Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Protecting Server 2012 VMs on Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V go into Saved State

Monday, April 22nd, 2013


A buddy of mine recently ran into an issue were a 2008R2 Hyper-V host was running Server 2012 virtual machines.

SCDPM 2012 SP1 was being used to back up all the virtual machines. Some of the virtual machines running Server 2012 would go into a saved state during the backup process. With virtual machine backups we want them to stay online as we back them up.

Now it is always assumed the issue is with SCDPM but something that is still not clear after many years of SCDPM being on the market is that SCDPM is often dependent on the health of the servers it is protecting especially VSS.

The problem is not with SCDPM in this case the issue is on the Hyper-V host itself. If another backup product was being used in this case that also utilizes VSS on the server the same issue would occur. Here is an example of this same issue occurring while using Symantec backup Exec to protect virtual machines running on Hyper-V.


There is a way to see what state will be used on your virtual machines the next time a VSS backup is performed on them.

This will give you more insight into what is going on with your VM backups. Note that these results are from the Hyper-V VSS writer and therefore if you used Windows Server Backup, Backup Exec, or SCDPM the result would be the same.

To check this follow these steps.

Open an elevated command prompt and type the following syntax below:

copy con checkbackup.txt

list writers

Press CTRL + Z (this will save the checkbackup.txt file to the path you are in)


diskshadow /s checkbackup.txt | find /i "caption: backup using"

You should see similar output seen in the screenshot below. Now you will know what virtual machines will back up in a saved or online state the next time a backup is run.


The next step would be to troubleshoot this at the hyper-v host level. Here are some common items you can look at.

  • Backup (Volume Snapshot) Integration Service is disabled or not installed.
  • The virtual machine has one or more dynamic disks.
  • The virtual machine has one or more non-NTFS based volumes.
  • The virtual machine Cluster Resource Group in a cluster setup is offline.
  • The virtual machine is not in a running state.
  • A ShadowStorage assignment of a volume inside the virtual machine is explicitly set to a different volume other than itself.
  • An App-V drive is installed on the virtual machine that creates a non-NTFS volume.

If one of the previously mentioned items are not the issue ultimately you will need to upgrade the Hyper-V host to Server 2012. Hopefully this post was helpful. Here is a link to another blog about the requirements for online Backup of a Hyper-V guest virtual machine via Hyper-V VSS Writer:

Windows Server/System Center MVP Speaker Series Starting This Week!

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

We are launching a new Windows Server/System Center MVP Speaker Series this week!  This continuing education series of presentations will be delivered by some of our MVPs on various topics around Window Server and System Center.  The content will be deep dive, advanced, and very technical.  The MVPs are some of the most knowledgeable people about the products in the world,  especially when it comes to real world experience and practical application.

Anyone can attend because all of the meetings will be presented over Lync.  The meetings will also be recorded and made available afterwards for on demand viewing.

This week we will have two sessions and we’ll normally have one per week.  The two sessions coming up this week are:
•Automating Hyper-V Administration with PowerShell (Tuesday at 8:00 AM Pacific time)
•Keeping your CIO Happy: Executive Scorecarding with SQL, SharePoint, and System Center 2012 Operations Manager (Thursday at 8:00 AM Pacific time)

You can grab all the meeting invites for the speaker series from this location.

You will need the Lync 2013 client to be installed on your computer to view and hear the presentation.   You can download and install that from here.

Watch the Windows Server/System Center Partner and Customer Solutions blog for announcements on this series including the schedule for next quarter’s sessions.

Tell Microsoft How They’re Doing

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

The team at Microsoft Canada is focused on ensuring that they help set you up for success by providing the information and tools you need in order to be get the most out of Microsoft based solutions, at home and at work.

Twice a year, Microsoft sends out the Global Relationship Study (GRS for short); it’s a survey that Microsoft uses to collect your feedback and help inform their planning. If you receive emails from Microsoft, subscribe to their newsletters‚ or you’ve attended our any of their events you may receive the survey.

The important details:

  • Timing – March 4th to April 12th 2013
  • Sent From – “Microsoft Feedback”
  • Email Alias – “feedback@e–
  • Subject Line – “Help Microsoft Focus on Customers and Partners”

Many of you already read the Microsoft Canada IT Pro team’s blogs‚ connect with them on LinkedIn and have attended their events in the last year or so. So you may already know that you’re their top priority. So they want to hear from you.

Pierre, Anthony and Mitch use the GRS results to shape what they do, how they do it and if it’s resonating with you. Tell them what you need to be the “go-to” guy (or gal). Tell them what you need to grow your career. They want you to be completely satisfied with Microsoft Canada.

This year, Pierre, Anthony and Mitch have delivered 30 IT Camps and counting across the country. Giving you the opportunity to get hands on and learn how to get the most value for your organization. They have a few more events planned this year, so keep an eye on their plancast feed for events near you. Based on your feedback, topics they’re planning to cover will include:

· Windows 8

· Windows Server 2012

· System Center 2012

· Private Cloud

· BYOD – Management and Security

That’s not all. They’ve heard you loud and clear so in addition to hands on events, they’re also delivering more technical content online via the IT Pro Connection Blog. Windows 8 continues to be a big area of focus for them. They covered a lot of great content at launch and they’ve complimented that with new content like:

· Security Concepts

· Enterprise Focused Content

· Windows 8 and System Center 2012 Integration

In addition to this, there are some valuable online resources you can use like Microsoft Virtual Academy, Microsoft’s no-cost online training portal. Or software evaluations (free trials) on TechNet that allow you to build your own labs to try out what you’ve learned.

Regardless of how you engage with the team at Microsoft Canada‚ you’d probably agree that they hear you. They’d also encourage you to continue to provide that great feedback. They thrive on it‚ they relish it‚ they wallow in it and most importantly of all‚ they action it. So please keep connecting with them and keep it coming! Pierre, Anthony and Mitch are listening.

Resources, Tools and Training

· Tim Horton’s Gift Card Contest – We’re giving away 350 Tim Horton’s gift cards, all you have to do to qualify is download a free qualifying software evaluation (trial). Download all three for more chances to win, but hurry, the contest closes soon.*

· Windows 8 Resource Guide - Download a printable, one-page guide to the top resources that will help you explore, plan for, deploy, manage, and support Windows 8 as part of your IT infrastructure.

· Windows Server 2012 Evaluation – Get hands on with Windows Server 2012 and explore the scale and performance possibilities for your server virtualization.

· Microsoft Support - Get help with products‚ specific errors‚ virus detection and removal and more.

· Microsoft Licensing -Visit the Volume Licensing Portal today to ask questions about volume licensing‚ get a quote‚ activate a product or find the right program for your organization.

*No purchase necessary. Contest open to residents of Canada, excluding Quebec. Contest closes April 11, 2013 at 11:59:59 p.m. ET. Three-Hundred-and-Fifty (350) prizes are available to be won: (i) $10 CDN Tim Horton’s gift card.  Skill-testing question required. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries. For full rules, including entry, eligibility requirements and complete prize description, review the full terms and Conditions.

Deduplicate Microsoft DPM 2010 and 2012 Data

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Building on our highly successful and industry-exclusive DPM deduplication product family, BridgeSTOR now offers the next generation of data deduplication product optimized for Microsoft DPM 2010 and 2012.

CRUNCH for Microsoft DPM is the only product available today that brings proven, 2nd generation advanced data reduction to Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager environments. A BridgeSTOR Virtual Deduplication Appliance co-resides with DPM 2010 or 2012 in a Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V environment to add the most capacity-efficient DPM storage capability available today.

CRUNCH for DPM is optimized to interoperate with the unique storage workloads produced by DPM 2010 and 2012 when protecting Hyper-V, Exchange, SQL, SharePoint and shared/networked storage (NAS, CIFS) servers. Coupled with CRUNCH for DPM, Microsoft’s DPM can finally offer “bullet-proof” data protection with market-leading data storage efficiency.

The CRUNCH for DPM Product Offering

BridgeSTOR offers CRUNCH for DPM as a Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V Virtual Deduplication Appliance that typically operates as a Guest in the same physical server that acts as your DPM 2010 or 2012 server. CRUNCH for DPM is offered as a service (DaaS – Deduplication as a Service) that does not require you to make a capital expenditure.

The DaaS model is easy to understand with annual charges low and fixed. There are no hidden charges, surprises, “up-front” or one-time charges and no CAPEX is required.

Site and Enterprise service options are available. See the CRUNCH for DPM pricing page for details or contact a BridgeSTOR sales representative at

CRUNCH and System Center Data Protection Manager

Today’s DPM Capacity Management

DPM natively supplies two (2) storage tiers: 1) a disk tier for short term storage from which data can be quickly and conveniently recovered in the case of data loss or corruption and 2) a tape tier for long term storage and archive from which data can be recovered if it is no longer available from the disk tier.

This storage hierarchy is illustrated below. Native DPM

Today’s DPM Storage Hierarchy

The native Microsoft DPM storage hierarchy provides a balance between operational data recovery and long term data retention, but some users say that it has significant limitations in production environments. Because the long term data retention tier is based on tape – with tape a far less convenient media type for data recovery – many administrators view the tape tier as strictly an offsite disaster recovery tier. Increasing the size of the short-term disk tier to accommodate more recovery points or to protect more servers has traditionally been performed by adding disk capacity to the short-term data retention tier.

How CRUNCH for DPM Works

CRUNCH for DPM adds data deduplication to create a new, long-term disk storage tier that reduces short-term storage pool capacity requirements. CRUNCH for DPM’s capacity optimization is the ideal response to DPM’s voracious storage appetite and helps you extend the life of your in-place storage hardware.

CRUNCH for DPM is a true 2nd generation implementation of BridgeSTOR’s Advanced Data Reduction technology. The principal technological advance that enables BridgeSTOR to leap from previous implementations to CRUNCH is DDFS – the Data Deduplication File System. DDFS represents a breakthrough in cloud-enabled data deduplication that operates at both the file and sub-file (data block) level. Other key DDFS features that specifically address the unique requirements of DPM data deduplication are: block and file-level deduplication, Synthetic Data Archiving™ and an unlimited number of data Recovery Points.

CRUNCH for DPM enables deduplicated DPM data to be stored on disk configured as virtual tape.

The illustration below describes how CRUNCH for DPM deduplication is integrated into your DPM data protection environment. BridgeSTOR DPM

CRUNCH for DPM Data Deduplication

CRUNCH for DPM offers the following advantages and benefits:

  1. Most recoveries will be performed from short-term disk storage, so initial synchronizations, consistency checks and recovery point creations will proceed at native DPM speed.
  2. Less disk storage capacity is required to setup and maintain short-term DPM data stores because the length of time data is retained on that tier is reduced by shifting data to the new long-term tier.
  3. CRUNCH deduplication makes possible longer data retention periods using the new long-term disk tier with the potential of eliminating physical tape completely.
  4. Data stored by CRUNCH for the long term can be recovered from standard Windows shares without using DPM.
  5. Introducing Virtual Tape and disk-based data deduplication at the point where DPM archives data to tape creates a new long term disk data retention tier.
  6. Data is deduplicated only once – when being prepared for storage on the long-term tier – the deduplication process no longer has to be reversed for every read operation, greatly reducing processing overhead.
  7. CRUNCH for DPM is offered via an annual subscription so there is no capital expenditure required.

Microsoft’s System Center Data Protection Manager provides a comprehensive solution for data protection requirements in Windows Server, Exchange, SQL, SharePoint, file serving and Hyper-V environments as well as for corporate desktops and laptops. BridgeSTOR’s products provide transparent data deduplication to minimize storage pool capacity requirements.

The new generation of BridgeSTOR deduplication products for DPM addresses the following points:

  1. Introducing disk-based data deduplication at the point where DPM archives data to NAS disk or physical tape creates a new long term disk storage data retention tier.
  2. Data is deduplicated only once – when being prepared for storage on the long-term tier – the deduplication process no longer has to be reversed for every read operation, greatly reducing processing overhead.
  3. Performing deduplication at times of low system activity enables BridgeSTOR’s software to page the hash table in and out of memory, eliminating the need for multiple processors, large RAM configurations and Enterprise software licensing costs.

Specification Summary

  • CRUNCH for DPM is supplied as a software download in Microsoft VHD format that is installed on the same physical server that acts as your Microsoft DPM 2010 or 2012 server.
  • A single CRUNCH for DPM Virtual Appliance can manage 12 “containers” of physical storage capacity, each of which can be up to 4 TB in size (total of 48 TB of physical capacity).
  • Thin provisioning ensures that physical capacity additions can be performed gradually and incrementally.
  • 32GB of system memory in the Hyper-V server (or 8GB of RAM supplemented by 32GB of dedicated SSD storage) are recommended for optimal operation.
  • Throughput may be limited by constraints of the server and storage hardware you are using in your DPM system.

Accessibility Features of DPM Help

Sunday, January 27th, 2013
To do this Use this keyboard shortcut

Display the Help window.


Switch the cursor between the Help topic pane and the navigation pane (tabs such as Contents, Search, and Index).


Change between tabs (for example, Contents, Search, and Index) while in the navigation pane.

ALT + Underlined letter of the tab

Select the next hidden text or hyperlink.


Select the previous hidden text or hyperlink.


Perform the action for the selected Show All, Hide All, hidden text, or hyperlink.


Display the Options menu to access any Help toolbar command.


Hide or show the pane containing the Contents, Search, and Index tabs.

ALT+O, and then press T

Display the previously viewed topic.

ALT+O, and then press B

Display the next topic in a previously displayed sequence of topics.

ALT+O, and then press F

Return to the specified home page.

ALT+O, and then press H

Stop the Help window from opening a Help topic (useful if you want to stop a Web page from downloading).

ALT+O, and then press S

Open the Internet Options dialog box for Windows Internet Explorer, where you can change accessibility settings.

ALT+O, and then press I

Refresh the topic (useful if you have linked to a Web page).

ALT+O, and then press R

Print all topics in a book or a selected topic only.

ALT+O, and then press P

Close the Help window.


Backing up Applications with DPM 2012 SP1

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013


Most of us know what Data Protection Manager (DPM) can natively protect such as Windows OS starting from Servers 2003 through 2012 including files and critical server components such as system state. I often see folks confused on how to backup Microsoft and third party application using DPM, in this article I will enumerate the application that DPM supports natively and list other resources on how to back up the most common used applications and where to get information on how to backup them up properly, read on …

Application that can be protected natively

Exchange Server

SQL Server

SharePoint :


Disaster recovery

  • System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1) Data Protection Manager (DPM) (only on SP1).
  • System Center 2012 System Center 2012 – Data Protection Manager (DPM)

Applications that can be protected with DPM that it does not protect natively:

Dynamics CRM


Forefront TMG

System Center Operations Manager

System Center Configuration Manager

System Center Virtual Machine Manager

Team Foundation Server

QuickBooks Enterprise with DPM


Steve Buchanan wrote this blog on how to protect WordPress using System center orchestrator you can use  Orchestrator with DPM to protect your worldpress blog, after the Download WordPress Zip , you need to call a DPM activity “Create recovery Point” that backup the download location.

DPM 2012 Sizing for SQL Backup

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

I recently came across an issue with sizing DPM allocations for backing up SQL 2012. It was fun, really. Anyway, here are the key things you need to know in order to properly size the storage for backing up SQL with DPM.

  1. Data Source Size – The size of the database
  2. Retention Range – How many days you want to retain data for
  3. Log Change Rate – This is how much your logs change on a daily basis. The default is 10% and     I cannot see a reason to deviate from that for most systems.

Once you have all this info you need to run it through two equations to determine both the replica volume size and recovery point volume size. I’m going to walk through an example here where we have a 90,346MB database and want 14 day retention with 10% log change and a 90% alert threshold.

To determine the storage requirements of the replica volume, we have to take the data source size, multiply it by (the log change percent + 1) and then divide that by (the alert threshold – .05). Looks complex, doesn’t it? It’s really quite simple. In our example case, the numbers work out as follows:

imageNow that we know we need roughly 114 GB for our replica volume, we can move forward to calculating the recovery point volume storage requirements. This is another, slightly longer but no more complex equation. 2.5 multiplied by the retention range in days multiplied by the log change rate multiplied by the data source size plus 1600MB. As you’ve probably guessed by now recovery point volumes have much larger storage requirements than replica volumes. The numbers for our example case work out as follows:

imageNow that we know we have roughly 310GB required for the recovery point volume, we’re going to need a minimum of 424GB to back up our 88GB database.  While I haven’t seen it anywhere as a MS best practice, I would recommend adding a 20% premium on top of the calculations and allow yourself room to grow.

You are putting this on SATA storage, correct? There is really know reason to put it on speedy FC or SAS.

Does all traffic go thru the VPN?

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

I always get this question

Does all traffic go thru the VPN?

and my answer is : it depends , if you are using Windows VPN client you can bypass the VPN by going to the advanced TCP/IP properties and disabling Use Default Gateway on Remote Network will change the routing of your internet traffic.  You’ll still be able to access your office network, but then internet traffic will go to your network card’s default gateway locally (just like you were not connected to the VPN).

you might need to change our default route

   1: route add mask

How to move VM without exporting

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Hyper-V operates using a list of symbolic links in a specific directory: “C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Hyper-V\Virtual Machines”

Each link point to a VM configuration weather storage locally or on a cluster

This is how to move the VM without exporting,

  • Identify the GUID of the specific VM 
    Look in the directory location for the VM you wish to manipulate and note the name of the .XML file in the Virtual Machines subdirectory
    (I.e. D344B942-56AC-4H3B-97C6-9AA74828CD91.XML)
  • Delete the reference to this VM in Hyper-V Manager
    Go to C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Hyper-V\Virtual Machines, then delete the defernce for the VM with the name “D344B942-56AC-4H3B-97C6-9AA74828CD91”
  • Create new Link mklink <GUID>.XML <VMConfigPath.XML>
    This restores the reference to your VM in Hyper-V Manager.
   1: mklink D344B942-56AC-4H3B-97C6-9AA74828CD91.xml “C:\VMs\Mylab\Virtual Machines\D344B942-56AC-4H3B-97C6-9AA74828CD91.xml” 

  • Fix the Permissions
   1: icacls "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Hyper-V\Virtual Machines\<GUID>.xml" /grant "NT VIRTUAL MACHINE\<GUID>" :( F) /L

   1: icacls "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Hyper-V\Virtual Machines\<GUID>.xml" /grant "NT VIRTUAL MACHINE\<GUID>" :( F)

How to register (or re-register) a DLL or OCX file

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Go to the Run item on the Start Menu, and type: CMD

regsvr32 <path & filename of dll or ocx>