Veeamon 2019 banner

VeeamON 2019

The Challenge

Mouse trap

I was playing Mousetrap with my kids this morning and it got me thinking about data management.  In the board game you move around trying to win pieces of cheese whilst at the same time avoiding the mousetrap.

mouse in trap

As I got to be caught in the mouse trap for about the 8th time it reminded me how often in IT we are chasing the cheese – new projects, platforms and objectives whist neglecting the importance of data management. Data is the life blood of most companies these days but data management and protection is often an afterthought until there is an issue, aka you are caught in the mouse trap.

The solution

Firstly I would recommend not playing Mouse Trap with kids they always seem to win.  Secondly good data management is about recognising it’s importance from the inception of projects and creating a data management strategy, so as to avoid any pitfalls. Veeam are putting on one of the largest data management events of the year in Miami with their VeeamON event. The event features key data management experts, training opportunities, break out sessions, demos and key partners such as HPE and NetApp.

Event Detail

This years event takes place 20-22nd May in Miami Florida.  Some of the sessions I thought looked interesting included:

  • Ultimate Guide to Veeam Cloud Mobility: Tips, Tricks and Use Cases
    Veeam Backup & Replication Common Mistakes and How to Fix Them
  • Veeam Storage Integration Deep Dive
  • Architecture, Installation and Design for Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365
  • Automate Yourself Out of a Backup Job — Advanced PowerShell & API Usage
  • Veeamon 2019 banner

On the Veeam site you can see a full list of sessions.  Other reasons to attend include discounted VMCE training and the legendary VeeamON party which this year features Flo Rida. You can read more about the event at the VeeamON site

 

 

HPE MSA Setup

HPE MSA Setup

This post walks through the initial install and setup of a HPE MSA.

Assign management IP address

Once you have your HPE MSA racked, cabled and powered on the next step will be to assign it a management IP. To setup the management IP you have two options:

1 Connect via CLI cable – Connect to one of the controllers using the supplied mini USB cable to plug into the CLI port.  You will need to use the connection settings and password supplied in the MSA 2040 User Guide.  Once connected the command to set the IP address details are:

set network-parameters ip address netmask netmask gateway gateway controller a|b

For example

set network-parameters ip 192.168.0.10 netmask 255.255.255.0 gateway 192.168.0.1

controller a

You can then check the settings with the command:

show network-parameters

2 Set with laptop and Ethernet cable – by default the controllers will have the IP address information:

  • Management Port IP Address: 10.0.0.2 (controller A), 10.0.0.3 (controller B)
  • IP Subnet Mask: 255.255.255.0
  • Gateway IP Address: 10.0.0.1

A Set an IP address on the laptop on the same range as the HPE MSA factory default

B Connect the laptop to the MSA with an Ethernet cable

C Open up a web browser and enter the IP address of one of the controllers e.g. https://10.0.0.2

D Click on system settings on the dashboard and as you run through the wizard you will be prompted to set the IP address information.

Update Firmware

Open a web browser and enter the new ip address to connect https://newaddress

When you first logon to the home screen it will prompt you to check if the firmware needs to be upgraded.

HPE MSA Upgrade firmware

Click on the Upgrade Firmware button and see which version of the firmware you are on.  You can check the latest version https://h41111.www4.hpe.com/storage/msafirmware.html. Download and apply the firmware update if necessary or just close the dialog box if the system is already up to date.

HP MSA Update Firmware

Basic System Settings

Click System Settings on the dashboard and this will run you through an initial configuration wizard to get the basics setup.

  • Date and time – Set the time manually or specify NTP server
  • Manage users – This gives you a chance to reset the default manage password and create any additional accounts
  • Install licence – Install additional licences
  • Network – This will be the IP addressees you set earlier so there should be no need for any action here
  • Services – Here you can set how the device can be managed ed via SSH or web

Once you have your basic system setup you can start to work through the steps to get the storage presented to hosts.

Hosts

You can see connected hosts by clicking hosts in the main left toolbar. Assuming you have already connected your hosts and completed any necessary zoning you will see a list of connected hosts. Select each in turn and choose modify from the action menu to choose a friendly name.

Creating a Disk Pool

Your first step in provisioning storage is to create a Pool, a pool is like a RAID group in which you define RAID type and disks to add.

HPE MSA Create Disk Pool

  • Select Pools from the left hand menu
  • Action menu, add disk group
  • Name the pool
  • Select which controller you wish to own the pool. Try to balance the pools across the controllers, so there is an even number of pools on each controller
  • Choose your data protection level aka RAID level
  • Select the disks you wish to add into the group
  • For RAID 5 and 6 you need to ensure that the number of data drives in the RAID group is divisible by two for best performance. RAID 6 is recommended for larger NL disks
    • RAID 1. Requires 2 disks.
    • RAID 5. Requires 3-16 disks.
    • RAID 6. Requires 4-16 disks.

Assigning Spares

You will need some spares to act as a hot standby should a disk fail.  Dynamic sparing is enabled by default which means that disks not assigned to a disk group will be counted as Global Spares which means that they can act as a spare for any disk group. Spare disks must be at least the same size as the disk they are standing in for.

It is best practice to have one global hot spare per disk group. So make sure you have the correct number and size of disks not in a disk group so they can be global hot spares.

Configuring the Read Cache

Configuring MSA Read Cashe Pool

An SSD disk can be added into a spinning disk group to act as a read cache to extend the size of the controller cache and improve performance.  To add an SSD read cache:

  • Select pools from left-hand tool bar
  • From the action menu choose add disk group
  • From the type drop down select read cache
  • Select an SSD and click add

Provisioning Volumes

Next you need to create your volumes which are effectively LUN’s.

Creating Virtual Volumes for HPE MSA

  • Select volumes from the lefthand tool bar
  • From the action menu choose create volume
  • Enter the name and size of the volume
  • Remember to balance volumes across controllers

The end result we end up with is as below. We have two volumes balanced across the two storage pools which themselves are balanced across the controllers.  By maintaining a one to one relationship between pools and volumes we reduce the complexity of troubleshooting and performance monitoring and this is also a recommended practice for performance as workloads will not be conflicting.

Volume summary

 

Mapping Volumes to Hosts

Lastly you need to map your volumes to your hosts.

  • Select mapping from the left hand menu
  • From the action menu choose mapping
  • Simply select the initiator you wish and then select the volumes to map to map it to and select map.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add storage pool

Vembu BDR Suite – Review

Today is a sponsored post brought to you by Vembu who asked me to review their recently released BDR Suite 4.0.

Who Are Vembu?

Let’s start at the beginning with a bit of background. The company was actually founded back in 2002 based out of Chennai India but also with offices in the US. The company state that the product has reached 60,000 businesses world wide through 4000 partners.

Vembu BDR Suite

Their core product is the Vembu BDR Suite. The Vembu BDR suite is able to backup and protect a wide range of infrastructure including physical, virtual and cloud workloads.  Some of the specific data types that can be protected are:

  • VMware VM’s
  • Hyper-V VM’s
  • Physical windows machines
  • Office 365
  • Google Apps (G-Suite)
  • Cloud backup of AWS and Azure VM’s

As the product name suggests this is more than just a backup application offering a complete data protection and disaster recovery system.  These capabilities are delivered through the following components of the system:

  • Vembu VMBackup – Allows the backup of vSphere and Hyper-V VM’s without the need for the installation of any agents. In VMware environments the BDR console can also call on the VMware replication feature to copy VM’s between hosts.
  • Vembu ImageBackup – Is used to protect physical windows servers and desktops. The system allows bare metal recovery and P2V migrations
  • Vembu NetworkBackup – Used to backup file and application data including MS Exchange, SQL, SharePoint, and MySQL
  • Vembu OffsiteDR – Creates an offsite copy of your data to protect against loss of the primary backup site
  • Vembu Universal Explorer – Assists with viewing and restoring individual application items within a backup for example a table within SQL or mailbox within Exchange

The first thing that struck me with this product is it’s maturity in terms of number of items that can be backed up and also the scope of features available within the product. All the above features can be managed through a clean looking central console which is accessed via a web browser

Installation

Let’s go ahead and install the product and see how it looks. Vembu BDR suite can be installed on Linux or Windows systems.  Today we will be running through the Windows install. Supported Windows versions are:

  • Server 2008 R2
  • Server 2012
  • Server 2012 R2
  • Server 2016
  • Windows 10

Vembu setup wizard 1

First of all we download the latest version. The installation is wizard driven and generally you can click through it, you can review the settings to change the ports and passwords.

Vembu standard system settings

Config is stored in a PostgreSQL database you will need to make sure you have at least 100GB of storage available and choose where to store this.

Architecture

The architecture we are going to follow is a simple all in one box installation, all management and backup operations occurs from here.  If you have a larger environment you can deploy a backup proxy to act as the data mover and deploy the image backup proxy for the backup of physical machines separately.

Storage Management

Vembu storage pool home screen

Once the installation is complete you can login and manage the system using the web console the default address will be https://VembueServer:6061.  The first job will to be creating a storage pool, storage pools are the target for backup jobs and are made up of a group of volumes which are aggregated together.

Add storage pool

SAN, NAS and DAS can all be used as storage targets. Vembu do not require any specific storage systems since they have developed their own file system VembuHIVE, the file system has inbuilt version control, encryption, deduplication and error correction. The VembuHIVE system also allows you to use any combination of storage types such as SAN and NAS.

Backup

Vembu backup wizard

Let’s take our first backup.  Setting a backup up is again through a wizard in the web console.  You will need to:

  • Select VM’s – Select VMs you would like to backup or a whole vCentre
  • Guest processing – Choose if any application specific processing is required for consistency for example a SQL database
  • Schedule – Choose when you would like the backup to run
  • Storage – Select the storage pool and the number of recovery points you wish to retain

Recovery

  • Quick VM recovery – This allows VMs to be booted direct from the backup to provide quick access to VMs
  • Live recovery – Restores back to the original or a different datastore
  • File level recovery – Allows you to restore individual files within a VM rather than the entire VM
  • Disk management mount – Lets the VM disks be mounted and their content explored and restored as appropriate
  • Download – Allows you to restore the files as a copy

Cloud

Vembu offer a number of options to harness the cloud for backups and to protect workloads held in the cloud. The OnlineBackup backup option allows you to backup directly to the cloud whereas the CloudDR option allows you to replicate your backups to the cloud thus allowing offsiting.  SAAS workloads that can be protected including G suite and Office 365 which are then backed up to the Vembu cloud.

Editions and Pricing

There are three editions available Free, Standard and Enterprise the edition you will need will depend on your business requirements .  You can use this table to compare editions. The pricing policy is very clear and open you can see the latest rates on the Vembu site. The product is priced per socket