PowerCLI “The Aspiring Automater’s Guide” by Altaro


If you currently use PowerCLI to automate basic tasks with pre-defined scripts, you’ll already know how powerful automation can be. However, taking the next step and customizing scripts to carry out tasks specifically designed for your needs opens a whole new world of opportunities. This new eBook from Altaro takes you there.

Written by VMware vExpert Xavier Avrillier, this free eBook presents a use-case approach to learning how to automate tasks in vSphere environments using PowerCLI. We start by covering the basics of installation, set up, and an overview of PowerCLI terms. From there we move into scripting logic and script building with step-by-step instructions of truly useful custom scripts, including:

  • How to retrieve data on vSphere objects
  • Display VM performance metrics
  • How to build HTML reports and schedule them
  • Basics on building functions
  • And more!

Stop looking at scripts online in envy because you wish you could build your own scripts. Download PowerCLI: The Aspiring Automator’s Guide now and get started on your path to automation greatness!


Altaro Office 365 Backup (for MSPs)

There’s a common misconception that Microsoft fully backs up Office 365 Mailbox. Microsoft is responsible for providing the O365 service, but do you know it’s your (!) responsibility to protect your (customer’s!) O365 data?

Microsoft has limited possibilities to help you with unexpected data loss or damage. Therefore it’s very important to have a solid backup solution in place!

My sponsor Altaro has a great product called Office 365 Backup! It’s a central multi-tenant solution for keeping your O365 data safe! You pay per mailbox, per month covering back up, storage, use of their management console and support! You don’t have to pay for contracts or anything else. Their service/solution is ideal for you as MSP!

There is a minimum of 30 mailboxes and you don’t need their VM Backup product to manage it. (Volume discounts possible) You can restore O365 data to the original mailbox, another mailbox or into a zip file. (Full restore or single/multiple items)

You can browse through the backup files and select the items you wish to restore.

You also don’t need any local storage and/or software. You can self decide what the monthly fee is you charge your customers! Have the flexibility to add and/or remove mailbox as needed. You only pay for the mailboxes you’ve backed up the last month!

Download the fact sheet here.
Sign up for your 30-day trial here.

Review Altaro VM Backup V8 2

In this blogpost I’m going to take a closer look to the latest version of Altaro VM Backup.  Altaro is a loyal sponsor of for some years now and I’m using their product since version 6. Recently Altaro released their latest version (V8) and I thought that would be a great time to post about it!

When you have any questions please leave a comment!


Altaro VM Backup was founded in 2009 and was one of the first with a VM Backup product for Hyper-V.  Now 10 years later…, the product has made several improvements and is now used by over 40,000 businesses all over the world. The product supports both Hyper-V and VMware Hypervisors and has backup integrations for Microsoft Azure offsite backup repositories (!). Especially the support for Microsoft Azure offsite storage is a nice feature! There are not many other backup vendors out there who offer this functionality.

More info about how to use Azure for Offsite Cloud Backup in Altaro VM Backup here.

You can find out more about the features of Altaro VM Backup here.

Why Altaro

Altaro simplifies the backup and recovery experience by removing the traditional complexity. The user interface is very easy to use. For example, adding backup repositories is a simple drag and drop process and running backup jobs has been designed so that you simply select the VM’s you would like to back up and click the red button “Take Backup”.

During the version upgrades and the several improvements, Altaro VM Backup keeps their easy to use GUI and doesn’t require extensive support & training. My experience is that any system administrator with simple backup knowledge has enough knowledge to install, configure and troubleshoot Altaro VM Backup.

When you need support, you can easily contact Altaro (telephone/mail/chat) and my own experience is that they respond quickly and adequate. I’m curious about your experiences, please leave a comment!


Altaro has an interesting pricing strategy, offering a per host license and not the traditional per CPU license(!). This simplifies the licensing process making it easy for especially SMB customers. The overall cost is of note and could possibly be one of the most affordable backup and recovery products on the market.

  • Standard – per host, but limited to 5 VMs
  • Unlimited – per host no limit on the number of VM’s (Exchange item restore, deduplication, and boot from backup.
  • Unlimited Plus – access to Cloud Management Console, Backup to Azure, Continuous Data Protection (CDP), and WAN-optimized replication.

I’m using the Unlimited Plus license btw 😊😊

Continuous Data Protection (CDP)

One of the most useful features added to Altaro VM Backup is CDP. Since each VM has a different role in IT infrastructure, backing up once a day is not enough in many cases. By enabling t CDP for your ‘vital’ VMs, you can achieve better Recovery Point Objective (RPO) results. The options for taking a backup starts from 12 hours and can be reduced to 5 minutes. Although you can enable CDP for all VMs of a host, it’s best to use it only for those that need it.

Things to consider with CDP:

  • Maximum frequency depends on resource capacity and throughput.
  • Large amounts of change on a virtual machine could cause the CDP frequency to be reduced.
  • Enabling multiple VM’s on high-frequency CDP could result in Hypervisor performance degradation.
  • Storage should be considered when completing more frequent backups (CDP).

Grandfather-Father-Son (GFS) Archiving

GFS now enables you to archive backup versions rather than deleting backups that pass a retention window.

With GFS Archiving enabled, Altaro VM Backup will keep:

  • 1 backup per week for 12 weeks
  • 1 backup per month for 12 months
  • 1 backup per year for 2 years

Point to note, you can still use retention policies, this feature has not been removed. Essentially, you are able to configure three separate backup cycles to store three new backup versions every week, every month and every year. This enables you to retain weekly, monthly and yearly backup versions outside of the retention policy. In previous versions, you were only able to delete old backups not “Archive Old Backups”

Change Block Tracking

The use of Change Block tracking reduces the backup time by scanning the virtual machine for any changes (on block level). This decreases the backup duration from hours to minutes. There have been many improvements resolving the challenge relating to rebooting hypervisors.

CBT v2 for Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 leverages Microsoft’s Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) on the hosts. VSS has been part of all versions of Microsoft Windows for over a decade and is extremely reliable in maintaining a point-in-time snapshot of a specific volume.

CBT v2 for Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 no longer requires the installation of a kernel-mode filesystem driver to track changes. The previous method of using filesystem drivers in VM Backup may affect I/O performance on some systems, and this will now be completely avoided with CBT v2 for Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2.

With CBT v2 for Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2, change tracking keeps working reliably across host reboots, system upgrades etc. CBT v2 for Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 also fully supports VMs migrating across cluster nodes and there is no longer the need to perform a full scan when a VM migrates or changes state etc.

Boot from Backup

This is an interesting feature… Through the boot from backup section, you can start a VM directly from the backup location without having to restore it using the normal procedure. In this case, there are two types, Verification Mode and Recovery Mode. Using this feature you can quickly be up and running with your VM.

Concurrent Backup and Restore Operations

Parallel backup and restore operations have been added preventing queuing jobs like an offsite backup copy. You can now take offsite copies and restore backups without the delay of any scheduled backup or CDP operations.

WAN-Optimized Replication

Version 8 of Altaro VM Backup introduces WAN-Optimized Replication enabling users to replicate

VM’s (ongoing copy) to a remote site. This allows It admins to failover mission-critical systems to a remote site. This new feature enables businesses to be back up and running with minimal downtime if a disaster strikes or major incident occurs, hence reducing the Recovery Time Objective (RTO) as much as possible.

Things to consider with Replication:

  • You need to have the same version Hypervisor at both the local and remote site.
  • The maximum replication frequency is 5 minutes.
  • You can only use local disks for replication, network shares are not currently supported.
  • 2008R2 Hyper-V hosts are not supported.
  • If the last successful replication version is not equal to the last successful backup version, then recovery is required.

WAN Optimized Replication is currently only available with Hyper-V (VMware support is coming soon)


Altaro VM Backup has clearly listened to the industry’s backup and recovery pain points and challenges. They have created a product that is simple to use, effective and used by many. The product is feature rich and offers three simple tiers for pricing (Standard, Unlimited and Unlimited Plus).

I have found some product limitations, however, this does not impede the product’s ability to back-up the majority of SMB businesses Hyper-V & VMware infrastructures. Altaro clearly invests heavily into development and I do look forward to seeing features like cloud replication in 2019.

You can download Altaro VM Backup and enjoy forever free backup for your VMs. Any questions, please use the comments box below….

More information

Altaro 10 min setup & configure

What’s new in Altaro VM Backup V8

An Introduction to Altaro VM Backup V8

Celebration of Sysadmin Day

My sponsor launched an exciting contest in celebration of Sysadmin Day.

Altaro we’ll be giving away Amazon eGift Cards to the first 100 eligible entries and 1 Grand Prize for 1 lucky winner.

They have some fantastic options for the grand prize including a Playstation 4 Pro, Xbox One X, 3-year membership of Amazon Prime and more, but it will be up to the Grand Prize winner to choose his/her Grand Prize.



Webinar : Journey to the Clouds

My sponsor Altaro is hosting a webinar called “Journey to the Clouds”. There are 2 sessions, feel free to register to one (or both :-)) of them :

Altaro webinar Clouds

(Click this banner to register)

Some information about the webinar :

Want to migrate your datacenter into the cloud but unsure how to make the transition successfully? 3 Microsoft MVPs discuss your options in this upcoming panel webinar.
Join Andy Syrewicze, Didier Van Hoye, and Thomas Maurer for a crash course on how you can plan your journey effectively and smoothly utilizing the exciting cloud technologies coming out of Microsoft including:
  • Windows Server 2019 and the Software-Defined Datacenter
  • New Management Experiences for Infrastructure with Windows Admin Center
  • Hosting an Enterprise Grade Cloud in your datacenter with Azure Stack
  • Taking your first steps into the public cloud with Azure IaaS
With cloud technologies improving exponentially migrating to a cloud-based model is a dilemma facing most organizations today. Cloud services such as Microsoft Azure, Azure Stack, and the software defined datacenter, offer numerous benefits but moving existing infrastructure into a cloud model is a challenging step.
Many IT Pros are justifiably wary of new platforms and cloud services are particularly worrisome involving core infrastructure elements hosted offsite. This is why some of the new technologies coming from Microsoft are so compelling as they are designed to help organizations make that transition slowly and at their own pace. This webinar covers both fully-serviced cloud offerings as well as smaller-scaled solutions that provide more accessible steps to realizing the benefits without fully committing.
After watching the experts discuss the details, you’ll see that the cloud doesn’t have to be an all or nothing discussion. The journey from on-prem to the cloud is different for every organization, as is the destination. This webinar will prepare you for your unique journey by revealing the available options and how to make the most out of them.
Join us for some insightful discussion, use-case examples, and tips for getting started with these new technologies. Sign up today.
We hope to see you there!

I will be joing the webinar also, see you there! Grt Xander

Altaro webinar with Ben Armstrong

My sponsor Altaro is organizing a webinar with Ben Armstrong this Tuesday, 24th April whereby people can register and get the rare opportunity to ask Ben their questions (link).
Ben is quite the star in the industry, so I think this could be interesting for you! You’re welcome to upload any questions to Ben through social media in the coming days until Tuesday, just include #AskBenArmstrong. It’s important to use the hashtag so Altaro is able to capture all the questions.

After the webinar, there will be a webpage with the typed out Q&A’s from Ben! So be sure to check out this link.