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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Automatic Virtual Machine Activation Key (AVMA)

 

On our previous article we have talked about AVMA using Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview Edition. Just to update a bit on the requirement and new product key for AVMA

Requirements:-

  • Host - Windows Server 2012 R2 Data Center Edition – Hyper-V with valid product key
  • VM – Windows Server 2012 R2

Updated Product Key for AVMA:-

Edition Product Key
Data Center Y4TGP-NPTV9-HTC2H-7MGQ3-DV4TW
Standard DBGBW-NPF86-BJVTX-K3WKJ-MTB6V
Essential K2XGM-NMBT3-2R6Q8-WF2FK-P36R2

Product key was taken from :- http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn303421.aspx

By using these key on the supported guest virtual machine, you do not require to activate the guest operating system.

Do remember to update the above key on your VM Template before deploy using VMM 2012 R2.

Note:

  • Do not use these key on physical Hyper-V Host. It won’t work.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Checkpoint Support on Active Directory Virtual Machine

 

Checkpoint are point in time snapshots of a virtual machine. Formerly known as “snapshot”. When you apply a checkpoint, you effectively revert the virtual machine back to the moment when you created the checkpoint.

It is NOT supported to apply checkpoint when your Active Directory is running on the following operating systems:-

  • Windows Server 2003
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows Server 2008 R2

You can apply checkpoint when the Active Directory Virtual Machine is running

  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Newer operating system

These operating system are aware of and is using Generation ID. Generation ID is a 64 bit integer value which is associated with an instance of a virtual machine configuration file.Every time when you create a checkpoint, it has it’s own configuration file. It also means that is has a different Generation ID value.

Scenario

Generation ID changed

Virtual machine is paused or resumed

No

Virtual machine reboots

No

Virtual machine host reboots

No

Virtual machine starts executing a snapshot (every time)

Yes

Virtual machine is recovered from backup

Yes

Virtual machine is failed over in a disaster recovery environment

Yes

Virtual machine is live migrated

No

Virtual machine is imported, copied, or cloned

Yes

Virtual machine is failed over in a clustered environment

No

Next pre-requisite on hypervisor that support virtual machine Generation ID:-

  • Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V
  • Vmware vSphere 5.0 Update 2 and newer

Do take note on the checkpoint supported for Active Directory on hypervisor and guest operating system before use.

For more information, please refer to

Friday, November 22, 2013

Veeam :- 2014 New Year Resolution

 

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Just received an information from Veeam and would like to share it to our blog visitor.

This year Veeam raffles great prizes. Register now to get one of the following goodies:

  • Tablet of your choice: Android, iPad or Surface;
  • Class of your choice: Microsoft Training or VMware Education Services course;
  • Event of your choice: TechEd or VMworld in your geography (pass, no travel);
  • Home lab with HP and Netgear products: one mega server, ReadyNAS Pro, SSDs and amazing WiFi router;
  • Software kit: MSDN subscription, Veeam NFR licenses and VMware vSphere.

Make sure to register before Dec. 24.

All the information is here: http://go.veeam.com/ultimate-new-years-resolution.html

Friday, November 15, 2013

Veeam Backup & Replication v7 R2 Has Released

 

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News from Veeam:- I want to inform you in case you haven’t heard it yet: Veeam Backup & Replication is first to Support both vSphere 5.5 and Windows Server 2012 R2 for data protection. Now available via Veeam Backup & Replication v7 R2, this update delivers additional features and functionality described below.

For VMware, support for:

  • vSphere 5.5, including support for 62TB virtual disks;
  • vCloud Director 5.5.

For Microsoft, support for:

  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V and free Hyper-V Server 2012 R2, including support for Generation 2 virtual machines;
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1 as guest virtual machines (VMs);
  • System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager (VMM);
  • The installation of Veeam Backup & Replication and its components on Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1.

All the information about the product is here http://www.veeam.com/vm-backup-recovery-replication-software.html

And here is the information about the update http://www.veeam.com/KB1831

Thursday, November 14, 2013

MS Techday 2013 : Private Cloud R2: Scaling From Server to Cloud Services

 

Today during MS Techday 2013 (Malaysia) at Sunway Pyramid Convention Center around 700+ audience has attended this events. I have presented a session which covered about Windows Azure Pack and Cloud Cruiser Express in my session called “ Private Cloud R2: Scaling From Server to Cloud Services”

Techday2013

Date : 14 November 2013

Venue: Sunway Pyramid Convention Center (Malaysia)

Slide View

Monday, November 11, 2013

Create Linux VM Template Using VMM 2012 R2

 

In this post, we are going to create linux VM template to use on Windows Azure Pack. But before we can use a VM Template, we need to prepare a Linux VM template. To do do, you need to follow below step to install VMM Guest Linux Agent into the VM.

Scenario:-

  • Suse Linux 11 SP3 Media
  • VMM 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V

Configuration:-

1. Install Suse Linux 11 SP3 Operating System in a Virtual Machine by using Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V

2. Once installation complete, you need to fulfill these requirement before transfer the VM to VMM Library:-

a) Linux Integration services has installed.

b) Install VMM Agent for Linux. Go to the ‘c:\Program Files\Microsoft System Center 2012\Virtual Machine Manager\agents\Linux’ folder

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Copy those files & dump to linux VM. Open Terminal and execute

chmod +1 install
./install scvmmguestagent.1.0.2.1015.x64.tar (for 64 bit) or
./install scvmmguestagent.1.0.2.1015.x86.tar (for 32 bit)
or

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3. Copy the Linux virtual disk to VMM Library . Refresh the VMM Library

4. Next Step is create a VM template by selecting the linux virtual disk.

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5. Define template name, hardware profiles and when reach to guest OS profile. Select Profile “Create new Linux operating system customization settings”

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The following is the Guest OS Profile setting that you can configure for Linux VM Template.

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Supported Linux OS List:-

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Define Root Credential

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Last step once a Linux VM templates has created, start to deploy a test VM. Example:- Linux VM name “LinuxVM1”. After installation, verify that the vm computer name is according to name that you have define.

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Related post:-

Sunday, November 10, 2013

BackupChain Review : Restore Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V Using BackupChain

 

In our previous post, we have look into how to backup Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V, files and folder which resides on the virtual machine. If you miss our previous post, do check out from here.

And we have leave the backup to run several days. Now it is time to look on how the restoration process before any disaster happen. Just select your Task which you’ve configure previously and click “Restore” from the menu bar.

Select your backup storage pool which you have used. Either local disk, remote file server or FTP site.

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Once you have select your backup storage location,the application will pull the backup data and display a calendar indicating which date contained the backup data. Click on bold date and click Proceed. If you click Cancel, it will display in Expert Screen which we are going to cover later.

Restore file / Folder

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Select file that you would like to restore.

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If you would like to view the file before restore, you can click on the “magnifying glass” icon.

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Restore a VM

How about Virtual Machines? The concept and process is still remain the same. Just repeat the same process as mentioned in “Restore File”.A calendar view appear and you can select backup date data.

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Once you click Proceed, it will give another options to perform either full restore, granular restore or file restore.

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If you would like to restore several files/ folder, just select Granular Restore. It will extract the files/ folder without restoring the entire virtual machine and process of restoration is faster.

You have 2 choice:

  • Click Proceed – to follow process of restoration by using Wizard page. This option is useful for beginner administrator. For me, I prefer to use the second option (Expert Screen) as it give me flexibility on item to restore.
  • Click open Expert Screen (Advanced Mode)

On Expert Screen page, it give you flexibility to select virtual disk or Click on “magnifying glass” icon , it will allow you to restore an individual files in a virtual machine as well.

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Rather than restore an entire VM, you can perform export individual files or Open file with default program. Open default program is useful to view the content before restore. Do take note, this will only work on certain program which available to your server.

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For backup VM that you have previously configured encryption, you will not able to see the content of the backup data on Expert Screen page unless you enter a correct “encryption password”. To able to view the content and restore, make sure you have the correct password. Without it, you cannot perform the restoration process.

On encrypted backup VM, the application will ask user to key in password for decryption before allow user to view the contents inside.

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For double protection security , restore encrypted VM, the system will ask for encryption key as well.

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Additional options available before proceed to restore, do click on Show Advanced Options link.

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You can restore latest version of files, restore ACL or prompt before overwrite existing data. On Hyper-V Settings, it allow you to restore a clone VM with a new identity (ID) so that you can restore it side by side with the original virtual machine. Here is how it would look like on Hyper-V Manager snap-in for Clone VM after restoration. Example:- “REDGENWin2012R2 VM and Clone VM (listed with date & time of restoration ID)

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The purpose of this review is to test supportability for Windows Server 2012 R2. Therefore we have tested restore Gen 2 VM with VHDX virtual disk. Guess what? It’s PASSED on our test. Below is the progress of restoring a Gen 2 VM.

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What happen when you enter an incorrect encryption password during restoration?  The restore process will failed and give you an errors message

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To check why failed? Click on View logs,

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For more detail, I recommend that you view the “Logs in HTML format” . Check out the highlighted on the problem.

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That’s all on my review about BackupChain in term of backup and restore Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V. Do download and try Backup Chain trial version (20 days) to get the real experience of the products and start protect your R2 virtualization infrastructure.

Don’t wait till disaster happen!

Interested to know more about BackupChain, please feel free to visit here.

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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Chargeback and Billing:- Integrate Cloud Cruiser Express with Windows Azure Pack (WAP)

 

Missed any update about Windows Azure Pack? , you can check out our previous post here:-

In this series, we are going to talk about Cloud Cruiser integration with Windows Azure Pack. Cloud Cruiser is a popular product which provide chargeback and billing for private cloud.

Chargeback allow the customer to understand the real cost associated with running their workload in the cloud. They can see how extensively they are utilizing available resources or see whether or not their workloads are running on the appropriate resources or at the appropriate time of day. Ultimately, by applying a sophisticated chargeback model, you can help shape user demand and ensure that your infrastructure is being used to its full potential.

They have expanded product range and introduce a small version called “Cloud Cruiser Express” which cater for Windows Azure Pack. You can get Cloud Cruiser Express from Microsoft Web Installer and extension is installed  during installation of Admin Portal and Tenant Portal.

Here is a comparison between Express version vs Full version.

1

Cloud Cruiser Express created a data source to Windows Azure Pack only. To use other data source as listed above, you need upgrade to full version. Once upgraded, you will have the ability to collect from many other platforms.

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We have re-built WAP Preview version to RTM version and start to integrate it with Cloud Cruiser Express. To enable tenant to view cost in their management portal, you need to add  Cloud Cruiser Service into Plan. Click

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Select “Cloud Cruiser: Services into your Hosting Plan.

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On tenant portal, you can click on “My Cost” to view your report & billing.

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Now, let pay a visit to Cloud Cruiser Portal Interface to configure resource rates for the first time.Once login in, the home page of the portal is a dashboard that gives you the status of your business and the system at a glance.

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Go to Billing > Services and select resource whose rate you want to change

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Cloud Cruiser has been applying charges to WAP usage at default price rates every day.Below is a sample rate of provisioning Virtual Machine and let walkthrough on some setting that you probably would love to modify

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Three types of rates that you can configure:-

With Basic rates, all rates is charged equally. You can define variable or fixed. Fixed rate charge once the first occurrence is found. Compare to Variable rate, the amount charged is directly proportional to the amount consumed.

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With Tier rates, you can charge different rates for usage in different ranges. For example:-

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Tier 1 Low High Fixed Rate
1   1 1.00
2 1 4 2.00
3 4   5.00

For user provision a VM, we just charge a fixed rate USD1.00. For more than 1 but less than 4 VM, we charge USD 2.00 per unit and lastly higher than 4VM, we charge USD5.00. The more VM that you provision, the more charges that we are going to bill you.

With State rates, the rates charge based on the status. For example, ONLINE , OFFLINE, SLEEP , HIBERNATE, etc. For example:-

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STATE Variable
ONLINE 2
OFFLINE 0

When tenant power ON the VM, we will charge USD 2.00. For VM which is turned off, then there is a zero USD charge.

Cloud Cruiser Express ships with a complete set of resources for all WAP services but you can add new resources if you would like. Meanwhile for rate plan, Cloud Cruiser automatically creates a rate plan corresponding to each plan in Windows Azure Pack and associates that plan with the appropriate subscription level customers.

How about during special occasion/promotion and you would like to give special discount or add an additional charges for extra services? Well, on the Cloud Cruiser Express, you can define Discount / Surcharges

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Example:- Giving Discount to those who subscribe WAP –Virtual Machines services and set for Auto Debit Payment via credit card for every month. We are giving discount USD 7.00.

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Besides that, we can also add surcharge for an additional services. For example: Backup VM to tenant. Here we are charging USD10.00 on monthly basic.

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Alright, that was a quick overview of Cloud Cruiser Express for Windows Azure Pack. Stay Tuned for more..

For more information:

www.cloudcruiser.com/microsoft

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Scale Out Storage Defined Storage:- Starwind SAN V8 Beta 2 Has Released

 

Another milestone, Starwind SAN V8 Beta 2 has released and is available to public for testing. Please find their press release following this link: http://www.starwindsoftware.com/news/110

Some major improvement and updates:-

  • Management console reworked to simplify user experience
  • L2 Flash cache for performance acceleration
  • New Log Structured File System Container which implements thin provisioning, snapshots and optional online deduplication features
  • Scale out cluster. Just add any number of servers to the SAN cluster and create multiple node devices across the cluster easily.
  • Added asynchronous replication to replicate data to a remote site.

Try it out now for FREE before the product release to public:-

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Related post:-

Sunday, November 3, 2013

BackupChain Review: Backup Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V Using BackupChain

 

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We (ms4u.info) are given an opportunities to test BackupChain to backup our Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V environment. By the time I’m writing this article, not a lot of backup solution out there which provide support backup for R2 (except DPM 2012 R2). Let begin our testing of BackupChain on certain categories:

Supportability:

BackupChain was able to backup Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V

  Result
Backup VHD

YES

Backup VHDX

YES

Backup Stand Alone Hyper-V Host

YES

Backup Cluster Hyper-V and using Cluster shared volume (CSV)

YES

Generation VM 1

YES

Generation VM 2

YES

Backup Snapshot

YES

Support Hyper-V running in Full GUI

YES

Support Hyper-V running in Min Shell

YES

Support Hyper-V running in Server Core

YES

Installation file

Setup file is small. Just 14MB. Installation of BackupChain was simple.

Agentless on Hyper-V

It is agentless. You do not need to push agent to Hyper-V Host and Virtual Machine. Just install BackupChain software into the Hyper-Host and you will be able to backup the entire virtual machine.

VSS (Volume Shadow Service) Support

You do not need to shutdown the Virtual Machine in order to backup. BackupChain was able to backup either online or offline VMs as long the guest integration services was installed on each VM. Besides that, your backup will still proceed even though there is a locked file.

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Backup VM, Folder & Files

BackupChain allowed us to select VMs from a single interface. Just tick the target VM and specify your backup scheduling. From the task, you can specific different purpose of the backup task. Let just focus on backup Hyper-V

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Backup VM

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You can specify different backup scheduling and set expiration of the backup task as well.

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Next, you can use BackupChain to Backup a folder stored inside a virtual machine

Backup Folder Stored Inside a VM

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Select virtual disk –> Folder

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Backup File Stored Inside a VM

This options is useful when you have configure SQL Server Backup, Windows Backup or backup individual file. You can execute an additional backup task to just backup files or folder without backup the entire virtual machine.

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Security & Storage Space Saving

In term of security & storage space saving for the backup data, BackupChain provides

  • Encryption -BackupChain offers military-strength AES 256 encryption, which is FIPS and HIPAA compliant and recommended to protect all critical information. With AES enabled during backup, the data is secured.
  • Compression – to reduce the size of the backup data
  • Deduplication – to reduce the size of the backup data

Next question that you would probably ask is “Can I set different level of compression & deduplication? “ The answer is YES.

Compression & Encryption settings:

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You can specify different compression format, mode and add additional file extension which you do not want to compress.

Multiple compression format:

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Multiple Compression mode:-

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AES256 Military grade encryption option is available. You can define your own private key. Keep the password in safe location as without it you cannot recover your backup file.

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Besides that on each Virtual machine, an Administrator has an option to enable compression or deduplication for the Hyper-V Virtual machine based on different format such as *.vhd, *.vhdx, *.avhd, *.avhdx, *.vud, *.sav and *.bin

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Deduplication settings:- Incremental / Differencing option.

The settings below allow us to create a full backup copy every 5th day and remaining backup is incremental.

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With compression and deduplication configured, your backup task will complete faster and use less space.

Backup Storage Location

Backup VM can store in local disk, iSCSI, SAN, NAS, USB external hard disk, remote file share or Remote FTP Server.

Before I forget, each backup data can put into a designated folder. You DO NOT require to has a dedicated disk to store your backup data.

Local disk

On Hyper Host 1, we have located a 1 TB local disk to store the backup data.

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Network UNC Path:-

Meanwhile, we have specify Hyper-V Host 2 and Host 3 to transfer backup to Hyper-V Host1 disk. Each Hyper-V backup data is put into their designated folder.

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Built-in FTP Server and Client

BackupChain has built-in FTP Server and Client. With support on FTP, it’s provides you to transfer your backup data from anywhere as long it has Internet access and do not require us to invest on expensive SAN at remote location.

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If you’re interested on cloud backup services, they also offers a 1TB for just $49/month.

Reduce Performance Impact When Backup Hyper-V Host

This is one of my favorite settings. Normally backup will take a lot of Hyper-V Host processing power either memory or CPU. However BackupChain allow us to set backup priority to low, use 1 CPU core, reduce number of simultaneously backup and speed limit. This will ensure, less interruption to the running VMs and Hyper-V.

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Finally, how about result of the backup ?

Here is the backup result that we have tested on our environment

Before backup – 8 VMs in dynamic disk for Hyper-V Host 1. Total original size is 147 GB

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Based on my test environment, after backup – 8 VMs using BackupChain with deduplication, compression & encryption. Total size 63 GB. (note:- size may be different on your VM). It is a huge storage space saving with these features enabled.

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Here is how the content of the backup look like:

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The content is unreadable and you cannot use Hyper-V to mount it.

Well, let leave the backup job run for a few days before we test on restore feature.

Stay tuned for more update…

Related post:-

Interested to know more about BackupChain, please feel free to visit here.

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