Asigra Linux Restore with ‘sudo’

Conduct an Asigra restore to a UNIX or Linux server using sudo credentials

Verify that user is listed in /etc/sudoers file on restore target system

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The sudo utility allows users root level access to some (or all) subsystems without requiring users to know the root password. Please look at documentation for the sudo utility for more information.

From Asigra restore dialog, choose files to be restored

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Select Alternate location and click on ‘>>’

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Enter server name or IP address for restore target and check both “Ask for credentials” and “‘sudo’ as alternate user’

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Enter username and password for user configured in /etc/sudoers file

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Enter “root” and same password as in previous step

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Do NOT enter the ‘root’ password. The sudo utility uses the regular user’s password.

Select restore location and truncate path, if required

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Accept defaults

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Restore in progress…

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Verify restore completed

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Beware of the Invisible Installs!!!

Does your internet toolbar look like this? :

toolbar

Many times advertising companies will seek out software companies to promote their product using software companies many people are familiar with.

Ever end up with a program you don’t use and are not sure how it was installed? Each time you go to install a program you need to use, pay attention to the terms and agreements. Some software downloads include extra additions you may not even be aware of, need or want. Some of these options will even be hidden throughout the install. For example, when going to install Adobe Reader you will see this:

adobe           

If you would like to use Google Chrome, then you can leave the option checked. If not, make sure to uncheck the option.  Some installs can even change your settings:

chrome

So next time you need to install a program, please pay attention to each and every step so that you ensure you get just what you need.

BIOS Settings for Hyper-V Role in Windows 8 on Lenovo W-Series

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Recently I upgraded to Windows 8 on my Lenovo W510 in order to setup a virtual lab in Hyper-V. Hoping to save others the frustration I experienced during BIOS configuration, I thought I’d share the Intel hardware virtualization settings necessary for the role. The order that settings are made and complete power downs after certain settings changes are significant. Don’t save time with warm boots!

Step 1. Boot the machine, press F1 to enter setup, and you’ll be presented with this menu.  Make sure that the BIOS is the most recent version (1.45 as of this post).  Press enter on Config.

BIOS top level menu

BIOS top level menu

Step 2. In Config menu, arrow down to CPU and press enter.

Config Menu on Lenovo W510 BIOS

Config Menu on Lenovo W510 BIOS

Step 3. In the CPU menu, make sure the settings are:
• Intel Hyper-Threading = Enabled
• Intel Virtualization Technology = Enabled
• Intel VT-d Feature = Enabled

Core Multi-Processing Enabled, Intel Hyper-Threading Technology Enabled, Intel Virtualization Technology Enabled, Intel VT-d Feature Enabled

Hardware Virtualization BIOS Settings on Lenovo W510

If any settings in Step 3 had to be changed, hit F10 to save the settings and then power the machine off. Re-enter the BIOS by pressing F1 on the next startup.

Step 4. Return to the Main Menu in Step 1, and select Security. This menu will appear.
Arrow down to Memory Protection and press enter.

Security Menu on Lenovo W510

Security Menu on Lenovo W510

Step 5. In Memory Protection, make sure Execution Prevention is set to Enabled
Press ESC to return to the Security menu from Step 4

Execution Prevention Enabled

Memory Protection BIOS Settings on Lenovo W510

Step 6. Confirm the following settings:
• Security Chip = Active
• Intel TXT Feature = Disabled

Security Chip Active, Intel TXT Feature ***Disabled***

Security Chip BIOS Settings on Lenovo W510

Press F10 to save settings, and power down the machine. After restart, the Hyper-V role can be installed.

Citrix is all new in June

If you’ve been paying attention to Twitter lately, you’ve probably noticed that there have been a lot of new announcements and releases from Citrix over the past 7 days.   So many in fact it can be difficult to keep straight exactly what is going on.  I’m going to try to clear up some of the murk and hopefully help you understand how these announcements are going to impact your plans for the near future. I’ll try to detail each of the announcements and product updates and what’s new with them.

XenDesktop 7: This is Citrix’s flagship VDI product, which competes head to head with VMware’s Horizon View.   Hopefully most Citrix customers are also aware that most of the license editions for XenDesktop also include rights to Citrix XenApp (also knows as Presentation Server or MetaFrame).  Despite the bundling, XenApp and XenDesktop have always been two distict products with separate infrastructures and management frameworks.  XenDesktop 7 changes all that.  With the v7 release XenDesktop now fully encompasses all the functionality for application and desktop publishing from both server OS (XenApp/RDS – aka Hosted Shared) as well as desktop OS (XenDestkop/VDI – aka Hosted).  This means that from a single console you can configure desktops and apps published from Windows XP, 7, 8, Server 2008R2 and Server 2012.  Yes, I said desktops and apps!  Actually XenDesktop has had the ability to do “VM Hosted Apps” for a while but it was infrequently used; that capability is now core functionality and delivers the “seamless” published apps from both destkop and server environments.

Did I mention this is all in a single console?  Well, actually there are two consoles – the management/configuration interface which is now named “Studio” and a helpdesk and monitoring interface named “Director”.  XenDesktop admins will be familiar with both of these.  By the way, Director now has the ability to mine Edgesight data to provide historical information about users, apps, sessions, and hosts.

With the merger there is now a 4th edition of XenDesktop – now giving us Platinum, Enterprise, VDI, and Apps.  The Apps edition will map to the functionality which was previously provided by XenApp.

XenDesktop 7 also brings a host of new features and functionality including the H.264 supercodec, reverse seamless applications, and App DNA integration.  RemotePC is now configured from within the Studio console.   One of the more interesting capabilities is that you can now use MCS to manage your published app server farms which will greatly simplify single image management for smaller environments. Check out this blog for more details and a link to the Citrix TV session detailing the new features.

XenDesktop 7 brings with it a host of other updates:

  • StoreFront 1.2 -> StoreFront 2.0
  • Web Interface 5.4 -> StoreFront 2.0 (StoreFront is now required)
  • Provisioning Services 6.1 -> Provisioning Services 7.0
  • XenServer 6.1 -> XenServer 6.2
  • Receiver 3.4 -> 4.0  (and new receivers for iOS, Android, and OSX too)

It’s a pretty safe bet that if you use XenDesktop or XenApp you’ve got some new code in your future.

XenApp 6.5 Feature Pack 2: Much less hubbub about 6.5 FP2, but very noteworthy that in this same timeframe Citirx has chosen to issue an update to the existing XenApp product which offers many of the end-user benefits associated with XenDesktop 7.  This appears to be a recognition on Citrix’s part that customers probably will not migrate off of XenApp 6.5 in any great hurry, and this update removes much of the need.  XenApp 6.5 was originally released in August of 2011 and is widely deployed.  Details of the new features can be found here.

Cloudgateway is now XenMobile Apps: So if you’re looking for an updated App Controller, you need to look in a new place.  This heralds future integration between the XenMobile MDM solution and Citrix’s Web/SaaS/Mobile Application management.  We also saw a new release of XenMobile MDM 8.5 on June 28.

ShareFile Storage Center and Connectors are now Storage Controller 2.0: This brings the integration of the on-prem storage options for ShareFile all into one product, reducing the number of servers needed to connect to local storage zones, CIFS shares, and SharePoint.  It also provides read/write access to SharePoint sites!

XenServer 6.2: The latest release of Citrix’s XenServer hypervisor is more incremetnal and has not received much fanfare, with the largest announcement being that the product is now fully open source.  More details on the future strategy and new features can be found here.

NetScaler 10.1: It seems like this release has been kept fairly quiet, however the new HDX Insight reporting feature will offer great value to shops using NetScaler for its Access Gateway Enterprise Edition features.  Want to know how much data user sessions are moving?  Look no further!

VDI in a Box: Even VDI in a Box got an update, now at version 5.3. ViaB gets updates to support better 3D graphics. newer hypervisors, the H.264 supercodec, Windows 8 and Personal vDisk.  More info can be found here.

So June has been a huge month for Citirx with updates across nearly the entire product portfolio.  If you have or use Citrix products these changes will affect you.  If you need help or just want more information reach out to your Lewan Account Executive.  We’re here to help.

Getting online when the only DNS server is not

Although best practice is to have redundant DNS servers, not every small business has the luxury of being able to afford a second server. There are however cases when the server is down but users need to get online and work (or look up ways to solve the server’s issues). Fortunately Google has provided a solution in the form of a pair of publicly accessible DNS servers. While these servers will NOT provide address resolution for local LAN devices such as file shares, printers or local e-mail systems, they do allow for name resolution for any public site on the Internet.

The process is as simple as opening the IP setting for a system’s LAN card and entering the IP address of one of the public DNS server, 8.8.8.8 or 8.8.4.4.

DNS

For more details look at Google’s instruction page at https://developers.google.com/speed/public-dns/docs/using

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.