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Nov
22
Questions to ask about Cloud and Backup
Posted by Philip Elder on 22 November 2013 03:43 PM

Original Post Here: MPECS Inc. Blog: Questions to ask about Cloud and Backup

Local Backup To Cloud

Okay, let’s say our on-premises servers are being backed up to a local NAS or storage server.

From there they are copied up to an online Cloud backup service as the default off-site backup location. Assume at least a 10Mbit upload speed to allow for the initial image upload or a seed done via courier to the backup service provider.

Now, the on-site servers fail. The cluster or standalone host is hosed.

Then, it turns out that the backup destination NAS/storage server was also hosed.

What then?

Well, we have our off-site now don’t we?

Yeah, we do … sorta.

Even at 1Gbit/Second how long would it take to download the full backup image and its incremental images? If image consolidation was ongoing, okay fine, how long to bring down that full image and possibly the extra few incremental backups?

One would imagine that if a business is not able to tolerate at least two to three days of downtime just for the restoration process, never mind replacement hardware procurement, then one really needs to evaluate another tier of local storage for an off-site rotation.

Cloud Services and Storage

Well now, how about the Cloud service vendor’s services?

An SLA is only as good as the bond paper it is printed on right? Or, at least as good as the vendor making the promise that our data will never disappear.

Oh really?

What about the mailboxes on GMail that seemingly disappeared? Did they ever get fully recovered?

What about that Cloud based ERP and accounting solution? What do they do to protect the multi-million dollar company’s Solution in the event of an internal failure at the Cloud vendor’s site?

Thus, that begs the question: Does the Cloud service provider facilitate the ability to back up the Cloud based data set to our own premises? If not, it may be in the company’s best interest to look for other Cloud vendors that do provide a facility to back up the company’s data to on-premises.

We have all seen failures of all sorts at all levels of IT Solution sets.

Given the scale of Cloud computing and its relative newness it is only a matter of time before we see catastrophic failures at the Cloud service vendor level.

When that happens what will become of the business that now depends on that Cloud service provider to restore the service _and_ data back to the way things were but that does not happen?

Please remember that when it comes to technology we are not talking about an “if it happens” we are talking about a “when it happens“.

Being prepared whether the service is on-premises or in the Cloud is key to business survival in today’s hybrid environments.

Philip Elder
Microsoft MVP
MPECS Inc.
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen
Find out more at
www.thirdtier.net/enterprise-solutions-for-small-business/


Read more »



Nov
8

Original Published here: MPECS Inc. Blog: Cause For Pause: Accounting Firm Possibly Done In Due to Technician Error and Cryptolocker (reddit)

This article came across one of the lists I am a part of and really brought home our own experiences back when Backup Exec and Symantec spent three days working with us to recover a backup that in the end proved to be unrecoverable.

In the above case we were fortunate to have other methods in place to protect the data but we did end up losing the domain and 24 of a partner’s files out of 650GB of data (the failure was progressive – garbage in garbage out).

The BUE fail taught us to advocate strongly for us to be the ones to rotate the backups (the person responsible in the above case failed to rotate the two magazines) and to do a quarterly _full_ bare metal or hypervisor restore of the backup.

It also drove us to find a different backup and restore method that gave us portability for the backed up server along with good recoverability. We came across and have been running with StorageCraft’s ShadowProtect product ever since. Since then we have had some spectacular recoveries completed as a result of ShadowProtect and the skills learned via Jeff Middleton’s SwingIT migration methods.

One of the other lessons we learned early in our IT careers and is exemplified in the above article is the thoroughness with which we keep our client’s audit notes. We document absolutely _everything_ about their network setups. They get any updated versions after they have been updated. One can never be too sure!

A full bare metal/hypervisor restored backup is the ONLY known good backup. Period. Full Stop.

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen
Find out more at
www.thirdtier.net/enterprise-solutions-for-small-business/


Read more »



Sep
13
Why We Never Dedicate a NIC Port to a VM
Posted by Reprinted Article on 13 September 2013 09:39 AM

We never dedicate a NIC port to a VM. We always _team_ NIC ports. Generally there are two teams in standalone and cluster setups.

Team0: Management (Port 0 on NIC 0 and 1)

Team 1: vSwitch (Ports 1+ on NIC 0 and 1) – Dedicated

I kinda understand the logic of doing that, that is dedicating a NIC port to a VM. However, the whole purpose of virtualization is to separate the guest operating system from the hardware. So, one needs to break from that mindset.

There is no reason why the dual Intel quad-port configurations (8 ports total with 6 for the vSwitch) we do would have a problem with the in some cases 20+ VMs running on the host.

Team configuration exception to the rule would be for CAD/CAM/High Bandwidth needs:

  • Team0: Management (Port 0 on NIC 0 and 1)
  • Team1: vSwitch High I/O (Port 1 on NIC 0 and 1)
  • Team2: vSwitch General VMs (Ports 2+ on NIC 0 and 1)

That leaves a dedicated pair to the higher network bandwidth VM or VMs. We would leave VM density on Team1 at two or three maximum.

BTW, in a disaster recovery scenario having things teamed makes recovery a lot simpler. Trying to keep track of all of those vSwitch names mapped to what VM would be a real PITA when things were tense. Plus, getting all that configured would be that much more time wasted getting things back. Keep It Simple Sir

Oh, and one more thing: Why would one use a dedicated physical port on each node in a cluster for a highly available guest hosted on that cluster?

That leaves a single point of failure and yet we see that it is quite common for NIC teaming to not be used.

With NIC teaming now built into Windows Server 2012 RTM and newer there is no real reason to avoid teaming NICs or NIC Port groups to avoid that single point of failure.

So, when architecting a cluster setup please use NIC Teaming.

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen
Find out more at
www.thirdtier.net/enterprise-solutions-for-small-business/

Windows Live Writer


Read more »



Sep
13
Why We Never Dedicate a NIC Port to a VM
Posted by Reprinted Article on 13 September 2013 09:39 AM

We never dedicate a NIC port to a VM. We always _team_ NIC ports. Generally there are two teams in standalone and cluster setups.

Team0: Management (Port 0 on NIC 0 and 1)

Team 1: vSwitch (Ports 1+ on NIC 0 and 1) – Dedicated

I kinda understand the logic of doing that, that is dedicating a NIC port to a VM. However, the whole purpose of virtualization is to separate the guest operating system from the hardware. So, one needs to break from that mindset.

There is no reason why the dual Intel quad-port configurations (8 ports total with 6 for the vSwitch) we do would have a problem with the in some cases 20+ VMs running on the host.

Team configuration exception to the rule would be for CAD/CAM/High Bandwidth needs:

  • Team0: Management (Port 0 on NIC 0 and 1)
  • Team1: vSwitch High I/O (Port 1 on NIC 0 and 1)
  • Team2: vSwitch General VMs (Ports 2+ on NIC 0 and 1)

That leaves a dedicated pair to the higher network bandwidth VM or VMs. We would leave VM density on Team1 at two or three maximum.

BTW, in a disaster recovery scenario having things teamed makes recovery a lot simpler. Trying to keep track of all of those vSwitch names mapped to what VM would be a real PITA when things were tense. Plus, getting all that configured would be that much more time wasted getting things back. Keep It Simple Sir

Oh, and one more thing: Why would one use a dedicated physical port on each node in a cluster for a highly available guest hosted on that cluster?

That leaves a single point of failure and yet we see that it is quite common for NIC teaming to not be used.

With NIC teaming now built into Windows Server 2012 RTM and newer there is no real reason to avoid teaming NICs or NIC Port groups to avoid that single point of failure.

So, when architecting a cluster setup please use NIC Teaming.

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen
Find out more at
www.thirdtier.net/enterprise-solutions-for-small-business/

Windows Live Writer


Read more »



Aug
23
Dealing with an Emergency
Posted by Reprinted Article on 23 August 2013 08:06 AM

Some days are a bit tougher than others.

image

Apparently the big gap the kitten used to get into the back side of the box holding up the garage heating system’s water tank was not the way he ultimately decided to exit.

One of the major lessons learned over the years when it comes to confronting a serious problem is first to _not_ panic.

If the situation was dire, then there may be a need to put the back against the wall and squat down all the while doing controlled breathing exercises to gain a hold on the rush of adrenalin, fears, and angst that is surely to be happening.

Taking that first step to be somewhat calm in the midst of what could be utter chaos is critical.

From there, we need to walk through and discover as many steps as we can that led to the problem we are facing. Finding out as much information about the circumstances prior to the emergency can be very helpful in figuring out a diagnosis and the next steps to get out of the situation.

Yes, folks may be hovering over and repeatedly interrupting us as we try and work our way back into a functioning system. A gentle, “We are working on the situation, we will update you as soon as there are any changes” will go a long way towards reducing those interruptions that can actually pose a grave threat to a successful completion of the task(s) at hand.

Make sure to have paper and pens/pencils in hand. Write everything down.

We should have our own laptop/ultrabook/tablet and a cell modem set up. Also, we need to have the client’s network audit notes open and available for immediate perusal. Using our own equipment would help keep things calm and on the level due to being familiar with our own equipment.

In other words, in as much as we possibly can, be prepared.

Oh, and use caution if a drive will be required to get to the client site!

image

Needless to say he was stuck in there for quite a while before yours truly rescued him by getting him out the same way he got into that hole that was _just_ enough for his head to fit through!

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen
Find out more at
www.thirdtier.net/enterprise-solutions-for-small-business/

Windows Live Writer


Read more »



Aug
23
Dealing with an Emergency
Posted by Reprinted Article on 23 August 2013 08:06 AM

Some days are a bit tougher than others.

image

Apparently the big gap the kitten used to get into the back side of the box holding up the garage heating system’s water tank was not the way he ultimately decided to exit.

One of the major lessons learned over the years when it comes to confronting a serious problem is first to _not_ panic.

If the situation was dire, then there may be a need to put the back against the wall and squat down all the while doing controlled breathing exercises to gain a hold on the rush of adrenalin, fears, and angst that is surely to be happening.

Taking that first step to be somewhat calm in the midst of what could be utter chaos is critical.

From there, we need to walk through and discover as many steps as we can that led to the problem we are facing. Finding out as much information about the circumstances prior to the emergency can be very helpful in figuring out a diagnosis and the next steps to get out of the situation.

Yes, folks may be hovering over and repeatedly interrupting us as we try and work our way back into a functioning system. A gentle, “We are working on the situation, we will update you as soon as there are any changes” will go a long way towards reducing those interruptions that can actually pose a grave threat to a successful completion of the task(s) at hand.

Make sure to have paper and pens/pencils in hand. Write everything down.

We should have our own laptop/ultrabook/tablet and a cell modem set up. Also, we need to have the client’s network audit notes open and available for immediate perusal. Using our own equipment would help keep things calm and on the level due to being familiar with our own equipment.

In other words, in as much as we possibly can, be prepared.

Oh, and use caution if a drive will be required to get to the client site!

image

Needless to say he was stuck in there for quite a while before yours truly rescued him by getting him out the same way he got into that hole that was _just_ enough for his head to fit through!

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen
Find out more at
www.thirdtier.net/enterprise-solutions-for-small-business/

Windows Live Writer


Read more »




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