Avamar 7.4 New Features and Changes

The following topics provide details on the new features and changes that are available starting with the release of Avamar 7.4 that is covered in the Release Notes

Avamar server features and changes

Data Domain integration

  • Cloud Tier support
  • Instant Access: The maximum number of VMware Instant Access restores allowed is increased to 32.
  • Replication with Data Domain systems:
    • Range Replication is now supported to improve replication performance between Data Domain systems.
    • Recipe Replication is now utilized to improve replication performance between Data Domain systems.
  • Support for Data Domain Virtual Edition 3.0

Avamar Virtual Edition

  • Support for AVE on OpenStack KVM

Backup clients features and changes

New client support in Avamar 7.4:

  • Windows Server 2016
    • BMR is not supported with Windows Server 2016.

New features and changes for the Avamar NDMP Accelerator

  • Support for EMC Unity.
  • Improved installation and upgrade procedures.

New features and changes for Microsoft application plug-ins

  • Microsoft Exchange new features:
    • Support for IP-less DAG
  • Microsoft SQL new features:
    • Windows Server 2016 support
    • Support for database consistency check before recovery
    • Support for Copy-only backups
    • Support for verification of backups
    • Table-level recoveries
  • Hyper-V new features:
    • Windows Server 2016 support
    • Incremental backups supported for Virtual Machine(s) on SMB shares
    • Incremental backups supported with Granular Level Recovery (GLR)

New features and changes for cross-platform application plug-ins

  • Sybase:
    • Support for Sybase Cumulative Backups.
    • Support for SAP ASE 16.0 SP02.
  • DB2:
    • Support for DB2 High Availability Disaster Recovery (HADR) backup and recovery
    • Protection of existing databases against accidental overwriting:

New features for VMware plug-ins

  • Image backup with database log truncation for Microsoft SQL and Exchange.
  • Automatic on-boarding of newly discovered Virtual Machines into pre-defined backup groups and rules.
  • File Level Recovery performance and scalability improvements.
  • Integration with Log Insight, providing central access to VM and proxy system logs.
  • Support for Windows Access Control List (ACL) recovery for VMware image backups

RecoverPoint 5.0 SP1 New Features

DellEMC has released RecoverPoint 5.0 SP1 and below are the features listed from the release notes.  ScaleIO Support is big!!!

ScaleIO support

RecoverPoint can be used for heterogeneous replication of ScaleIO volumes.

 Partially restoring a consistency group

The partial restore feature allows the user to specify production volumes of a consistency group to restore to production, without affecting production volumes that are not specified. In this version of RecoverPoint, partial restore is only supported when restoring production on an XtremIO array from a replica on an XtremIO array or a Data Domain system.

 XtremIO single snapshot: deleting and expiration policies

RecoverPoint 5.0.1 introduces the ability to delete a single XtremIO snapshot at a copy; and to change the retention time policy of a single XtremIO snapshot at a copy.

RecoverPoint for VMs 5.0 SP1 New Features

DellEMC has just released RecoverPoint for VMs 5.0 SP1 which has a couple of New Features that are listed below from the release notes.  The network configuration process is huge improvement which I am pleased to see happen.

 Copy VM network configuration

Network configuration is now a semi-automatic process that no longer requires glue scripts. The GUI has been improved and relevant setting values can now be retrieved from the production VM. MAC addresses of remote copy VMs located on a different vCenter are now automatically replicated, and users can now select whether or not to replicate the MAC address of local copy VMs located on the same vCenter.

 Deployer GUI improvements

The RecoverPoint for VMs Deployer provides improved user experience with:

  • Browser resizing
  • Clearer error messages
  • Improved validations
  • More intuitive interface
  • Default values to minimize user inputs

 ESX UUID duplication support

Beginning with Release 5.0.1, RecoverPoint replaces the use of VMware’s ESX host UUID and creates its own unique identifier, which ensures that no duplicate or degenerated UUIDs exist in the system. The substitution occurs only if the:

  • vRPA cluster is at version 5.0.1 or higher, and
  • Splitter is at version 5.0.1 or higher

For versions lower than 5.0.1, RecoverPoint displays a warning about the condition.

DellEMC World 2017 – Conference Recommendations

DellEMC World 2017 – Conference Recommendations

This will be my 2nd year attending DellEMC World and I wanted to give my perspective on what to expect and some recommendations on attending.  There are several different key pieces to the conference, each with a different set of value.

Breakouts – There are 3-5 per day with Thursday being a session only day.  These are good for server different reasons.  The first breakouts on Monday will have something new to announce, which is always exciting.  These breakouts will have product owners and some super smart minds presenting on their technologies.  Some of the Breakouts also outline best practices and go into deep dives.

General Sessions – Monday thru Wednesday there is a general session starting at 10am and lasts until Lunch.  These are always well done and should be attended.  This year you will see Michael Dell, Jeremy Burton, Jeff Clarke, Pat Gelsinger, David Goulden and Chad Sakac.

Solutions Expo – This is self-explanatory.  Showroom floor where all the Sponsors and Vendors have their booths setup.  Always a great place to network and a lot of value can be had here.  Also, SWAG!!

Free Exams – DellEMC exams are free on the first try for each one.  Take advantage of this.  By visiting the Proven Professional area you can also pick up some nice swag.

Entertainment – This is Vegas, there is plenty of entertainment.  The conference offers a Grand Opening Reception in the Solutions Expo on Monday, a Happy Hour on Tuesday, and the Appreciation Event on Wednesday.

Travel – Highly recommend arriving on Sunday.  You don’t want to miss the start on Monday and it gives you the opportunity to network and meet with people you may only see once a year.  Last year I left early Thursday. This year I am leaving Early Friday.  The reason is that Thursday is a day dedicated to Breakouts and it’s the perfect opportunity to make up for any possible breakouts you may have missed.  You will find that you make a plan for each day and it changes as things arise.

More DellEMC World 2017 Posts to come!!

Rubrik 3.1 Release Details

My current role has me focusing on Data Protection in depth, which has been a passion of mine for a long time.  I have recently started diving into Rubrik and I believe this product is great solution for protecting your data.  Below is a breakdown of the latest release of 3.1 and the continued improvements and added features of the platform.

Native (Physical) Windows Protection

  • Granular File & Folder Level Protection
  • Incremental-Forever Backups
  • Automatic Connector Upgrades
  • Secure Cloud Archival
  • Pre and Post Scripting Features
  • Full Integration with Compliance Reporting
  • Support for Windows Server 2008 R2, 2012 and 2012 R2

There are a few Recovery Options for Windows Servers

  • Restore (in place)
    • Overwrite the original or create a new folder
    • Preserve ALCs and Timestamp
  • Export (out of place)
    • Export to another Windows Server
    • Preserver ACLs and Timestamp
  • Download Locally
    • Download files to the machine from where the administrator is running the Rubrik Web Interface

SQL Server Failover Clustering and other Improvements

  • Complete support of Microsoft SQL Servers running on WSFC Clusters
  • Automatically recognize a WSFC and creates a dedicated Failover Cluster Tab
  • Automatic failover following to the active node

Advanced Export Options

  • A SQL Server database can have multiple data and log files in various locations
  • User can specify where each file goes, individually, during an Export Operation

Other Improvements

  • Source side Compression and Decompression
  • SQL Server 2016 fully supported
  • Cross Version Restore – Support for restore to the same or newer version

Rubrik Envision

  • Create and customize reports to manage, share and visualize analytics for data management, compliance, and utilization.
  • Build your own or select from the system-built reports
  • Schedule emails in HTML-5 or download on-demand Excel reports
  • There are over 15 Attributes and almost 40 measures available

Software Encryption

  • AES-256 Encryption
  • Multiple Encryption modes used for speed
  • Key wrapping for higher security & secure cluster erasure
  • Supports encryption on a 1 Brik cluster
  • Internal Key Management via TPM
  • Support for all r300 series Briks

Other Enhancements

  • New design based on customer feedback to be “Host” centric
  • 100% Customer Driven Upgrades
    • Self-service upgrades via CLI
    • Simple workflow just download the upgrade file, upload to cluster, issue upgrade command
    • Enables scalable ROBO growth using the Rubrik Edge Virtual Appliance
  • vSphere Improvements
    • Manual vCenter refresh form the GUI
    • Restore directly to ESXi hosts
  • In-Place File Restore – Linux VMs
  • Log & Support Bundle Download
    • Download support bundle so it can be sent to Rubrik Support
  • Extended Timeframes for Dashboard and System charts from 4 hours to 24 hours


Upgrading Unity VSA

Upgrading the software on Unity VSA is simple and I wanted to post this so you can be prepared for the steps involved.

Login and go to the top right of the page.  Click on the settings option.


Under the Software and Licenses section select the Software Upgrades option.  You can download the software from this page or just login to EMC Support directly and download the upgrade file.

The first thing you want to do is to perform a health check.


Verify that you want to Preform the Health Check. If the health check fails the errors will be listed and you need to contact EMC supprt to have these fixed before continuing.


Once the health check is clean you are good to start upgrading. Select Start Upgrade.


The Health Check option comes up in the first stage.  If you have not done a Health Check make sure you run it before continuing.


Upload the upgrade file


You will specify if you want to have the Storage Processors reboot automatically. A reboot will be required to finish the upgrade.


Finish the Wizard and let the upgrade begin


Below is a list of the steps that it takes and how long each one will take.


When it gets to the reboot phase you will get a Connection Lost message.  It took about 15 – 20 minutes before I was able to log back in.


Once you log back in, confirm Unity VSA is on the correct code version.


This completes the software upgrade!

New Features in Unity 4.1

DellEMC just released Unity 4.1. Listed below are the release notes on the New Features of Unity in the release of

Hardware enhancements

Data-in-Place conversions
Data-in-Place conversions are a procedure by which a storage processor assembly can be upgraded, while keeping all data and configurations in place. This procedure is offline, meaning data will be unavailable during the upgrade.

Reduced number of restarts when adding I/O modules
The system now restarts fewer times after adding I/O modules.

Reset and hold
A new state has been added, hold-and-reset, which allows for easier I/O module replacement. The system no longer needs to be completely powered down or placed in service mode.

Direct Current (DC) 15-slot DAE
A new 15-slot direct current disk array enclosure is now supported on Unity.

1Gbe SFP support
Unity now supports 1Gbe connections with a new Small Form-factor Pluggable (SFP)[for CNA].

Long distance, single mode 16Gb FC SFP support
Unity now supports long distance, single mode 16Gb connections with a new Fibre Channel SFP.

Storage efficiency enhancements

This release introduces compression for thin LUNs in all-Flash pools. New data is compressed on the initial write from the host. Compression stops for new writes when sufficient resources are not available, and resumes automatically once enough resources are available. Data that cannot be compressed is detected, and is written uncompressed.

When you enable compression, only new data is compressed, not data that already exists on the LUN. In order to compress existing data, you must move the LUN’s data to a destination LUN that has compression enabled. Use the new Compress Now feature to move the data. In Unisphere, navigate to Block > LUNs, select the relevant LUN, and then select More Actions > Compress Now.

If you need to convert a pool to a hybrid pool (consisting of both Flash and non-Flash drives), any LUNs that use compression must be deleted or moved. Hybrid pools cannot have compression enabled, and you cannot create a compression-enabled LUN in a hybrid pool. An all-Flash pool can contain both compression-enabled and non-compression enabled LUNs.

LUN move
This release introduces the capability to move a LUN. The LUN move session feature lets you move existing LUNs in the system:

  • To a pool with faster drives.
  • Between pools for load balancing.
  • To take advantage of newly purchased spindles.
  • To enable compression (for either newly-written data or both newly-written data and existing data) on a thin LUN in an all-Flash pool. Note that if you choose to compress existing data, the LUN data is moved within the same pool.

You can move a member LUN in a Consistency Group. If it has associated snapshots, they will be deleted once the move completes successfully. You can also move a VMFS LUN. A maximum of 100 move sessions are allowed, with a maximum of 16 allowed to be in progress simultaneously. Any additional sessions are queued, up to the 100 maximum limit. While a LUN is being moved, you can view the status from the LUN Summary and LUN Properties windows. Once completed, the LUN move status can be viewed for up to 3 days from the same two windows.

Flash drive enhancements

  • Support for SAS Flash 4 drives in all Flash pools. SAS Flash 4 drives are one-write-per-day drives.
  • Support for a mixture of SAS Flash 2, SAS Flash 3, and SAS Flash 4 drives in the same Extreme Performance tier.
  • Support for SAS Flash 3 drives in a hybrid pool. (A hybrid pool consists of both Flash and non-Flash drives).

File enhancements

IP multi-tenancy
This release supports IP multi-tenancy (separate IP namespaces), which provides the ability to assign isolated, file-based storage partitions for NAS servers on a storage processor. Tenants are used to enable the cost-effective management of available resources, while at the same time ensuring that tenant visibility and management is restricted to assigned resources only. Each tenant will have their own VLAN domain, routing table, IP firewall, Domain Name Service (DNS), and network namespace.

Multiple IPs per NAS server and advanced static routing
You can now associate multiple IP addresses with each NAS server in the storage system. This enables you to connect the same NFS or SMB/CIFS share to different IP networks for different purposes. For example, you could use one IP network for testing and another IP network for replication sessions.

To support having multiple IPs per NAS server, Unity now offers advanced static routing. Earlier versions of Unity handled communication from a NAS server to external services, such as LDAP and DNS, through a default gateway. Now, you can configure specific routes between NAS servers and external services to support more complex network topologies.

Events Publishing
Events Publishing allows third-party applications to register to receive event notification and context from the storage system (NAS servers) when accessing file systems by using the SMB/CIFS or NFS protocols. The Events Publishing agent delivers to the application both event notification and associated context in one message. Context may consist of file metadata or directory metadata that is needed to decide business policy.

IP Packet Reflect
IP Packet Reflect functionality for NAS servers ensures that outbound (reply) packets always exit through the next hop gateway through which inbound (request) packets entered. Because the majority of network traffic on a NAS server (including all file system I/O) is client-initiated, the NAS server can use IP packet reflect to reply to client requests. IP packet reflect is disabled by default.

Multiprotocol enhancements
Multiprotocol now supports range locking, directory renaming, and local file support as an alternative to NIS or LDAP for UDS. Minimum allocated size for a thin file systems You can now set a minimum size for a file system. This will prevent a thin file system from shrinking below this size if auto-shrink is enabled.

Cloud Tiering Appliance (CTA) support through DHSM
CTA 11 now supports archiving from a source Unity system to CTA Cloud destinations for NFS and SMB clients using Distributed Hierarchical Storage Management (DHSM) offline file support over HTTP.

Protection and mobility enhancements

Data Import
The Data Import feature allows you to a migrate data from an existing VNX (source VNX1 or VNX2) storage system to a Unity (target) storage system. This feature provides a built-in capability for file-based imports with minimal or no disruption to clients. It also provides a built-in capability for block-based imports, but cutting over of a block import session will be disruptive.

You can manually import a virtual data mover (VDM) (including all its associated filebased storage, network, and configuration information) from a VNX storage system to a Unity storage system. For a VDM import, ensure that the VNX1 OE is or later or the VNX2 OE is 8.1.x or later.

You can manually import block LUNs, or a Consistency Group (CG) of LUNs, from a VNX storage system to a Unity system. Block import leverages the SANCopy feature on the VNX storage system to push data to the Unity system. For a LUN or CG of LUNs import, ensure that the VNX1 Block OE is 5.32.x or later or the VNX2 Block OE is 5.33.x or later.

The source and target systems involved in a data import use different file system types (UFS32 and UFS64). After an import completes successfully it is expected that the target system’s file system and related directory sizes may be different than those of the source.

Snapshots enhancements for LUNs
You can attach multiple snapshots of a LUN or LUN group to a host or group of hosts simultaneously. At the attach time, you define the set of hosts which should have access to the snapshot. When attaching a snapshot and specifying the list of hosts for I/O, you can define a read-only or read-write access type for each host. A snapshot refresh operation updates the snapshot to the current state of its base LUN or consistency group.

Interversion replication
Block and file replication are supported between Unity 4.0 and Unity 4.1 versions. A VDM can be migrated between a 4.1.x and 4.0.1 system, but cannot be migrated to a 4.0.0 system. Note that if some 4.1 file-related features are in use on the source system, replication to a 4.0 destination system is not allowed. After replication is configured between a Unity 4.0 destination and Unity 4.1 source system, some 4.1 features cannot be enabled on the source system. These features include support for CTA 11.0, Events Publishing, Multi-protocol enhancements, and IP Multi-tenancy.

Serviceability enhancements

Real-time metrics
This release supports the collection and analysis of real-time metrics for system resources, LUNs, file systems, Fibre Channel ports, Ethernet ports, iSCSI interfaces, and drives. Real-time metrics display data collected during the current session, over a maximum time range of 15 minutes.

With real-time metrics charts, you can compare changes in performance across multiple metrics, such as network traffic, bandwidth, and throughput. You can also analyze data at the aggregated level using line charts, to quickly determine whether there are any performance issues.

Quality of Service Enhancements
Several enhancements have been made to host I/O limits (as known as quality of service) settings.

  • Individual host I/O limit policies can be paused and resumed separately from the system-level setting, which applies to all policies globally.
  • Density-based I/O limits scale with the amount of storage that is allocated to the storage resources they are applied to.
  • An I/O limit policy can be configured to use burst control settings. This option allows traffic to exceed the base policy limit by a percentage of the base limit. User specified parameters determine the amount, duration, and frequency of the traffic burst.
  • Historical data for a shared I/O limits policy can be exported for external processing or analysis.

CloudIQ Link and Launch
This release adds a CloudIQ button in Unity Unisphere that automatically launches the CloudIQ dashboard.