Monthly Archives: March 2017


Script to clear browsing history and cache for IE, Firefox and Chrome 1

Recently I wrote a couple of scripts to clear the browsing history and cache for IE, Firefox and Chrome

Internet Explorer (Powershell)

Firefox (batchfile)

and Chrome (batchfile)


The (dis)advantages of Cloud backup

Cloud backup (online data backup) is a service where data is remotely maintaned, managed and backed up. This service allows the use of storing backup files online, so that they can be accessed from any location due to the use of the internet.

More and more people are backupping their data to the Cloud. Many more people are thinking about it. What are the (dis)advantages?

Cloud backup

Difference between an offline/offsite back-up and a Cloud backup

A cloud backup uses storage in the cloud (provided by a Cloud storage provider) to store the data and is remotely accessible. An offsite backup is a copy of your local backup and is kept offline and offsite. When you have the need for the off-site back-up you have to pick up that storage device, mount it and/or do some configuration and then you are able to restore the data on it.

Disadvantages : the device (data) can be stolen, corrupted (no RAID usage for example), it takes time to use the storage because it’s offsite (you first have to collect the storage device)

Advantages are : data is offsite and any influences on that location (storm, theft, fire) is not appliacable. Data can’t be altered and is safe for malware and corruption.

Advantages of Cloud backups

  • Effeciency, usability and reliability
    Cloud backups are extremely reliable. Due to it being stored in a cloud environment, redundant config compensate for possible hardware corruption and facilitates improved data integrity
  • 24/7 monitoring
    Any decent Cloud storage provider has a 24×7 monitoring solution. So any flaws concering their (Cloud) service are noticed immediatly
  • Scalability & Accessibility
    You can easiliy up- and down scale (pay for usage) and the backup service can be accessed everywhere as long there is access to the internet.
  • Recovery time improvement
    You can increase your recovery time. Because everything is in place all the time. (You don’t have to load tapes etc) It’s as simple as a push on the button.
  • Disaster Recovery out of the box & accessibility.
    You don’t have to build a disaster recovery infrastructure. It’s right there for you to use. It’s important to keep a copy of your backup offsite. Even when all your local backups are in order, there could be a hurricane or flood which could prevent access to your servers. (Cloud backups are offsite too!)
  • Cost savings
    Business and organizations can often reduce operating cost by using cloud storage. But be aware, use of Cloud backup can be more expensive also.
    It’s important to use a solution that makes sense and won’t require to incur a capital expenditure.
  • Your Cloud partner or backup vendor takes care of things for you
    Most of the time it’s a simple one time configuration and afterwards you don’t have to pay any attention about configuring.
  • Protection against physical theft and natural disasters
    A tornado could hit your office, or you could be a victim of burglary of theft. Now you could still rest easy knowing that your personal data is safe offsite in the Cloud.

Disadvantages of Cloud backup

  • A full backup or recovery job can be too time-consuming
    Even if you’ve got a large bandwidth internet connection, it will almost certainly take some time to initially upload and backup your data.
    The same goes for restoring. Slow speeds are, without a doubt, the majority of people’s biggest gripe with online data backup.
  • Limitations of the amount of data that can be uploade to the cloud depending on bandwidth availability. You are completely reliant on your internet connection and on the connection of your Cloud provider. If your internet connection goes down, so does your ability to backup or restore data from the Cloud.
  • No direct control
    When you send your data up into the the Cloud you have less control over it than over the storage you have onsite.
  • Discontinuation of the service. Providers can stop their service
    This is one reason you can’t rely on Cloud storage only. You always need a local backup solution.  For legal reasons you (may) have to hold your backups for several years. What if your Cloud storage provider cancels their service? Then you have to rely on your local backups!
  • Bad or nonexistent service-level agreements
    If a solid agreements with the cloud storage provider is not in place, it could result in disappointment. Make sure your expectations and the provider’s capabilities are cleary spelled out in the contract.(SLA!!)
  • Datasecurity & encryption
    There are concerns with the safety and privacy of important data stored remotely.
    If a Cloud storage provider doesn’t follow adequate data security practices, your data will be exposed to greater risk than with off-site backups.  Any online backup provider worth mentioning will encrypt the data of its customers during both transmissiond and storage using high-level encryption algorothms such as AES or Blowfish, the same used by banks and government agencies. However some provider don’t use those technices and may expose as as security risk.

Conclusion

Backup to the Cloud is easily configured and often works like a charm. But don’t forget to investigate the different vendors and platforms (Amazon, Azure, Google etc) and check the support from your backup application (/solution). There are multiple vendors like for example Nakivo Backup & Replication. There are gigantic differences between costs, possibilities, liabilities and support.


File level restore on Azure

Making backups of virtual machines running on Azure using snapshot technology is a nice feature. But sometimes you don’t want to revert the whole snapshot but only want to restore a single file. Now this is possible. It uses the same backup/Snapshot technology you probably are already using.

Azure_file_level_restore_1

Open the virtual machine properties in the all resources tab. Choose the Back-up option.

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Go to the file level restore option. (more/upper right)

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Select the back-up set containing the file(s) you wish to restore. Then choose to download the script. Upload that script to your Virtual Machine. (winscp, copy/paste into nano/vi or any other way you choose to). It takes approx. 1 minute to generate and download the script.

Execute the script using bash <filename.sh>. First time the VM adds support for the iSCSI service which is required for mounting the back-upset. Choose Y for installation the iSCSI drivers and wait a few seconds. You see that entire back-upset is mounted. Now you can copy all the necessary files you need.

After you are ready, go to the Azure portal and choose to unmount the back-upset. Now you are all finished!


How to show (export) all devices synchronizing with your Office 365

For a MDM project I had to make an dump which users are using which devices to (active)sync with their Office 365 mailboxes. This is how I did that :

Get-Mailbox -ResultSize Unlimited | ForEach {Get-MobileDeviceStatistics -Mailbox:$_.Identity} | Select-Object @{label=”User” ; expression={$_.Identity}},DeviceModel,DeviceOS, lastsuccesssync | Export-csv F:\powershell\activesync.csv

Running the above command showed the following output (in a CSV file format):

As you can see you see the user, the device the user is using, the OS their device uses and last time that devices succesfully synchronized.

I used Excel to import the CSV and sort on LastSuccessSync.

Find out here how to connect to Office 365 using Powershell.


FreeNAS 9.10 Released (how to upgrade..)

FreeNAS 9.10 has just been released.

Based on FreeBSD 10.3, FreeNAS 9.10 combines hundreds of FreeBSD improvements with dozens of bug fixes and feature requests, while retaining the familiar user interface. Topping the list of FreeNAS 9.10 features are greater speed and scalability, dozens of new hardware drivers, USB 3.0 support, and the addition of the bhyve hypervisor.

Intel Skylake CPU and I219-V & I219-LM Gigabit Ethernet controller support stand out from a platform perspective and users can now use USB 3.0 storage and network controllers. FreeNAS plugin jails have been upgraded to FreeBSD 10.3 templates, which are binary compatible with existing jails. For the more adventuresome, FreeNAS 9.10 also includes FreeBSD’s bhyve hypervisor, opening the door to hosting virtual machines on FreeNAS with operating systems such as GNU/Linux and SmartOS.

For more information about FreeNAS 9.10, please see the forum announcement, release notes and change log. Current FreeNAS 9.3 users are encouraged to upgrade to FreeNAS 9.10 to stay current with the latest bug fixes and feature requests

You can easily upgrade to the latest version:

Logon to the management interface:

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Go to System/Update/Check now.

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Check the ChangeLog and choose to apply the updates.

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(Downloading and installing the updates)

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Finally FreeNAS has to reboot and in a couple of seconds you’re back online!


Nakivo Backup & Replication in depth review

Some time ago I wrote about Nakivo Backup & Replication, more info here. In this blogpost I’m going to write about some special features I especially like about Nakivo Backup & Replcation (NBR from this point on..)

Flash VM Boot

Flash VM Boot enables you to run (boot) VM’s directly from compressed and deduplicated VM backups without recovering the entire VM first. You don’t need any additional configuration and all changes don’t effect the backup  and are discarded when the VM is powered off. (You don’t have altered backup files)

Enabling Flash VM boot is very easy. Go to the recover menu and select Flash VM Boot.

Flash01

Select the VM

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Flash04

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After you click Finish & Run you see your Flash VM running on your VMware server. When the recovered VM is no longer needed, click Discard in the menu to power off and remove the VM.

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Like I mentioned all the changes are abonded. You are able to save your changes by replicating or backup this temporary VM.

Screenshot Backup verification

When you perform a back-up you want 100% confirmation that your backup is succesful. Nakivo Backup & Replication  (NBR) has a unique feature called Screenshot Backup Verification. This means that after a backup, NBR uses Flash VM boot to quickly mount and start (without network connectivity) the specific VM. After booting up the server, NBR takes a screenshot of the powered on VM and emails you that picture. The VM is then powered off. This way you see that the backup works. NBR uses iSCSI technology for mounting the backup files.

screenshot01

Screenshot Verification can also be started on demand when you choose to.

Nakivo Virtual Appliance

It is very easy to deploy and configure the Nakivo Virtual appliance on your VMware server.After you download the OVF from the Nakivo website you can easily import that on your server.

ovf

The benefits of deploying an OVF file is that a) it saves you a lot of time, b) you don’t have to spend so much time maintaining and patching your server and c) it’s ready to go. Just import it and it works! No need for configuring.

After importing the OVF file you can start the appliance.

n_appliance1

Configure the network settings, set the date/time and do a Software update. One remark : I updated the appliance using the CLI (it’s just Linux (Ubuntu) running) and afterwards I noticed bad network performance. When updating using the normal NBR interface everything worked fine. De default username/password is root/root. Don’t forget to change this! You can login to the appliance using https://<IP>:4443