Disaster recovery orchestration for the Enterprise
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jtupeck
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VAO default template customization question

Post by jtupeck » Apr 03, 2018 3:59 pm

When will there be a VAO Product Forum? I am looking for some assistance with the reporting templates, but am not finding anything with the 'Search' function and when I looked for a product forum for this, there doesn't appear to be one. Might be good to get one set up, because I am certain there will be plenty of questions as this rolls out to more customers.

Now, to my question:

I am an MS Word newb and am struggling a bit on how to get the default template for VAO to fit our environment. At the beginning of the basic report template, there is a Quick Part that is labeled 'PlanName' and contains the <<PlanName>> variable. I want to reuse this elsewhere in the document and am finding myself unable to figure it out. I do not see a value for the plan name anywhere.

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Re: VAO default template customization question

Post by DGrinev » Apr 03, 2018 4:15 pm

Hi Jason,

For some reason VAO forum section wasn't visible to some specific types of users, but thanks for the heads up! We've fixed this issue.

Thanks!

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Re: VAO default template customization question

Post by jtupeck » Apr 03, 2018 4:16 pm

Thank you!

Alec King
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Re: VAO default template customization question

Post by Alec King » Apr 03, 2018 4:41 pm 1 person likes this post

Hi Jason,

We did not design the report to allow insertion of auto-filled text fields (such as Plan Name) into the template text.

Plan Name on the title page will be populated by VAO when the report is generated, of course.

Also the Plan Name will be used in various report pages which are appended to the template - the Report Overview page, and so on. This is all automatic.

The template is designed to hold specific (hard-coded) information which can relate to the Site (e.g. Emergency Contact numbers, Building maintenance and so on).

You could include specific text in the template relating to a single plan, and then use this template only for that specific plan. The ability to Clone and quickly Edit templates would make that approach possible. Depending on how many separate plans you will have, it might be an option.

Please let us know what you would like to achieve with the reports / templates. We are keen to hear this feedback!

Thanks,
Alec
Alec King
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Veeam Software

jtupeck
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Re: VAO default template customization question

Post by jtupeck » Apr 03, 2018 5:28 pm

Alec - Thank you for the quick reply.

My company is a 'shared services group' for a number of privately held businesses, many of which use the same applications and services. In order to have flexibility for DR purposes, and sometimes for data sovereignty, we prefer to protect each company's VMs and applications separately. Our fail over plans are named using the exact same syntax as the vSphere Tags we use to automate a VM's inclusion into a VAO plan. I am attempting to generalize the report template enough that I can include our basic RPTO policy/SLA information and all other data relevant to the execution of the Plan in one single report template, then apply it to a majority of our fail over plans. Even though the application may be the same, or similar, one company may place it at a more critical business requirement over another company and therefore the RPTO values would/could be more stringent.

If I were able to reference the "<<PlanName>>" Quick Part within the document, then the text quoted below would readily communicate all the information needed to reference the applicable RPTO SLAs in a DR event:
DR Scenario Scope
The failover plan detailed in this document is required to ensure system/service availability for the servers and service(s) classified by the <<PlanName>> policy
One report template will be sufficient for MOST of our fail over plans, because the ability to reference this Quick Part in MS Word would greatly simplify this and potentially other sections of the report. If/When we make changes to the template, we will not have to do it for an undue number of documents. Additionally, I wouldn't have to customize reports for the different companies with different RPTO requirements as it will be referenced by the PlanName.

In thinking more about this, with the current setup I suppose I could do one report template for all our RPTO policies, but that would still be 5 'generic' reports that need to be managed, plus whatever other custom reports we might end up with over time, whenever a report change is needed. I think it would just be handy to have the ability to reference the Quick Parts for maximum reporting flexibility.

Can you think of any other way to achieve what I am trying to do, or have you seen it done differently in other customer environments? I am very open to suggestions, but during the beta testing of VAO, there was minimal reference material on how to do what we are trying to do, so I just came up with what I felt would work best. We successfully tested VAO last week during our quarterly DR test and it worked famously (as I suspected it would) and now that we have licensing for 100 VMs, I want to get the production environment stood up and working as efficiently and quickly as possible.

Thanks in advance for whatever feedback you might have.

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Re: VAO default template customization question

Post by Alec King » Apr 03, 2018 6:03 pm

Hi Jason,

Thanks for the detail - this is great feedback for the product group!

Also, I''m glad your test of VAO went well :D

Regarding your question - I understand the scenario. I''m checking with dev team if the 'plan name' marker can be re-used elsewhere in the template (apart from default Title Page). Will update here ASAP.

Thanks,
Alec

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Re: VAO default template customization question

Post by jtupeck » Apr 03, 2018 6:21 pm

Thanks, Alec!

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Re: VAO default template customization question

Post by Alec King » Apr 05, 2018 5:42 pm

Hello Jason,

Good News! :D
You can customize the VAO template to include Plan Name at any place in the text. And actually, several other properties are available.
However it requires a few steps in Microsoft Word.

First you should enable the Developer Tab in Word-
1. Click File tab
2. Click Options
3. Click Customize Ribbon
4. In Main Tabs pane (on the right), check box Developer
5. Click OK

Now in the template document, you can prepare the placeholder text that you want to replace with 'Plan Name'. This placeholder will be visible in the template preview in VAO, but it will always be replaced when any report is generated.
So anywhere in the template, you can add text,for example 'This is a report for PLAN NAME HERE'

Then -
1. Select Design Mode on the Developer toolbar (in Controls section)
2. Select your text PLAN NAME HERE
3. Click twice on the RichTextContentControl (in Controls section, it looks like this -Aa )
Now you have two nested pairs of control parentheses (( )) round your text.
4. Select the entire block of both parentheses and text ( ( PLAN NAME HERE ) ) , click Properties in Controls section, and set Title to @Title
5. Select the inner parentheses and text ( PLAN NAME HERE ) , click Properties again, and set Title to =PlanName

Then save the template, and generate a report. Your text will be replaced with the name of the plan.
You can also use properties such as =Site and =Created.

One of our QA team Grigoriy actually created an useful little GIF to show the edit process - a picture is worth a thousand words! So please check this out - Template-Edit-Demo

Ability to customize the VAO templates in this way is a very useful feature - we will document this, and add more capabilities in next update. Thanks again for the feedback - and let us know how it goes :D

Cheers,
Alec
Alec King
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Re: VAO default template customization question

Post by jtupeck » Apr 05, 2018 6:00 pm

This is amazing news and will go a long way to helping me out. Thank you for the follow up on this, Alec. I will be testing this out today when I get my DR site VLAB's F5 virtual appliance set up and working for VLAB DNS.

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Re: VAO default template customization question

Post by jtupeck » Apr 05, 2018 6:27 pm 1 person likes this post

WORKED PERFECTLY! Thank you!

Alec King
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Re: VAO default template customization question

Post by Alec King » Apr 06, 2018 7:17 am 1 person likes this post

That's great Jason, thanks! :D

We will be documenting - and adding more of - those template Controls in future updates, so please let us know what dynamic text you would like in your templates.

Thanks again for the feedback!
Alec King
Vice President, Product Management
Veeam Software

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