Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Merry Christmas and a happy new year!!

As we end another year and preparing for 2020 to start, I want to thank all the sponsors and visitors of my blog.
Without this great sponsors this blog would not be possible, so again many thanks!! I want to specially thank:

Veeam;
Altaro;
Vembu;

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2020 will be a great year, with a lot of great content, blogposts, products and community power.

ExpertsLive 2019 NL aftermovie

What a great event it was, ExpertsLive 2019 NL. A great location, great speakers, nice people from all over the world!! Thanks to the organization again!! Up to next year!!

Microsoft Ignite The Tour Amsterdam

Last week I’ve visited Microsoft Ignite The Tour in Amsterdam. Two realy great days with a lot of new information, presentations and knowledge. There also where a couple of new announcements from Microsoft.

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My focus was Azure IaaS, security, governance and cost control within Azure. Of course there was a lot more to see, but this event was only 2 days, so I’ve had to make choices!

Microsoft has published the slide decks online, so you can download these now! (click)

Hoppefully I’ll be present the next year at this great event!!

Celebrate World Backup Every Day and WIN the CONTEST!

World Backup Day is something we’re used to mark as an event every year, as a reminder we need to take good care of our data. But this year Altaro challenges us to change our mindsets and start considering the value of a good backup solution not just once, but every day.

On this occasion, they’re launching this contest where you might win an Oculus Rift & Touch Virtual Reality System! Let’s hope you’ll be the lucky winner, but if not, they’re giving free eGift Amazon cards as well for all the valid entries. So, for those who want to give it a try, this seems to be a good time to do it.

To enter the contest, click here. Good luck and happy backup!

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Great updates in the Vembu BDR Suite!!

The last few months, Vembu has been working on some great new updates in the Vembu BDR Suite! Below some updates that recently published! Really great and really powerful updates if you ask me. Some updates are really hot at this moment and very actual subjects in the world, for example GDPR compliancy.

Unveiling the perpetual licensing:

With launching the latest perpetual licensing, we look forward to availing more flexibility with the pricing. The Vembu BDR Suite which was earlier at the subscription pricing model will now be available at perpetual licensing, thereby helping IT environments fulfil their requirements that would cost less over time.

Vembu provides pricing flexibility by unveiling Perpetual Licensing Option

Introducing the brand New Service Program:

In the aim of setting firm footprints across the globe by catering one of the most comprehensive backup and disaster recovery solution at an affordable pricing, Vembu unfolds it’s New Service Provider Program that would provide service providers a great scope for huge benefits and discounts with the Vembu BDR Suite v3.8.0.

Vembu Announces New and Customer-centric Service Provider Program

Vembu complying with the EU GDPR:

Addressing customers’ concern have always been Vembu’s top priority. The Vembu BDR Suite does comply with the new regulation and will make the users the real data owner. Complying with industry standards and policies has always been one of Vembu BDR Suite’s core attributes and the GDPR is no exception as well.

EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Altaro VM Backup v7

A couple of weeks ago Altaro has released the new version of Altaro VM Backup v7. Within this version there’re some great new enhancements and features. Here are some of the new features and enhancements:

  • Boot from Backup
  • Support for Windows Server 2016
  • Augmented Inline Deduplication

With all these great new features and enhancements, Altaro VM Backup is a really nice solution for backup and disaster recovery in your virtual environment.

Altaro Offsite Server existed in the previous version, but was improved and has also an upgraded user interface.

Installation process:
The installation process of Altaro VM Backup v7 is really, really easy. In just a few steps, the installation is done. Really easy, really fast and just within a couple of minutes you’re ready to rock! If the Windows Firewall is turned on, all the necessary ports are configured automatically for you. After succesfully completing the installation, you can launch the management console. From this console you can perform all the configuration and management.

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Configuration:
When you start the console the first time, there’s is quick wizard. In three easy steps, you can configure the software and you’re ready to make the first backups!

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Three steps during the quick wizard:

  • Step 1 – Add Host
    Add your hypervisor to the configuration. It could be a standalone server or cluster environment (Hyper-V or VMware). Within the new version there’s also support for Windows Server 2016!
  • Step 2 – Backup Locations
    Add some backup locations to the configuration. You can choose the following options:
    Physical Drive: USB, eSATA, iSCSI, Internal Drive
    Network Path LAN Only: Network Drive, NAS or other Network Location
    Offsite Locations: Mostly used for Disaster Recovery
    Option 1: Altaro Offsite Server over WAN/Internet Connection
    Option 2: Local backups are copied to one or more rotating drivers.

Simply add one or more backup locations and ‘drag and drop’ the VM’s to one of the backup locations.

  •  Step 3 – Take Backup
    When you take the first backup of your VM’s, they will be assigned to the default retention policy of two weeks on both Backups and Office Copies. You can change the retention to assign a different policy or create a new custom policy that meets your business goals. The default retention policies are ‘Never delete’, ‘2 weeks’ (default), ‘1 month’ or ‘6 months’.

By default the VM’s are not assigned to a backup schedule. There are two backup schedules available out of the box.

  1. 20.00 on Sa and Su
  2. 22.00 on Mo, Tu, We, Th and Fr

Off course you can create your own backup schedule or multiples schedules to meet your business goals. Easily drag and drop your virtual machines to the right schedule to assign that particular virtual machine to the schedule.

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Augmented Inline Deduplication
In pre-version 7 there was also a ‘deduplication’ technology called ‘Reverse Delta’. It’s not exactly the same technique as deduplication, but it served the same purpose. On a VM basis only the most recent data is placed in the most recent backup file. So this will save a lot of diskspace on a VM basis.

With the new version there’s a great new technology called ‘Augmented Inline Deduplication’. The backup operations are not only quicker, but far more efficient for storage as well. It will dedupe data across all your backed-up workloads!! All the backups are stored in a central repository and using a hash database to keep track of the deduped blocks. For example, 20 servers with Windows Server 2016 installed, there’re some similar files and data within each server. With the new Augmented Inline Deduplication technology, the similar files and data is only stored once!! And remember, the process occurs inline. This means that the process runs during the backup, not afterwards!!

So you don’t need to send more data to your backup repository then needed and it’s amazing fast! In my example I’ve 6 Windows Server 2016 virtual machines. When you look at the overall deduplication status, I saved about 88% percent on my storage. So this is incredibly efficient and the backup operations are really fast!

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Dashboard

When you start the management console, you’ll see the main dashboard. You can see the most important things in one overview (Backup drive status, Active & upcoming Operations, Deduplication & Compression status, Recent Operations). It’s a really powerful dashboard with all the information in one overview.

Free Up Disk Space
It might be useful to delete some older backups. You can easy start a wizard, so you can delete previous backups within a few steps. Most of the time you use this option if you’re low on diskspace.

Boot from Backup
A great new feature within the new release of Altaro VM Backup is ‘Boot from Backup’. Now it is possible to boot a virtual machine directly from your backup. There are two options available, ‘Verification Mode’ or ‘Recovery Mode’.

The verification mode is very useful just to verify your backup is useful to recover from. The second option is to start a virtual machine directly from the backup, but also performing a full recovery of that virtual machine (Disaster Recovery). As soon as the VM is booted, a full restore operation takes place in the background.

When choosing the ‘Verification Mode’ the virtual machine will be booted directly from the backup location. Also you can enable ‘Disable network card’. So the new machine is fully isolated from your production environment!
From the console, you can connect to the specific virtual machine and login to the VM. After choosing ‘Discard VM’ the virtual machine will be shutdown and removed from your hypervisor (Hyper-V in my example). Very powerful to use without interrupting your production environment.

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Sandbox & Verification
The Sandbox Restore feature allows you to test your virtual machines backups using a ‘Sandbox approach’ to ensure that the live original virtual machine is nog corrupted. This feature gives you two options:

  1. Verify Backup Folders. Verify your backup folders without attaching the virtual machines to the hypervisor. This should be used to verify the integrity of the data stored on the backup drive.
  2. Perform Full Test Restore. Performing a full test restore allows you to verify your backup data for a virtual machine as well as restore it to disk as a clone and attach it to the hypervisor to Ensure that it boots. This will not effect your live virtual machines!!

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You can also schedule some ‘Test Drills’ so the whole sandboxing process is automated for you on a given time. Very powerful to guarantee the integrity of your data and virtual machines.

File Level Restore
If you want to restore only some files or data to your virtual machine, but not the whole VM and configuration, you can use ‘File Level Restore’. From the wizard you can select the specific virtual machine, the back-up to restore from and the data you want to restore. Next you’ve to choose a local folder or a network folder where to extract the files.

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Altaro Offsite Server (Master Encryption Key):
When you’re creating a backup of your virtual machines, the data is on one single location. For disaster recovery it could be very useful to replicate the data also to another external location. In case of a disaster, you can boot directly from the ‘offsite server’ and your workloads are up and running again.

You need to configure an offsite location. This could be a physical disk, USB disk, LAN location or even a external location connected through the WAN (the Internet). In my environment I’ve attached some physical disks. Configure the new location and simply drag and drop the virtual machines to the new location. In my environment I only need two server: the domain controller (HV2016-DC01) and my webserver (HV2016-WEB01). All the other servers are included in the normal backup window.

One very important feature is ‘Master Encryption Key’. The Master Encryption Key is used for Offsite copies of all virtual machines & backups of any virtual machines which have been configured to use Encryption. Note: Encryption is disabled by default.

From the management console you can select the specific servers you want to copy to the offsite location and start the copy operations. Also very fast, very easy and powerful! Within a couple of minutes the virtual machines are copied to the offsite location(s). The speed depends on the bandwidth to the offsite location. Also in the offsite copies data deduplication is used.

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Conclusion:
Altaro VM Backup v7 is easy to install and configure. Within 15 minutes the first backup can be made. With some great new features and enhancements like ‘Windows Server 2016 support’, ‘Boot from backup’, ‘Offsite Server’, ‘File Level Restore’, ‘Sandbox & Verification’ and personally the greatest new feature Augmented Inline Deduplication, this version is a really nice solution to protect for virtual environment including disaster recovery.

Looking to the future, there could be ‘more’ cloud support, for example Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS). Currently you can set up Altaro Offsite Server on Microsoft Azure. When you can backup virtual machines directly from Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS), this software should even more powerful and you have all the things you need to meet your business goals!

If you have any questions or you want to use Altaro VM Backup in your own environment, you can download the software and use it free for 30 days or completely free for 2 VM’s!!

How to: Change the view of Mozille Firefox options menu

Today I’ve upgraded Mozilla Firefox from version 35.0.1 to 38.0.5. After the succesfully upgrade, everythin looks fine. But there’s one crucial thing that has been changed in version 38.x. The “Options” menu is not a pane anymore, but it will be open in a new tab. I’ve customized some things in the browser (hide the network button) in the UserChrome.css file. In the new Options tab, the netwerk button is available again for my users. So, I want to hide this option and it works great in version 35.x.

With a simple edit in the UserPref.js file within the profile of my users, I can force the “Options” menu view in the ‘old’ way. After that, the network button is gone again!! 🙂

I’ve used RES Workspace Manager 2014 for distribution the new UserPref.js file to all of my users, but you can also use some other 3th party software or do it just manually.

1.) Open Mozilla Firefox 38.x
2.) Type about:config
3.) Search for “browser.preferences.inc
4.) Set the option “Browser.preferences.inContent” from true to false
5.) Close Mozilla Firefox and open it again

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First look at Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 2 Build 10074

Microsoft has released a new version of Microsoft Server 2016 Technical Preview 2, so I’ve installed this version immediately within my Hyper-V environment. After starting the setup, you’ll see there’re two versions:

  • Windows Server Technical Preview 2
  • Windows Server Technical Preview 2 (with local admin tools)

The difference between theese two versions is the User Experience. In previous version of Windows, it was called Windows Server Core Edition. So the version without the local admin tools, the user has no option to enable/install the graphical user interface (GUI).

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After the installation, you’ll see that there’s a difference between the User Experience. One version, the Server Manager is available and the other version has only a command prompt available. You’ve to manage this server from another server with the Remote Server Administrative Tools (RSAT). The version with the admin tools included, there’s a possibility to enable the Graphical User Interface (GUI).

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After a reboot, the server is turned on with a Graphical User Interface (GUI) and it looks pretty cool!! And YESSSS, the start menu is back again 🙂 What a great time for some users!! With this new version of Windows Server, there’s is a complete new “world of bits and bytes”….