Get Your Homelab in the Clouds with AutoLab

Since we have a small but significant following of people who run home labs here on vSpecialist, I thought I’d mention a limited offer that may be of interest. If you’re not familiar with AutoLab, it’s designed to produce a nested vSphere 5.1, 5.0 or 4.1 lab environment with minimum effort. Prebuilt Open Source VMs and the shell of other VMs are used along with automation for the installation of operating systems and applications into these VMs with the end result being a useful home lab that you can stand up from scratch in a short amount of time. Anyway, it’s possible to get an AutoLab setup and running in the cloud and BareMetalCloud actually offer it as a service. Mike Laverick has some discount codes available (use MAGICMIKE100) to the first 100 people to take up the service. Check out his post […]

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First Impressions: PHD Virtual Backup 6.2 (with Cloud Hook)

screenshot323As I mentioned in my recent Cloud Backups post, I’m trying out a few virtualisation backup products to help me out with a prototype infrastructure that I’ve been working on. I want to store a backup of the various VMs that I’ve setup outside the infrastructure that I’ve setup – effectively offsite.

By happy circumstance, PHD Virtual had a beta running for version 6.2 of their backup product that includes “CloudHook”. It’s a module that enables integration with cloud storage providers for the purposes of backup, archiving and disaster recovery. The 6.2 release covers the backup aspect, and future releases will add in archiving and DR functionality. Thanks to Patrick Redknap, I managed to hop onto the beta and try it out. (Note that the screenshots below come from a beta release and may have changed for GA.)

PHD’s Virtual Backup product is delivered as a Virtual Backup Appliance. I was initially wary of production services running on dedicated virtual appliances a few years ago but I’ve changed my view over time and I now really like using them. (That’s probably a subject for a different post though.) I won’t go through the mechanics of the installation in nauseating detail, but basically it breaks down to the following high-level steps:

  1. Download and unzip the virtual appliance
  2. Use the vSphere Client to import and deploy the appliance (requires 8Gb disk space, 1 vCPU, 1Gb Memory and connection to 1 Port Group in it’s default configuration)
  3. Open the VM’s console and enter some network information
  4. Reboot the appliance
  5. Install the PHD Virtual Backup Client

Configuring the appliance for use is pretty straightforward although if, like I was, you have to make multiple hops to get to your data center (RDP over RDP over VPN for complicated reasons that I can’t go into), you might find that the PHD Virtual client doesn’t play too nicely with a lack of screen space. I could only just get to the “Save” button. (Granted, it’s an unlikely situation to be in though.) The minimum required is to connect the appliance to vCenter (see the General tab of the Configuration section):

2013-03-09 21_51_36-

Normally at this point you’d expect to have to configure some disk space local to the backup appliance (or network storage space). Well, you still do really but you actually have a choice to make; where do you want to backup to? (more…)

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“Cloud” Backups

An increasing number of vendors are beginning to offer backup solutions where your data ends up being stored on some cloud storage platform or other (e.g. Amazon S3). As with any new technology, some people will lap it up, some will keep a curious eye on it and others will eschew it completely. Which are you? Are you likely to adopt it or not? I think the answer to that is not cut and dried. Think for a minute about why you’d want your backups to end up on a cloud storage platform. In years past, backups ended up on tape cartridges. Most sensible organizations would then store those tapes offsite and hopefully not need them again until the data expired. Of course, if you did need to perform a restore it meant getting the tape back etc. I’ve been […]

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Virtual Machine User Group Meeting – 12th March 2013

I’m a long standing member of the London VMUG (that being the VMware User Group) but I’ve also on occasion been to Virtual Machine User Group (VMUG) meetings as well when I’ve been able to find the time. The Virtual Machine User Group have a meeting coming up in Birmingham on Tuesday 12th March 2013. The published agenda is: Time Track 1 Track 2 09:00 – 10:00 Vendor Market, Welcome Address and Refreshments 10:00 – 10:50 VMware vCloud Director & vSphere 5.1 VeeamVeeam Modern Data Protection 11:00 – 11:50 App Cogs Virtualisation for Sharepoint Professionals Proact Getting Started with NetApp Filers 12:00 – 13:00 Vendor Market, Lunch and Special Interest Groups 13:00 – 13:50 The Bunker Panel Debate: Is the cloud secure? Microsoft HyperV Version3 – What you need to know 14:00 – 14:50 10ZiG Simplifying EUC Management Trend Micro […]

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