Monthly Archives: December 2012
Wow! Lots of New Years and Xmas giveaways happening within the virtualization community this year…and we aren’t talking about books or USB keys this year. This year we are dealing with complete home labs So fancy yourself a couple of HP Proliant Servers, a Netgear Ready NAS system, an HP switch and some MS and VMware licenses …well, go and download the latest offering from Unitrends, Unitrends Enterprise Backup and register your software before February 14th to be automatically included in their Dream Home Lab Giveaway. And don’t worry, you don’t need to purchase the software to register, you can register the free version and still qualify.
Unitrends has been inside the backup industry for over 20 years! That’s a long time to be a key player inside of one industry. How do they do it? By staying on top of the ever so changing nature of backup. That’s why I decided to do this sponsored review of Unitrends latest offering, Unitrends Enterprise Backup. Again, this review is sponsored but it most certainly contains my words and thoughts about the product. Now that that’s been cleared up let me say that they make it pretty easy for you evaluate the product yourself. Personally I went and grabbed a free NFR license that they offer to all Microsoft and VMware certificate holders. Even if you simply belong to a VMUG you can get yourself an NFR license. While the Unitrends Enterprise Backups deployment route requires Hyper-V or VMware, the appliance itself can backup and protect both your physical and virtual environment, but for the purpose of this review I only tested on a virtual infrastructure.
This couldn’t have been easier!!! Unitrends has taken the virtual appliance route when it comes to installation, meaning a simple File->Deploy OVF Template and following a quick step wizard is all you really need to do to get Unitrends into your environment. This honestly took around 10 minutes from start to finish to deploy into my environment. Just be sure you meet the minimum system requirements (100GB free space, 2 CPUs, 4GB RAM) and deploy the appliance. There is one single appliance to deploy whether you plan on using the free, trial, NFR, or complete enterprise solution.
Once the appliance has been deployed into your environment it’s now time to get it configured and ready to go. Like most virtual appliances you must first configure IP and DNS settings inside of the VM console. Unitrends provides a nifty little console menu to simplify this operation. Once you have an IP configured the rest of the configuration can be done through the web interface by opening up a browser and pointing to the IP of your Unitrends appliance. Upon the first login to the appliance Unitrends displays a setup wizard which takes you through most all of the steps that you need to configure to get up and running. The steps of this process are outlined below
- Accept EULA
- Set Date/Time Parameters
- Configure Hostname
- Configure SMTP server
- Change default console authentication (root password)
- Add any additional administrative users to the system
- Select an installation type – Just a note here you will have the option to either install as a local backup system or as a vault. The difference being that vault actually acts as a replication target for a local backup system, giving you the ability to replicate your locally backed up files to another Unitrends installation in an offsite location.
- Add additional storage to the Unitrends system. If you left all of the defaults when deploying the defaults you should have roughly 80GB of storage to use as a backup target, here you can add additional storage to the appliance.
- Install any required agents – If you are solely using this product to backup VMware VMs (or strictly current Windows OSes or Hyper-V) then this step can be skipped, however if you plan to backup any Linux or Mac OS based PHYSICAL systems then you have the option to deploy the agents needed at this time. As with most settings you can always do this later as well – I skipped this for the time being.
- Add Client – In Unitrends terms a client is a server/computer that you want to protect. For the sake of protecting a VMware environment a client will be either your vCenter Server or ESXi host. Here is where I added my vCenter Server by providing the DNS name as well as credentials then clicking ‘Setup’. (Shown below)
- Deduplication Options – You have the option here to disable the Unitrends software deduplication if you happen to be using a deduplication appliance or have deduplication enabled on your underlying storage array.
- Incremental Forever – This strategy essentially performs a full backup on the target and then subsequently performs incremental backups from then on. Periodically (I think once every two weeks) the original full backup is synchronized and brought up to date using the incremental backups locally and differentials are generated for the retention points leading up to this. A great strategy to obtain a near continuous data protection strategy and speed up the time it takes to backup a virtual machine.
- Full with Incrementals – Basically the same as Incremental Forever however giving you the ability to specify when the full backup occurs (hourly, daily, weekly, monthly). I believe in this option the full backups are performed on your production environment and not generated from incrementals.
- Full with Differentials – This would be somewhat the reverse of Full with Incrementals meaning you will always have an up to date full backup, with differential files as your restore points.
- Custom – you guessed it, play with it and tailor it to how you want it to be.
And guess what? You’re done! Depending on the configuration you’ve specified your backups and retention policies should kick off immediately and start protecting your VMs. The process of creating a backup job or schedule inside of Unitrends is very very simple. What I like most about this process is how it is laid out in the web interface. With the exception of advanced settings (SMTP and storage) all of the configuration and setup is done on one simple screen (See below).
OK OK OK – I have my little new years giveaway here, so be sure to go comment and tweet to get yourself into the running, but if you unfortunately do not win what I’m giving away you might want to head over to Veeams’ site and sign up for theirs. Now although they don’t have quite the caliber of prizes compared to mine (***SARCASM***) you do have the chance to pick yourself up what they are calling the Veeam Dream Lab. This is big and includes the following…
- TWO HP ProLiant ML 310e G8 Servers
- NETGEAR ReadyNAS storage system with 4 SSDs drives
- HP V1410-16G Ethernet switch
- TechNet Plus subscription for 1 year
- Online course, books and test from VMware Education Services or Microsoft Learning
- …and a MICROSOFT SURFACE!
WOWZA!!! You might want to go sign up for that! Or don’t, it will just increase my chances at picking up this sweet package!!! No, for real, go register!!!
Happy New Sphere is back!!! Win a copy of Designing VMware Infrastructure by @TrainSignal and @Scott_lowe
It’s that special time a year again, a time for family, friends, laughter, food, fixing your sister-in-laws friends computer, oh, and giving! And that’s just what I want to do…GIVE! Back for a second year (that’s right, I have done something twice on this blog now) is my Happy New Sphere Giveaway! Last year we handed out a copy of Trainsignals VCP 5 Training and this year we have a copy of TrainSignals Designing VMware Infrastructure to place in somebody’s hands. If you haven’t already you can check out a previous review of this course that I’ve done. It’s full of great information that any VMware designer, architect, or even administrator should know. I thought this course was awesome! Also, to one lucky runner up we have a copy of “Administering VMware Site Recovery Manager 5.0” by Mike Laverick (blog/twitter) Because what’s a great design with a continuity/disaster recovery plan right? Actually, it’s because I have one sitting around here from the Toronto VMUG to give away!!!!!!
So, here’s the answer to the question everyone has been asking! How do I win? What does it take? Well, simply leave a comment on this post…Not really concerned about what is in it…leave your best design tip, what type of content you’d like to see on this blog in the coming year, your best #scottlowefact, a comment about either of the sponsors (Trainsignal or VMUG)…whatever you wish…
And wait, OMG a second entry!!! Yes, just help me spread the word about the contest by sending out the following tweet. That’s kind of a double edge sword as it actually decreases your chances of winning by the more people that sign up 🙂 Oh well, the price you pay for that precious second ballot! Honestly, don’t be too concerned, there was only like 60 entries last year…The tweet and hash tag is below!
I’ll leave the contest open for new entries up to January 4th. I’ll try to draw a winner sometime around then as well….don’t hold me to it though… 🙂 Either way, good luck and a big huge thanks goes out to Trainsignal and Angelo Luciani of the Toronto VMUG for graciously providing the prizes. Oh, and Happy New Sphere!!!!!
Are you ready? Let’s go! That seemed to be the catch phrase that presenter Scott Lowe (blog/twitter) rhymed off before starting off the awesomesauce that is each lesson of Trainsignal’s Designing VMware Infrastructure video training. Now I know the word awesomesauce is overused, I’ve even used it multiple times but in this case there is just no other way to describe the content and how Scott delivers this content throughout this course. And speaking of content there is a lot of it, over 6 hours of training at your fingertips and in true TrainSignal fashion available in multiple formats (DVD, iPOD/iPAD, Online). Don’t trust my word that Scott’s presentation and knowledge is awesomesauce? Check out a little (1 hour) teaser called VMware vSphere Design 101 over on TrainSignals site. Its a great example (minus the audio) of how well of a speaker and how knowledgeable Scott is in the realm of design. Below you can see how the course is laid out in the form of lesson content and as you can see it covers a wide variety of details.
Getting Started with Designing VMware Infrastructure
Designing vSphere Environments in the Real World
Understanding vSphere Design Terminology
Determining vSphere Design Factors
Defining a Logical Design
Defining a Logical Compute Design
Creating a Logical Network Design
Creating a Logical Storage Design
Building Security Into the Logical Design
Specifying Backup and Availability in the Logical Design
Designing the Management Layer
Mapping the Logical Design to Actual Solutions
Creating a Physical Storage Design
Creating a Physical Network Design
Sizing Hosts, Clusters, and Resource Pools
Defining VM Attributes
Incorporating Implementation and Test Plans
Bringing It All Together
Preparing for Your VCAP-DCD Certification Exam
So on to the meat and potatoes. This course covers everything you need to know about vSphere Design. Scott described vSphere design as a holistic design, meaning everything is connected and interlinked. Even the way he delivered the course was holistic, meaning in almost every lesson Scott went back and stressed the importance of how the four main design factors (Requirements, Assumptions, Risks, and Constraints) affect the area being discussed and how they are interlinked to every step of the design process. Now I can’t go through every single lesson, I’ll let you do that, the outline is listed above but what I can do is highlight some of my favorite items…
- Throughout the course Scott frequently accesses and references a couple real design documents. One being the VMware Cloud Infrastructure Case Study (available online), but here’s the exciting part, the other being Scott’s actual design he used during his VCDX defense. Very cool to have that high level of an example embedded into the course
- Secondly I love the flow of this course – meaning in a large number of lessons Scott will often reflect on some learning from another lesson and show you how everything is related and how any decisions made in one part of the design phase can most likely affect decisions made in another and inevitably affect your overall design.
- Scott does an awesome job at explaining the four key factors in vSphere design and repeatedly refers to them and shows how four simple terms basically define your complete design.
In my current role I’m more adapted to a sysadmin, you know, the guy that’s primarily responsible for maintaining and implementing everything…not the architect, not the designer – but – after watching this course I’ve gotten excited about design and excited about architecting solutions. Heck, I’m now thinking about maybe tackling the VCAP-DCD. So I’m not going to say that this course is only for the designers and architects because it’s not. This is a great course for anyone working within a vSphere environment, anyone with passion for VMware’s technology, or how would TrainSignal put it..any vNerd! As with all of TrainSignal’s VMware Training I thoroughly enjoyed this one and would most certainly recommend this to anyone!
And guess what?!?! It’s that special time of year again to say Happy New Sphere to everyone and maybe get yourself a copy of this training for yourself complements of Trainsignal! Watch this space closely for details as mwpreston.net along with Trainsignal will be giving away a copy of this along with a few other prizes (hopefully). Are you ready, Let’s go!