability Orchestrator components.
- Server communication port: 8888,
- WCF service port: 12348,
- Web UI port: 9898,
- RESTful API port: 9899.
Running the Installer:
Veeam Availability Orchestrator: You have to run the installation file “Setup.exe”.
Note: Before proceeding with the installation, the installer will check whether you have Microsoft .NET Framework installed on the machine. In case .Net Framework is missing, the wizard will offer to install it automatically. To do that, click OK. The installation will require performing a reboot. Click “Reboot” in the warning message to acknowledge the reboot.
Note: You can aslo install via this setup the other components: Veeam Backup & Replication, Veeam Backup Enterprise Manager and Veeam Backup & Replication Console. Click on “Veeam Availability Console Install” button:
In the Veeam Availability Orchestrator section of the splash screen, click “Install” button.
Once Veeam Availability Orchestrator Setup window is opened, accept the terms in the license agreement (“I accept the terms in the license agreement”) and click on “Next” button.
Choose VAO components to be installed. If necessary, you can change the installation directory.
The next screen will require the license file. Browse the license file and click on “Next” button (.lic):
Then click on “Install” button to deploy missing features (Microsoft ASP .NET 4.5 etc.).
When all required software is installed, click “Re-run” button to repeat verification.
A prompt will appear for the Service Account Credentials. It is strongly suggested adding a service account, the account must be a member of the Local Administrators group. The username must be specified in the DOMAIN\USERNAME format. If the default domain admin was used, this is a great opportunity to create a new account. The supplied user account must have owner rights to the Veeam Availability Orchestrator database. In my lab, I used a Service account (domain: OriginalNetwork.local). Click on “Next” button.
Click on “Next” button.
At the Default Configuration step of the wizard, check “Let me specify different settings” box. Click “Install” to begin the installation.
During VAO installation, by default, the setup will install Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Express to host VAO databases. The option “Install new instance of SQL Server” will be checked (Veeam will detect the existing database in use if the software has been already installed before). If you want to use an existing local or remote Microsoft SQL Server instance, you will also be able to configure used ports, choose an SSL certificate to secure traffic between the VAO UI and a web browser, and select local folders where Veeam Availability Orchestrator, Veeam ONE and Veeam Backup & Replication components will store data cache. Here I used Veeam B&R instance of SQL Server installed on the same Virtual Machine. You can specify credentials explicitly or use Windows authentication credentials. Note that the account must have System Administrator rights on the selected SQL Server instance. Click on “Next” button. Note: You can follow this post if you need to install Microsft SQL Server Standard version.
Then, enter names for databases that will be used to store data collected from VAO, Veeam Backup & Replication and Veeam ONE. Click on “Next” button.
You can change the port configuration to be used by Veeam Availability Orchestrator (Service communication port: 8888 – WCF service port: 12348). Veeam Availability Orchestrator communication ports used for collecting data from connected servers, for accessing the VAO UI through a web browser, and for connecting to the REST API functionality. Veeam Availability Suite ports used for communication between Veeam ONE components and Veeam Backup & Replication infrastructure components. I recommend you to let the port configuration by default. Click on “Next” button.
You can create a new TLS certificate (“Generate new self-signed certificate”) or use an existing certificate. Here I use the VAO certificate. Click on “Next” button.
Select local folders where Veeam Availability Orchestrator, Veeam ONE and Veeam Backup & Replication components will store data cache. In the “vPower NFS” field, specify a path to the folder where Instant VM Recovery write cache must be stored. Make sure that you have at least 10 GB of free disk space to store the write cache. In the “Guest file system catalog” field, specify a path to the folder where Veeam Backup & Replication index files must be stored. By default, the setup wizard creates the VBRCatalog folder on the volume with the maximum amount of free space. In the “Performance data cache” field, specify a path to the folder where Veeam ONE write cache must be stored. In the “Synchronization folder” field, specify a path to the folder where data obtained during synchronization across VAO sites must be stored.
The wizard is now ready to begin the installation. Veeam Availability Orchestrator Setup will prompt to install the softwares (SQL, Veeam B&R, Veeam One, Veeam Explorer, VAO etc.), check the configuration and click “Install”.
The install take about few minutes to complete:
Veeam Availability Orchestrator Install is completed, a prompt appeared to finalize the installation. Click on “Finish” button.
Click on “Yes” button to restart the system.
Configuring VAO Wizard:
Once Veeam Availability Orchestrator software has been opened via a click on Veeam Orchestrator Console icon.
Web browser should be launched, an authentification screen will appear. You can fill in the fields and click on “Login” by using Service account:
Click on “Next” button:
Select DR Site and click on “Next” button:
Type an arbitrary name for the VAO site and a short description, then click on “Next” button:
Select the user or group and click “Add” button to assign the “Site Administrator” (Required Permissions). Click on “Next” button:
At the Deploy VAO Agent step, in the “Server” field, enter DNS name or IP address of the server that you want to register. Use the Server is option to specify whether the server is a Veeam Backup & Replication server or Veeam Backup Enterprise Manager server. Click on “Next” button:
In the “User name:” and “Password:” fields, specify credentials of the user account for connecting to the Veeam Backup & Replication server. The user name should be specified in the DOMAIN\USERNAME format. Click on “Next” button:
At the Synchronize Credentials step, choose whether you want to retrieve credentials from the connected Veeam Backup & Replication server. You will be able to use these credentials later when configuring failover plan steps. Click on “Next” button:
Then, enter DNS name or IP address of the VMware vCenter Server that you want to connect to and specify credentials of the user account for connecting to the server. Click on “Next” button:
Click on “Finish” button:
Veeam Availability Orchestrator interface overview:
Note – In-guest Scripting in Veeam Availability Orchestrator (by Michael White):
- Veeam Availability Orchestrator licensing is based on a subscription to the VM per-year. Public price is approximately 100€ with a minimum of 10 Virtual Machines.
- Price is decreasing if several years (25% for 5 years).
Veeam Availability Suite – New licensing option (per-VM) Guide.
Veeam Agent for Windows step by step installation guide.
If you need to disable UAC Server on Windows Server 2016 Script Guide.
If you need to upgrade your Veeam Backup Server (v9 or v9.5) you can follow this article.