Veeam Reporter provides insight into your vSphere environments

Virtualization expert Rick Vanover dives into Veeam Reporter's free edition, which provides useful management and reporting to a virtualized infrastructure.

There is no shortage of good tools to help administrators monitor and manage virtualized environments. One of those tools is Veeam Reporter, which has a number of new features in the 4.0 release.

In a previous TechRepublic column, I mentioned using Veeam Reporter 4 to track changes when they happened automatically. In this tutorial, I walk you through installing Veeam Reporter and getting useful information for your vSphere environment.

Installing Veeam Reporter

Veeam Reporter is a free download, but you are required to register on the Veeam website. (The registration does not accept openly public email address domains, so use a "business" email address.) The installation requires some basic components, including a VMware vSphere 4 or a VMware Virtual Infrastructure 3 (VI3) installation and a Veeam Reporting Server, which has these system requirements:

  • A basic Windows system (Windows 2003/Windows 2008/Windows XP/Windows 7)
  • .NET 3.5 Framework or higher
  • IIS 5.1 or higher
  • Access to a SQL database (can be a remote database server or local SQL Express)
Just selecting the IIS role on Windows Server 2008 R2 systems will require an additional step. Figure A shows the additional check boxes on the role that will need to be added to install Veeam Reporter. Figure A

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During the installation, you'll see several options for the application. The first significant option is to either install a license file or leave the option blank to function in the free model. The free functionality level has limited but powerful functionality, and it is a great way to see if the information is relevant to your environment.

The next important option you have is to either install a local copy of SQL Server Express to house the Veeam Reporter database or point to an existing database resource. In most situations, I try to use a centralized database server and create a DNS CNAME for the application's connectivity. Figure B shows a DNS CNAME entered for the database connectivity (note the ping to resolve the database server). Figure B

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The installation will then present you with the option to configure the Veeam Reporter website port. By default, it runs on port 1239 (TCP) for a default installation. The installed product is accessible as a web application, and it would be best suited to be run from a remote system.

Before we can view usable data, the vCenter Server(s) will need to be added to the Veeam Reporter configuration. Click the Configuration link after going to the Veeam Reporter's web interface and add a vCenter Server (Figure C). Figure C

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Once the first vCenter Server system is added, the collection job is defined with its interval -- this will alert vSphere administrators of changes to the virtualization environment. After establishing the vCenter connectivity, setting a job collection interval, and providing SMTP information, Veeam Reporter will provide providing usable information via email and internal reports. There is a Veeam Reporter viewer to view the native .VMR file format. Figure D shows one of the reports generated by the installation to this point. Figure D

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As you can see, it's possible to generate useful information with Veeam Reporter's free edition. This can be performed entirely outside of vCenter, which may be preferred if working with external parties, or network connectivity does not exist.

In my next blog post on Veeam Reporter's free edition, I'll go through a few configurations that are most useful to vSphere and VI3 administrators. Stay tuned!

If you have installed Veeam Reporter, what are the most useful reports that you have created with the tool? Let us know in the discussion.