All posts by Shawn Cannon

I have been in IT since 1996. I am our Executive Senior Blogger with experience in VMware, Microsoft, EMC storage, Veeam and Dell servers. I love technology and love to blog about it!

vBE – VM Backup Essentials

I have been given the opportunity to blog about a new product from Unitrends.  The new product is called VM Backup Essentials, or vBE for short.  Certain bloggers were provided a blogger release which I am going to post below.  I will add my comments under each section as I downloaded the product into my lab to install and test out the features of this product.

vBE (short for VM Backup Essentials), converges enterprise-grade backup software, ransomware
detection, and cloud continuity into a powerful, easy-to-use, all-in-one platform priced 30% less than
comparable products. An “All-in-One Solution” vBE provides a disruptive approach to backup – with complete vertical integration (including the cloud), fast time to value and an all-in-one solution provided by a single vendor with industry-leading customer service. vBE includes all the software and features you would find in an enterprise-level data protection and recovery solution.
vBE includes operating system, security, backup software, WAN acceleration, replication, cloud integration, and archiving.

With an easy to use interface lost file recovery is one of the most common tasks performed by IT on an
emergency basis and can chew up many hours of your time. vBE ensures easy file recovery. It takes less than five minutes to recover a lost file with vBE, from login to full restoration. The UI is easy and intuitive enough that any member of IT can recover a lost file without having to consult a manual or receive special training.
Easily set all aspects of protection using an advanced, intelligent feature called SLA policy automation.
vBE’s SLA Policy automation intelligently sets your backup schedule based on your RTO and RPO goals.
Built-in one-glance, one-click dashboards and reports keep you fully up-to-date on the health and status
of your backup and continuity strategy.

The UI is fairly easy to navigate.  I was able to easily add my lab vCenter instance so I could select any of the VMs for backup.  I chose to backup one of my Windows VMs once so I could test file recovery as mentioned in the section above.  After the backup was complete, I deleted the downloaded files in my Downloads folder.  I selected the server from the Recover tab and clicked the Recover Files option.  This will mount the backup for use in the File Level Recovery tab.  This will mount them as a CIFS share that you can visit to download the files back to the server they were deleted from.  You can also use iSCSI to mount the backup into the server if preferred for file level recovery.  It would be nice to choose the files in the mounted job and tell it to restore back to the same server so you can do it from one interface

vBE comes with Deep Cloud Integration. The cloud is an ideal way to ensure geographic resilience,
especially those without a secondary location that need to protect copies of their data. vBE easily
manages protection for your VMware workloads in hyperscale clouds such as Google or AWS. However anyone that has worked with hyperscale clouds knows it can be complex and very expensive. vBE has its own purpose-built continuity cloud designed for long-term retention and DRaaS, as well as great integration with AWS and Google. Offloading cloud backup and recovery to experts gives you 100% confidence you will recovery when you need to and let’s you focus on those tasks only you can do – work with your business partners to improve company performance.

As I have no cloud options to test, all I can verify are the options in the UI.  Under the Configure tab, you can add Cloud based storage as a target for backup and recovery.  Currently the options ads Google Cloud Storage, Amazon (S3) and Rackspace Cloud Files.

Licensing to rival all other vendors!
vBE is licensed for $105 per socket and covers VMware virtual machines only. Base prices include one
year of 24x7x365 support with an annual renewal available.
Support terms of 3 or 5 years can be chosen at the time of initial purchase or support plan renewal.

My only comment on this claim is that this pricing is much cheaper than what I have seen out there for comparable products.  I do not use these products on a daily basis anymore but I remember the pricing from one vendor I used to use was in the $700 to $1,000 price range per socket.  If the performance of this Unitrends product matches up to the other backup vendors then this pricing will be a game changer, in my opinion.

Points of note:

  • Total Protection – No limits on the number of virtual machines that can be protected on a host
  • No License Tiering – No tiering of licenses based on the number of cores in the CPU socket.
  • Only License what you need! – Only occupied sockets require a license, but ALL occupied
    sockets of the host must be licensed to protect its virtual machines.
  • Infinite retention! – Retention is directly proportional to the amount of storage that can be
    provided by the customer for backup. The license has no limits on retention.
  • Replication to the Cloud – Site-to-site replication is not supported at this time. vBE does support
    replication to the cloud – both hyperscale clouds such as AWS, Google and Rackspace as well as
    clouds purpose-built for DRaaS services.
  • Advanced Ransomware Protection – New ransomware variants are emerging every day and
    your ransomware protection needs to evolve to keep up.30-Day FREE TRIAL!

A 30-day free trial is available from https://www.unitrends.com/products/vm-backup-essentials
Simply download, deploy, and quickly start backing up all VMware workloads as it includes everything
required for data and application protection and advanced features.

As my lab is small I am not able to fully test every feature of this product but my overall impression is very positive. Being able to test it out for 30 days for free is a great way to see if it will work for protecting your VMs.

WhereScape Announces WhereScape Migration Express for Snowflake

WhereScape has released a product to help companies migrate existing data warehouses, vaults and marts to Snowflake.  The name of the product is WhereScape® Migration Express™ for Snowflake.  Their goal is to make this migration fast and easy for organizations.  For more information, check out the press release below.

WhereScape Announces WhereScape® Migration Express™ for Snowflake

 New automation offering helps Snowflake customers fast-track data infrastructure migration projects with fewer resources and faster time to value

PORTLAND, OREGON – June 7, 2018 – WhereScape, the leading provider of data infrastructure automation software, today announced the availability of WhereScape® Migration Express™ for Snowflake. This new offering enables organizations to simply, rapidly and efficiently migrate existing data warehouses, data vaults and data marts from legacy data platforms to Snowflake – the data warehouse built for the cloud.While traditional approaches to data infrastructure migration demand months of effort by development teams,

WhereScape Migration Express for Snowflake puts the delivery of successful migration projects within the reach of individual developers in weeks or even days. By automating the repetitive, time-intensive tasks associated with migration, organizations can increase developer productivity, standardize efforts with best practices, compress timelines, limit project risk and lower overall cost.

“WhereScape’s automation capabilities combined with Snowflake’s built-for-the-cloud architecture enable any organization that wants to be data-driven,” Snowflake’s Chief Technical Evangelist, Kent Graziano said. “By automating the migration of data and data models, WhereScape reduces the complexity, effort and cost for organizations with legacy data and data infrastructure to consider when moving to Snowflake. WhereScape Migration Express for Snowflake makes it possible for these organizations to reap the benefits of Snowflake sooner.”

With metadata and development and data mapping wizards, WhereScape Migration Express for Snowflake automates the migration of existing data and data infrastructure from other data platforms such as Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, Teradata and others. These automation capabilities reduce project complexity and the database knowledge needed by developers. WhereScape Migration Express for Snowflake also includes many advanced capabilities to manage and optimize data transfers, and the ability to easily refresh data intermittently throughout the migration period.

WhereScape Migration Express for Snowflake is part of the WhereScape® automation for Snowflake offering, a collection of automation solutions to help Snowflake customers fast-track the design, development, deployment and operation of Snowflake projects.

“While IT executives recognize the advantages of moving data infrastructure to the cloud, and moving to Snowflake specifically, the migration of existing data and data infrastructure can seem like a herculean task to consider,” WhereScape CEO, Mark Budzinski said. “WhereScape Migration Express for Snowflake provides IT leaders with an executable roadmap that doesn’t demand extensive staffing or contracting and greatly reduces the risk involved in choosing to evolve.”

As part of the Snowflake Data for Breakfast tour, WhereScape co-hosted an event in Minneapolis, MN, and shared the results organizations are achieving through automation. The tour brings IT leaders together with cloud thought leaders, experienced analytics practitioners and innovative technologists for insights on today’s cloud architecture and technology.

You can learn more about WhereScape Migration Express for Snowflake and the entire WhereScape automation for Snowflake offering here.

About WhereScape

WhereScape helps IT organizations of all sizes leverage automation to design, develop, deploy, and operate data infrastructure faster. More than 700 customers worldwide rely on WhereScape automation to eliminate hand-coding and other repetitive, time-intensive aspects of data infrastructure projects to deliver data warehouses, vaults, lakes and marts in days or weeks rather than in months or years. WhereScape has offices in Portland, Oregon; Reading, UK; Auckland, New Zealand; and Singapore. For more information, please visit www.wherescape.com.

All products or company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

How To Properly Shutdown vCenter Appliance 6.5

OK so this may seem like a stupid thing to post about but I have been out of the VMware game for a little over a year now.  I have been dabbling in it a bit again as we are building a lab at work. I installed the vCenter Appliance today and I needed to shut it down to move it to a different host (No vMotion license for the work lab).  I just went into the built in web client on my ESXi server that had VCSA on it and chose to shutdown the guest OS.  It did power it down so when I brought it up on the other ESXi host it did not come back up as I expected it to.

Yes, I did it wrong as I had forgotten about the management interface of the VCSA, which is located at https://<vcenter FQDN or IP>:5480.  Once you login as the root account for the VCSA, there is a nice SHUTDOWN button on the far right at the top.  Isn’t that nice?

The moral of the story?  Don’t just shutdown your VCSA from the vCenter client, use the management console on the VCSA itself to shut it down.  Lesson learned!

Splunk Announces Availability of Splunk Enterprise 7.0

Splunk Enterprise 7.0 is now available for download.  Some key new features have been added to the latest release.  These are:

  1. Metrics – which are sets of numerical, time series data are now treated as a first class data type bringing massive performance improvements such as up to 200x faster queries
  2. Event Annotation seamlessly unifies logs and metrics by overlaying multiple searches in a single time chart or graph
  3. Chart Enhancements expand the selection of visual styles and chart options geared toward improving the visualization of metrics and mult-series monitoring use cases
  4. Faster Data Model Acceleration through core search technology tweaks
  5. Self-Service App Management in the cloud has been updated to allow the installation of your organization’s own internal apps
  6. The latest Machine Learning Toolkit improves extensibility, scalability and ease of use through several new enhancements

Visit the link below from Splunk to read in more detail on what the new features are in 7.0.

(Source: https://www.splunk.com/blog/2017/09/26/what-s-new-in-splunk-enterprise-7-0.html)

 

Splunk.conf Coming


Hello everyone! It has been a while since I have posted. My new job role is completely focused around Splunk these days. Splunk’s annual conference is next week in Washington DC. I will be posting news and announcements throughout the week so stay tuned for some Splunk goodness. Sometime after the conference I will work on some Splunk related posts such as installing, how to use it and some good use cases. Stay tuned!!

Nutanix Announces New Release with 4x Performance Improvement

Nutanix-Logo

The Nutanix web-scale computing platform is getting an upgrade!  A new release was announced on February 16 that promises 4x performance improvement for any workload without additional hardware or software license.  Some snippets from the press release are below:

SAN JOSE, Calif. – February 16, 2016Nutanix, the enterprise cloud company, today announced a new release of its web-scale computing platform that delivers up to 4x performance improvement for any workload with no additional hardware or software license, freedom to choose hypervisors without lock-in, and built-in machine learning capabilities that increase operational efficiency. Nutanix solutions for building and operating enterprise clouds uniquely deliver the agility, pay-as-you-grow consumption, and operational simplicity of the public cloud without sacrificing the predictability, security, and control of on-premises infrastructure.

To support the increasing demands of modern businesses, an enterprise cloud platform must include a web-scale infrastructure fabric that delivers resiliency, availability, predictable performance across a wide range of enterprise applications. In addition, it should incorporate seamless application and data mobility, invisible operations with one-click simplicity through built-in machine intelligence, extensive automation and rich analytics, and a security-first design. The 4.6 release of the Nutanix software extends the company’s technology leadership and provides a platform that furthers its mission to deliver invisible infrastructure to elevate IT.

 

Delivering Continuous Value with 4x Better Price/Performance
Enterprise clouds must offer versatile performance for traditional and next-generation enterprise applications, delivering value back to businesses through continuous innovation. Acropolis 4.6 includes more than 25 powerful software enhancements that increase system performance by up to 4x compared to earlier versions. Current customers can get these benefits through a simple software upgrade at no additional expense. These enhancements increase performance across the full portfolio of Nutanix appliances, including the recently updated NX-9000 all-flash model. Customers benefit from:

  • Better performance across a wide range of enterprise application workloads, e.g., powering up to 30,000 Microsoft Exchange mailboxes in just 8U of rack space, as validated through the Microsoft Exchange Solution Reviewed Program (ESRP)
  • Delivering the industry’s fastest storage I/O performance across hyperconverged all flash solutions with over 1 million storage IOPS in just 4U of datacenter space.
  • Up to 4x price/performance gains on existing investments to deliver as low as $0.35/IOPS, better than top-selling all-flash arrays which also suffer from complex management and additional networking requirements.

 

As with public clouds such as AWS, wherein cost reductions achieved due to innovation and scale are passed back to the customer on an ongoing basis, customers deploying enterprise clouds powered by Nutanix also benefit from ongoing price/performance improvements on their existing investments without additional costs.

Removing Hypervisor Lock-In To Enable Infrastructure Choice for Traditional and Next Generation Apps
Public cloud services provide a single runtime environment, which while suited to some applications is a poor fit for others. In the new era of enterprise clouds, flexibility and choice are fundamental tenets, allowing businesses to run traditional enterprise applications such as databases and VDI as well as next-generation big data and DevOps applications uniformly and consistently on the best runtime environment for each application. This release extends the ambitious Acropolis App Mobility Fabric (AMF) with critical software updates that give IT teams the freedom to pick the right virtualization environment for their applications, and the flexibility to switch easily in order to reduce costs or simplify operations. New features include:

  • 1-click Hypervisor Conversion – Switch the hypervisor running on a Nutanix system from VMware vSphere to the built-in Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV) in a completely automatic operation that can be completed in minutes with minimal disruption and risk.
  • Cross-hypervisor DR and Backup – Rapidly recover from a site failure by failing over VMs from one site to another location running a completely different hypervisor. Perform automatic backups of VM-level data from one Nutanix system to another running a different hypervisor. IT professionals can choose the best hypervisor for each environment to minimize virtualization license costs.

 

Making Datacenter Operations Invisible With Built-in Machine Intelligence
Enterprise clouds require machine intelligence and automation to simplify complex operations from many clicks to a single click, and eventually from a single click to zero-touch management. New in this release is Prism Pro, a datacenter automation solution with a unique search-first interface and customizable dashboards that bring unmatched simplicity to a diverse set of IT operations.

Prism Pro features the new X-Fit™ technology with foundational machine intelligence built into the platform, delivering streamlined operations for every workload. With X-Fit™, the platform now includes self-learning capabilities that continuously improve prediction accuracy and the quality of automated decisions over time. Prism Pro leverages X-Fit to power automation and intelligence across a variety of operations, such as smart capacity management. This technology pits multiple predictive algorithms against one another, picking the best fit and making actionable recommendations to eliminate over-provisioning without increasing risk to application performance.

A link to the press release can be found here.

vCenterServer FQDN does not match DNS when upgrading vCenter Appliance from 5.5 to 6.0

Thanks to the vExpert program I have some new licenses for my lab systems.  Since I only have vCenter 6 Standard licenses and my current vCenter Appliance is running 5.5, I need to upgrade to 6.0.  I found a great walkthrough article on the VMware site that I followed.  During step 4 of the appliance deployment, the wizard goes out to confirm communication to the existing 5.5 appliance.  I ran across the following error and could not proceed:

vCenterServer FQDN Source_vCenter_Server_Appliance_FQDN does not match DNS servers “localhost.localdom,localhost” and IP addresses “Source_vCenter_Server_Appliance_IP_Address” from VC Certificate

As usual I did some research and found KB Article 2110772 which explained how to fix this issue.  I have included the steps from this article to fix the issue:

To resolve this issue, toggle the certificate settings on the source vCenter Server Appliance to regenerate new certificates with the appropriate hostname and IP address.
To toggle the certificate settings:
  1. Log in to the source vCenter Server Appliance Web interface athttps://Source_vCenter_Server_Appliance_FQDN:5480/.
  2. Click the Admin tab.
  3. Regenerate certificates:
    • vCenter Server 5.1: Select Toggle certificate setting so that the Certificate regeneration enabled displays Yes.
    • vCenter Server 5.5: Select Yes under Certificate regeneration enabled.
  4. Click Submit.
  5. Reboot the vCenter Server Appliance.
  6. After the vCenter Server Appliance reboots, ensure that the Certificate regeneration enabled option is set to disabled and disable if it is enabled.

After completing, attempt to upgrade the vCenter Server Appliance 5.x to vSphere 6.0.

After performing these steps I was able to successfully upgrade my appliance from 5.5. to 6.0.

Announcing Veeam Backup™ for Linux

Veeam announced Veeam Backup™ for Linux on Tuesday October 27 at VeeamON.

Veeam Backup for Linux is a FREE standalone agent that delivers backup and recovery for Linux servers running in the public cloud, or on premises.  It is only targeted for those type of Linux servers as on premise virtual Linux machines are already fully supported by Veeam Backup & Replication.

Below is a graphic depicting how you can backup from physical or cloud Linux and the capabilities:

Linux1

You can backup from a physical Linux server and restore into a cloud Linux server and vice versa as depicted below:

Linux2

You can also target Veeam Backup & Replication backup repositories for more granular recovery and other capabilities:

Linux3

You can download the press release for this announcement here.  A beta will be available early H1 2016 on a first come, first serve basis.  General availability (GA) will be later in H1 2016.

Introducing Veeam Managed Backup Portal for Service Providers

On Monday October 26 2015 Veeam announced a new offering called Veeam Managed Backup Portal for Service Providers.  Here is an excerpt from the press release explaining what this is:

Veeam Managed Backup Portal for Service Providers, available through the Microsoft Azure Marketplace, streamlines the delivery of Veeam-powered backup services (including BaaS) for service providers, including resellers interested in launching a service provider business. It provides a “business-in-a-box” by including remote monitoring and management of customer backups via a service provider portal for administrative and billing purposes, and a customer portal for basic self-service monitoring and configuration. For both the established service provider or for partners wishing to carve out new opportunities for themselves as a service provider, this new offering provides the ideal foundation to deliver value-added services to customers and drive competitive advantage.

Integrated with Veeam Cloud Connect for Service Providers and available in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace, Veeam Managed Backup Portal for Service Providers makes it easy to acquire new customers and build new revenue streams through the following capabilities:

  • Simplified customer on-boarding: With a service provider administration portal, creating new customer accounts, provisioning services, and even managing customer billing and invoicing is easier than ever
  • Streamlined remote monitoring and remote management: Daily monitoring and management of
    customers’ jobs is made simple and convenient, and can be done securely through a single port over
    SSL/TLS (no VPN required)
  • Multi-tenant customer portal: Clients remain engaged with a customer portal where they can set up users
    and locations, easily monitor backup health, review cloud repository consumption and manage monthly
    billing statements.

Below are 2 screenshots of the portal from the service provider’s perspective:

VMBP

VMBP2

Here is a screenshot from the customer’s perspective:

VMBP3

Veeam Managed Backup Portal for Service Providers will be GA in Q1 2016, with the initial
offering only being available through the Microsoft Azure Marketplace. The pricing has not  been determined yet.

The full press release can be downloaded from here.

VeeamON – What to Expect

Hello everyone!  I am here at VeeamOn 2015 at the Aria Resort in Las Vegas!  As a member of the media here to cover VeeamON I just wanted to post what you can expect from vBrainstorm.  I will be blogging and tweeting about sessions and announcements while here.  The conference general session is not until Tuesday so today I will be attending the sessions that I am able to and the Expo Lounge tonight.  Should be a good week of info!