Tag Archives: DR
I know I know, you are probably thinking to yourselves “Hey, isn’t this a virtualization blog, why are you writing about partitions and disk management”. Well the truth of the matter is that I’ve been using GParted to do partitioning for quite a while now and to be honest have always had great successes with it (meaning it’s saved my bacon a few times 🙂 ) Well, over the holidays I had the chance to check out a new book by Curtis Gedak titled Manage Partitions with GParted How-to and I’m glad I did!!!! Curtis Gedak has managed the GParted project for the past 4 years so you can safely assume that he has some pretty good knowledge on the topic at hand 🙂
So, on to the actual book. It is broken down into a few key concepts (Must know, Should Know and Become an Expert). Honestly, when I first started reading this I thought it might be something that I would need to sit down with a copy of GParted loaded up in front of me, but in the end I just ended up reading it from cover to cover without even touching a computer. Each chapter is broken down into a few different sections; Getting Ready, How to do it, How it works, and There’s more. This type of writing style and organization makes it very easy to also use this as a reference book when performing GParted actions. The book takes you through every single action that can be performed within GParted; certainly check out the TOC here.
Throughout all my experiences with GParted I’ve been just sort of “using” the application, never really knowing what it is that is happening in the background. This book gives you the deep dive that you need in order to fully understand how partitions are laid out on a disk as well as a step by step guide in order to create, modify, resize, move, and manage your partitions in order to give you the most effective and efficient disk use possible.
Honestly, don’t take my word for it either, check it out. You can get a free chapter here where you can see for yourself the wealth of information and sharp illustrations. However if you do want to take my word, my word would say if you use GParted on a regular basis, or if you plan on starting to use it, this book would be great for you.
This past year I was approached by PHD Virtual with the opportunity to possible author a whitepaper. Now I have never done anything like this before and honestly don’t consider myself to be the best writer in the world but I thought I’d give it a shot. I compared it to my quest of trying to improve at my presentation and public speaking skills, meaning I’ll never improve if I don’t put myself in those uncomfortable positions right? So armed with nothing I gave it a go and then end result is now published on their website. You can find the completed result titled ‘5 Steps for improving Virtual Backup & Data Recovery in Large Enterprises’ over in the whitepapers section of PHD Virtuals’ resources page.
All in all it was a great experience and took a lot more work than I initially though it would. Given then chance though, I’d most certainly do it again…Let me know what you think…but don’t be too harsh 🙂
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).
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!!!!!
It’s that special, magical time again, time for yet another sweet release from Veeam. Now, it’s nothing new and shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that I just love Veeam releases and this one is no exception. Although a minor release they have squeezed a couple sets of new awesome functionality into the core product that can only continue to get more and more awesomesauce as time goes on. So with that said let’s have a look at a few of the features and enhancements that I find are crazy cool… Keep your eyes pealed as we should see this release come to life sometime this quarter!
vSphere 5.1 Support
First and foremost support for VMware’s recent release of vSphere 5.1 From what I’ve heard the platform and architecture inside of ESXi 5.1 has changed significantly making it quite the challenge for backup and replication vendors to get to the point where they can say their products are supported. It’s nice to see Veeam as one of those first supporters of vSphere 5.1
Full Support on Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8
Support for both backing up and running on Windows Server 2012! Meaning you can now take advantage of some of the new Windows Server 2012 features with your Veeam Server/Repositories on top. Think about it, you can now place your backups on the new deduped file system of Win 2012 and obtain deduplication across your Veeam jobs…pretty cool!
Veeam Explorer for Exchange
Although this was released to beta earlier as a separate application it’s now bundled into Veeam 6.5 as a feature set. Meaning you will see this crazy one-click mailbox item level restore awesomesauce inside of the core Veeam Backup and Replication. Oh, guess what? It’s also included in ALL Veeam B&R Editions – Including the free version! Apart from the inclusion of this in the core product they have also made a number of enhancements to it such as mailbox datastores are now auto detected and mounted and the ability to restore directly back to the original location is now available within the Enterprise version of Veeam B&R. On top of that, there is support for any offline edb file, meaning it could be used with existing backups or SAN snapshots. Nice!
Veeam Explorer for SAN Snapshots
I’m seeing a trend here with the Veeam Explorer for ___ ____ title! Although right now this is only supported with certain HP arrays and VSA’s containing the SANiQ storage functionality, this technology is pretty cool and I’m sure you will see the vendor array support expanded in the future. The ability to restore/run VMs directly from SAN Snapshots as well as restoring individual files is pretty crazy! Kudo’s to Veeam for building this in…and again, across all editions, including the free one!
The Core Product Enhancements
- Veeam ONE integration – The release of B&R 6.5 is coupled with a release of the Veeam ONE product as well. With this they have added a tight integration between the two products allowing you to monitor and report on the health of your B&R infrastructure and jobs from with Veeam ONE. Don’t be surprised if you see a nice little ‘suite’ containing both products.
- DR for your DR – Finally this is here! The ability to schedule, automate and run backups of the Veeam Backup server itself. You can now easily create backups of your Veeam configuration (containing infrastructure and job information) and restore them back to the same or another server. So when disaster hits it’s now easy to recover your disaster recovery solutions.
- Engine Enhancements – the core has been updated to provide further enhancements to your deduplication and compression as well as performance gains when it comes to reverse incremental s and large files.
- Recovery Enhancements – You can now do that ever so awesome 1 click file level recovery, but this time direct it right back to it’s original location. Suweeet!
- Scheduling – ability to chain scripts is now available.
- Management – More powershell cmdlets have been developed to support failover and failback for replicas as well as perform the new VeeamZip functionality!
So that’s all for now (all I know about) 🙂 Don’t delay, head on over to veeam.com and read up for yourself and check it out! Be sure to include your Exchange Admin on the Explorer for Exchange functionality – It’ll drive them crazy!!!! In a good way!
There have been a slew of announcements coming out of VMworld in San Francisco this week and also a slew of new products and enhancements to existing products. During the show I was attempting to look at everything from an SMB point of view and a couple of products that really stuck out for me was that of the new vSphere Data Protection and vSphere Replication. Below are just a few thoughts around each product, what it has to offer and where it is packaged from within VMwares’ licensing editions.
vSphere Data Protection
First off let’s explore vSphere Data Protection (vDP). There has been a lot of buzz during and even before the show around vDP and how VMware plans to position it. Working closely with EMC’s Avamar development team VMware have now packaged their own backup and recovery solution into vSphere 5.1, replacing, yet still supporting its’ predecessor VMware Data Recovery. In my opinion this is a great move for VMware. vDR was not gaining too much traction within the SMB or Enterprise market however I believe that vDP will. Why? Again, it’s built on top of EMCs Avamar backup and recovery technology therefore leveraging years of experience and ‘lessons learned’ which make the product more seasoned and production ready than vDR ever was. Also this complete solution is managed and embedded directly from within the new vSphere 5.1 Web Client. From within the same menus that you clone a VM, vMotion, perform power operations you can now apply backup policies and ensure your data is safe and protected. Simply install the backup appliance and you are good to go. Now vDP is not for everyone and as with any initial release (either on purpose or not) there are some limitations. A single vDP Appliance can scale up to 2TB of deduplicated storage or 100 VMs total. Certainly targeted at the SMB market. I’m excited to see what vDP has to offer and how widely it is adopted in the SMB space. vDP is bundled in with the Essentials Plus licensing and above.
Again this is nothing new. With the last release of Site Recovery Manager (SRM) vSphere Replication was included and provided users with the ability to perform replication on a per-VM basis without the need of shared storage or costly SAN replication functionality. The problem there was it was bundled with SRM, a product in which you probably already were utilizing that costly SAN replication technology anyways. Well, in vSphere 5.1 that has all changed. Although still available within SRM, vSphere Replication now is included within the Essentials Plus and above licensing. And on top of that there have been some new features and enhancements made to vSphere Replication – VSS Support, flexible RTO, and simplified management utilizing the new vSphere 5.1 web client are just a few. Again, there are some limitations. The biggest being that there is a 2TB limit (don’t take my word on this, I thought I heard it in the session but am trying to find data to back it up, i know there is most certainly a 500 VM limit) on the amount of data that you can replicate. If you need more than this you will have to purchase the full SRM suite, that being said, still a great alternative and great news for users in the SMB space.
So, a couple of products coming out of VMworld in the realm of data protection. I’m interested to see within the next year how many people adopt and use this products. There are no fancy features being offered that you might get with some of the more established third party products such as the ability to instantly restore your VMs, run VMs directly from backup, Re-IP VMs, etc… The 2TB lmiits imposed on the backup storage do not really bother me that much, however I would have loved to also see these bundled into at the very least the Essentials ROBO kits. It would have been a great way to protect those VMs running in a remote office where only one host resides and Essentials Plus didn’t really make sense. Only time will tell how widely adopted these products will be but this is certainly a great first step for VMware in my opinion. The ability to manage all of this from directly inside the web client is huge. And the ability to protect your virtualized environment with products from your virtualization vendor is even better. I’d love to hear from you, if you plan to use either vDP or vSphere Replication, if your using it now, or even any thoughts you may have on the releases or any other news coming out of VMworld for that matter…Let me know in the comments…