Avamar 7.5 is GA!!

Avamar 7.5 is now GA and I wanted to share the New Features.  Below is a list of exciting new things like AWS support and Data Domain Cloud Disaster Recovery.

Data Domain Cloud Disaster Recovery

Avamar 7.5 includes support for Data Domain Cloud Disaster Recovery. The Data Domain Cloud Disaster Recovery (DD Cloud DR) solution facilitates the disaster recovery of on-premises virtual machines by providing the capability to recover VMs in the cloud. DD Cloud DR integrates with existing on-premises backup software and Data Domain to copy backups of virtual machine data to the public cloud. It can then perform DR tests or failover of production environments by orchestrating a complete conversion of the VM to an Amazon Web Services Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instance, and by running this instance in the cloud.

Avamar Virtual Edition for Amazon Web Services

The Avamar Virtual Edition (AVE) is now available for Amazon Web Services (AWS). Support for AVE with Data Domain Virtual Edition (DDVE) is also supported for the AWS and Azure versions of AVE.

Data Domain integration

  • DDOS 6.1
  • Data Domain Cloud Tier DR support

ESRS integration

Usage Intelligence collects and transfers reporting information to Avamar Support via the ESRS gateway.

Security enhancements

  • Security
  • 775 certificates
  • LDAP-S Support
  • Default to SHA-2 certificates
  • Disable TLS 1.0/1.1

Data Protection Central

Avamar support from the Data Protection Central

Migration enhancements

We now have the option when doing migration to select a range of dates to determine what backups should be migrated.

Backup clients features and changes

New client support in Avamar 7.5:

  • Ubuntu 16.04

New features and changes for the Avamar NDMP Accelerator

Support for the following product releases:

  • Unity OE 4.2
  • Isilon OneFS
  • Oracle ZFS 8.6.5

New features and changes for Microsoft application plug-ins

  • Data Domain token-based authentication now supported for Microsoft application plug-ins. This requires that both the server and clients be at release 7.5. Clients prior to release 7.5 will fail if token-based authentication is enabled on the Data Domain system.
  • Hyper-V—Granular Level Recovery for Microsoft Applications.
  • SQL—-Promotion to full is indicated in the Activity Window of the Avamar Administrator with the status Completed with Promotion.
  • Exchange— Improved Exchange backup and restore performance. The Exchange plug-in has been enhanced to intelligently discover relevant log files, and back up only those logs. This results in:
    • Improved Backup time.
    • Less storage space for each backup.
    • Improved GLR Browsing and restore time.

For backups that were made by a version of the Exchange plug-in prior to release 7.5, use the use_restore_logs_range=true backup option in the avexchglr.cmd file to restore only the relevant log files. Setting this option to true will enhance GLR Browse and restore times for these backups.

New features for VMware plug-in and the vSphere Web Client

  • Improvements to File Level Recovery
    • Support for XFS file systems
    • Support XFS on linear LVM logical volume
    • Support XFS on partition disk (XFS on-disk format version 5 is not supported in this release.)
    • End user recovery enabled from the FLR Web UI
    • Restore ACLs from the FLR Web UI
    • Scale improvements to the FLR Web UI
  • Most recent backup and most recent successful backup information now displayed in vSphere.
  • Ability to exclude the Windows page file (pagefile.sys) from the backup

Openstack DPE

  • Support for CBT.

New features in RecoverPoint for VMs 5.1

DellEMC has recently released RecoverPoint for VMs 5.1 and below is an overview of the new features.  Feel free to look through the release notes on all the 5.1 changes.

Scale and performance improvements

RecoverPoint for VMs provides enhanced scale-out ability for a cluster of Bronze+ (2 vCPU/8GB RAM) vRPAs:

  • Protect up to 8,000 VMs per vCenter
  • Protect up to 1,000 VMs per vRPA cluster
  • Manage up to 256 consistency groups by a single vRPA cluster

RecoverPoint for VMs achieves 100 percent across-the-board improvements in performance.

RecoverPoint for VMs improved CPU and memory usage when compression is enabled.

Deployment process improvements

RecoverPoint for VMs provides the following improvements with the deployment process:

  • Improved the vRPA cluster deployment success rate, by simplifying the network configuration process and adding validations and automation of the deployment flow.
  • The vRPA cluster connection flow is easy and robust, providing an intuitive flow and automated or guided resolution of issues.
  • Installation of a new vRPA cluster is successful without requesting customers to run any cleanup procedures as a pre-requisite.
  • Tolerance to past installations: Failed operations (deployment, site connect, maintenance) leave the environment in a state that is ready for additional operation tries.

Orchestration enhancements

RecoverPoint for VMs includes the following orchestration enhancements:

  • Predefined failover networks: Users can now easily define copy VM networks to be used after failover or during copy testing, or use the networks that are automatically assigned by the system.
  • Protected VM resource reservation enhancement
  • Ability to enable access to a copy VM without powering it up
  • Improvements in dynamic IP network configuration
  • Enables recovery flows to be an easy and robust operation
  • Provides the user clear status indications throughout the operation execution of image access or recovery flows.

RecoverPoint for VMs Deployer usability improvements

The RecoverPoint for VMs Deployer includes usability improvements in these areas:

  • Deployment flow in Install a vRPA cluster wizard
  • Connection flow in Connect vRPA clusters wizard
  • System validation of network and connection settings
  • Error prevention and handling
  • Log collection capability in Settings menu
  • User-friendly informational, warning, and error messages
  • Consistent display of lists and tables

Security improvements

RecoverPoint for VMs includes the following security improvements:

  • Improvements in certificate handling
  • Crypto hardening – User can set the minimum TLS protocol version to be supported by the RPA web server

Replication of hardware changes

The production VM network adapter, network type, and MAC address are now all replicated by default to copy VMs.

Removing the need for a Shadow VM

In this version, DellEMC eliminated the usage of a Shadow VM when replicating VMs in VMware’s vCenter. The advantages are lower resources used, and the number of copy VM reconfigure tasks performed by RecoverPoint for VMs is reduced to a single reconfigure. After upgrading to 5.1 and later, shadow VMs are automatically removed after the upgrade is complete.

New features in RecoverPoint 5.1

DellEMC has recently released RecoverPoint 5.1 and below is an overview of the new features.  Feel free to look through the release notes on all the 5.1 changes.

Security improvements

This version of RecoverPoint includes the following security improvements:

  • Improvements in certificate handling
  • Crypto hardening – User can set the minimum TLS protocol version to be supported by the RPA web server

Support for RecoverPoint replication of VMAX3 and VMAX/AF arrays

This version includes support for RecoverPoint replication of VMAX3 and VMAX/AF arrays, including:

  • VMAX3/AF at production, replica, or both
  • Snap-based replication at the production copy, based on Symmetrix SnapVX, with snapshots as frequent as every minute
  • Journaling at the replica copies, enabling point-in-time recovery
  • Up to four replica copies

Improved integration with XtremIO arrays

The following features improve how RecoverPoint protects XtremIO arrays:

  • Added support for automatic provisioning of journal volumes.
  • Added support for copy volume auto-matching (from the GUI only).
  • Added support for registration of arrays with no exposed volumes.
  • Added support for registration of RPA initiators. The initiators are created automatically even when there are already Initiator Groups for RecoverPoint.

Rubrik 4.0 – Alta

Rubrik 4.0 has release and I want to give an overview of the new features. Rubrik continues to develop and is meeting my expectations as a great Backup technology!!

Hyper-V Support

The following options are available for Hyper-V 2016 with Native API (WMI) Support

  • Auto Protect
  • Failover Cluster Support
  • Agentless backups
  • Incremental Forever
  • Live Mount
  • Instant Recovery
  • Search

The following options are available for Hyper-V version below 2016 with Connectors based support

  • Incremental Forever
  • Search

Nutanix AHV Support

  • Automated protection and restore workflow
  • Securely replicate or archive to other sites
  • Rubrik Core Capabilities – global search, erasure coding, reporting
  • Scale as you need
  • Pick your hypervisor: Acropolis, ESXi or Hyper-V

Oracle Support

  • Rusbrik Cluster is now a NAS target for Oracle RMAN with an agentless approach.
  • RMAN manages Backup and Restore for DB and Redo logs. Support for Incremental Merge –advanced RMAN feature.
  • Multi-channel support, ingest to flash for fast backup/ingest.
  • Recovery and DR through RMAN

Cloud Instantiation

  • Enables customers to power-on snapshot of a VM on the cloud
  • Instance type recommendation based on VM config file
  • 2-click deployment and end-to-end orchestration
  • UI Integration to launch, power off or de-provision an instance

SQL Server Live Mount

  • Power on read/write clones instantaneously
  • Provision a clone to any desired Point in Time
  • Mount same database across multiple hosts
  • RestAPI’sallow to automate workflows
  • Self Service using RBAC

Archive to Tape

  • Uses QStar to expose tape library as NFS/SMB share
  • Each Tape vendor has their proprietary interface
  • QStar presents a common interface irrespective of tape vendor
  • Supports Industry Standard LTFS format

Other Feature add

  • NFS Archive Encryption
  • Custom TLS Certificate – Web UI

ScaleIO Fundamentals – ScaleIO Data Sever (SDS) and ScaleIO Data Client (SDC)

The next part of ScaleIO that I want to cover is the ScaleIO Data Server (SDS) and the ScaleIO Data Client (SDC).  These components provide the storage as well as access the storage in ScaleIO.  You could consider the SDS as storage and SDC as a host, but they can reside on the same server.

The ScaleIO Data Server (SDS) – A software daemon that enables a server in the ScaleIO cluster to contribute its local storage to ScaleIO Storage. An instance of the SDS runs on every server that contributes some or all of its local storage space, which can be HDDs, SSDs, or PCIe flash cards to the aggregated pool of storage within the ScaleIO virtual SAN. The SDS manages the capacity of a single server and performs the Backend I/O.  You have SDS only nodes, where the node just serves out storage, or you can have a node that is both a SDS and SDC.

The ScaleIO Data Client (SDC) – A lightweight block device driver that gives the capability to access ScaleIO shared block volumes to applications. The SDC runs on the same server as the application.  The SDC communicates with other node over TCP/IP-based protocol and it is fully routable. When installed in a server, it presents ScaleIO volumes as block devices to any application on the server. Note that the SDC is a Block device driver that can run alongside other Block device drivers. The only I/Os in the stack that are intercepted by the SDC are those I/Os that are directed at the volumes that belong to ScaleIO. There is no interference with I/Os directed at traditional SAN LUNs that are not part of the ScaleIO. Users may modify the default ScaleIO configuration parameter to allow two SDCs to access the same data. The SDC is the only ScaleIO component that applications see in the data path.

On the next post I will go into some more of the fundamental terms and start getting deeper into the technology.

ScaleIO Fundamentals – Metadata Manager (MDM)

Over the past month, I have been working with ScaleIO and wanted to share some knowledge.  The SDDC is really making waves in the industry and Software defined storage is a big part of that.  I am going to start with the Fundamentals of ScaleIO and work my way up.  Metadata Manager is a good starting point as it is the control component.

Metadata Manager (MDM) – The Metadata Manager (MDM) configures and monitors the ScaleIO system. It contains all the metadata required for system operation. MDM is responsible for data migration, rebuilds, and all system-related functions. No user data passes thru the MDMs.  Three or more instances of MDM run on different servers for high availability. The MDM can also be configured in Single Mode on a single server or in Cluster Mode for redundancy.

When you have a MDM cluster you have the options of 3 members on 3 servers or 5 members on 5 servers. Below are the key MDM members in a cluster setup.

MDM – Server that has the MDM package installed.  MDMs have a unique ID and can have a unique name as well.

Master MDM – The MDM in the cluster that controls the SDS and SDC.  The Master contains and updates the MDM repository, the database that controls the SDS config, and how data is spread across the SDSs in the system

Slave MDM – MDM in a cluster that takes over for the Master if needed.  A 3 node cluster has 1 Slave and a 5 node cluster has 2.

TieBreaker – MDM where the only role is to help determine which MDM is the Master.  A 3 node cluster has 1 TieBreaker and a 5 node cluster has 2.  There will always be an odd number of MDMs in a cluster to make sure there is a majority in electing the Master.

Standby MDM – MDM specified as a standby to a cluster.  When it is needed in the cluster it can be promoted to a Manager MDM or a TieBreaker.

Manager MDM – MDM that is a Master or a Slave in the cluster.  Manger can also be a Standby MDM.

The next blog will cover ScaleIO Data Client (SDC) and ScaleIO Data Server (SDS).

ScaleIO 3.0

The software defined data center continues to evolve with Storage, compute, and networking.  ScaleIO has become a leading SDS solution and is continuing to improve.  Below will cover some enhancements of ScaleIO 3.0.

Storage Efficiency

  • Space Efficient layout
    • 4k granularity disk layout – optimized for SSD
    • Optimized for SSD and leverage NVDIMM’s
    • Snaps now on equal footing with AFA when it comes to efficiency, management and performance
  • Compression
    • Variable size compression algorithm based on LZ4
    • Optimized for SSD and leverages NVDIMM’s
    • Can be turned on / off at a pool or volume level

Volume Migration

  • Zero application impact
  • Non-disruptive storage-side volume migrations moving volumes between different Storage Pools and Protection Domains
  • Entire VTree can be non-disruptively migrated

Full Support for Dell EMC PowerEdge 14G and NVMe Drives

  • ScaleIO 3.0 takes full advantage of the latest Dell hardware
    • NVDIMMs
    • NVMe
  • ScaleIO Ready Nodes
    • R740XD and R640 Support
    • SSD, NVMe and HDD Options. Hybrid to be released later.

VMware vVols Support

  • Tie VMs more directly to storage Volumes which provides simplified management, less resource contention, and the ability to leverage storage side features like snapshots
  • Requires ESXi 6.0 and newer
  • VASA service runs in a VM
    • Mapping database is stored in a ScaleIO Volume
    • HA is handled by VMware
    • VASA services presents an API to VMware and talks directly to ScaleIO MDM
    • Uses existing ScaleIO SVM Template and adds services to it

Snapshot enhancements

  • Snapshot count increased by 4x
    • 31 to 127 for current medium granular layout
    • Fine granular layout snapshot count is increased 8x – 255 snapshots
  • Volumes can be reverted to any snapshot within the vTree
  • Volumes can be refreshed in place
  • Snapshot can be deleted anywhere in the vTree without affecting other snapshots in the vTree
  • Automated snapshot management
    • Set snapshot creation and retention policy and ScaleIO will automatically manage the snapshots
    • Snapshot management works with CG as well

AMS with OS/FW patching and Storage Only Support

  • AMS handles Storage SW, OS and Firmware
  • VMware support now for 6.5
  • All components upgrade in a rolling manner
    • ScaleIO Software
    • SVM Operating System
    • VMware ESX / RHEL OS
    • Firmware for hardware components

I will be working increasingly with ScaleIO in the future so expect more posts!!