Vembu part 2: Update to 3.8 and actually making backups

Intro

So last time I gave an introduction to Vembu version 3.7. Last week 3.8 was released so I will talk about the upgrade and actually running some backups in this post. My backups have been running for some weeks already (when the lab is powered on that is) so I’ll also try to recover some data from before the upgrade. The release notes for the 3.8 release are at the bottom of this post.

Upgrading

First download the update from Vembu and then install the update. Except for an uninstall or update option and maybe one or two uac questions it’s a matter of next next finish. After logging back on to the web console the first thing I noticed is a bit of a different color scheme that I like better then the old one. Is this something I care about in a backup product? No but I like it anyway.

Setting up backups

So after we enter the console it’s time to go to the backup menu > VMware vSphere (isn’t the new Vembu logo lovely?)

Click on add VMware vSphere Server, enter all required data and hit save

Vembu will add the vCenter server or ESXi host and bring you back to the list of servers. Now hit the backup button on the right of the server you want to create a schedule for.

Select the servers you want to backup and if needed exclude disks

The next page gives to option to use Application aware Settings. These are expensive words for VSS so if you have included Linux vm’s you might want to ignore failures for this or create a different backup job for them. If you want to truncate logs from this job that can also be doen from here. The VMware Guest Credentials are required for this to work.

The next page gives the option to create the actual schedule. What I like most is the ease of setting up an extra  regular Full backup schedule with it’s own retention rule.

The last page gives the option to set the retention policy. Basic counts in daily incrementals while under advanced a combination of weekly and monthly can be made.

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The last tab let’s you review the settings before committing them.

Restoring

For restoring there’s a boatload of options available. It would be stupid and really boring to explain them all in here but if you have done some restores in the past their name will be self explanatory.

First you pick from what backup job to recover the data. Note that you also see the sql backups even though they are managed from the sql box itself.

One thing that shows Vembu is more SMB is the fact that no restores are possible if a backup is running.

So if there are no active jobs you can pick whatever recover poison you like. There’s a lot of options to use from here.

For this walktrough I will pick the File Level recovery since that probably will be the most used one. Now select the required point in time , virtual machine,vmdk and the file or folder to recover.

I was only able to select the local disks from the backup server to restore to.

The last page again lets you review what to restore and hit restore now for the obvious reason.

I also tried the Disk Image Mount and this mounted the disk from my file server in seconds to my backup server.

Reporting

This belongs under the improvements of v3.8 but reporting has improved quite a lot. Under Reports > Backup Status Report there is still the default view that only shows the status of the different jobs.

Onder VM Status Report though there is now a good usable list of all the vm’s and their own backup status, schedule and size.

And clicking the more button gives you an even better view of that vm with it’s history.

Conclusion

For me Vembu is a very useful backup product that just does what it has to do without any hassle. It backups my data and if I want to get anything back that also works without any problems. While it might not be an Enterprise product for SMB it does the trick and then some more with the plugins they have.

Version 3.8 changelog

New features
Disk Image Backup from BDR Server

Disk Image Backups can now be configured and managed via Vembu BDR Server. Relying on
proxy agents is no longer required, unless it’s a distributed deployment which require individual
proxy agent installation.

FLR from GUI (Backup & Replication)

File Level Recovery(FLR) is now available for both backup and replication jobs where user can
choose specific files and folders from VMware/Hyper-V/Disk Image backups and VMware
replication, to be restored in a quick fashion.

Seed load backup data to OffsiteDR

Storing copy of backup data for DR requirements is now an easy task to be accomplished by
seed loading backup server data to desired offsite data center. This save loads of time and
bandwidth from being consumed.

Auto Authorization

Enabling Auto authorization in Vembu BDR allows proxy agents to get registered to backup
server using unique registration key generated by respective BDR server.

Encryption Settings

Users can now provide additional security to their disk based backup jobs by assigning custom-
password to backup server, such that all their backup data will be encrypted and can be
restored/accessed only by providing the custom-password.

Storage Pooling

Storage Pools are used to aggregate the space available from different volumes and utilise
them as a storage for specific backups. The hybrid volume manager of Vembu BDR Server
supports scalable and extendable backup storage for different storage media such as Local
drives, NAS(NFS and CIFS) and SAN(iSCSI and FC). Vembu BDR provides storage pooling
option for both backup level and group level.

MSI Installer : For all Clients

Users will now get the client agents installer as .msi format also.The installer will check for the
following packages based on the OS types (32 bit or 64 bit) and it will install the following (if not
installed previously),

  • Visual C++ 2008 redistributable packages x86
  • Visual C++ 2008 redistributable packages x64
  • Visual C++ 2013 redistributable packages x64
  • Visual C++ 2015 redistributable packages x86
Enhancements in v3.8
Enable or Disable retention for VMBackup / ImageBackup

User can enable or disable retention policy for the backups based on their requirements.
Disabling retention allows user to maintain all the backups without any merging of the
incremental timestamps. This option is used when the backup size is low.

Disk level download option for VMware & Hyper-V plugins

Users can download backup data in multiple disk file formats such as: VHD, VMDK, VHDX,
VMDK-Flat and RAW.

Similarly, if user need to download individual disks in a virtual machine, he can perform disk
level download by selecting the disks.

From a group of virtual machines in a host backup, multiple disks can be downloaded with same
disk file format.

Disk Management Mount(Hyper-V)

This option lets you instantly attach backup data to disk management as a VHD/VHDX file and
proceed with the restore process. The VHD/VHDX file is created by virtually mounting the
backup data on the vembu virtual drive. Users can access backup data via disks attached on disk
management.

Once done with requirement, unmount backup data. This will resume backup job, so that
incrementals will run as scheduled.

List VMs in an alphabetical order

Virtual Machines that are present in the host will be listed in an alphabetical order based on the
ASCII table values, thereby making it simpler for the user to search and configure the backup. In
the Review Configuration page, the Virtual machines that are chosen for backup is listed in the
selected order.

Note: Virtual Machines will be listed in the following hierarchical order <special characters>,
<numeric characters>, <Uppercase letters>, <lowercase letters>.

Search option for VMs in backup config page & restore list page

This option allows user to search the Virtual machines that are available in the ESXi host. Also,
the user can search VMs/ host/cluster from a vCenter server. By specifying the required VM
name in the search option you can select the VMs that are to be backed up from a ESXi
host/vCenter Server.

VM level reports in OffsiteDR Server

This page lists all replicated jobs configured from backup server to the offsite server where you
can see a report option alongside every replicated job

New menu for consolidated VM level report in BackupServer & OffsiteDR
VM level report gives the user the centralized report page of all VMs that are configured for
backup. It allows user to view the detailed backup reports of virtual machines configured from
both ESXi or Hyper-V Host.

Full featured free edition

Post 30 days trial version, user can either opt to purchase the product or continue using the free
edition.
In Free edition user has two options to proceed with backup configurations : Full featured free
edition or Limited Edition.

Admin\Read Only Access privileges at both Backup Server and Group Level

 

Email Settings in Backup Agents
Email Report for OffsiteDR
Backup Verification Email Report (Backup Server &amp; OffsiteDR)
Backup Level Report in Backup Status Report (Backup Server)

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