Configuring the CommVault Simpana Azure Client

We will start with a oneliner: “the cloud will be everything in the nearby future!“.

Enterprises are discovering the cloud and will slowly evolve to a hybrid environment. Many of them already took the first step with Office 365, OneDrive for Business and so on. As they are moving towards services and shared infrastructure, the need for data protection will remain untouched. However according to an EMC study (Reaching Solid Ground by Chris Ratcliffe) executed in December 2014, we notice only 13% of the organizations are confident to protect data stored in various locations. In one of my previous blog posts I mentioned we will see backup silo’s returning again. I strongly believe besides hyperconvergence (Software-Defined DataCenter), we will notice software and/or management console convergence for protecting virtual machines and data in the cloud, as on-premise.

Motivated by the above reasons, I looked into the CommVault Simpana Azure client which is available as of version 10 Service Pack 9 and is currently available as “Early Release“. My findings can be found at the end of this blogpost.
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Deploy a CommVault Simpana CommServe within Microsoft Azure by using the marketplace

I recently started using Microsoft Azure to build my own personal playground. In the past I used to deploy everything on my desktop PC at home and honestly my resources were limiting me to do what I wanted. I thought about buying a server, but I was not really willing to do these kind of investments.

For other tech people out there, Microsoft has a “30 day/150 euro” free trial available. Go check it out!

One of the things I really wanted to do is test some things regarding ‘portability‘ from a backup perspective. My intention is to recover on premise machines to the public cloud (Microsoft Azure in this test case) by using backup & restore, migrate and synchronisation.

I was going to deploy a standard virtual machine and install everything manually, as it came to my attention a predefined CommVault Simpana Software appliance (version 10 SP8) was available in the Microsoft Azure marketplace. I decided to deploy this template, as the system will solely be used in a sandbox environment.

The configuration of a virtual network, storage account, resource group and any other shared services (such as Active Directory and DNS) are out of scope of this article.

The main reasons to perform a manual or custom install on a regular virtual machine are:

  1. The CommVault Simpana Software appliance uses a Microsoft SQL Server 2012 SP2 Express edition (version: 11.2.5058.0). The express edition is limited to a maximum of 1GB memory allocation for the database engine, a maximum size of 10GB per database and up to four cores or one socket.
  2. The CommVault Simpana SQL instance is locked down with only the sa-account (role = “sysadmin“) and the BUILTIN\Users (role = “public“). So in case you want full blown access onto the database, you need to request CommVault to unlock it or start  hacking your way in.
  3. You want to change the installation path for the CommVault Simpana software. By default everything is installed onto the C-drive.
  4. Both versions support database mirroring which can be used as a disaster recovery mechanism for the CommVault Simpana backup environment.
  5. Update 3-MAY-2015: The commVault Operations Manager is not installed by default on the virtual machine. The Operations Manager allows some advanced features such as “Virtualize Me!” and “VM lifecycle management“. Manual installation is possible by using the Software Cache SetupAll.exe.
  6. Update 3-MAY-2015: the webconsole (http://localhost/webconsole) configuration still points to the template virtual machine hostname (“csmaexpress”). To get it to work, you need to change the following registry keys:
  • HKLM\Software\CommVault Systems\Galaxy\Instance01\Webconsole\ sZDM2WEBSERVERHOSTNAME
  • HKLM\Software\CommVault Systems\Galaxy\Instance01\CustomReportsEngine\ sZCRENGINEWEBSERVERHOSTNAME”
  • HKLM\Software\CommVault Systems\Galaxy\Instance01\JobInfo\ sWebConsoleUrl

to include the right hostname. Additionally also alter the webconsole configuration file “C:\Program Files\CommVault\Simpana\WebConsole\WEB-INF\classes\“.

Please note, CommVault does not allow the Simpana databases to be stored on a consolidated server. These need to be stored on the local system for best performance, business continuity (“chicken or the egg principle“) and disaster recovery tolerance.

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Configuring IP and DNS addresses in Microsoft Azure

I recently started testing Microsoft Azure. One of the first things I did was the deployment of a virtual machine. Somehow I missed the section to configure the DNS servers in the defined virtual network. It looked useful to write some of my findings.

I use the Microsoft Azure Portal, which is currently in Preview (Beta phase).


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Veeam Backup & Replication Cloud Edition is available

This week VEEAM presented their solution for cloud integration. Basically what it does is copy the backup files to a cloud provider. A more detailed explanation can be found in the video below:

The software comes in two flavours (depending on your needs):

  • Veeam Backup & Replication Standard Cloud Edition
  • Veeam Backup & Replication Enterprise Cloud Edition

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