I have been in the industry over 23 years now and I have seen many backup solutions over those years, many of them increasingly getting more complex to use, as they started out simple and then add features over time but not changing the management interface and keep on bolting on features to create a monster solution. That all results in backups that are not proper configured or worse even forgotten to plan according to company SLA’s.. Staff that is confused how to use it and potential panic attacks when disasters strikes…
When I looked for the first time at Arcserve UDP I was really pleasantly surprised to see a fresh easy to use console, and not only that. It is also built with future in mind. In this second post of the UDP series, I will explain more about the Arcserve UDP console.
The console in UDP is web based, which makes it easy to use but also easy to maintain for the future, development can easily amend and add features into it without making it more complex. I find that the console itself looks fresh and clear. When logging into the console, it starts with the dashboard.
The dashboard gives you an overview of the status of the global backup environment. First of all, you see if all nodes are protected or if you have any issues. (Nodes are all protected machines where this is physical / virtual servers).
The second widget display the storage usage:
- Restorable data – the total amount of data that can be restored with UDP
- RAW data – the amount of data that UDP received from the source
- Actual data stored on disk after dedupe and compression
With the introduction of version 6.5 last week two new widgets are added to the dashboard:
- RPO Reporting
- RTO Reporting
The RPO reporting displays the number of nodes with available recovery points during the specified time period in the bar view categorised by age of latest recovery points. You can drill down on these by clicking on each bar to see node level status.
The RTO report is one of my favourite new features of 6.5. It displays the comparison of Recovery Time Actual and Recovery Time Objective values for all the executed recovery type of jobs, such as File system restore, VM recovery, BMR, Instant VM, and Assured Recovery. The values for RTO Objectives can be set in the SLA profiles. This way you can now create profile groups of servers determined on SLA and measure the actual time of recovery against it. New in 6.5 is Assured Recovery for which I will post later in series about.
Resources is the second tab on the console and it is here where the magic happens.
The resource tab is used to configure the backup environment per site, and the left pane is split into the following sections:
- Nodes – Here you can add / manage nodes for your site, you can also create groups and add specific nodes into a group for management overview per group. Addtional to the nodes you will see here any CIFS shares and Office 365 email domains that are protected.
- Virtual Standby – Manage the virtual standby machines, with UDP you can upfront clone a virtual machine (any source to either VMWare or Hyper-V and yes it is cross hypervisor) and each time a backup is taken from the source it will inject the VSB with the latest recovery point
- Plans – Here you can manage all your plans. You can create, modify, delete, deploy, pause, and resume plans from this view. And I will go into plans later in this post.
- Destinations – Manage your destination RPS server and recover points
- Infrastructure – This is where you can configure your sites, storage arrays for hardware snapshot integration and also setup your SLA Profiles
The Job tab is used to monitor your jobs, it is very easy to see how jobs are doing and from here you can get into logging per job by selecting a job and click view logs.
The next tab is reporting, this tab displays a list of reports that you can generate. You can apply filters to your reports to get specific reports. The reports are generated in CSV, PDF, or HTML formats. In the screenshot below is an example report for RTO, you see the rings from the dashboard but also you have a table per protected node and the actual times of any of the RTO options.
The other tabs in the console are the Log, Setting and High availability. I wont explain these in depth now as this will be a very long post J
The log tab displays all activity logs for the protected nodes, destination servers, data stores, and plans. You can view logs and apply various filters such as severity, specific node, logs generated from the machine, job IDs, and log content.
The settings tab lets you configure certain preferences such as which email server to use, set up administrator user ID and password, and define the default node deployment path.
The high availability tab lets you manage and control arcserve High Availability functions.
As mentioned earlier I will go a bit deeper into the plans, as this is a killer functionality for me. With a traditional backup solution you create a backup job and add nodes to it and select your destination and schedule. If you than want to add additional tasks you have to create another job or even use another product. With Arcserve UDP you can use a plan, and each plan is like a workflow. It contains a set of tasks which you can define.
The first task of a plan is always the backup job. After this you can add multiple tasks such as:
- Assured recovery testing
- Copy Recovery Points
- Copy to tape
- Replicate to remotely-managed RPS
- Virtual standby
You will have the ability to setup multiple similar tasks, for instance you can create two replication tasks to different sites
I will explain certain tasks in later posts as I will focus first on the backup job in today’s post. In my example we will use the plan Demo-AR-Cross Hypervisor. This plan consist of three tasks; Perform agentless backup of a VMware virtual machine secondly do an assured recovery test and lastly Virtual standby to a Hyper-V environment.
First of all, you select the source and I uses host based agentless backup type I can select all virtual machines from either VMware or Hyper-V environments.
You can select the RPS server and datastore with the destination tab
With the schedule tab you can select your protection schedule and your Recovery retention points. UDP provides easy to use Grandfather-Father-Son (GFS) scheme and you have the ability to add a customised backup schedule (for example every 15 minutes!). With some of the other tasks you have the option to use the latest recovery point created in the backup task or to set an different schedule and retention (for instance with replication)
At the Advanced Tab you select the snapshot type you would like to use, either software based or hardware based snapshots. (Version 6.5 supports Netapp, Nimble and HPE 3par storage arrays). If for any reasons the HW snapshot fails the backup will continue using software snapshot ensuring you will have a backup of the node(s).
Also in the advanced tab you can truncate the logs for SQL and Exchange and add pre and post backup job scripts and setup alerting.
In my example plan I have added two more tasks:
- Assured recovery
With the assured recovery task I have selected to run an instant virtual machine in a sandbox environment, once it is booted it will report backup to the UDP server and compare the time against the SLA profile time I set for Assured recovery testing, this way you are assured you can recover that virtual machine. You can add additional scripts into the test to check certain services to be started etc.
Lastly, I added a third task to create a virtual standby on a different hyper visor which is Hyper-V in my example. So when the backup job has run the recovery point will be made available into the standby virtual machine that sits in Hyper-V. If anything happens with the source virtual machine you can start the standby and users can keep on working.
I know this post is a bit lengthy, but I wanted to cover the basics of the console and as you can see it very easy to use for any environment. There are a lot of features I have not mentioned so far but over time I will cover these in my blog.
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