Back-up


Review: Nakivo backup & Replication for VMware

Backup is more and more important. That’s why there are several company’s proving great products for this.
Nakivo has their Backup & Replication tool for VMware (and Amazon but that will not be covered right now) and in this blogpost you find my experiences.

Nakivo backup & Replication (NBR from now..) comes in different distribution formats:

  • VMware Virtual Appliance (OVF)
  • NAS Package (Western Digital and Synology)
  • Pre configured Amazon Machine Image
  • Linux version
  • and a Windows version

Installation

I’ve tried the Linux, Windows and the NAS version. All the versions offer the same functionality. I installed the OVF version in my VMware environment and found that the installation was very straightforward and was done in minutes. After logging on the first time just add your VMware server(s) or vCenter and off you go! Don’t forget to change the default password although!

The interface is very to the point. Just make a https connection to port 4443 and login with your credentials.

Ok let’s create a job :

Choose Create and select the VMware vSphere backup job.

Select the VM you wish to backup:

Select the repository you wish to save your backup file to. You can choose not to select all the virtual machine hard drives.

Schedule your job

You have the option to change some advanced options

Click Finish & Run and your first back-up is done!

Synology Package

I also installed the Synology Package on my NAS. Like as expected that was very ease. Just make sure all sources are trusted and install the package. After a few steps the package is installed and provides the same functionality as the (for example) Windows version. I tried the package on 2 different Synology models. A high end and entry level and it worked fine on both devices. I saw minor differences in performance.  I think installing a product like this on a NAS provides great functionality. Many of my customers use a Synology NAS for their backup only. Now there is no Windows or Linux VM and hypervisor on location necessary.

Support

I had some technical questions (concering transport role) so I went to the Nakivo homepage. After a short chat session I was helped by a technical support engineer which friendly helped me. It seems that their support is quite adequate. I shall continuing test this product and shall share my support experiences.

Send Nakivo Feedback, Get $20 Gift Card

Nakivo loves to know what you think about their product. Get $20 Amazon gift card for performing the following tasks:

  1. Install NAKIVO Backup & Replication and discover your infrastructure.
  2. Use the product, such as create and run at least one backup job.
  3. Send the support bundle to support@nakivo.com by December 30, 2016.
  4. Provide your feedback by filling out a short survey.

Read the Terms and Conditions

Pricing

Nakivo comes in 4 different versions : Pro Essentials ($199), Enterprise Essentials($299), Pro ($399) and Enterprise ($599). I think their pricing is very competitive. Check out more information about pricing here.

Wishlist and improvements

After testing Nakivo Backup & Replication (and some of the other vendors and their products) I think Nakivo is a very interesting product. Altough their is some room for improvement concerning the GUI (interface). (For example you are able to add 2 jobs with the same name/description and that can be confusing) I also would like to see the following :

  • Support for other NAS vendors (for example Qnap)
  • Support for Azure
  • Deploy Transport role/VM within the user interface
  • Update/upgrade within the GUI

Conclusion

I think Nakivo provides a very interesting product which lots of interesting functionality. I especially like the Synology NAS appliance because it makes the life of the system administrator easier. Also their pricing is very competitive. Their is room for improvement (as always) but the product seems very stabile. In my next review about nakivo I’m going to test the transport role, multi tenancy, self-service, Exchange log truncation, self service and their API interface. Lot’s to come! When you have experience with Nakivo also, please leave a reply.


Review: Altaro VM Backup

I’m using Altaro VM Backup for my Hyper-V whitebox environment for a couple of years now.
Recently I tested the latest version. Hereby my experiences.

Their latest version of VM Backup changed in comparison to previous versions.
I noticed several new features/improvements and a slightly improved UI.

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(Some of) Altaro VM Backup features:
– Built for virtual environments (both Hyper-V and VMware)
– Back up live VMs (Zero downtime by leveraging Microsoft VSS)
– Offsite Backup Replication
– File and Exchange item level restore
– Back up live VMs with no downtime
– Microsoft VSS Integration
– Support for Cluster Shared Volumes & vCenter
– Restore to different Hyper-V host or clones
– Central management console, management of multiple hosts
– Compression & Encryption
– Auto-upload Error Reports & Remote Support integration (Live Chat embedded)
– Offsite Backup Replication
– Altaro Offsite server (I shall update this post very soon with more information about this feature)

Altaro VM Backup 6.5 has been released adding the Change Block Tracking (CBT) feature for Hyper-V that gives the backups a speed boost of up to 33 times on incremental backups. Upgrading to the latest version is simple, go to the update download page in the user interface to download the update file. (Changed Block Tracking is conceptually similar to snapshot-technology. It determines if any blocks have changed since the last snapshot and tags the blocks that have been changed, to copy out only the blocks that have changed the last backup)

Altaro can be installed on a physical host or in a virtual machine. There is no Linux version (or OVF) available. (It would be nice to have that option although!) Configuring the program is very easy. In just a few steps you’re ready to go!

First configure the VMware or Hyper-V server (or vCenter), specify the IP settings and login creds and go to the following steps. Specify a back-up location, either a normal backup location (physical drive or network path) or a offsite location (either a physical drive, drive rotation or swap schema, network path of Altaro Offsite Server with WAN Acceleration). Configure the schedule, retention policy, the notifications and advanced settings (VSS, master encryption) You are all done configuring!

Now we are ready to back-up your virtual machines! Just 2 options, choose to take a backup or take a offsite copy.
Restoring the virtual machine is easy, you can use the default restore option or the granular option. With the granular restore you can specify specific files or folders to restore. It’s even possible to open an exchange edb file to restore specific exchange items (mail, calender items etc).

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A nice option is, that it’s very easy to test your backups using the sandbox feature. Using this feature you can test your backup&restore in just a few steps. It does a complete restore in a virtual (sandbox) environment. So nothing happens with your running VMs. Using this method you can test the complete backup/restore procedure.

When you need support, there are several options:

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You can use email and phone support, but a nice feature is the Live Chat support option. All the necessary information can easily be given to Altaro support so that they can help you. A very nice and unique feature!

If you are love security Altaro VM Backup give you the option to use an encryption key in your backups.
So in case of stolen your backups or any other scenario nobody can restore it if doesn’t has the encryption key.

Altaro built in al the reporting tools you need. In one overview you see your backup and restore results and actions.

Altaro comes with per-socket licensing and is as mentioned available in three editions:
– Unlimited Edition (all functionality for an unl. number of VMs and supports clusters, 585 dollar)
– Standard Edition (most functionality with protection of up to five VMs, 395 dollar)
– Free edition (protects up to two VMs)

 


Howto : Backup to Azure with your Synology

Like many other people I use a Synology NAS for back-up purposes. All my backup data and other files is stored on the single device. But what when there is a problem with that device or your house (or office) is burned down to the ground. You won’t be able to gain access to your Synology and your data.

There are many (and I mean many!) services and (Cloud backup) providers who offer services to let you use their storage to backup to. Nice idea, great service. But…. not always very cheap. I have several Synology’s and many TB stored on them.

I tested several solutions and found out that backup to Azure was the right solution for me! In this blogpost I shall describe to few simple steps for you. You need 2 things:

  1. Synology Device
  2. Microsoft Azure Account (free trial available, go to azure.microsoft.com)

First step, we must create a storage account.

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Ok, go through the following step to create a storage account :

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Ok, you have to wait a few seconds for Microsoft to let that account be created. When the storage account is created you have to access the properties and go to Access Keys.

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You need the Storage Account Name and the Access Key (KEY1 or KEY2) later.

Now go to your Synology. Ofcourse you are running the latest version and go to Hyper Backup.

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Click the + button to add a back-up job.

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Wow! We see the AZR Cloud already, let’s select that!

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Fill in you Account name and copy/paste the contents of KEY1:

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You have the option to backup some applications, let’s skip that.

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Fill in the appropriate information and you are all done!

The costs are as follows :

  1. You pay 0,02 cent (euro) for every GB of storage
  2. When you back-up 20 TB, you pay approx 20 euro each month
  3. You only pay for storage and restoring, not for uploading.
  4. When you restore the entire 1 TB storage you pay 1x approx 72 euro

Veeam FastSCP for Microsoft Azure

Veeam has a new product/version of their FastSCP tool and I think it’s amazing!

First for this demo I’ve created a Windows 2012 R2 server on Azure :

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Nothing new here, so let’s move on!

Download the beta of FastSCP for Azure here.

After a quick install (next-next-next) start the program :

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After starting you see something like this :

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Alright, we are going to Add the newly created machine, use the credentials you specified earlier :

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And after a few seconds looking at something like this.. :

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..we see something like this :

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Select a file on any drive and try the Download Files button :

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Specify the destination folder :

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Go to the jobs section :

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Et voila! You’ve just transferred your first file using FastSCP for Microsoft Azure.

Uploading works the other way around. Pretty amazing right?


Veeam FULLY supports vSphere 6!

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A word from my sponsor :

Veeam® Backup & Recovery now FULLY supports VMware vSphere 6. Now, you can get Veeam’s largest and most powerful release in history with FULL vSphere 6 support, including support for VMware Virtual Volumes (VVols) and Virtual SAN (VSAN) 2.0, Storage Policy Based Management (SPBM) policy backup and restore, support for backup and replication of Fault Tolerant VMs, vSphere 6 tags integration, Quick Migration to VVol datastores and much more, coupled with the award-winning, features and enhancements of Veeam Availability Suite v8, including:

  • Veeam Explorers™ for Microsoft Active Directory, Exchange, SQL Server
  • Backup and recovery from NetApp Snapshot, SnapMirror and SnapVault
  • Veeam Cloud Connect for fast and secure cloud backup
  • AES 256-bit end-to-end encryption
  • And much more

Existing customers download the latest patch for all mentioned above.


VEEAM Backup to Azure (step by step)

Use the following steps to configure Veeam Backup & Recovery to back-up the VM’s (Hyper-V and VMware) to Azure. You can sign up and use free trial licenses for Veeam (check out the banner on the right) and Azure. You only pay for the storage (3 ct for each Gigabyte and the network consumption for restoring a VM for 6 ct each Gigabyte. Uploading to Azure (to back-up) is free of charge)

First go to : https://portal.azure.com/

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Hit the big + to create the Veeam Cloud Connect VM :

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You have to fill in some information like the servername (without the @cloudapp.net) and the username and password. You will need this account to logon to this VM in the next step.

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Now we are ready to create the Azure VM and it takes approx 30 min.

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When the VM is ready logon to the console using the following interface :

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Start the Veeam configurator using the icon on the desktop :

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Now we have to upload a (trial?) license.

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Veeam is so nice to describe the few configuration steps.

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Now we are going to create a user. We need this user later on when configuring Veeam Backup & Recovery. Make sure this username and password is different than the account you created earlier.

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We are able to set an expiration date and assign an amount of storage.

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Ok that’s the Azure part. 🙂 Now go to your Veeam Backup & Recovery console.

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Go to service provider, and choose to add a new service provider.

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Fill in the servername (VM name in Azure + cloudapp.net) and use the default port. You don’t have to check (but can) the SSL certificate.

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Choose the repository and now we’re all set!

Now you can choose the Cloud repository in the Backup VM Job :

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Yes, it’s possible to backup to a share using Windows Backup 2008 (not R2)

A reader of my blog mentioned that it’s wasn’t possible to backup to a a share while using Windows Server 2008 backup. Indeed, using the GUI it’s not possible but you can use wbadmin to start a backup to a netwerkshare :

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Use the following command : wbadmin start backup –backuptarget:\\fileserver\share –include:C: –vssfull –quiet. (Or add the other drives you wish to backup to this command)


Implementing a working Windows Server Backup Strategy

Sometimes you can’t use Hypervisor backup software, for example when using physical machines (huh?) or Xenserver with unavailable storage for creating snapshots. Ofcourse commercial backup software is nice, but sometimes you don’t want to pay for that (whitebox home environment) or the customer doesn’t have the licenses.

Why don’t use software you already own? Let’s install Windows Server Backup :

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It’s as easy as adding an extra feature to Windows Server.

After that it’s easy to generate to create a working backup :

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Configuring Windows backup is very easy and I won’t go in to that. But there are some drawbacks. For example, Windows Server Backup doesn’t offer the option to send an email when a backup is (un)succesful. This is how you do that :

Windows Server logs the status of the completed backups in the eventlog. So we are going to use Task Scheduler to check the eventlog for event ID’s.

Open Windows Task Scheduler and select Create Task..:

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Fill in the required information and make sure you select the appropiate user :

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We are going to create to tasks, first one for a succesvol backup. Herefore we have to use Event Id 4 :

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Fill in the appropiate email settings :

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And click Ok. When new events are written to the eventlog they automaticly scanned for this ID in the selected eventlog.

Now create a second task (with the email unsuccelful) for the following event ID’s : 5,8,9,17,22,49,50,52,100,517,518,521,528,544,545,546,561,564 and 612. You have to create a trigger for every ID. So it takes some time (5 min) to create the unsuccesful task but you can export/import these tasks. I mine environment I created 2 tasks, one mailing succesvol backup (ID 4) and one unsuccesvol backup (all other ID’s). But ofcourse you can send an email for every different error with an different subject.

Now it’s time to create a scheduled Windows Backup task and here you go!


Review Xackup XenServer backup software Part 2

After my review of Xackup XenServer backup software I received serveral emails and tweets with people asking me if I had ever done a restore test. The answer is : ….. YES! Ofcourse. 🙂

 

I did several migrations and restores for testing purposes and they all succeedeed. I advise to install the software on a separate server because it has some impact on the CPU.

Anymore questions? Please leave a comment. 🙂