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.

Let’s start installing!

1 – Log onto the Microsoft Azure Portal (during the time of writing, this was still under ‘preview’) and click on the marketplace icon.

2 – The quickest way to find the CommVault Simpana V10 BYOL (“Bring your own license”) Express is by using the search functionality. The virtual machine can be found as well in “Virtual Machines > Security & Protection“.

3 – Read through the description of the virtual machine and click on “Create“.

4 – We can start with the most interesting part of the configuration… deployment of the virtual machine! Let’s start with giving the system a name, I called mine RRE-COMMSERV01 and define some credentials which will be created on the local system.

Once done, click on the pricing tier and choose and select the appropriate tier! By default an A7 Standard is selected, but I decided to select one lower to coup the price (matches the recommendations for a workgroup environment).

No worries, the pricing tier can be changed afterwards in case you need less or just more computing power! Click here for the CommServe System Requirements.

5 – Next up, the configuration of the operating system. Let’s start with configuring the correct Time Zone and configure the Active Directory domain parameters. Please note, an Active Directory Domain Controller needs to be available within Microsoft Azure or on premise by using a site-to-site VPN. Besides this, make sure the Domain Controller is reachable over the network by distributing the correct IP addresses of the DNS server holding the DNS record to your domain. Click here for some guidance on configuring your Virtual Network.

6 – Configure the required settings. Make sure you configure a static IP address to make your management a bit easier! If you tend to shutdown the virtual machine from time to time, static IP addressing is a must.

7 – I want to put the freshly created Virtual Machine in an existing storage account. I used a simple Locally Redundant storage tier for this. It can be interesting to activate “diagnostics” as well but it depends on your needs.

8 – You are ready to start deploying the virtual CommVault Simpana CommServe. If you want to know what this bling bling will cost you, you have the ability to do a price summarization in the “Create VM” section. This virtual machine will cost me 376 EUR/month if I keep it running the 24h/24h-7d/7d.

9 –  Upon clicking “create”, an icon will appear showing the installation is ongoing for the “CommVault Simpana V10 BYOL Express“.MicrosoftAzureCommServDeployment10

10 – After about 20 minutes, the virtual machine is deployed and it can be accessed via a Remote Desktop Connection. Once logged on, you will notice a script is still required to be completed. Type an “Y” to unseal the license (start of the 30 day trial period) and to complete the installation.

11 – The software is ready to be used for a 30 day trial period. Let’s go!

12 – The software version installed is CommVault Simpana 10 Service Pack 8 (or R2) which is released in September 2014. The latest available version is Service Pack 10 during the time of writing.


Thank you for reading!



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