Download the latest guide for Project Server 2010 Administrators guide
Download the latest guide for Project Server 2010 Administrators guide
First hand experience of an IT pro just after this weekends major earthquake down in Christchurch New Zealand.
OP pack has helped to identify my whole virtualized environment at work from an eagle eye view. I initially ran it at home but with a single esxi host, it was not able to tell me anything new that I didn’t know. Moreover the VM to Physical Hosts ratio were far better for this product to show its results at work.
Getting OP pack is quite easy, a simple registration here and click of a download button you get OP downloading in no time.
Once the pack has been downloaded:-
This is because it’s packaged within a Suse Linux sandbox fully configured and ready to run in no time. Power up the VM and wait for it to pick up an IP address. Once the box is up and running I would highly recommend setting it up with a static IP, since the license pack that gets send to register the device may be depended on that.
Once the IP has been set, fire up your favourite browser to the location of the OP VM and you will reach your login screen:
The default username and password is Vkernel which can be changed easily.
Go through the initial configuration of adding your esx, esxi ‘s or Vcenter to start the initial configuration and study of your network. This will take a while depending on your setup.
Once the initial configurations are collected you will be presented with the following screen
Clicking on VM Stats on the right hand side will give you an overall picture of your environment as shown. I was only able to add 4 of my esxi servers as the trial license is limited to 8 sockets.
The left hand pane also shows a quick overview of all your VM’s and Datastores. I am sure this view is available on Vcenter as well but for an Esxi user this is really helpful.
You can get to the Capacity Rightsizer from the View Detail button or click the same option from the right side
The following shows the various tabs available under Rightsizer. As you can see there is an execute button which is disabled under trial version, I guess but may be useful but I would rather do this manually based on the recommendations:
Now let’s get into the Capacity Waterfinder
Various tabs take you through some really good and surprising ( found some long lost VM’s lol J )
The inventory TAB on the right hand side gives an overall picture of the CPU , Memory and storage of all the VM’s that have been added:
Hit home and let’s get under the hood of OP or the configuration tab
During initial setup you are provided with an option to choose the DB where the data needs to sit. I choose the Embedded DB since I didn’t want to go through the hassle of setting up communication between an external and the OP box. I am sure its quite straight forward. Anyways you get to tweek it here as well
Configration related to your esx, esxi’s Vcenter info can be found here
You can setup how the Dollars should be read as well threshold settings and so forth.
Next lets jump into the notifications and there are the usual suspects such as email and snmp which is quite straightforward to setup. Most of it would have been finished by the time you have started OP during initial setup.
Users tab to reset or change your settings from the default login details.
License tab is quite important as you need to add the different esxi in my case to the licenses sockets tab.
Unless you do this step all the information on the left hand side will be greyed out and you won’t be able to view any other information as well.
So according to OP pack I have the following savings waiting for me, but how much of it is true numerical value I am not sure but this product was really useful and highly recommend for those with Vcenter or esx clients. Though Vkernel doesn’t pass any information about its use with esxi servers I haven’t run into any issues at the same time. So I guess its all good if you are running esxi 4 and above .
Read about Vkernel OP from here .
Among one of the top priorities that we had, as part of our network migration to Essential Business Server solution from Microsoft was to look for a Backup solution that would actually provide some peace of mind.
I had the opportunity in my current job as well as from my previous one to work with a wide variety of backup solutions. Shadow Protect came to me as an accident, which till today I am happy that it happened.
Well you can read all about them from their website to get the commercial jargon. But what I would like to write today is how it has saved my backside a few times since we have decided to buy the software. Actually I am lying the first time it did save me from a sleepless night was when we were still using the evaluation software. The very next day I went back to work and put it forward to be placed in the migration shopping cart.
At this point I would like to make a statement that I am in no ways related or have been asked to write this article about Shadow Protect / Storage Craft. For starters I have no idea about any of their other products and haven’t bothered looking into it as it doesn’t hold any value at work. So this blog would basically be mostly about Shadow Protect Server Edition. Also the information provided on the blog as always is AS IS and I am sorry but cannot be held responsible for anything. Sorry got my own bag of headaches to look after. But wouldn’t mind helping out if your request is of genuine interest.
Playground for this blog:-
What is Shadow Protect?
Shadow Protect is basically backup software. With a history of driver development for several vendors, led to the development of Volume Snapshot Manager which basically lets you take a snapshot or backup of hot running systems. This was later licenced out to several vendors such as VMware, HP and several others.
This was integrated into VMware convertor to do P2V migrations and several similar steps inside VMware Workstations as well. This would probably explain why Shadow Protect backup files can be opened directly from VMware workstation and converted to a virtual machine.
From the technical training that I went through couple of months back with Jack Alsop (one of the best training programmes that I have attended. Did not sleep off, even for 2 minutes even though it was in the afternoon straight after a heavy lunch) some of the stuff that I had picked up was that SP tends to Backup from a sector level which as you all know is the smallest amount of data on your drives. So when the Backup of sectors is done that means all your data, settings, system files basically everything gets placed into the backup.
Being part of the VSS framework, developed by Microsoft and I believe which came through with Windows 2003 servers, gives the backup software the ability to take technologies like Exchange and SQL into a perfect state for that backup, take a snap shot and then have it released for continuing its operations.
Versions and Licensing
I would like to concentrate this blog on two versions that I use at work, which is the Server and IT edition. Server Edition is the version of the software that you install on your windows server. They are per machine licenses and would take care of all your backups and restore actions while the system is running hot.IT edition doesn’t carry a per machine license. It functions more like a bootable Windows PE environment from which you are able to do a cold backup and restore of your system partitions.
So what all can Shadow Protect do?
Well basically it’s able to backup and restore from most of your standard backup locations such as:-
Your backups are saved into any one of the above locations via the software into a Shadow Protect file (.spi type). When you want to restore them, they can be restored to any of the following:-
From here I am going to divide the post into two main sections backup and restoring
Backups via Shadow Protect
Backing up a Hot Server is simple. Install the software, which requires a reboot at the end, from then on its pretty straight forward.
Please spend some time here to plan your retention level and have a peace of mind about your backup destination location.
Restoration via Shadow Protect
VMware convertor can be used to open the Shadow Protect files directly if required as shown below
In this manner a Virtual Backup machine can be started in the event of a failure.
But Shadow Protect can also be used mount an image as either Read Only Drive or as one that can be used as an Active Drive. Restoration can also be done from a complete drive restoration as follows
Hopefully the post gave a bit of an insight into Shadow Protect. Next Backup software to be tested and blogged would be DPM 2010 goodness.
Cheers and let me know what you all think about it.