Category Archives: backup Policy

Writing about Vembu BDR Suite Free Edition

Vembu is a leading software product development that has been  focussing on Backup and Disaster Recovery software for data centers over a decade. It’s flagship offering- the BDR Suite of products consists of VMBackup for VMware vSphere and Hyper-V, Disk Image backups for Physical machines, Workstations. Backing up individual files and folders to physical servers and cloud can be performed with Vembu Network Backup and Online Backup respectively.

Moreover, it has multiple flexible deployment like on-site, off-site and to the cloud through single user interface. Another offering of the Vembu BDR Suite is to be able to configure item level backups like Microsoft Exchange Servers, Sharepoint, SQL, My SQL, Office 365, G Suite etc., This latest version of Vembu BDR Suite v3.8.0 has come out with the few notable features in two major offerings- one unlimited features for three virtual machines and the second thing being able to backup unlimited virtual machines with restricted features.

This latest Free edition of Vembu BDR Suite was designed understanding the setbacks by any common IT Administrator. Thence  making Vembu an important name in the market for backup vendor for its enterprise level product for SMBs. This free edition is free forever and IT administrators can continue managing their backups with the trial version without any feature restriction. Let’s take a plunge into the detailed features of this Free edition.

Unlimited features for the Limited environment(3 VMs):

 Using the Vembu BDR Suite in its trial version does not require purchasing a license. This category of the Free edition offers unlimited features and few of them are listed below:

  1. Agentless VMware backups for multiple VMs: Configuring backups for protecting multiple VMs without physically installing any agent.
  2. Disk Image Backups from BDR Server: Disk Image Backups can now be configured and managed via Vembu BDR Server. Relying on proxy agents is no longer required, unless it’s a distributed deployment which require individual proxy agent installation.
  3. Full VM Backup: Will backup the entire VM including OS, applications and the data.
  4. Storage Pooling: Storage Pools are used to aggregate the space available from different volumes and utilise them as a storage for specific backups. The hybrid volume manager of Vembu BDR Server supports scalable and extendable backup storage for different storage media such as Local drives, NAS(NFS and CIFS) and SAN(iSCSI and FC). Vembu BDR provides storage pooling option for both backup level and group level.
  5. LAN free data transfer using SAN and Hot- Add modes:Vembu VM backup support Direct SAN, Hot-Add and network transport mode to backup the VM data.
  6. Auto Authorization: Enabling Auto authorization in Vembu BDR allows proxy agents to get registered to backup server using unique registration key generated by respective BDR server.
  7. Automatic Backup Scheduling: Backups can be automatically scheduled as per the user’s flexibility
  8. Encryption Settings: Users can now provide additional security to their disk based backup jobs by assigning custom-password to backup server, such that all their backup data will be encrypted and can be restored/accessed only by providing the custom-password.
  9. FLR from GUI (Backup & Replication): File Level Recovery(FLR) is now available for both backup and replication jobs where user can choose specific files and folders from VMware/Hyper-V/Disk Image backups and VMware replication, to be restored in a quick fashion.

All the above major features are included in this free edition for 3 virtual machines.

Let’s get to know those restricted features for unlimited virtual machines.

Restricted Features for unlimited virtual machines:

All the features mentioned above for limited business environment will be applicable for these categories with few restrictions in the features. They are:

  1. Application-aware processing: Configuring them for a Hyper-V environment is restricted but that does not hold good with VMware vSphere Esxi(s).
  2. Changed Block Tracking: Only the incremental blocks which are changed since the previous backup will been tracked and  backed up in the successive backup schedule thereby reducing disk space and time
  3. Retention Policies: User can retain any number of recovery points of his own choice. They come to great use when it comes to store the backup data.
  4. Near CDP: Incremental backup can be scheduled every 15 mins to ensure the RPO < than 15 mins
  5. Quick VM recovery to ESXi: Incremental backup can be scheduled every 15 mins to ensure the RPO < than 15 mins.
  6. Automated Backup verification: Verify the recoverability of the backed up images and screenshot of the booted Image backup will be mailed

Backup and recovery holds good for both physical and virtual environments and makes granular recovery possible with great ease.You will able to scale out your storage, secure your individual backup jobs with in-built deduplication, encryption and compression that makes its own file system called, the VembuHIVE.

This latest Free edition thus becomes one of the most business-friendly and a complete backup solution. That being said,  It can be suitable for both testing and production environments! Their out-of-the box policy- backup for all was hailed even at the recent VMworld event, Las Vegas.

Well, there is nothing left to ponder now. It’s time to make the right decision. It could be done right away with getting started with their Free edition of Vembu BDR Suite on a 30 days free trial. Click here.

 

Vembu BDR’s New Release , New Features

It’s been while Vembu BDR version 3.8 was released. Due to other commitments, I could not cover the release. I have divided this blog into two sections. New features and Enhanced features. This version is focused on reducing management overhead and increasing efficiency of backup operation.

New Features in Vembu BDR 3.8 Release

Real Storage Pooling

Storage Pools are used to aggregate the space available from different volumes and utilize them as a storage for specific backups. The hybrid volume manager of Vembu BDR Server supports scalable and extendable backup storage for various storage media such as Local drives, NAS(NFS and CIFS) and SAN(iSCSI and FC). Vembu BDR provides storage pooling option for both backup level and group level.

Decreases management overhead as you have now single console to manage all backup storage.

Encryption of backup Jobs

Users can now provide additional security to their disk based backup jobs by assigning custom-password to the backup server, such that all their backup data will be encrypted and can be restored/accessed only by providing the custom-password.

Protection Against Ransomware is the Need of the time. Vembu backup is encrypted by default using their proprietary algorithm. With Backup Job encryption additional security layer is added to protect against Ransomware attack

Reduced Bandwidth Utilization for Initial Seeding

Storing the copy of backup data for DR requirements is now an easy task to be accomplished by seed loading backup server data to the desired offsite data center. This saves loads of time and bandwidth from being consumed.

Optimize bandwidth utilization and reduce replication window. Earlier the two sites sync, better is the chance of declaring data is protected on the DR site

FLR from GUI (Backup & Replication)

File Level Recovery(FLR) is now available for both backup and replication jobs where the user can choose specific files and folders from VMware/Hyper-V/Disk Image backups and VMware replication, to be restored quickly.

Gives the end user privileges to restore data be it replicated or backed up data. This feature reduces the service request logged by the end user to restore data. It improves IT Backup service

Reduced Installation Time

Users will now get the client agents installer as .msi format also.The installer will check for the following packages based on the OS types (32 bit or 64 bit), and it will install the following (if not installed previously),

    • Visual C++  2008 redistributable packages x86
    • Visual C++ 2008 redistributable packages x64
    • Visual C++ 2013 redistributable packages x64
    • Visual C++ 2015 redistributable packages x86

This is my favorite addition to the product. I like the installation packages checked and installed without separately downloading the product and restart the installation process. Installation becomes more integrated, streamlined and reduce overall time to install the product


Enhancements in v3.8

Enhancements touch those features of the product which were either present but not used due to various clicks or which were improved to make a product more efficient. Primarily enhancements find their way into the product via customer feedback, Support teams feedback. In short, the focus is partly towards reduced troubleshooting time.

Ease of Restore Disk Management Mount(Hyper-V)

This option lets you instantly attach backup data to disk management as a VHD/VHDX file and proceed with the restore process. The VHD/VHDX file is created by virtually mounting the backup data on the Vembu virtual drive. Users can access backup data via disks attached to disk management.

Once done with the requirement, unmount backup data. This will resume the backup job so that incremental will run as scheduled.

It becomes far easier for Backup operation team to restore and explore data if end user is unaware of the location of the data

Disk level download option for VMware & Hyper-V plugins

Users can download backup data in multiple disk file formats such as VHD, VMDK, VHDX, VMDK-Flat and RAW.

Similarly, if the user needs to download individual disks in a virtual machine, he can perform disk level download by selecting the disks.

From a group of virtual machines in a host backup, multiple disks can be downloaded with same disk file format.

This features was there right in the product, now you can select multiple VMs and mass migrate it. I have posted a blog post on in the past. Again operational overhead is reduced

List VMs in an alphabetical order

Virtual Machines that are present in the host will be listed in alphabetical order based on the ASCII table values, thereby making it simpler for the user to search and configure the backup. In the Review Configuration page, the Virtual machines that are chosen for backup are listed in the selected order.

Note: Virtual Machines will be listed in the following hierarchical order <special characters>, <numeric characters>, <Uppercase letters>, <lowercase letters>.

Search option for VMs in backup config page & restore list page

This option allows the user to search the Virtual machines that are available on the ESXi host. Also, the user can search VMs/ host/cluster from a vCenter server. By specifying the required VM name in the search option, you can select the VMs that are to be backed up from an ESXi host/vCenter Server.

Both the features aimed at making Backup operation simple, faster and easier. Initially, it was bit of a task to find a VM, the search eliminates scrolling task and aids in location VM quickly in Vembu Backup console

VM level reports in OffsiteDR Server

This page lists all replicated jobs configured from backup server to the offsite server where you can see a report option alongside every replicated job

New menu for consolidated VM level report in BackupServer & OffsiteDR

VM level report gives the user the centralized report page of all VMs that are configured for backup. It allows users to view the detailed backup reports of virtual machines configured from both ESXi or Hyper-V Host.

Reporting of backup job has multifaceted effects. First and foremost it helps management learn how much data is backed up and what is getting backed up. Secondly, it helps in categorizing VM per Business Units/Tenants. With this feature, an additional filtering option will allow to distinguished what is being backed and on which hypervisor. I feel this feature can be further integrated into your costing model

Enable or Disable retention for VMBackup / ImageBackup

User can enable or disable retention policy for the backups based on their requirements.

Disabling retention allows user to maintain all the backups without any merging of the incremental timestamps. This option is used when the backup size is low.

Additional Enhancements

  • Admin\Read Only Access privileges at both Backup Server and Group Level which make Role Based Access control manageable
  • Email Settings in Backup Agents
  • Email Report for OffsiteDR
  • Backup Verification Email Report (Backup Server & OffsiteDR)

 

Live Recovery to Hyper-V server using Vembu BDR Suite

In case you loose data due to any reason you have to recover it from backup. Fortunately, you have more than one way to restore data and bring service back up into Production. In this post, we will discuss how to restore VM using one of the methods available.

In the previous post, I have performed the backup of FileServer. I’ll use FileServer to demonstrate how to restore Virtual Machine.   I can restore fileserver in various ways. Although I’m describing you single VM restoration procedure, however, you can restore multiple VMs simultaneously. It is noteworthy to understand that you can restore VMs in following  four ways

  1. Instant VM Recovery –While VM is booted directly from the backup file on the Backup server, but you must remember to install Hyper-V role on the backup server. In the restore time, RTO is reduced to minute rather minutes it might take to uncompressed Backup data and restore it directly to Hyper-V server.
  2. Live Recovery to Hyper-V server – I will cover this restore option in this post.
  3. File Level Recovery (You must install agent on the file server)

Live Recovery to Hyper-V server

In live recovery option, a Full VM is restored from the Backup server to the Hyper-V. VM is automatically registered with the Hyper-V manager. To clarify here, after the restore operation is finished, VM must be connected to VirtualSwitch and powered ON manually. To put it differently, VM is restored but not attached to the network neither is turned on automatically.

Live Recovery takes more time than Instant VM Recovery, but the most compelling reason to restore by using this method is to warranty production storage performance rather than backup storage performance.

In this section, I wish to restore FileServer from the backup. I have chosen the alternate location to restore the VM and manually powered ON the VM on the Hyper-V host. Firstly, open the browser and enter the VBDR default URL https://backupserver:6061, then select the Recovery Tab, lastly choose the Backup Job name to restore the VM by clicking on the restore button. From the following four choices, I chose Live Recovery to Hyper-V server

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I have to decide the restore version. The most recent backup version, In particular, i.e. 9th Dec 2300 is an incremental backup. To repeat here, Vembu only performs Incremental Forward backup which I discussed in the previous post, a process which will complete restore from full backup and apply all incremental from the time you selected till the full backup date. In the next screen i.e. screen “Choose the restore data” I have the only fileserver listed.

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In Restore Options I have to provide the UNC path to download the image file. The image file format is VHDX. I have entered my admin credentials in addition to that below I have sized the RAM. Finally, before proceeding further, I reviewed the details. When I press next button, Behind the scene UNC path is verified.

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At this stage, most of the necessary recovery steps are finalized. In below screen, you review the details one final time and press Yes to confirm the restoration.

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I could observe the restore progress details in the following screen noted below.

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After restoration process is completed, I went back to restore screen report to see the VM name restore along with its status.

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I opened my Hyper-V manager to validate the restore VM name is matching with fileserve_10DEC2016_19_36_41  reported in the below screen.

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Before I power on the VM, I verified the network connectivity. VM was not connected to any network.

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Furthermore, I checked the VM Generation, CPU Memory, and Harddisk. VM Generation was right, but Dynamic Memory was disabled. By default, Dynamic memory settings will not be restored in the current version of Vembu BCDR suite but in the future release, it will be incorporated.

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Conclusion

Restoring VM is as easy, simple four step procedure. VM gets restored, but you must select the network, Memory before powering on the VM. Taking into consideration, the price point Vembu is offering these features are the true reflection of value for money.

Configure the Backup Job of a VM hosted on Hyper-v

Configure the Backup Job of a VM hosted on Hyper-v

Like all backup product, Vembu also needs job to carry out backup of VM. We will together follow the backup job wizard. First step is choose VM or VMs. One backup job could be used to process more than one VMs. In Choose Virtual Machines screen which primarily lists down the inventory of VM managed by Hyper-V we select single VM. To start, I selected the vdc2017 which is Domain Controller in my case. It is noteworthy to point out how smartly the VM status is displayed in the screen below.  Continue reading Configure the Backup Job of a VM hosted on Hyper-v

Free Backup for VMware, Hyper-V, Physical servers by Vembu BCDR Solution

Last week Vembu released a Free Version of their BCDR suite which is over and above Paid Version. In the Free version, Vembu is heavily focusing on organizations who do not have a proper backup mechanism for Virtual Servers, Physical Servers, and Desktops. For the first month you get access to full features of paid version, post 30 days you either have an option to insert key or product automatically changes into the Free version.

What is in Free Version?

Vembu has included essential features which are mandatory for backup to functions in the suite. Features mentioned below are available on all VMware, Hyper-V and Physical servers

  1. Agentless backup functionality for Image-Based Backup
  2. You can Backup VMs from vCenter. VCenter Integration is part of free edition
  3. There is no limit as to how many VMs you can backup in Free edition
  4. Options to backup full Operating system and or to exclude disk are part of the free edition
  5. Backup Transport mode e.g. SAN, Network is similarly available in the free version.
  6. Application-aware backup a feature I consider a must in any backup software is surprisingly a part of free edition
  7. Cross Hypervisor migration feature is also there in free Edition
  8. Free version not only allows you restore files but also have features to recover Exchange mailboxes, MS SQL Databases, MS SharePoint, Active Directory users, groups and File
  9. Web-based management, Backup Monitoring, and Reporting is still possible in free edition
  10. Singularly in Hyper-V, you can backup VMs stored on Cluster Shared Volumes
  11. For the Physical servers, you can backup GPT disks, do Raw Device Mapping disks and Pass-through disk mapping. Not only this, but you can also the backup Physical server with drives size more than 2 TB.
  12. Finally, you get end to end encryption, compression and scale out repository in Vembu

Continue reading Free Backup for VMware, Hyper-V, Physical servers by Vembu BCDR Solution