Testing Altaro VM Backup v7.6

For taking care of my backups on my lab environment I have tested and updated to the new Altaro VM Backup to version 7.6 that now have some really nice features:

  • Augmented Inline Deduplication
  • Continuous Data Protection (CDP)
  • Concurrency
  • Offsite Backup Replication
  • Grandfather-Father-Son Archiving (GFS)
  • Cloud Backup to Azure

Setup and updating

In the console there is a check update and when pressing that I get redirected to the download page on Altaro

Installing the update keeps the settings and license so no fuzz there!

Configuring is really easy and getting the backup up and running was a breeze. Altaro have made it easy with good info and guidance on schedules and configurations needed!

Management

After Install of the mother I see in the console that my agent on the other Hyper-V server needs to be updated also to work properly.

Offsite backup and restore

One really nice feature is the Cloud Backup to have a storage account in azure as offsite location where the backups can be sent. I can set the storage account to cool and thus save a bit on the cost!

Start up with creating a storage account in Azure at a preferred region. As I already have backup onsite I do not need geo-replication within Azure also

After setup in Azure you need to configure Altaro Backup and add an offsite location.

Once I have setup the offsite storage I can then add a backup to be replicated there. And doing a restore from an Azure storage account took about 7 minutes for a 12 GB VM, I have in my lab a 250 Mbit broadband connection and the other side will probably not be the limiting factor 🙂

Cloud Management

Another great feature that can be configured is the Altaro Cloud Management Console that makes it easy to stay on top of your backups and you can reach it from anywhere with a browser!

Reporting

To set up backup reporting via email I can utilize a Office 365 account and the smtp.office365.com

Once setup I can expect an backup report every morning at 8 AM

Summary

Getting the Altaro Backup solution up and running is really straight forward and easy! I have not yet tested it in a large scale environment yet but it seems really great and have as I described above some very good features!

For us that have an automation approach we can connect to the Altaro Rest API to check and do stuff for larger environments. Being an MSP and having BaaS is crucial as a competitive offer and the licensing for Altaro Backup in an MSP scenario goes into number of VM instead of CPU

I urge you to take it for a test run and see for your selves!


Announcing the Windows Server Summit 26 of June

On the 26 of june Microsoft will have a half of a day summit on Windows Server that you do not want to miss!

The agenda will have four different tracks

  • Hybrid: We’ll cover how you can run Windows Server workloads both on-premises and in Azure, as well as show you how Azure services can be used to manage Windows Server workloads running in the cloud or on-premises.
  • Security: We know security is top of mind for many of you and we have tons of great new and improved security features that we can’t wait to show and help you elevate your security posture.
  • Application Platform: Containers are changing the way developers and operations teams run applications today. In this track we’ll share what’s new in Windows Server to support the modernization of applications running on-premises or in Azure.
  • Hyper-convergent Infrastructure: This is the next big thing in IT and Windows Server 2019 brings amazing new capabilities building on Windows Server 2016. Join this track to learn how to bring your on-premises infrastructure to the next level.

Agenda with times and speakers:

here you can find the link to the summit and download a reminder

Set powerplan to High Performance on VM´s

The recommendation stated is that for virtual machines running on either VMware or Hyper-V should be configured with a High Performance power plan.

Looking at Microsoft Azure VM´s they are set as High Performance by default:

In my Hyper-V lab you can see that I have balanced set and when using the powerplan powershell module I created you can also change it to high perf

If you save the following powershell functions in a folder on c:\program files\windowspowershell\modules\powerplan you can then import it as the screendump and utilize it either on a local server or remote server.

 

Honolulu have been released as Windows Admin Center (WAC)

In the agile world we live in now Microsoft have released their new administration tool for servers formerly called Honolulu which was the project name and it is now by marketing named as Microsoft Windows Admin Center

I am running it on a Windows Server 2019 (core) build 17639

Using the AD module from Patrick Grünauer I can via the PowerShell remoting see viable information from the AD controller in WAC,

To manage a 2016 Hyper-V Server with WAC you need to add some features and roles

  1. Enable Remote Management.
  2. Enable File Server Role.
  3. Enable Hyper-V Module for PowerShell.

And the following OS can be managed by WAC:

Version Managed node via Server Manager Managed cluster via Failover Cluster Mgr Managed HCI cluster via HCI Cluster Mgr (preview)
Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (1709) or newer Yes (via Computer Management) N/A N/A
Windows Server 2019 (insider builds) Yes Yes Yes
Windows Server, version 1709 Yes Yes No
Windows Server 2016 Yes Yes Coming soon
Windows Server 2012 R2 Yes Yes N/A
Windows Server 2012 Yes Yes N/A

Note:

Windows Admin Center requires PowerShell features that are not included in Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2. If you will manage Windows Server 2012 or 2012 R2 with Windows Admin Center, you will need to install Windows Management Framework (WMF) version 5.1 or higher on those servers.

Type $PSVersiontable in PowerShell to verify that WMF is installed, and that the version is 5.1 or higher.

If WMF is not installed, you can download WMF 5.1.


Windows Server (2019) vNext LTSC build 17623 released

Today the preview version of vNext LTSC (Windows Server 2019) build has been released on Windows Server Insider and now you can download and test the features and system.

Some info from the tech community site:

Extending your Clusters with Cluster Sets

“Cluster Sets” is the new cloud scale-out technology in this Preview release that increases cluster node count in a single SDDC (Software-Defined Data Center) cloud by orders of magnitude. A Cluster Set is a loosely-coupled grouping of multiple Failover Clusters: compute, storage or hyper-converged. Cluster Sets technology enables virtual machine fluidity across member clusters within a Cluster Set and a unified storage namespace across the “set” in support of virtual machine fluidity. While preserving existing Failover Cluster management experiences on member clusters, a Cluster Set instance additionally offers key use cases around lifecycle management of a Cluster Set at the aggregate.

Failover Cluster removing use of NTLM authentication

Windows Server Failover Clusters no longer use NTLM authentication by exclusively using Kerberos and certificate based authentication. There are no changes required by the user, or deployment tools, to take advantage of this security enhancement. It also allows failover clusters to be deployed in environments where NTLM has been disabled

Encrypted Network in SDN 

Network traffic going out from a VM host can be snooped on and/or manipulated by anyone with access to the physical fabric. While shielded VMs protect VM data from theft and manipulation, similar protection is required for network traffic to and from a VM. While the tenant can setup protection such as IPSEC, this is difficult due to configuration complexity and heterogeneous environments. 

Encrypted Networks is a feature which provides simple to configure DTLS-based encryption using the Network Controller to manage the end-to-end encryption and protect data as it travels through the wires and network devices between the hosts It is configured by the Administrator on a per-subnet basis.  This enables the VM to VM traffic within the VM subnet to be automatically encrypted as it leaves the host and prevents snooping and manipulation of traffic on the wire. This is done without requiring any configuration changes in the VMs themselves.

Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection

Windows Defender ATP Exploit Guard

If you have not signed up for the insiders do so now and start playing with this new release, I am in the works of upgrading my lab!

My experience with AzureStack in a multinode setup part 6: IaaS VM and AVMA

As I described earlier I had an eval image in my marketplace that I used to provision servers and I wanted some of them to be converted so they could be correctly activated and reconfigured away from eval.

The AzureStack uses the function within Hyper-V for the VM´s that is called Automatic Virtual Machine Activation and as you can see in the device manager the device Microsoft Hyper-V Activation Component and the VM´s should have the appropriate AVMA key on them and if the host is licensed with the right key the VM will activate automatically.

On this page you can find the keys you need for the different guest-OS that it can be used with!  A Windows Server 2016 AVMA host can activate guests that run the Datacenter, Standard or Essentials editions of Windows Server 2016 and Windows Server 2012 R2.

Utilizing the DISM command I can check what license I had and then use DISM /online /Set-Edition:ServerDatacenter /ProductKey:xxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxx-xxxx /AcceptEula

If you just want to change a key and not versions you can utilize the slmgr /ipk <AVMA_key> instead of the DISM!

 


Add 2016 shared vhds to VMs fail with backend SOFS running Windows 2012 R2

We are doing some work in adding functionality and found an issue today! We have quite a few workloads running on a converged setup with Hyper-V nodes accessing storage from Scale-Out File Servers.

In our lab environment we have Hyper-V running on Server 2016 and these get their storage from SOFS and they currently run 2012 R2. For ordinary VM´s that has not been a problem. Now we wanted to get the VHD Scale sets (enhanced shared VHDX) set up for guest clusters running guest OS win 2016.

The documentation says not so much more than you need storage residing on a SMB or CSV volume, but when trying to add a VHDs file we get an error stating that the SOFS server does not recognize the file format of the vhd set and think it is a reserved file for windows!

 

Using a SMB share from a bunch of 2016 Scale Out File Servers gives no errors

So upgrade those SOFS servers first and you will not run into problem 🙂


Running Honolulu on Windows Server 17079

I had Honolulu in an earlier release installed on a Windows Server Insider 17035 build and wanted to try the new feature that came in 17079 with inplace upgrade, that did not however work out as wanted and I had to run a clean VM instead! I have not looked more into why the upgrade failed, probably because the documentation said that it was supported from 1709…

Thanks to the insider system it is already a VHDx there that I could download and use and add it to my domain.

Once that was done I could add the honolulu msi into the VM with the magnificent Copy-VMFile cmdlet

And after a simple install I could connect to it from a Chrome browser! (IE is not supported)

Have fun with your testing of Honolulu!

Altaro VM Backup with support for Windows Server 2016

I have been trying out the Altaro VM Backup in my lab. It is a Backup solution that have been around for quite a while but also got support for VMware which was not part of the product in the start! Quite a few companies have both Hyper-V and VMware and having different backup solutions is not viable and place a burdon on the backup admins!

They have several very nice features:

Backup and Replication features

  • Drastically reduce backup storage requirements on both local and offsite locations, and therefore significantly speed up backups with Altaro’s unique Augmented Inline Deduplication process
  • Back up live VMs by leveraging Microsoft VSS with Zero downtime
  • Full support for Cluster Shared Volumes & VMware vCenter
  • Offsite Backup Replication for disaster recovery protection
  • Compression and military grade Encryption
  • Schedule backups the way you want them
  • Specify backup retention policies for individual VMs
  • Back up VMs to multiple backup locations

Restore & Recovery features

  • Instantly boot any VM version from the backup location without affecting backup integrity.
  • Browse through your Exchange VM backup’s file system and restore individual emails
  • Granular Restore Options for full VM or individual files or emails
  • Retrieve individual files directly from your VM backups with a few clicks.
  • Fast OnePass Restores
  • Restore an individual or a group of VMs to a different host
  • Restore from multiple points in time rather than just ‘the most recent backup’
  • Restore Clones

They do also have a REST api that can be utilized for automation which in todays world is a requirement for most business because of their standardisation and automation work to get better quality and speed.

The VM Backup Installation and configuration

It is very easy to get started with Altaro VM Backup.

And once finished you can start the management console to configure the backups and also the repositories

The console is very easy to find your way around in and configure advanced settings

For the trial there are no limits so you can test it for all your VM´s in 30 days. You can also download the Free Hyper-V Backup or the VMware version. You will be able to back up 2 VMs for free forever.

Altaro has still a license that is not bound to cores or cpu and uses a host license instead!

VMM 2012 R2 support for Windows Server 2016 guest OS

So I am working on a customer and their path of upgrading to 2016 versions. The first step was to make sure that the VMM 2012 R2 server was updated to latest UR and that I can deploy guest vm´s with 2016.

After the update of VMM to UR11 I checked the list of OS,

screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-11-00-48

So to be able to see the 2016 as a guest OS i have to add a hotfix and that took some time but what ever you do, do not cancel but wait and wait and wait and the never ending progress bar will eventually go away 😉 . And yes you have to add one hotfix for the console and one for the vmm server!

screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-11-33-19

And once that is applied,

screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-11-43-52

Good luck in your upgrading story !