Cisco AnyConnect vs. Internet Connection Sharing in Windows 8

Having recently installed Windows 8 on my laptop to take advantage of the Client Hyper-V, I’m working through the kinks that come with a new OS on my daily driver. Hyper-V leverages the built-in Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) to provide NAT and DHCP for internet access for VM’s running on the hypervisor. This isn’t quite as intuitive as the network implementations in VMware Workstation or Oracle’s VirtualBox, but that’s a different discussion.

I recently had some trouble establishing the VPN connection, and set about re-installing Cisco AnyConnect as a result. During the install, a notification box popped up numerous times to warn me: “The VPN client agent was unable to create the interprocess communication depot.”

Cisco AnyConnect Install Error

The VPN client agent was unable to create the interprocess communication depot.

The install completed after clicking OK on the notifications, but would not establish a VPN connection, with a not so informative message “Unable to establish VPN”.  A bit of searching later, I found that AnyConnect is not compatible with Internet Connection Sharing, which Cisco states in the AnyConnect VPN Client FAQ.

The solution is to disable the ICS service before installing AnyConnect.  Subsequently, when trying to connect, I encountered connection failures:

AnyConnect Unable to Establish Connection

AnyConnect was not able to establish a connection to the specified secure gateway. Please try connecting again.

The solution is again to disable the ICS service, establish the AnyConnect VPN connection, and then enable ICS.  Oddly, it seems that after the first failed connection attempt followed by stop / connect / restart cycle of the ICS service, AnyConnect can be reconnected without any trouble.  Tedious, but it works.  Ping me back if you know a better way!

Using Asigra DS-Client Logs

How to understand backup operations using the DS-Client logs

For Lewan Managed Data Protection customers wanting additional information beyond what is available in the daily or weekly reports, the Asigra software provides the ability to look at the DS-Client activity logs. This post assumes that the user has installed or been given access to the DS-User interface and is able to connect to their DS-Client server.
A previous blog post (http://blog.lewan.com/2012/03/29/asigra-ds-user-installation-and-log-file-viewing/) addressed the installation of the DS-User along with some basics on the activity logs. This post will provide additional detail regarding the data provided by the activity logs.

Open the DS-User interface and connect to the appropriate DS-Client

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From the menus select “Logs” and open the “Activity Log”

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Set the parameters for logs desired

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By default the system will display all logs for the current and previous days. For this exercise only backup activity will be required. The date and time range as well as specific nodes (backup clients) or backup sets can also be selected.
Once all options have been set, click the “Find” button to locate the specified logs.

Backup windows

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For each set backed up, the start time, end time and total duration of the backup job can be observed. Each column can be sorted to assist in viewing.

On line Data Changed

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The column labeled “Online” indicates to total size of changed files for the backup. That is the total amount of space used by all files which had any chage since the last backup session. For example a server with a 30 GB database which has daily updates and 4 new 1 MB documents would show 32,216,449,024 (30 GB + 4 MB). This is the amoutn of data copied from the backup client to the DS-Client.

Data Transmitted to the cloud

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The column labeled “Transmitted…” shows the actual amount of data changed and copied to the cloud based device. This is the amount of data contained in changed blocks from all of the changed files, after compression and encryption. If, in the example above, the database file only had 1 MB of changes the Transmitted column would contain a number similar to 5,242,880 (roughly 5 MB).

Determining error and warning causes

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In some cases a backup set will show a status of “Completed with Errors” or “Completed with Warnings”. In most cases the errors and warnings are inconsequential but should usually be looked at.
Select the line containing the backup set in question and click on the “Event Log” button

Backup Session Event Log

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Each event in the backup session is listed in the log. Errors are flagged with a red ‘X’ and warnings with a yellow ‘!’. Selecting the event will show the detail. In the example shown above a file is stored for which the backup user does not have permission to read the file. Other common errors are due to a file being used by another process and a file which has been moved or deleted between the initial scan of the file system and the attempt to access it for backup.
In some cases there will be a large number of errors “The network name cannot be found.” These usually indicate that there is a problem with the network connection between the DS-Client and the backup target but could be caused by a reboot of the backup target or other connectivity issues.

For our Managed Data Protection customers, the Lewan Operations team checks backup sets for errors on a daily basis and will correct any critical issues.

Additional analysis

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The activity log can also be saved to a file (text or Excel spreadsheet) for additional analysis. Right-click anywhere in the activity log and select “Save As”. Used the resulting dialog to configure the location and file type.

SAVE! SAVE! SAVE!

Have you ever been in the middle of an important document when your computer crashes or freezes and realize you didn’t save it? You are not alone! I think we’ve all been there a time or two…or three! But there may be hope for us yet! The Auto Recovery (AutoSave) feature is here to help!

Depending upon the Microsoft Office version that you have, AutoRecovery (AutoSave) is a feature that will recover a document if your computer loses power or if a program error occurs while working in a document.

This feature will create a file similar to “AutoRecover Save of <file name>.doc.” When the program is restarted, the application will search your system for any of these files. Some documents may not be recoverable especially, if you’ve never saved the document before.  And even if you have saved the document, you may lose recent changes. Once the program you were working in is restarted, it will automatically attempt to open the autorecovery files. If it does so successfully, then you will be able to save the document.

This is a truly valuable feature that Microsoft Office offers. But in order for it work, it must be enabled. To view instructions on how to enable this feature, go to: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word-help/automatically-save-and-recover-office-files-HP010140729.aspx.

Lewan Achieves Veeam Gold/Platinum Partner Status

veeam backup, lewan gold parnterOur Enterprise Solutions team has been hard at work in the lab, training to become solutions experts for Veeam Data Protection and Backup tools. Their hard work, dedication and opportunity to train with Veeam’s technical team has earned Lewan the recognition of Gold Partner status in the Veeam ProPartner Program. Congratulations!

View all of Lewan’s Vendor Partners: http://www.lewan.com/vendorpartners

Asigra File Recovery

Self service recovery of one or more files from Asigra file system backup.

In the DS-User Interface, Open restore dialog for backup set

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Select recovery objects

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For restore of most recent backup of a directory, browse to specific folder and select that folder.
For other options select Show Files or Advanced

Selection of an individual file

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Advanced selection options

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Default is the latest generation of data (most recent backup)
See Asigra DS-Client documentation for detailed description of options

Selection of a backup session for selective data option

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Data selected from specific backup session

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Note that not all data will be included in any backup session. The “From” date may need to be moved in order to pick up files which had not changed at the time of a particular session.

Restore files to original location

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Use this option with caution as more recent versions of files may be overwritten

Alternate restore options

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The server, destination share and path may all be changed.
Note that by default the entire directory structure is restored below the destination. The full path is noted in the bottom pane. The path can be truncated (from the top directory shown in red) by incrementing the counter on the right.

Overwrite warning pop-up

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Keep default performance options

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Other restore options

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Normally these are left at the default.

Restore progress window

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Restored files

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Note full path of restore

To document the restore open the Activity Log

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Select the parameters to locate the specific restore job

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Select the restore job and open the detailed log

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Right-Click on the log entries and select “Save As…”

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Select a directory location and appropriate name for the log file

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Two Lewan Experts Chosen as Citrix Synergy Presenters

Citrix just announced the list of guest presenters for this year’s Citrix Synergy LA and two of our Lewan experts were chosen after going through a rigorous judging process. Only 22 topics were chosen so we are extremely proud and excited to be presenting two of those:

Dynamic user experience, presented by Dan Brinkman
User acceptance of virtual desktops, presented by Kenneth Fingerlos

Here are more details from the Citrix announcement:

Citrix Synergy in Los Angeles, May 22-24, stands out as an open, inclusive conference where many different opinions are expressed – not just those of Citrix. In that spirit, we are proud to announce an awesome lineup of guest presenters for Synergy breakout sessions. These speakers – and their subjects – were selected through our Call for Topics program. Each made the cut after a rigorous independent judging process.

The chosen presenters include Citrix customers and partners, Citrix Technology Professionals (CTPs) and industry thought leaders such as analysts and consultants. They will share their unique viewpoints on the latest trends related to mobile workstyles, including enterprise mobility, mobile healthcare access and large-scale workplace transformation. They will focus on important technologies such as provisioning services, virtual desktop storage and cloud operations management.

A number of presenters will share their successes with mobility, cloud, virtualization and networking solutions that are delivering important benefits to their organizations. These real-world case studies are always among the most popular content at Synergy.”

See the full list of presenters

Cloud Storage is Getting Crowded – Google Drive vs. Dropbox, SkyDrive, SugarSync, and others: a cloud sync storage face-off

Google Drive has been released over the last couple of days, so it has prompted many sites to do comparisons of the different online storage cloud providers. A very good comparison that I have found is over at theverge.com. It’s over at: http://www.theverge.com/2012/4/24/2954960/google-drive-dropbox-skydrive-sugarsync-cloud-storage-competition

Note- if you are a Microsoft SkyDrive user, they are changing the “free” account from 25GB down to 7GB. However if you already have a SkyDrive account, you can “claim” your full 25GB by heading to your SkyDrive “Manage Storage” page (conveniently linked from the client’s menu bar icon). There is a link on that page to claim your full 25GB.

The article above basically mentions that they feel SugarSync is the overall best solution. I would agree with that, I used SugarSync for quite awhile, however one thing that I didn’t like about SugarSync, is some of the sharing capabilities of folders. To share a folder with someone, you choose the folder, click on “get share link” and you send the link out to the person you want to share it with. What you might not know/see, is the person you’ve shared the folder with cannot access your link until they sign-up for a SugarSync account themselves- something that I didn’t want the people I share links with to have to do.

Here’s an example of the above so you can see what I mean:

For the above, I made a test folder with a test file inside the folder. I then shared the folder with a link. When you click on that link however, you’ll see the above page- SugarSync wants them to signup for an account before they can get access to the files you’ve shared with them.

Personally I’ve switched over to Dropbox, as their sharing capabilities are quick, easy and I can share files or folders through links– and they don’t require the person I’m sharing the link with to signup for an account in order to access the files.

Asigra DS-User Installation and Log file viewing

 

How to install Asigra DS-User and view log files to determine failed objects.

Run setup from Asigra DS-Client

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Request the specific path from the Lewan ROC.

Allow the install if UAC requests pops up

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Install the proper Java DS-User for workstation platform

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These instructions assume the Java version of DS-User. The Windows native version can also be installed by selecting the proper DS-Client option and only install the DS-User GUI

Follow the various screens to install. Use all default values.

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Windows 7 workstations may show an Operating System incompatibility. This can be ignored.

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Do not change the port number!

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Once installation completes, exit the installer

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Open DS-User from the Windows “Start” menu

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Select setup-> Initialization

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Add DS-Client’s IP address

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Enter IP Address of DS-Client

Refresh DS-Client list and select DS-Client

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On far left pane, click refresh, DS-Client should appear. Select DS-Client

Log in with Windows Domain credentials

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If workstation not logged in as Domain user, enter proper credentials

Upgrade DS-User if necessary

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When Asigra components are updated, new versions are automatically pushed out. The default DS-User installation will likely be out of date. Select the upgrade button to update the software. Once software is updated DS-User will restart. Complete the previous step to select the DS-CLient and log in.

View Event log

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The event log will show all events relating to activities, including reasons for backup jobs completed “With Errors”

Filter for date range and to only show Errors

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Typical error shown

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The most common reason a backup job will fail is due to an open file. If a file fails regularly there may be a need to use a different backup strategy or to exclude that file from backup. Lewan Managed Data Protection staff regularly monitors events and will take steps to reduce errors on backup jobs.

 

Google Apps – Xerox Scan to Email

Switched to Google Apps and now can’t get your Xerox printers to scan to email? It’s because Google’s servers require you to use SSL when sending email and the Xerox’s can’t send by SSL. To get it working, you’ve got two options (#2 is the far easier option):

1. You can use a program called Stunnel to accept the Xerox’s SMTP transfer and transmit it to Google via a secure connection. More info here.

2. Google actually accepts non-SSL SMTP connections on one of their servers, aspmx.l.google.com on port 25. Set the Xerox to send via that and set your username and password to a Google Apps account.

via Google Apps Xerox Scan to Email.