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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Using StorSimple Virtual Array as File Server

We have covered using Storsimple Virtual Array as iSCSI Server in previous post. Next we are going to use it as File Server. You can use Storsimple Virtual Array (VSA) for file server or iSCSI Server to store files and small database. Native protocol is using SMB or iSCSI. It provides tiering to cloud, cloud backup, fast restore, item level recovery and disaster recovery features

[ Disclamer ]

No distribution of Storsimple Virtual Array as it is tie to our Azure Subscription ID. At this moment, it is still under preview version and intended for evaluation. It is subject to change when General Availability (GA).

[Storsimple Virtual Array Configuration]
To begin with Storsimple Virtual Array will available to customers with an Enterprise Agreement for Microsoft Azure. This version of the Storsimple solution in a virtual machine form can installed on your existing hypervisors:

  • Hyper-V 2008 R2 and above
  • Vmware ESXi 5.5 and above

It is an integrated storage solution that manage storage tasks between on-premise virtual device running in a hypervisor and Microsoft Azure Storage.

Minimum virtual array configuration is
  • 4 cores
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 1 virtual NIC
  • virtual appliance OS disk - 80GB
  • virtual appliance data disk - 500 GB
Storsimple Virtual Array must configure with minimum spec as listed above, else it won't allow you to proceed further.

After download the virtual images and boot up. You can configure VSA initial setup by using browser.

Features that you might interested:
  • automatic data tiering to cloud
  • deduplication and compression for data tiered to the cloud
  • locally pinned shares and volumes
  • item level recovery. This features available when configure VSA as File Server.
  • centralize management in the cloud
  • data mobility - data tiered to cloud can access from remote site for recovery and migration. You can recover entire virtual array to another virtual array in case primary virtual array failed.
  • restore metadata immediately and store data as it needed. Normal operation can continue with minimal disruption.
  • scheduled and on-demand backup

The Virtual Storage Array has a maximum capacity of 6.4 TB on the device (with the underlying hardware has requirement of  8TB) and 64TB including cloud.

This round we are configure it as File Server and virtual array must join to domain.



There are two types of volumes that you can create
a) Locally pinned share
- Suitable when workload data is available locally on Virtual Array.
- volume capacity between 50 GB and 2 TB

b) Tiered share
-Use when other data and 10% of the provisioned volume size is available on the Virtual Array and remaining % is on cloud.
- volume capacity between 500 GB and 20 TB

Select usage type, size and permission on the share folder.

On the on-premise server, map the share folder as start to use as File Server.

The remaining shares permission can modify from Windows Explorer. Here is the screenshot of the folder that map to Storsimpe Virtual Array.

Some file shares is local share and some tier to Azure.



To protect the data on Storsimple Virtual Array, you can configure schedule and on-demand backup to Microsoft Azure.

Restore Active Directory Objects and Container Using Veeam Backup and Replication v9

The most common way to backup Active Directory is backup system state by using Windows Backup [build in on operating services], System Center Data Protection Manager or other 3rd party backup solution that you can think of.

Backup is easy! However, what happen when disaster occur which require you to restore Active Directory database?

Well, normal IT System Administrator,will just perform recovery of Active Directory database by performing non-authoritative restore or authoritative restore. Refer to https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb727048.aspx

Next, do you really want to restore entire Active Directory database and how easy to recover just a ...
  • Active directory object or container (users, groups, computers, OU, mail enabled user & group
  • Group Policy Object (GPO) [ New in v9 ]
  • AD integrated DNS records [New in v9 ]
  • Password
  • Configuration Partition Object [New in v9 ]

To perform above recovery, you will use
  • Windows Backup - backup Active Directory database
  • GPMC - backup group policy object
  • dnscmd - backup AD Integrated DNS records
Wow! Not easy with so many tools to use. Why not look into the below solution that we are going to talk about?


To make your life easy, you can use Veeam Backup and Replication v9 to backup entire Domain Controller Virtual Machine, perform restore an objects and container with Veeam Explorer for Active Directory.

Veeam Explorer for Microsoft Active Directory is a free tool installed with Veeam Backup and Replication (VBR). Active Directory database will be extracted by VBR from the backup or replica file. For Veeam Explorer to work, you need to use credential that has permission to access Active Directory domain.

Veeam Explorer for AD work on AD 2003, 2008, 2008 R2, 2012 and 2012 R2 VM backup.













Let have a quick look on what we can recover by using Veeam solution.

[Restore Object]
You can recover user account, group, password, mailbox enabled account,etc

Note: You can view attributes and make comparison on value on the backup and production value.

Besides, you can define new password and other setting on object before recover.

  
[ Restore Container]
Entire Organizational Unit (OU) restore with deleted user account/group.


[Restore Group Policy Object]

Restore deleted group policy object.


Note:- Must has Enterprise or Enterprise Plus license to restore this item

[Restore AD integrated DNS record]
Restore a DNS record or DNS zones


Note:- After restoration, you must restart DNS Server service in order to see the changes.

[Restore Configuration Partition Object]



Note:- Must has Enterprise or Enterprise Plus license to restore this item

That's all for today. We have talked about using Veeam Explorer for Active Directory to recover an objects and container. Please feel free to check out Veeam Availability Suite:- https://www.veeam.com/data-center-availability-suite.html

Friday, January 29, 2016

Error Sysprep Was Not Able to Validate Your Windows installation on Windows 10

We encountered an error message "'Sysprep Was Not Able to Validate Your Windows installation" when trying to sysprep a Windows 10 virtual machine.

[ Resolution]

Navigate to C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep\Panther and open setupact.txt



We found out the problem was a Twitter app was installed from Windows Store and prevented us from sysprep.

Therefore, we uninstall the app. We advise you to check the setupact.txt to identify which app that is causing the problem.


Lastly Run sysprep command with administrative rights.

Hope this help.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Using Storsimple Virtual Array as Veeam Scale Out Backup Repository

[ Updated 21 Jan 2016 ]
Time to build Storsimple Virtual Array on our lab environment. Microsoft just announced a preview version last month and we are gladly to receive a 14 days trial to play around. Then we decided to use it as our test scenario with Veeam Backup and Replication V9 to test Veeam Scale Out Backup Repository. Check out:- https://www.veeam.com/data-center-availability-suite.html

[ Disclamer ]
No distribution of Storsimple Virtual Array as it is tie to our Azure Subscription ID. At this moment, it is still under preview version and intended for evaluation. It is subject to change when General Availability (GA).

We are testing it on our lab environment with Veeam Backup and Replication v9.



[Storsimple VSA Configuration]
To begin with Storsimple Virtual Array will available to customers with an Enterprise Agreement for Microsoft Azure. This version of the Storsimple solution in a virtual machine form can installed on your existing hypervisors:

  • Hyper-V 2008 R2 and above
  • Vmware ESXi 5.5 and above

It is an integrated storage solution that manage storage tasks between on-premise virtual device running in a hypervisor and Microsoft Azure Storage.

Minimum virtual array configuration is
  • 4 cores
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 1 virtual NIC
  • virtual appliance OS disk - 80GB
  • virtual appliance data disk - 500 GB
Storsimple Virtual Array must configure with minimum spec as listed above, else it won't allow you to proceed further.

After download the virtual images and boot up. You can configure VSA initial setup by using browser.

Below is the screenshot on Storsimple Virtual Array on-premise:-



You can use Storsimple Virtual Array (VSA) for file server or iSCSI Server to store files and small database. Native protocol is using SMB or iSCSI. It provides tiering to cloud, cloud backup, fast restore, item level recovery and disaster recovery features.

Features that you might interested:
  • automatic data tiering to cloud
  • deduplication and compression for data tiered to the cloud
  • locally pinned shares and volumes
  • item level recovery. This features available when configure VSA as File Server.
  • centralize management in the cloud
  • data mobility - data tiered to cloud can access from remote site for recovery and migration. You can recover entire virtual array to another virtual array in case primary virtual array failed.
  • restore metadata immediately and store data as it needed. Normal operation can continue with minimal disruption.
  • scheduled and on-demand backup

The Virtual Storage Array has a maximum capacity of 6.4 TB on the device (with the underlying hardware has requirement of  8TB) and 64TB including cloud.

You can deploy multiple Virtual Array and manage from Azure Management Portal. We are managing 2 VSA by using Storsimple Manager.


  • First Virtual Array is configured as iSCSI Server. We are going to test Veeam Scale Out Backup Repository using this VSA.
  • Second Virtual Array is configured as File Server. 

At this post, we are going to focus using Virtual Array as iSCSI Server.

There are two types of volumes that you can create
a) Locally pinned volume
- Suitable when workload data is available locally on Virtual Array.
- volume capacity between 50 GB and 2 TB

b) Tiered volume
-Use when other data and 10% of the provisioned volume size is available on the Virtual Array and remaining % is on cloud.
- volume capacity between 500 GB and 20 TB

We have created 4 locally pinned volume and assign to 3 different servers. Each volume is map to IQN.


On the 3 different servers, we are using iSCSI initiator to connect Storsimple Virtual Array so we get the volumes that has been assigned. Use Disk Manager to initialize, format the volume.

That complete the configuration on Storsimple Virtual Array.

[Veeam Backup and Replication V9 Configuration]
Next step is configure Veeam Backup and Replication V9 to configure Scale Out Backup Repository.

Storage management is a problem for system administrator. You either
- managing multiple storage appliances
- allocate too many or too little space
- running out of hard disk space like what we encountered on previous post.
and many more....


V9 introduced a new features called "Scale out backup repository". You can group multiple repository into a single entity.

We just assigned 4 iSCSI volume to 3 different servers and added as Backup repository. Rather than using them as individual backup repository, we group these into one large pool.




Guess what? We now got 200 GB+ in one pool.


Lastly, we configure backup and point it to Scale Out Backup Repository as a target.


That's all about our testing on using Storsimple Virtual Array as iSCSI storage and set as Veeam Scale Out Backup Repository using Veeam Backup and Replication (VBR) v9.

Feel free to download VBR v9 and test it on your environment.

More related post:-

[ Updated 21 Jan 2016 ]
In term of disaster recovery ,Storsimple Virtual Array will perform schedule daily backup to cloud and each data backup is based on incremental. There are an option to execute on-demand backup of entire volume from Storsimple Manager.
For recovery, head to backup catalog, select the volume and click "Restore as new" to existing or another server.
New volume with data will presented to target host.

Error "Move All Backup Files to the New Backup Repository First"

We received an error message from Veeam One V9 which reported our lab environment backup repository is running out of hard disk space and backup job start to failed.



Screenshot on Veeam One Monitor which reported backup repository has no free space:-


Screenshot on email notification:-

Then we use Veeam Backup and Replication Console to change the backup path but encountered this error message which request us to move existing backup files first.


You can increase your backup repository hdd size. But how about your current backup repository has limited size. Lucky enough that Veeam VBR allowed us to add an additional backup repository and move to new destination. To do so, please follow below step:

[ Resolution ]

1. Use VBR Console to remove from backup. Select your backup and "Remove from configuration"


2. Manual copy backup from existing backup repository to new repository

 3. Click Rescan repository both backup repository

 4. Then go to Jobs to edit existing backup job and change to new repository path.
5. Finally try perform a backup and you will notice backup is now working as expected.


Simple right! Please try this method when your current backup repository is running out of space and you would like to move to new backup repository.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

How to Install Hyper-V roles on Vmware Workstation 12?

We just have a request from customer who would like to test Hyper-V but do not have the luxury on owing a physical server. However they got Vmware Workstation 12 on their machine. So here you go... [Use it for test environment only- Not suitable for production use]

After provision a virtual machine running Windows Server 2012 R2 and we try to install Hyper-V roles, we encountered the following error message
" Hyper-V cannot be installed. A hypervisor is already running".

To install Hyper-V roles, we did the following configuration.
1. Turn off virtual machine
2. Go to VM Settings

3. Change Guest OS version to Hyper-V (unsupported)

4. Change Processor settings by select "Virtualize Intel VT-x/EPT or AMD-V/RVI and Virtualize CPU Performance counters.


5. Power on the virtual machine and try again to install Hyper-V roles.

Now it is working fine.

Datacenter Management Made Simple With OMS

FREE WHITEPAPER on OMS. Download whitepaper here.

An IT outage always leads to a negative business impact on your organization. Modern data centers need extra care with simplified management and strong analytical capabilities to predict and prevent disasters.  Learn how to simplify your datacenter management in Savision’s new whitepaper, entitled: 'Born in the Cloud: Monitoring Linux Workloads with OMS'.

Savision’s free whitepaper, written by Microsoft MVP Janaka Rangama, focuses on monitoring Linux workloads with OMS for analytics, proactive monitoring and resource utilization in your heterogeneous data center environment. The whitepaper provides insights on how organizations can combine the existing System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) environments with OMS.
Find out how to gain control over modern hybrid clouds and how to extend OMS with business service management information. With this whitepaper, you will learn how to ensure that you can directly know how all that detailed log data impacts your business and service levels.

This whitepaper will focus on:
·         What is Microsoft Operations Management Suite? How can it simplify data center management?
·         How can you leverage OMS Log Analytics to analyze, predict and protect your Linux workloads?
·         How can you integrate System Center Operations Manager with OMS for extended monitoring?
·         How can you harness the power of Business Service Management using Savision Live Maps Unity and Microsoft OMS?


You can download your copy of the whitepaper here: bit.ly/1QhBjKE 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Quick Review 5nine Manager v9 Beta


Hey folk,

We just got a hand on 5Nine Manager v9 Beta version which can support Windows Server 2016 and Nano Server. At the moment of writing, this product is still under development and testing. We are gladly to participate in public preview to check out the product. [ Do not ask us a copy of the beta software.] We cannot distribute to public but allow to share some screenshot about the upcoming 5nine Manager v9.


[ Disclamer ]
The public release of 5nine Manager v9 and earlier does not support Nano Server or Windows Server 2016. Please contact info@5nine.com if you are interested in joining our private evaluation program to review or test Nano Server or Windows Server 2016. 

[Quick Review]
5nine Manager v8 product is available (http://www.5nine.com/5nine-manager-for-hyper-v-product.aspx) to public. You can use it as part of your Hyper-V Management tool to replace Hyper-V Manager and System Center Virtual Machine Manager.

It has been quite long since we review about 5nine product. Therefore we cannot recall on how 5nine Manager v8 look like. Anyway, we will check out v9 instead and we will include some screenshot on how 5nine assist system administrator on managing Hyper-V host.

[Installation] 
Straight forward without any issue. Just need to take note on the database.
Two database can choose to store monitoring data:

  • Local SQLLite
    • Not more than 2 host, number of VMs less than 20 and performing monitoring data less than 7 days
  • MS SQL
    • for bigger Hyper-V environment and require more than 7 days historical performance data


[Fabric Management]

The first part that we always will do before configure virtual machine is configure default Hyper-V Settings. 


The cool part is we can just modify one Hyper-V Setting then copy all these settings to the remaining Hyper-V Host without re-configure each individual host.

You can create Host Group - similar concept as VMM to group your infrastructure.


Then you can perform Host action such as listed below:

Easy to configure most frequent use Remote Management without RDP/use Powershell. This come handy especially you're deploying Hyper-V in Server Core installation mode.

On Notification via email is working fine and we able to set criteria to send an alert.
On Monitoring, it provide the flexibility to set threshold on Hyper-V Host and Virtual Machine.

Here is a sample screenshot of monitoring result. You can monitor per host and per virtual machine level.



Here is a summary of about our test environment Hyper-V host and Virtual Machine health. Look unhealthy with so many error.



In term of virtual machine management, you can perform same action as Hyper-V Manager and VMM: start, stop, turn off, shutdown, save, pause, check point, console, etc. No missing action that we can find and basically you can get most action as Hyper-V Manager and VMM Console.


It included with Library (similar concept as VMM Library, where you can get VM Template, ISO, virtual disk and you can sysprep a VM and create as VM Template for future deployment.

During VM provisioning, you can use VM template, virtual disk and iso from library.

Next, how about when delete virtual machine? If you delete from Hyper-V Manager, the Virtual disk will still remain on the host and you need to manually delete it.
But if you are using VMM Console to delete, the entire VM configuration and virtual disk will get deleted as well.
So when use 5nine Manager, you have an option: To delete or maintain it. The choice is your.... (flexible right)
How about a glance to get know about your virtual disk type and size? Just select your Hyper-V Host and Show Virtual Disk. You can view entire virtual machine virtual disk and able to perform action to edit the disk (compact, expand, shrink, convert) and inspect it as well.


For those who would like to get an inventory about your Hyper-V host and virtual machine, you can generate a report and export to excel, PDF and Word format.


How sure are you when deploy Hyper-V host and following Microsoft best practice? Well, it included with Best Practice Analyzer and provide compliance result at the end of the scan.

5nine Manager included with capacity planner to evaluate/predict your Hyper-V and virtual machine potential future problem and capacity issue so you can do planning for further action.

Lastly, how about event logs? We can select event log, filter it and view what logs as well.


After using 5nine Manager v9 for couple of hours, we found the product is

  • Easy to use
  • A single console to perform the job to manage Hyper-V Host and Virtual Machine as exactly like Hyper-V Manager and Virtual Machine Manager.
  • Do not require to open different console. Just 1 will do... (use 5nine Manager ...lol)
  • Included monitoring 
  • Included notification and alert
  • Included Capacity Planner for future prediction
  • Included inventory report to understand your infrastructure setup

Too bad, we cannot test Antivirus as it require us to perform an upgrade. :(


Do give it a try and test 5nine Manager v8 (http://www.5nine.com/5nine-manager-for-hyper-v-product.aspx).

Till next time , we will setup Nano Server and write a quick review soon on using 5nine Manager v9 to manage it.

Stay tuned!