Altaro Hyper-V Backup 3.5 Is Released – Adding Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Support

Congratulations to Altaro (a very nice group of people to deal with, in my experience) on the release of Altaro Hyper-V Backup 3.5, the newest version of their backup solution for Hyper-V.  It’s nice timing, because I’m also happy to announce that Altaro will continue to be a sponsor of my site.

BackupRestore

In a press release, Altaro said:

“Windows Server 2012 and the new release of Hyper-V have already been well received by the market and we believe this will lead to a rapid increase in  Microsoft’s share of the Virtualization  space.” commented David Vella, CEO of Altaro.  “We’re  proud  to be the first in the Hyper-V backup space to support Windows Server 2012.”

The new version 3.5 of Altaro Hyper-V Backup is just a breeze to install and operate, the ease and speed of backup & recovery in a Windows Server 2012 cluster is just amazing” commented Hans Vredevoort from Hyper-V.nu. “This is a superbly working backup product!’

AdvancedRestoreOptions

You can learn more about Altaro Hyper-V backup on their site.  Check out the modest pricing, or even the free edition that supports up to 2 VMs.

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Virtual Domain Controllers and Windows Server 2012 Improvements

There have been a number of concerns when it comes to virtualising domain controllers.  The biggest of these is KB888794, which is an updated version of an article that I first encountered years previously, maybe in 2004.

USN Rollback

Basically, we had to treat any virtual domain controller like it was a physical installation.  That meant:

  • No snapshots
  • No recovering the DC from VM (host/storage level) backups
  • Don’t do anything to manipulate the virtual DC’s VM storage, such as copy/clone/etc

This was because the VM would “time travel”, effectively screwing up the USNs that are used to track AD object replication and possible cause the reuse of RID pools – in other words, completely frakking your AD and making you wish that you had paid up for that Microsoft Premier support contract.

Physical DC Required

One of the frustrating things, especially for small medium enterprises (SMEs) or smaller branch offices was that they need a local physical domain controller to enable a Hyper-V cluster.  This company might only need to hosts, but had to add another physical machine (small as it was) to enable the cluster to function.

That was the scenario up to now.  Enter Windows Server 2012.

Bootstrapping

Windows Server 2012 Failover Clusters have a new feature called bootstrapping.  It’s been mentioned in public but I’ve not seen any documentation on it yet.  In short, this allows a failover cluster to power up and start working without the presence of a physical domain controller.  The premise is that you instead run virtual domain controllers, hosted on the Hyper-V cluster itself.

That means that you don’t need the physical domain controller.  That’s a major saver for the SME or the branch office.

Virtual DCs are OK

If we’re OK with the idea of virtual domain controllers, then how do we deal with them?  How do we back them up easily?  In a true cloud where there might be a one-size-fits-all backup policy, how do admins (with zero knowledge of VM contents/roles) safely backup virtual domain controllers that might be created legitimate by the cloud’s tenants?

VM-GenerationID and Safe DC Virtualisation

Microsoft has come up with a new mechanism called VM-GenerationID (also seen documented on TechNet and blogged as Generation ID, VM Generation ID, VM-Generation ID and GenID).  It is an attribute called msDS-GenerationID of the DC’s computer object in AD.  This is normally kept in sync with the directory information tree (DIT) if everything is OK with the replication of the DC.

If something happens to the DC VM like a snapshot is applied or a backup of the VM is restored, then the VM effectively travels back in time, potentially causing a USN rollback and enabling RID reuse.  But, the DC compares the VM-GenerationID and the DIT version number.  If they are different then the DC is aware there is a problem.  The RID pool is discarded, a new one created, and a USN rollback is prevented.

Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V is the only hypervisor at this time to support this feature, and the virtual DCs must be running Windows Server 2012.

But There’s More – Rapid Deployment of DCs

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could clone domain controllers?  Normally you cannot.  But this new VM-GenerationID feature, combined with some other work done by Microsoft in WS2012, enabled you to export/import virtual DCs to clone new DCs with very little effort.

The process is simple enough:

  1. Have a PDC Emulator that is running WS2012.  This DC will not be cloned.
  2. Create a new virtual DC running WS2012. 
  3. Add the new template DC to a domain security group called Cloneable Domain Controllers.  This allows domain admins to restrict which (if any) DCs can be cloned.
  4. On the template DC Run Get-ADDCCloningExcludedApplicationList to see if any installed programs/services on the DC can be cloned (check with vendors).  Uninstall any that cannot support cloning.
  5. Run Get-ADDCCloningExcludedApplicationList –GenerateXml on the template DC
  6. Back on the template DC, run New-ADDCCloneConfigFile to create an XML answer file to configure name, IP, etc, for the new DC VM that you are about to create.#
  7. The last step creates a file called DCCloneConfig.xml.  Place this in either the directory where the DIT resides, %windir%NTDS, or the root of a removable media drive (maybe a SCSI attached blank VHD?)
  8. Stop and export the template VM.
  9. Import the VM to crate a new DC VM.
  10. Start the new VM, and you should now have a new DC.

I haven’t had a chance to try this out yet.  I’ll try to update this if I find the MSFT TechNet page is lacking.

Summary

What all this means is that with Windows Server 2012 and a hypervisor that is VM-GenerationID aware (WS2012 Hyper-V) then you can safely virtualise your domain controllers, and treat them just like any other VM, something that is of great importance in a true cloud.

 

Windows Server Backup Supports WS2012 Hyper-V Clusters

On Sunday evening I tweeted about something I’ve been playing with for the last week …

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… and I was called a tease Smile  Caught, red handed!

Windows Server Backup (WSB) in Windows Server 2012, out of the box with no registry edits, can backup:

  • Running virtual machines on a standalone host – a slight improvement over the past where a registry edit was required to register the VSS Hyper-V Writer
  • Running virtual machines on a cluster shared volume (CSV) – this is absolutely new

Note that WSB does not support VMs that are stored on SMB 3.0 file shares.  You’ll need something else for that.

I’ve done a lot of testing over the last week, trying out different scenarios in the cluster, and restoring “lost” VMs.  Everything worked.  You can backup to a volume, a drive, or a file share.  This is a very nice solution for a small company that wants a budget virtualisation solution. 

As for my step-by-steps … I’m working on it but you’ll have to wait for that … and that is another tease Smile

VSS Crash Consistent Versus Application Consistent VSS Backups (Part 2 of 2)

Altaro has posted the second part of their series on VSS Crash-Consistent vs. Application-Consistent VSS Backups.  You can find the first post here.  In this post they discuss:

When is Application-Consistent Backup Vital? Not all situations require an application-consistent backup. Things such as file and print servers will be fine with crash-consistent and possibly inconsistent backups. If your application doesn’t provide a VSS writer, there might not even be a way to get an application-consistent backup of it while its containing machine is live. The most common need for application-consistent backups is the usage of database-backed applications.

Give it a read to learn about backup from a backup developer.

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VSS Crash Consistent Versus Application Consistent VSS Backups

When listening to a Microsoft speaker on the subject of VSS a few months ago, I realised quickly how little I understood about the subject … and I consider myself pretty well informed.  Who better to learn from about the internals of backup than a company that does backup for a living.  Queue Altaro and the first on their series on VSS Crash-Consistent vs. Application-Consistent VSS Backups.

Unfortunately, if disaster does strike, there are often more questions than answers. Planning ahead is critical, and that involves knowing what sort of backup you need and if your backup application can provide it.

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KB2666703 – Cannot Restore A VM That Has A Semicolon In Name Or Directory Path On A Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1

Microsoft has just released a hotfix for people running W2008 R2 Hyper-V where they cannot restore a VM that has a ; in it’s name or folder path.

“If the name or the directory path of a virtual machine contains a semicolon (;) on a server that is running Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 (SP1), you cannot restore the virtual machine.

This issue occurs because the Hyper-V Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) writer incorrectly parses the configuration information in the backup metadata document of the virtual machine if the configuration information contains a semicolon”.

A supported hotfix is available from Microsoft.

Windows Server 8 Beta Downloads and Documentation

Microsoft released a lot of documentation/downloads to go with the Windows Server 8 beta release of last week.  Here’s your chance to start learning and playing:

  • Understand and Troubleshoot Virtualized Domain Controller (VDC) in Windows Server "8" Beta: Windows Server "8" Beta introduces the first specific virtualization capabilities to Active Directory Domain Services. Virtualized Domain Controller (VDC) takes lessons learned from twelve years of virtualizing Active Directory and makes a more supportable, more flexible, more intuitive administrative experience for architects and administrators.
  • Test Lab Guide: Demonstrate Virtualized Domain Controller (VDC) in Windows Server "8" Beta: This document contains instructions for setting up the Virtualized Domain Controller test lab through: • Deploying a virtualized domain controller through cloning • Safely restoring a domain controller snapshot
  • Test Lab Guide: Base Test Lab Guide for Windows Server "8" Beta: This Microsoft Test Lab Guide (TLG) provides you with step-by-step instructions to create the Windows Base Configuration test lab, using computers running Windows 8 Consumer Preview or Windows Server “8” Beta. With the resulting test lab environment, you can build test labs based on other Windows Server "8" Beta-based TLGs from Microsoft, TLG extensions in the TechNet Wiki, or a test lab of your own design that can include Microsoft or non-Microsoft products. For a test lab based on physical computers, you can image the drives for future test labs. For a test lab based on virtual machines, you can create snapshots of the base configuration virtual machines. This enables you to easily return to the base configuration test lab, where most of the routine infrastructure and networking services have already been configured, so that you can focus on building a test lab for the product, technology, or solution of interest.
  • Creating Continuously Available File Shares with Windows Server “8” Beta: Windows Server “8” Beta contains a set of continuously available storage solutions that provide a cost effective alternative to an expensive storage area network (SAN) without sacrificing availability and performance. These solutions are targeted towards both traditional information worker workloads and application workloads, and they span the scalability and price point needs for different market segments, with systems going from entry-level sub-$10k solutions to scale-out solutions with up to 400 drives. These solutions are based on software developed by several teams at Microsoft, hardware that is already in the market and hardware that is being developed in cooperation with industry partners. This white paper introduces the reader to these new and enhanced features of Windows Server “8” Beta.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot Scale-out File Servers in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understanding and Troubleshooting Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for Scale-Out File Servers in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot Storage Spaces in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understanding and Troubleshooting Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for Storage Spaces in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot Microsoft Online Backup Service in Windows Server "8" Beta (!?!?!?!?): This Understand and Troubleshoot Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for Microsoft Online Backup Service in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Test Lab Guide: Demonstrate DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC) in Windows Server "8" Beta: DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC) is a suite of extensions that add security to the DNS protocol. RFCs 4033, 4034, 4035, and 5155 specify the core DNSSEC extensions and add origin authority, data integrity, and authenticated denial of existence to DNS. In addition to several new concepts and operations for both the DNS server and the DNS client, DNSSEC introduces new resource records (DNSKEY, RRSIG, NSEC, NSEC3, and DS) to DNS.
  • Test Lab Guide: Demonstrate IP Address Management (IPAM) in Windows Server "8" Beta: Internet Protocol Address Management (IPAM) is a framework for discovering, monitoring, auditing, and managing the Internet Protocol (IP) address space used in a network. IPAM in Windows Server "8" Beta provides components for IP address space management, audit of configuration changes, monitoring and management of DHCP and DNS services, and IP address usage tracking.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot DHCP Failover in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understand and Troubleshoot Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for DHCP Failover in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Test Lab Guide: Demonstrating DHCP Failover in Windows Server "8" Beta: Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) failover in Windows Server "8" Beta provides the ability for administrators to deploy a highly resilient DHCP service to support a large enterprise. The main goals of the feature are the following. • Provide DHCP service availability at all times on the enterprise network • If a DHCP server is no longer reachable, the DHCP client is able to extend the lease on its current IP address by contacting another DHCP server on the enterprise network.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot Printing in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understand and Troubleshoot Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for Printing in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Test Lab Guide: Demonstrate Windows Server "8" Beta Print and Document Services:

    This paper contains an introduction to Windows Server "8" Beta Printing and step-by-step instructions for extending the Test Lab Guide Base Configuration to demonstrate Printing Services in Windows Server "8" Beta.

  • Understand and Troubleshoot High Availability Printing in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understand and Troubleshoot Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for High Availability Printing in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot Activation Technologies in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understand and Troubleshoot Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for Activation Technologies in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot AD DS Simplified Administration in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understand and Troubleshoot Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for AD DS Simplified Administration in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Test Lab Guide: Demonstrate ADDS Simplified Administration in Windows Server "8" Beta: This document contains instructions for setting up the AD DS Simplified Administration test lab through: • Graphically upgrading an existing Active Directory forest by adding the first Windows Server "8" Beta GUI domain controller • Adding an additional Windows Server "8" Beta Core domain controller using Windows PowerShell • Adding an additional Windows Server "8" Beta Core domain controller using Windows RSAT from a Windows 8 Consumer Preview computer • Decommissioning the original legacy domain controller • Using new AD DS graphical and Windows PowerShell features for further configuration and administration
  • Understand and Troubleshoot Dynamic Access Control in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understand and Troubleshoot Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for Dynamic Access Control in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot Cluster-Aware Updating (CAU) in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understanding and Troubleshooting Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for Cluster-Aware Updating in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot Hyper-V Replica in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understanding and Troubleshooting Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for Hyper-V Replica in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot Remote Desktop Services Desktop Virtualization in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understand and Troubleshoot Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for Desktop Virtualization in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC) in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understand and Troubleshoot Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC) in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot IP Address Management (IPAM) in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understand and Troubleshoot Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for IP Address Management (IPAM) in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot Remote Access in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understand and Troubleshoot Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for Remote Access in Windows Server "8" Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Test Lab Guide: Demonstrate DirectAccess Single Server Setup with Mixed IPv4 and IPv6 in Windows Server "8" Beta: DirectAccess provides users with the experience of being seamlessly connected to their intranet any time they have Internet access. When DirectAccess is enabled, requests for intranet resources (such as email servers, shared folders, or intranet websites) are securely directed to the intranet, without the need for users to connect to a VPN. DirectAccess enables increased productivity for a mobile workforce by offering the same connectivity experience both inside and outside of the office. The Windows Routing and Remote Access Server (RRAS) provides traditional VPN connectivity for legacy clients and non-domain members. RRAS also provides site-to-site connections between servers. RRAS in Windows Server 2008 R2 cannot coexist on the same edge server with DirectAccess, and must be deployed and managed separately from DirectAccess. Windows Server "8" Beta combines the DirectAccess feature and the RRAS role service into a new unified server role. This new Remote Access server role allows for centralized administration, configuration, and monitoring of both DirectAccess and VPN-based remote access services. Additionally, Windows Server "8" Beta DirectAccess provides multiple updates and improvements to address deployment blockers and provide simplified management. This guide provides step-by-step instructions for configuring DirectAccess in a single server deployment with mixed IPv4 and IPv6 resources in a test lab to demonstrate functionality of the deployment experience. You will set up and deploy DirectAccess based on the Windows Server "8" Beta Base Configuration using five server computers and two client computers. The resulting test lab simulates an intranet, the Internet, and a home network, and demonstrates DirectAccess in different Internet connection scenarios.
  • Test Lab Guide: Demonstrate High Availability Printing in Windows Server "8" Beta: This paper contains instructions for setting up a test lab based on the Test Lab Guide Base Configuration and deploying a highly available Windows Server "8" Beta Print Server using three server computers and one client computer. The resulting High Availability Printing test lab demonstrates Windows Server "8" Beta Print Server functionality.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot BitLocker in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understand and Troubleshoot Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for BitLocker in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot Servicing in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understand and Troubleshoot Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for Servicing in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Test Lab Guide: Demonstrate Remote Desktop Services Desktop Virtualization in Windows Server "8" Beta: This paper contains instructions for setting up a test lab based on the Test Lab Guide Base Configuration and deploying Remote Desktop Services Desktop Virtualization using four server computers and one client computer. The resulting Remote Desktop Services Desktop Virtualization test lab demonstrates Desktop Virtualization functionality.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understand and Troubleshoot Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Test Lab Guide: Demonstrate Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server "8" Beta: Remote Desktop Services (RDS) in Windows Server "8" Beta provides the ideal platform for companies to implement a centralized desktop strategy, helping organizations improve flexibility and compliance while improving data security and IT’s ability to manage desktops and applications. RDS is a centralized desktop and application platform solution that uses Desktop Virtualization and VDI technologies, offering powerful opportunities for IT to deliver and manage corporate desktops and to respond to users’ needs in a flexible way. Remote Desktop Services is the new name for Terminal Services, and reflects the expanded role in Windows Server "8" Beta so that you can run the desktop or applications in the datacenter while your users can be anywhere. This paper contains instructions for setting up a test lab based on the Test Lab Guide Base Configuration and deploying Remote Desktop Services Desktop Virtualization using four server computers and one client computer. The resulting Remote Desktop Services Desktop Virtualization test lab demonstrates Desktop Virtualization functionality.
  • Test Lab Guide-Deploying RD Licensing: Use this test lab guide to install Remote Desktop Services client access licenses (RDS CALs) for Windows Server “8” Beta. This test lab guide uses the VDI standard deployment test lab as a starting place. Complete the steps in Test Lab Guide: Virtual Desktop Infrastructure standard deployment before you proceed with the remainder of the steps in this guide.

Windows Server 8: Microsoft Online Backup Service

What?  You’re kidding, right?  Nope: Microsoft is adding online backup to Windows Server 8.  From the guide:

Microsoft Online Backup Service is an installable service for Windows Server “8” Beta, which allows for file and folder backups to the cloud service

It’s basically an offsite backup solution to the cloud using a Microsoft Online Backup Service Agent.  It provides:

… file and folder backup capabilities for Windows Server “8” Beta computers

It cannot backup system state.  That’s OK.  I’ve worked in in online backup and when people backup everything and see the first invoice for space consumed, well, they quickly decide that business data backup/recovery will be enough.

Access to Microsoft Online Backup Service is limited at first to successful applicants.  The installation:

… is a two-part process, which requires the creation of an online Microsoft Online Services account (not required for BETA since ids are pre-provisioned) and installation of the client components (agent) for the Microsoft Online Backup Service feature. The Microsoft Online Backup Service Agent installer download is located on the Microsoft Connect Site

The backup can be configured via Computer Management or via PowerShell cmdlets:

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Data is encrypted using a passphrase of your choosing or auto generated (minimum of 16 characters). I love that: passphrase.  MSFT has no record of the passphrase and therefore cannot restore your data for you if you lose the passphrase.

The following table lists the supported list of file and folder attributes/types and the expected behavior of the Microsoft Online Backup Service when it encounters these types:

Attribute/type Supported Expected Behavior
Encrypted Yes Changes in file cause full file transfer
Compressed Yes Change in file cause delta transfer
Sparse Yes Changes in file cause delta transfer
Hard Links No Skipped
Reparse Point No Skipped
Encrypted + Compressed No Skipped
Encrypted + Sparse No Skipped
Compressed + Sparse Yes Backed up as sparse file
Compressed Stream No Saved as uncompressed stream
Sparse Stream No Discarded stream

You pick and choose files/folders just as you would with a normal backup.  You can have X backups per day (3 during beta) and set a retention period for your data (longer = more space = higher cost).

You can restore data using a familiar interface to the original server or another one from a backup of your choosing from within the retention window.  This will require credentials to access and the passphrase to decrypt.

Notes: I don’t see anything about data de-duplication or compression before backup, but that does not mean they are not there, just that this document doesn’t mention them.  I do not see anything for seeding large backups using an out of band device, such as I used when managing an Iron Mountain based service.  There is no mention of backing up Hyper-V VMs.  I think this would price this solution out but it might be an option for some.  I’ll try too find out more.

Altaro Launch Hyper-V Backup V3

Congratulations to Altaro on the launch of the third version of their Hyper-V backup solution, Hyper-V Backup.

The 3 top reasons why customers buy Altaro are:

  • Easy to Install, Configure & Manage. Users can start backing up VMs within 15 mins of install.
  • Enterprise functionality at an SMB price.  We also support Hyper-V CSV clusters fully.
  • Really fast backup with our ReverseDelta block level delta and de-duplication technology.

New features in V3 include:

  • Support for Backup Drive Rotation.
  • A 300% increase in backup performance
  • Full Central Management on Hyper-V CSV Clusters
  • Live backups of Linux VMs
Edit:
Lai Yoong Seng has posted an article looking at Altaro Hyper-V Backup V3.
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