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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Backup Azure Virtual Machine By Using Azure Backup

It is about time ! Something to cheer off on this enhancement to protect Azure Virtual machine..Recently Microsoft has added a new enhancement to Azure Backup which allow us to backup virtual machine on Microsoft Azure without any impact to production workloads and without shutdown of VM. Depend on your virtual machine guest operating system, Azure backup perform

  • application level consistency for Windows OS
  • file system level consistency for Linux OS

Let have a quick walkthrough on this feature:

[ Pre-requisite]

Created a Backup vault on the same region as IaaS VM

+New | Data Services | Recovery Services | Backup Vault


[ Our test scenario]

  • 1 Windows Server 2008 R2 VM
  • 1 Ubuntu VM
  • 1 Windows Server 2012 R2 VM


To configure, you must perform 3 steps:

  • Run discovery
  • Register VM
  • Protect VM

Step 1: Go to Vault | Click Registered Items | Click Discovery


Step 2:- Register VM

Make sure virtual machine is up and running and not Deallocated state in order to successful on registration.

Click on Register | Select VM that you would like to protect


Once VM status is “Registered”, proceed to step 3


Step 3:- Backup VM

To configure backup policy, click PROTECT


Click PROTECT, select VM to backup and select your backup policy


You can set backup frequency to

  • Daily
  • Weekly
  • Frequency :- Time every 30 minute
  • Retention range- by default 30 days


It’s agentless backup and able to protect multiple virtual machine.

Once it is protected, you cannot add the same VM on another backup policy and add an additional backup time into same policy.

[ Perform on demand backup]

Click on PROTECTED ITEMS TAB, click “Backup Now”


In our test scenario, the on-demand backup work as when VM is running or DEALLOCATED state.

[ To Remove/ Modify Backup Policy ]

Click on POLICIES tab, select the policy that you would like to remove and press DELETE.

You can select the policy and modify the protection configuration.


One set back that we found is cannot remove each individual VM without remove the policy.

[ Tracking Progress and Success / Failure ]

To view detailed job view for tracking progress and success/failure.


Once backup has completed, you able to view the number of recovery point listed.


That’s all about our walkthrough. We are currently wondering if the back end system is running “Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager”. Smile 

What do you think ???

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Bulk Remove Azure Active Directory User and Group Using Powershell



  • Using Azure Active Directory
  • Has used AAD Sync to sync on-premise user account and group
  • Discovered has accidently sync user account and group to Azure Active Directory but require to remove it.

It’s quite a painful experience to delete each individual user account and group from Azure Management Portal. Wonder why no multiple select option and quite annoying when it asking for confirmation and refresh. But lucky enough got powershell to do the job.


[ Configuration]

After install the pre-requisite, open the Azure Active Directory Module for Windows Powershell.

Connect to Azure Active Directory by entering the Global Administrator account.

$msolcred = get-credential
connect-msolservice -credential $msolcred

Export the user account to csv file format

Get-MsolUser –All | Export-CSV C:\users.csv

Open the csv file and remove the Microsoft account and Global Administrator account. We just want to remove others account and retain the Global administrator account.

Export the group to csv file format

Get-MsolGroup –All | Export-CSV C:\Groups.csv

Final step is start to remove bulk users account and groups

Remove Users

Import-CSV C:\Users.csv | Remove-MsOlUser –Force

Remove Groups

Import-CSV C:\Groups.csv | Remove-MsOlGroup –Force

Deletion process is quite long period if you’ve more than 8000 records.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Starwinds News–27 March 2015

1. Tap Room Meeting: VMware and StarWind Virtual SAN: from Two, to Infinity and Beyond

Date: 2 April, 11 am ET / 4 pm BST

Host: Anatoly Vilchinskiy, Head of Support Department, StarWind Software Inc.

Let's put all cards on the table: VMware is good, their VSAN is good. But does it good for all situations? Get yourself on the most comfortable chair in the Tap Room, open the whisky bottle, and our host will tell you why is it better to start with two shots instead of shugging the whole bottle.

*The only Tap Room, where no one will snatch your cocktail if you leave it on a table.

Virtualize properly!

Book a table here!

2. Free Webinar! Critical SQL Server Databases: Provide HA with SQL Server Failover Clustering and Cluster Shared Volumes


Date: 15 April, 11 am PM / 2 pm ET

Speakers: Edwind Sarmiento, Microsoft SQL Server MVP and Microsoft Certified Master

Max Kolomyeytsev, Product Manager, StarWind Software Inc.

Highly-Available SQL Server with reliable Disaster Recovery is traditionally hard to achieve but necessary to have. We say it is possible to build a fully redundant SQL Server 2014 cluster with just 2 servers, StarWind Virtual SAN and Cluster Shared Volumes while implementing disaster recovery to several places with minimal RTO and RPO!
Join SQL Server MVP and Microsoft Certified Master Edwin M Sarmiento to learn how to use Windows Server Failover Clustering with Cluster Shared Volumes to provide high availability and disaster recovery solutions for mission-critical SQL Server 2014 databases.
We will look at how to configure a highly available SQL Server on top of Cluster Shared Volumes and also discuss best practices and recommendations.


3. Free Webinar! Make Your Storage Work For You: VAAI and ODX offload up to 30% of disk operations to the SAN


Date: 21 April, 11am PT / 2pm ET

Speakers: Aidan Finn, Microsoft MVP, Technical Sales Lead at MicroWarehouse Ltd.
Max Kolomyeytsev, Product Manager, StarWind Software Inc.

StarWind always considered virtual storage systems to be valued for uptime, performance and flexibility – take one out and the system is useless. Hypervisor CPU and Networking overhead is a common issue for operations like VM provisioning, migration, and cloning. There should be a way to enhance performance by offloading the unnecessary CPU load and shrinking the SAN traffic. ODX and VAAI features do exactly this by offloading routine disk tasks to the storage array so they will be executed more effectively. That is if your SAN supports one of these features. StarWind Virtual SAN does both – just saying.

Join Aidan Finn and Max Kolomyeytsev at this webinar dedicated to the use of Offloaded Data Transfer (ODX) and APIs for Array Integration (VAAI). They will explain exactly how you can greatly enhance the storage system performance and increase VM density with Hyper-V and vSphere.

Register here!

4. Win the Full Conference Pass for the Microsoft Ignite 2015!


Attend or register for any ‎StarWind ‪‎webinar or ‪#TapRoom Meeting till 16 April and take a chance to win the Full Conference Pass for Microsoft‪#‎Ignite 2015!

The winner will be announced at StarWind blog, and on Facebook and Twitter pages on the 20th of April!

5. Meet StarWind at MS Ignite 2015!


Request a chance to schedule a personal meeting with Anton Kolomyeytsev, StarWind Founder and CTO, or Joseph Preston, VP of Sales at Microsoft Ignite 2015

6. Product overview written by Vladan about Starwind Virtual SAN

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) Backup Summary Report


DPM  by default included with default reporting on the product. Below are the reports available and most of the time is insufficient for reporting.


Therefore we dig further and found UR5 for DPM has enhanced reporting with Data Protection Manager Central Console. However at this moment of writing this post, we found out that this MP has pull back and unavailable. We’re stuck without any other report.


Hmm…then we are lucky to found out that System Center MVP, Steve Buchanan has released “DPM Backup Summary Report” and we decide to explore the report. Time to import the report into DPM Report Server and able to see the result of report.

[DPM Pre-requisite ]

This report works with

  • DPM 2010
  • DPM 2012
  • DPM 2012 SP1
  • DPM 2012 R2

[ Report ]

The report provides

  • Ability to select day, week, month (Time range)
  • Ability to select a single server or many
  • Ability to select a single protection group or many
  • Ability to select disk, tape or both backup type
  • Summary of the backup success and failures with a percentage of the successes (Success Rate/SLA)
  • Health trend of backups (day, week, month)
  • Backup detail including:Individual data sources (What was actually backed up)
  • The status including the error (if there is an error)
    • Date and time the backup was created
    • How much data was transferred during the backup
    • Total time it took to backup to complete



DPM Backup Report Summary can export to


From a single pane of glass, the report provide a good reporting and information require by an administrator.

If you’re interested to get it , please feel free to download from Technet Gallery DPM Backup Summary


Backup VMM Database Using DPM 2012 R2 Failed With ID 3170 and ID 33424



  • System Center Data Protection Manager 2012 R2
  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2


[ Error ]

When we try to configure DPM to backup VMM Database by using VMM Express Writer, the protection group backup failed and displayed an error message with an ID 3170 and ID 33424




1. Login to VMM and use SQL Management Studio to modify NT Authority\SYSTEM to include “sysadmin” roles


2. Open DPM Management Console, perform consistency check


By right, now your backup will work.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Webinar: Upcoming features in Hyper-V vNext


This Thursday 26th March 4PM CET  / 11am EDT / 8am PDT we have a new upcoming webinar on Hyper-V vNext with Microsoft Sr. Technical Evangelist Rick Claus, & Hyper-V MVPs Aidan Finn & Andy Syrewicze.

More info and register link can be found here:

Friday, March 20, 2015

Countdown Earth Hour 2015


Synchronize Directory to Azure Using Microsoft Azure Active Directory Sync Services (AAD Sync)


We have been busy with recent project on Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) and the first tool that we are going to use is using Directory Synchronization tool. We used to use DirSync to synchronizes users, password, security groups, distribution lists, contacts, etc. However DirSync tool has been replaced by AAD Sync (Azure Active Directory Sync Services)

Here is a quick directory synchronization tool comparison:

Tools Description
DirSync support for single forest syncronization
AAD Sync support single and multi forest synchronization
Password write
AAD Connect Includes AAD Sync
Will assist to setup ADFS
Will assist to setup Web Application Proxy

In this articles, we are going to deploy AAD Sync

[Download AAD Sync]

To download – [Last update Feb 2015] – Click here


  • Define the location to install the Azure AD Sync


  • Click on Install . It will install few components such as SQL Express, Synchronization Services. This will take a while


  • Enter the Azure AD Account which has global administrator right and click Next. Remember to “Activate” Directory Synchronization in Azure.


  • Enter your domain admin authentication and forest name. It will install AD connector services


Define the user matching attribute


  • On Optional features page, select an additional features that AAD Sync perform. Example
      • Exchange Hybrid Deployment
      • Password Synchronization
      • Password write back
      • Azure AD App and attribute filtering


  • Click Configure and wait for AAD Sync tool to perform the changes


Just wait for a while and it will start to sync directory to Azure. To check the result, go to Azure Management Portal and able to view on-premise user and group has sync to Azure Directory.

It is still a simple tool and work exactly like DirSync

For other tool, please check out

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Free Ebook: Microsoft System Center Deploying Hyper-V with Software Defined Storage and Networking

Microsoft System Center Deploying Hyper-V with Software-Defined Storage and Networking

MS Press just released a new ebook which talked about software defined datacenter; virtualization, storage and networking.

Summary of the content:-

  • Chapter 1 – Design and Planning
  • Chapter 2 – Deploying the management cluster
  • Chapter 3- Configuring network infrastructure
  • Chapter 4 – Configuring Storage Infrastructure
  • Chapter 5 – Configure Compute Infrastructure
  • Chapter 6 – Configure Network Virtualization

To download,

Download the PDF (5.48 MB)

Download the EPUB file (6.41 MB)

Download the Mobi for Kindle file (12.6 MB)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Starwind Updates–16 March 2015


1. Free Webinar “Scale Out Freely: No Hardware Lock-in”


25 March, 11 am PT / 2 pm ET

Speaker: Max Kolomyeytsev, Product Manager, StarWind Software Inc.

Scale-out has come up as technology to meet the constantly increasing demands to the storage capacity. Unlike Scale-up it allows scaling horizontally. However, it also has some caveats. In most cases, you need to stick to the specific hardware with none or limited configuration options, which is cost- and efforts- consuming. You have to follow only one scenario – “compute and storage separated” or “hyper-converged” one, which essentially kills the idea of flexibility. The entry price is also an issue since most of the vendors sell minimum 3 hosts, even if you just need 2 for your environment.

Join Max Kolomyeytsev to learn to avoid these caveats and benefit from:
- Scale-out and scale up with NO hardware lock-in
- Scale-out with ANY hypervisor
- Support “compute and storage separated” and “hyper-converged” scenarios simultaneously
- Asymmetric Scale-out

Register now!

2. Tap Room Meeting: No Irish Handcuffs of Windows Server Solutions with StarWind Virtual SAN



19 March, 11 am PT / 2 pm ET

Host: Anatoly Vilchinskiy, Head of Support Department, StarWind Software Inc.

Sometimes the IT cocktails taste much better rather than pure drinks. Few examples: Arak Typhoon has better aftertaste comparing to pure raki Moscow Mule gets results much faster comparing to pure vodka. Windows Server may be less expensive and more efficient when talking about speed is mixed with StarWind.

*The only Tap Room where no one will actually eat your peanuts*

Virtualize responsibly!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

AD Intelligent Pack Available in Microsoft Azure Operational Insight


Not long ago, we have walkthrough about Microsoft Azure Operational Insight in this article:-

This round, we are going to look on new Intelligent Pack: Active Directory which recently released by Microsoft. Operational Insight AD Assessment Intelligence Pack assesses the risk and health of your Active Directory environment on a regular interval. It provides a prioritized list of recommendation tailored to your deployment. Let have a quick look on the beauty of AD IP.

1. Browse to Microsoft Azure Operational Insight portal:-

2. Add new Intelligent Pack by click on Intelligent Pack


3. Select AD Assessment


Remember to deploy an agent into your domain controller server. We have leave an agent into our domain controller for a few days.

[ After few days….here is the result]


Oh my…the overall dashboard reported

  • 5 High Priority
  • 7 Low Priority
  • And 83 Passed on check

[Let drill further]


The report was good as it provide explanation and highlighted that our AD issue. Example:-

- one of DC does not configure properly on the DNS

- since when our last backup of active directory database

- missing inbound replication links

- a single global catalog server


How about give a test and try out Microsoft Operational Insight in your environment. You will be surprised on the findings. Good luck on your AD IP test.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Starwind Updates:- 9 March 2015


1) StarWind Special Offers

Special Offers_470_246

StarWind Virtual SAN is entirely software-based, hypervisor-centric virtual machine storage. It creates a fully fault-tolerant and high-performing storage pool that is built for the virtualization workload “from scratch”. StarWind Virtual SAN basically “mirrors” inexpensive internal storage between hosts. Virtual SAN completely eliminates any need for an expensive SAN or NAS or other physical shared storage. It seamlessly integrates into the hypervisor for unbeatable performance and exceptional simplicity of use.

This month StarWind Software is introducing a March Discount Countdown and a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee special offers!
So, when buying StarWind Virtual SAN, you are automatically benefiting from both campaigns!

March Discount Countdown Offer

The faster you take advantage of this offer, the more you save.
The Discount begins at 20%, and will decrease by 5% every week until the end of the month.
So, act fast, and maximize your discount!

March 1st-8th


March 9th-15th


March 16th-22nd


March 23rd-31st


Please either contact your existing StarWind representative, email [email protected] or submit the request form.

30-Day Money Back Guarantee Offer

Starting from March 5, 2015 on, StarWind is providing a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee* to all new customers due to our confidence in the quality of StarWind Virtual SAN
If you, as a new customer, are not satisfied with the product*, we will refund the price paid within 30 days after the order placement.
Do not hesitate,
request the quote, or contact StarWind Sales team at [email protected]
*The Money Back Guarantee offer is based on the product not meeting technical specifications, which must be confirmed by our engineering staff.

Special Offers_blog

2) Webinar! Microsoft Hyper-V: 4 Things You Should Know to Ensure Storage HA and Security
Date: Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 8 am PT / 11 am ET / 3 pm GMT
Speakers: Alexander Karavanov, Director of Sales Engineering, 5nine Software
Max Kolomyeytsev, Product Manager, StarWind Software

Data protection, storage security and 24/7 operations are minimum requirements for every IT infrastructure. Virtualization offers many benefits, but it makes these three items absolutely crucial for business continuity. All Hyper-V administrators must  deliver storage high availability (HA), properly secure the virtual environment and have redundant disaster recovery plans in place.

Join us and learn how to:

· Secure and protect stored data

· Simplify network administration

· Increase storage HA

· Reduce expenses

Register now!

3) Whitepaper "Server-Side Caching" by Chris M Evans


Learn how ‪‎caching can be a cost-effective way of improving performance where external shared ‪‎storage systems are in use, particularly when compared to the cost of upgrade or replacement with all-flash solutions.

Check it out here!

4) Tap Room Meeting: StarWind drop makes a pint of Microsoft Windows Server environment taste better


Date:-12 March, 11 am ET / 2 pm PT

Host: Anatoly Vilchinskiy, Head of Support Department of StarWind Software Inc.

Sit comfortable in your sits, `cause on this tap room we will have a looong discussion about how exaclty StarWind Virtual SAN allows Windows Server based datacenters squeeze  out maximum from cost-, performance- and capacity-efficiency.
*Our Tap Room Meeting is the only one where you can make bubbles through a straw*

Book a table here!