Improving the Upgrade and Patching Experience with Veeam
In todays application centric world, upgrading software has almost become a non-event. We have gotten used to instant upgrades that just work without having to think twice or worry about something going wrong. Though it must be said that no upgrade is without risk, it’s clear that customers now demand the ability to be be informed about software updates, and then be give them the ability to install those with minimal fuss or disruption. How programs are updated has become an important consideration when designing new software.
We at Veeam have started to make this process easier for our platform products. Below are four of our expanded Veeam Platform products where we have enhanced the process around the checking and upgrading to patch releases or new versions. I start with VeeamPN and Backup for Azure then looking at Backup for Microsoft Office 365 then finishing with our latest and most advanced Updater, Backup for AWS v2.
This was the first Veeam Product that had a built in Update Checker with the ability to Update from the UI. It also had the ability to Backup the Configuration files and then Restore them against a clean install. That in it’s self isn’t any different to what we have built into Backup & Replication. The ability to upgrade from the UI meant that nothing needed to be to the underlying Ubuntu Linux Server, however to actually keep that system up to date, it is required to login and perform apt-get updates.
Backup for Azure v1
The Update procedure for Backup for Azure v1 has the same look and feel of VeeamPN, and works in exactly the same way. Again, this is just looking to upgrade the product and not the underlying system.
Backup for Microsoft Office 365 v4
From VBO v2, we had the ability to check for updates through the UI, which was no different to what we have in Backup & Replication. Once an updated was detected by the product, it would link to the new update file and from there it could be downloaded and the upgrade could be done manually. In VBO v4 however, we introduced the ability to upgrade in place from the within the product. As can be seen below, there is a built in Upgrade Wizard which checks for any latest builds that have been released and gives you the option to Install it. It even provides a What’s New? document link.
The upgrade is performed in place, and goes through the correct procedure in terms of stopping existing jobs.
This is a brilliant addition to VBO, and is unique in that it is delivered directly via the Windows Application, rather than the others mentioned in this post, which are done via a Web UI.
Backup for AWS v2
To finish things up, Backup for AWS v2 has introduced our most advanced Updater feature of which its DNA can be traced back to where we started this post at, within VeeamPN. Like VeeamPN and Backup for Azure, Backup for AWS is run off an Ubuntu Linux appliance. But unlike those two, we now have the ability to not only update the product, but the underlying system as well. A new Bell Icon in the top right of the Web UI will indicate as shown below if there are any pending/available updates.
Once the hyper-link is clicked a new Veeam Backup for AWS Updater window is opened and we are now presented not only with possible updates relating to the actual product, but also informed when key security updates are available for install in the underlying Ubuntu system. There is the option to check individual system updates. Once clicked a What’s new: sidebar appears and you get information on the specific update. The actions are shown below and you can Install selected packages now or at a scheduled time. There is an option to Reboot automatically if desired.
Once completed, you are presented with the options below.
The Reboot is performed quickly, with the WebUI refreshing to tell you that the System is up to date.
Backup for AWS v2 has set the new standard for Veeam Software Updates and I was impressed with the way in which we designed the new Updater UI. When you peel it back, it is just a web frontend that talks to backend APIs that call system functions, but that is exactly what is required to make the process more streamlined and more importantly, closer to what customers now expect from software appliations.