Backup Exec 12.5-ESX Backups


Symantec Backup Exec 12.5 & VMWare ESX are a lot easier to use together now, however I’ve had a few questions on the subject of performing ESX backups with BE 12.5 so I thought I’d post up some info here. As always, any questions-feel free to leave a comment..

Backup Exec 12.5 Agent for VMware Virtual Infrastructure (AVVI) brings many of the advantages of VMWare Consolidated Backup (VCB) while removing some of the challenges a script-based approach can give. It integrates with key VMware APIs to ensure that VCB “scripting” or “integration modules” are not required & eliminates separate VCB backups for system-level vs. individual file-level recovery to recover a single file from within a .vmdk file.

Backup Exec 12.5 doesn’t require the installation of an agent onto the VMWare host server; the AVVI licence is activated via the Backup Exec (BE) Media Server and then automatically discovers the ESX infrastructure (through Virtual Center).

The entire guest VM and all it’s components are selected for backup automatically. This includes the .vmdk files, .vmx, log files and .nvram files. The Granular Recovery Technology (GRT) can recover individual files/folders from withing the .vmdk without having run a separate backup of the file/folder.

You can use the AVVI agent to restore files to their original location or alternate locations, including alternate datastores, host ESX Servers, different virtual machine names, and different virtual networks by leveraging VMWare Converter.

The following components are required to support Backup Exec 12.5 AVVI:
• VMware ESX 3.0.2, 3.0.3, 3.5, or later
• VMware Converter 3.0.3 or later
• VMware VCB 1.1, 1.5 or later
• VMware Tools (must be installed on guest virtual machines)

If performing Granular Recovery of a .vmdk from tape, this will require staging the entire file on disk, so make sure there is enough room on the temporary staging location specified in the restore job properties.

More info on the Virtual Agents can be found here.

Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM)


Microsfot Data Protection Manager delivers continuous data protection for Microsoft Applications & File servers. It was specifically built to protect and recover SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange Server, SharePoint Portal Server, Microsoft Virtual Server, as well as Windows file services through a disk to disk to tape backup strategy. An example of a typical setup can be seen below:

The Continuous Data Protection means that changes are backed up almost as they happen, giving you near up to the minute protection in the event of a disaster. It also means that when you restore the data, you’ve lost only 15 minutes worth of emails, transactions etc..not a whole day as with traditional tape backups.

Disk Based Backups also allow you to restore data in a few minutes, rather than hours with tape. Another benefit is that users can restore their own files (if allowed) without hassling IT :-)

That being said, I’d still backup up to tape as well, giving you the added security of off site backups if you needed them.

You can see the Top 10 Benefits of DPM 2007 here.

Office 2003 MUI Packs


Office 2003 MUI Packs can be nearly as tricky to pin down as those for Vista.

Now with Office 2007, you need to purchase the Office Multi Language Pack via Volume Licensing (around £75).

If you need to downgrade to Office 2003, then you are entitled to downgrade the MUI pack too.

Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007


Configuration Manager:

This is the replacement for SMS 2003 and is used to comprehensively assess, deploy, and update your servers, clients, and devices, across physical and virtual machines as well as mobile devices. Config. Manager provides Asset Intelligence giving organizations continuous visibility of their hardware/software assets, where they are and who’s using them.

It can show how many copies of a particular program have been deployed, which machines they’re on and which people actually use the software. This information can then be used at renewal time to help decide how many copies are needed for the next year etc.

Software Update Management is often the main reason that people look at System Center Config Manager. Keeping all the various bits of software in an Enterprise fully up to date with patches is very important and also very difficult! Using SCCM you can deploy patches & updates for Microsoft products, 3rd party applications, custom LOB (Line of Business) applications, hardware drivers and more to servers, desktops, laptops and mobile devices.

The new feature of Desired Configuration Management enables organization to increase desktop stability and security by assessing the compliance of computers with regards to things such as “whether the correct Microsoft Windows operating system versions are installed and configured appropriately, all required applications are installed and configured correctly, optional applications are configured appropriately, and whether prohibited applications are installed.”

Using SCCM for Software Package Deployment can make things a lot easier! This simplifies the task of distributing software packages to physical and virtual machines (servers, desktops, laptops and mobile devices). You can centrally define how and when these packages will run on client machines, installing the software with no user intervention.

Next Steps:

Now you’re got an idea of what it can do, I’m sure you can’t wait to get it set up in your Test & Development system so:

Online Virtual Labs

Download Trial Software

Pricing & Licensing:

There is a single licence for System Center Config Manager Server, Management Licence (ML) for Servers (Std and Enterprise) and a Management Licence for Clients.

An Enterprise Server ML is required for full application and server desired configuration management, including the proactive management of systems for configuration settings that follow an industry-leading framework for managing information in changing regulatory and business environments, while a Standard Server ML is limited to operating system and basic workload desired configuration management.

Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007


Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 (SCOM) is the replacement for MOM (Microsoft Operations Manager). It is an the end-to-end service-management product that helps organizations increase efficiency while enabling greater control of the IT environment.

Management Packs are available to add extra functionality into SCOM 2007, these can be downloaded or you can create your own.

The Distributed Application Designer is a graphical wizard to help IT administrators quickly create health models and MPs (Management Packs) for their IT Services. The Management Pack Authoring Console is a graphical tool used to help IT administrators and developers build MPs for their custom applications and other technology components. The Operations Manager 2007 Software Development Kit (SDK) provides programming interfaces so developers can more deeply integrate with and automate Operations Manager 2007.

SCOM isn’t restricted to monitoring Windows environments, it’s possible to monitor HP-UX, Solaris, Red Hat & SUSE Linux by using the Cross Platforms Extension beta.

Download a trial of System Center Operations Manager 207 here.

Microsoft System Center Family


What is Microsoft System Center? What does it do? How much does System Center cost?

These, and more, are questions I get at work on a regular basis both from customers and our internal sales guys so I’m going to try and clear it up a little here if I can..

The System Center family helps you to manage physical and virtual environments across data centers, desktops and devices and includes:

Configuration Manager (SCCM)

Operations Manager (SCOM)

Data Protection Manager (DPM)

Virtual Machine Manager (VMM)

System Center Essentials (SCE)

I was going to put together one post for the whole family, but it was turning into a huge, unwieldy beast so I’ve broken it down into separate posts for each family member, links are above..(not all the posts are available yet but please bear with me!)