Hyper-V


Review : Veeam Explorer for Exchange

While attending Tech Ed 2012 EMEA I spoke with some people @ the Veeam booth. They showed me a beta version of the Veeam Explorer for Exchange. I was very enthusiastic about it and after a few week of holiday I finally had some time to do a review for myself.

What does Veeam Explorer do?

Veeam Explorer makes it possible to restore single mailbox items from the Exchange database (EDB + logfiles). Everyone knows the tool no system administrator can live with out, Ontrack Powercontrols. I’ve used that tool several times, but there is one major drawback. It’s licensed on a exchange server name. So for consultants and companies with multiple exchange servers it’s not that handy. Although there are more companies and products who work just fine they all cost money.  And Veeam Explorer for Exchange (VEFE for now) will also be available in a free version!

Also very nice, VEFE doesn’t need any agents. Just point to an exchange ese.dll and you mailbox edb file and the logfiles and off you go. You can dropdown your mailbox database and scroll through all the mailboxes and their items. You can even directly open all the items (mails etc)

Installation of Veeam Explorer for Exchange

Installation of VEFE is very easy. Make sure you have Veeam Backup & Replication 6.1 x64 installed!

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Screendumps

First point to an Exchange Server installation (ese.dll). This can be an unc path.

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Then I restored an back-up of my Exchange 2010 Server database

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Fill in the location of the Exchange database file(s) and the logfiles

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Wait a couple of seconds

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And the database is connected

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Now scroll through the items and these are the options

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Conclusion

Although the product is still in beta, it works very nice. I was surprised about the speed of the program. Other programs like Ontrack Powercontrols also work very nice but their performance is not that great. It takes ages to scroll to several mailboxes to find the message you are looking for. VEFE works very quickly. Ofcourse it depends on the hardware (storage!) but using my whitebox environment and several tens of gigabytes of mailbox data the performance was top of the line!

There is room for improvement also, Smile The VEFE is an standalone program and is not yet integrated in Veeam Backup and Recovery. Although it’s not necessary, it could be nice. Another feature I would like to see in the final version is the possibility to restore items directly in an other mailbox store. Yes, now you can forward the message of export to pst. But a direct restore would be better, the items are untouched then also.

Try it for yourself

Veeam offers the possibility to test the beta product.

Therefore go to the veeam website (www.veeam.com) and register for the beta.

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Don’t you want to wait to be selected? I have a few invites. Want to receive one? Leave a comment!


Review : Altaro Hyper-V Backup

Some time ago I received a license from my sponsor Altaro to install and review their Hyper-V Backup. I’ve installed their latest version of Hyper-V Back-up (HVB)

I’m running Altaro Hyper-V on my Hyper-V cluster.

After installing HVB I opened the management console (dashboard) which looks like this :

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I think it’s a very nice and clean console with enough information. One major drawback I ran into is that I can’t scroll through the left pane. I ‘m running a screen resolution of 1276 x 747 (Remote Desktop) and I can’t seem to reach the functions at the bottom. I’m sure this will be updated in their future release.

Configuring Hyper-V Backup

That’s very easy. Choose Select Hyper-V Guest VMs and just select the servers you wish to back-up. Selecting the servers now, doesn’t automatically mean that HVB will back-up them now, Therefor you have to select a Backup drive and Schedule.

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Select the servers you want to include in your back-up strategy. I noticed they creating and removing virtual servers you see an unknown server. This means that HVB noticed some unused files. Good idea to check this, and clean-up the unneeded files. Smile

Now you can choose the back-up destination :

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A (very) nice feature is that you can choose for multiple destinations and Backup drive mirroring. This means that your back-up files are on 2 separate locations, in case the primary back-up location fails. Very very nice.

Now we can drag the virtual machines in the pre-configured Backup schedules, or create a custom one:

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You can use the Backup Schedule Calculator to verify how often your schedule takes place.

You have the following Notification Settings settings (Email also included)

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Back-up options

What back-up options do we have? Of course, every IT geek want’s to tweak their settings. Smile Well first I want to let you know that using HVB for some months now, I never had the need to change things. Everything was working smoothly and more important…. it kept running smoothly and fast. But yeah, there are options :

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and

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and

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and

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(use this for non VSS aware VM’s, like linux and stuff)

Advanced Restore Options

Using HVB it’s no problem to test your back-up’s (Fire Drill) or to restore only one file using the File Level Restore option.

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Updating Hyper-V Backup

Updating the software is very easy. Just click About HVB and press Check for updates.

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In my case their was a new version available :

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Just press update now and press a couple of times on next and you’re running their latest version.
Very easy. (A fully automated update would also be nice although Smile)

 

Conclusion

Pros:

  • Very ease and stable to use
  • Fast
  • Cheap
  • Excellent support
  • Nice logging, for example it’s easy to see which files have been changed since last back-up etc
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Cons:

  • GUI interface could be better
  • Sometimes you need specific options like the possibility the back-up a specific drive instead of all drives
  • no support for encryption

Altaro also have a Free Hyper-V Backup solution. (click for link)


VSS Backups Part 2

A couple of days ago I mentioned this article about VSS Backups. Here you can find the second part. I especially like the part what options are avaibale when there’s no VSS writer available (LInux hosts?!). Currently I’m writing a review of Altaro Hyper-V back-up and I shall this include in the review also.