Backup Exec 12.5 Compatibility


Backup Exec 12.5 is released within the next few weeks and for those of you considering an upgrade, I’ve gathered together some information that will hopefully make your decision easier.

Licensing Downgrades:

Can I use a previous version? If so what version? The curretn downgrade rights allow you to downgrade from V12.5 back to 11d. If you need to add new servers/agents/options to an older environment you will have to upgrade to V12.5.

If you purchase your licences with support, that will give you Version Upgrade Protection, enabling y ou to always keep up to date with new releases.

Backwards Compatibilty:

  • As has been the case before, the new features of V12.5 will not work if the agent is put in to an older environment (12, 11d etc)
  • Backup Exec 12.5 media server will work with 11d and v12 agents.
  • Backup Exec 12.5 Central Admin Server Option (CASO) will manage V12 servers, but not 11d or before.
  • Backup Exec 12.5 Media Server is compatible with Netware 9.2 Remote agents.

What Windows operating systems are supported in Backup Exec 12.5 and BESR 8.5?:
• Microsoft Windows Server 2008
• Microsoft Windows Essential Business Server 2008
• Microsoft Windows Server 2003 family (SP1)
• Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 family
• Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2003.(SP1)
• Microsoft Windows 2000 Server family.(SP4, Update Rollup 1
for Windows SP4) (SP4 is the minimum requirement for support
of SQL Express 2005)
• Windows Small Business Server 2000, 2003, and 2008

What virtual environments are supported in Backup Exec 12.5 and BESR 8.5?:
• VMware ESX Server 2.5, 3.0 and 3.5
• VMware Infrastructure 3 (replacement/rename for ESX Server)
• VMware Server 1.0 (replacement/rename for GSX Server)
• VMware GSX Server 3.1 and 3.2
• Microsoft Hyper-V
• Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2

For those of you out there that are running Linux servers, the Remote Media Server Agent for Linux should be of interest. This means you can now add direct attached storage (DAS) to your remote Linux servers (the agent include a Linux Remote Agent too).

Microsoft Small Business Server 2008: As you may know,  SBS 2008 is now licensed by Microsoft to include a 2nd “Member Server” that can be used as part of the SBS 2008 Premium family to host SBS-included applications such as SQL 2008, Exchange, or SharePoint. Backup Exec 12.5 Small Business Server Premium will now include, at no charge, an Agent for Windows System (AWS) for customers who may want to protect this second sever as well.

What versions can I upgrade from?:

This is often the trickiest part of moving to a new version of software, if your current environment isn’t 100% standardised on one version.

From a technical standpoint, versions 11d & 12 can be directly upgraded to 12.5, while any previous versions must be un-installed prior to 12.5 installation.

From a licensing standpoint, you are still eligible to upgrade ANY previous version of Backup Exec.

Microsoft Unified Communications


Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS) 2007 is now available in a free, online virtual environment via Microsoft TechNet Labs. These allow you to test out the software without any installation and set up being required. You can find the OCS 2007 lab at:

http://www.microsoft.com/events/series/unifiedcommunications.aspx?tab=virtuallabs

For those of you looking into OCS 2007, there are a number of Technet’s that will be useful when it comes to setting up and configuring the software. Check out these links for more info:

As always, I want to thank Johann over at

 http://blogs.technet.com/jkruse/default.aspx 

for the info!

Have fun and let me know how you get on with OCS 2007!

Crystal Reports 2008


Crystal Reports is, in my opinion, the best reporting software in the market today. It’s been a real success story for us hear at Bechtle…2008 has seen a 600% increase in sales! I’d like to think this was all down to me and the sales guys and while we’ve certainly been instrumental, there has definitely been increased interest from customers in reporting software.

We all have SO much data these days and many of us (me included) have the feeling that if we could just get a handle on it, find it, organise it, process it and filter it-it would make a dramatic impact on how we do business. Say you’re a sales company and your systems contain information on who bought what, when they bought it, what else they bought, where they’re based and what industry they’re in for all 25,000 customers. If you could compile all that data, filter it, de-dupe it and match it you could make some really great targeted campaigns…but doing all that, quickly and easily can be nigh on impossible.

Yes, most systems these days have some kind of reporting tools but more often than not these feel tacked on in post production, almost an afterthought and they never quite let you run the reports you need. This is where Crystal Reports comes in..it can connect to almost any data source:

Native, ODBC, OLE DB, and JDBC connectivity to relational, OLAP, web services, XML, legacy, and enterprise data sources, and new salesforce.com driver.

The Parameter Panel means parameter values can be set without refreshing data. Parameters used are displayed on the panel so that report consumers can easily see them, make changes, and have the new values applied directly to the saved data.

On-Report sorting, filtering & re-formatting allow users to change and explore the information without having to re-query the database.

Built in Barcode Supportmeans you can easily convert fields to Code39 barcodes without coding or extra steps.

Also, from a licensing point of view there is just one version of Crystal Reports 2008 making it easier to maange your licensing.

Free fully functional 30 day trials can be download from:

http://www.businessobjects.com/product/freetrials.asp

and of course, visit www.bechtle.co.uk or contact software@bechtle.co.uk for more info ;-)

Symantec Backup Exec 12.5


Symantec Backup Exec 12.5 is nearly upon us (06/10/08 – 6th October) and it has got some great new features. A lot of people felt that V12 wasn’t a huge leap forward and so kept their infrastructure on 11d, but I really think Backup Exec 12.5 is worth it…particularly it’s advances in relation to Virtualisation.

New Features:

Perhaps the biggest change is that you no longer require an agent per virtual machine-now it’s an agent per Hypervisor-with an agent for VMware and a separate agent for Hyper-V. This will definitely help keep downs the costs of backup in this modern age!

A blog post by Pat Hanavan, the VP of Product Management in Symantec’s Data Protection Group (the new name for Backup Exec & NetBackup) says:

“Backup Exec understands the structure of the Hyper-V environment and presents the same logical structure in the backup administrator GUI, so backup administrators can manage backup and recovery functions for their physical and virtual systems via the console.”

The full transcript can be found over at http://blogs.technet.com/virtualization

Symantec’s Patent-Pending Granular Recovery Technology gives you individual file level recovery from a single backup-this applies to both Exchange & Sharepoint. This greatly reduces the time and cost associated with these backups.

If your virtualisation plans have been on hold/slow to take off due to worries about cost and/or complexity around backup of VM’s, I think Backup Exec 12.5 will allow you to take that first step into the virtual world.

More info on the new agents for Virtual Server can be found here.

Price & Availability:

The release date for this and Backup Exec System Recovery 8.5 is 06/10/08 (6th of October 2008) and esitmated RRP (in dollars) is:

Backup Exec 12.5 has a suggested price of $995 USD for a media server license. Each additional agent or option can vary in price from $395 USD to $3,195 USD MSRP; Backup Exec System Recovery 8.5 has a suggested price of $1,095 USD per server and $69 USD per workstation.

Backup Exec Infrastructure Manager 12.5:

Another new product due out from Symantec is Backup Exec Infrastructure Manager 12.5. This is powered by Altiris software (following Symantec acquisition in early 2006) and aims to make simplify upgrades & patch management as well as reduce TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) through licence discovery tools. Another cool feature is it’s ability to give you a graphical map of your Backup Exec deployment :-)

Backup Exec Infrastructure Manager 12.5 is due out “late Fall 2008″, so I’d say November is likely to be when it becomes available. It has a suggested RRP of $1995.

Exciting times!

Microsoft Server Software VHD’s


Microsoft have released a slew of Virtual Hard Disks (VHD’s) making it quick and easy to evaluate Microsoft software for free, in your environment.

Their “Run IT on a Virtual Hard Disk” initiative can be found here:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/bb738372.aspx

and includes product such as:

  • Exchange 2007
  • Sharepoint 2007
  • Windows Vista
  • System Center
  • and many more

By installing these on a virtual machine, you can have the application up and running very quickly, reducing the amount of time that Test & Dev takes..which can only be a good thing right? :-)

Microsoft Exchange in Virtual Environments


Microsoft Exchange on a Virtual Server: The official line was always “No-it’s not supported”, but the release of Hyper-V has brought some changes.

Hyper-V now lets you run the Exchange 2007 SP1 64 bit versions of Mailbox, Hub Transport and Client Access Server Roles  without losing support, however Unified Messaging is still only supported on physical hardware.

Here’s a link to the support policy and recommendations paper for Exchange 2007 on Microsoft Virtualization technology:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc794548(EXCHG.80).aspx

“What about us non Hyper-V users?” I hear you cry..

http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=897615

is a link to the “support policy for Microsoft software running in non-Microsoft hardware virtualization software”. As you can see, your Hypervisor needs to have been validated to be supported and so far the only on is VMWare ESX 3.5u2.

Also, here’s a link that shows all the MS Server software that is supported when running on a validated Hypervisor:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/957006

To see what Microsoft have got to say about the world of Unified Communications, head over to the Microsoft UK UC Blog at:

http://blogs.technet.com/msukucc/

Cheers

Rich

Microsoft MSDN Licences for Production


As we all know, MSDN (MicroSoft Developer Network) licensing gives developers the rights to use Microsoft software fro Testing & Development purposes; but what not everyone knows is that it gives you production liceces too!

Each Developer who has an MSDN Premium subscription is allowed to use one copy of:

  • Office Ultimate
  • Visio Pro
  • Project Std
  • Sharepoint Designer
  • Office Communicator

for production purposes! That means that when it comes to licensing, if you’ve got say 100 users, 10 of which are Developers-you can purchase 90 x Office Std/Pro for the staff and the developers will be covered via their MSDN subscription. Being aware of this can help reduce the occurence of being over-licensed..and get you some brownie points with the FD?!

 

In the style of Michael Caine..not a lot of people know that!

 

I hope that helps…

 

Microsoft Windows 7 Alpha @ PDC 2008


If the rumours are true, and it seems they are, then this year’s PDC (Professional Developers Conference) attendees are going to be coming away with an alpha copy of Windows 7!

I was over in Houston at the WPC (Worldwide Partner Conference) earlier this year and I got some cool stuff but nothing quite comparable to Windows 7…although one of the pens is pretty amazing (I might post up some pictures one day!).

I’m sure it will be covered with various NDA’s etc, but on the off chance it isn’t-if any of you are going to PDC 2008, I’d be most grateful if you could send me some screenshots and anything else you can.

I really hope that Windows 7 helps people get over the Anti-Vista thing that’s going on at the minute.

Microsoft Hyper-V: Virtualization


Virtualization is a hot topic (as Partridge would say) and Hyper-V is the new kid on the block. He’s not quite as big as the other lads nor quite as mature-but he’s handy where it counts and is constantly working out until he can take them all!

Their entry into the Virtual world wasn’t the smoothest (delays on release dates, missing features etc) but ever since Codename “Viridian” was announced-people have been talking and wondering how much of a difference it would make. Yes it was a little late coming out and it wasn’t quite what we were expecting feature wise, but it’s still a damn good product that has already, in just a few short months, shaken up the industry in a way that only the Redmond Giant can.

Here @ Bechtle, we’d gone down the VMWare route and trained up our guys (sales & technical) to push VMWare to those people looking at virtualising their infrastructure. We were doing well, generating interest and making sales..but how that Hyper-V is here, I’m hearing a lot more excitement when I talk to customers.

The big attraction with Microsoft Hyper-V is that it is built in to Windows Server 2008, reducing your outlay substantially straight away. It’s a Microsoft product so it’s familiar to the vast majority of IT techs out there today, it’s easy to use and it’s full of great features.

The biggest criticism Hyper-V receives is that it doesn’t do “Live Migration”, that is moving a Virtual Machine (VM) from one server to another without any downtime at all..and it’s true, it doesn’t. However Hyper-V’s “Quick Migration” gives only a few seconds downtime until everything is back as it was before. I understand that for some organisations (namely Fortune 500′s, large finance etc) even a few seconds downtime is too long and for now, until Hyper-V R2(?) is released, VMWare should be their product of choice.

However, for all those customers who don’t require 100% uptime I’d seriously suggest looking at Hyper-V when you implement Virtualisation. I’ve put together a number of Hyper-V proposals, some on their own and some to compete with VMWare, and people are very happy with what is on offer.

Microsoft have a ton of great info available online and a good starting point is:

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/hyperv-overview.aspx

If you want to take a look at Hyper-V in a trial environment, then head over to:

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/trial-software.aspx

You can get Windows Server 2008 trials and the Hyper-V add-in. There are a couple of extra requirements on top of those for running Win Svr 2008, these are:

  • A 64-bit system with hardware-assisted virtualization enabled and data execution prevention (DEP) is required.
  • It is also recommended to ensure that you have a clean install of x64 edition of Windows Server 2008 to be able to use the Hyper-V technology.

Microsoft’s other key weapon is their System Center Management family, particularly Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) which I think is worthy of a separate post-so keep your eyes open!

Cheers

Rich

Microsoft Roundtable- Review and More info


Morning people!

Thought I’d share a couple of facts that help show just how innovative, advanced and cool the Roundtable is.

  1. It can equalize the light in the room so if you’ve got a dark spot, or light streaming through a big window-it keeps it all looking nice and even lighting-wise.
  2. Automatic Head-Size Equalization: This helps make the views of people aroun the table uniform regardless of their distance from the camera so:

becomes

giving an easier to use, professional looking video conference.

I’ll be posting about my first-hand experiences with Roundtable once my unit arrives but until then, Tom Keating over at:

http://blog.tmcnet.com/blog/tom-keating/microsoft/microsoft-roundtable-review.asp

does a great job!