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The VMware 100

I have been accepted into an exclusive club in the VMware community named “VMware Influencer 100 Club” . Nice words from VMware state that I had been identified as one of the most powerful voices in the VMware community. I say that is 20 years in the making! 20 years and still working with Vmware tech. 20 years and still making noise about VMware. so here’s to the next 20 years…Hopefully, I’ll be retired by then #VMware 

SysAdmin Horror Stories – FREE eBook

Last year’s ebook, SysAdmin Horror Stories Vol1 by Altaro, highlighted some of SysAdmins’ funniest and most horrifying stories. It proved so successful, that Altaro decided to produce a second edition this year: they’ve gathered some more real-life stories to share with you, that are both funny and horrific!

We all know that a SysAdmin’s job is no easy task, and apart from constantly having systems to update, bugs to fix and users to please, SysAdmins encounter all sorts of situations throughout their careers. From tech situations to funny anecdotes, terrible mishaps or incidents with colleagues, this eBook includes real stories of what SysAdmins go through on a daily basis.

It’s very easy to download as no registration is required. Click on Download and it’s yours. It includes more than 20 short stories but this one is my personal favourite 😊.

Backup Product Review

5 years ago, I was asked to review a beta of a backup product called Altaro. 5 years on, I’m reviewing the product to see how far it has come along. The first step is to download a copy of the software from Altaro.com, which was painless, and I went for the 30-day full trial. It has to be said they have a free community edition too, which is great for those who want to protect their home labs.

As before, I’m scoring my experience 0 to 5 . 0 being bad and 5 being really good.

I will review/evaluate Altaro using my home lab based on VMware vSphere 7.

Ease of prerequisites:

  • As you can see, its just a single executable and straightforward install.
  • I only had to deploy a windows server that met the perquisites >HERE<
  • Altaro installed any prerequisites for me
  • Score = 4 – I kept the score the same as I’m a believer in the virtual appliance way of doing things and never happy having to deploy a windows licensed VM

Ease of Install:

  • Super simple to install
  • Next next next, that’s all it took. Really it is that simple to deploy
  • Score = 5

Time to Deploy:

  • Very very quick install. It took no time at all. If you compare install time to other products on the market, you’ll know setup time can be mundane.
  • Score = 5

Ease of post-install config:

  • Prompts you to walk through steps
  • Very simple to attach the source i.e. Vmware or Hyper-V
  • Target locations can be a physical disk or network share
  • And my favorite option is a secondary offsite target, which can be an S3 type bucket on one of the public clouds.
  • Score = 4 < I upgraded the score from 2015 down to its pure simplicity

Ease of setting up a job:

  • This part always catches me off guard. I’m not sure if I’m doing it wrong, but I cannot figure out how to select I want a whole datacenter to be backed up and right now the expectation is to choose each VM one by one into a standard backup
  • However again Altaro is flipped on its head. The idea is to set up the schedule first then add-in source machines later. To do that, you simply drag and drop the infrastructure to the schedule.
  • Score = 4 < upgraded due UX experience. Software shouldn’t be complicated to use, and Altaro is very straight forward.

Restore Job Realization:

  • Completed no hassle
  • Nice extra feature I didn’t see last time was boot from VM. Not the only product that can do this but nice to see here
  • Score = 4

Restore Performance:

  • Time to complete restore is 3 minutes to restore a VM. No issues there:
  • Score = 4

File-level Restore:

  • Fairly Straight forward but no option for direct restoration.
  • Unsure about which file-systems it supports. < update still doesn’t seem to have Linux file-system support and offers a workaround with the boot from backup option. Altaro??? This is a must feature!
  • Score = 3

Self-service Portal:

  • Last time I scored this as a 0, but you’ll see later that having a documented API now is the key to self-service functionality, and to offer that in an external CMP solution like vRA or CloudBolt.
  • Score = 3 < upgraded

 Ability to Backup VSS Apps:

  • Has VSS function
  • Option to truncate logs too
  • Score = 5

Support for physical server:

  • Last year Altaro released a free community tool to allow you to Backup a physical server and restore it as VMs. Great as now there is a solution for physicals, but the contention I have with this is that the reason you might have physical servers is that you cannot run the application on a VM. So ending up with a restore on a VM might not be advantageous. I upgraded the score as it’s a big improvement on 2015, but needs more work. To find out more about this tool Click >HERE<
  • Score = 3

 DR capabilities:

  • Offsite capabilities. This is a must for some organizations. This negates the need to store an offsite tape, for example.
  • Since 2015 a replication feature has been added, which allows you to replicate to an Altaro Offsite Server. The Offsite Server acts as a target for copying backups over to a remote location. In a disaster, you can boot up at the remote site.
  • Score = 5 < big upgrade in the score since 2015

 

Data Availability:

  • Nice sandbox feature
  • Score = 4

 API functionality:

  • Update since 2015 – now documented REST API
  • This is a must IMO since I work in a managed services setting and the lead in automation in my company. No API, No Automation. Click >HERE< to review the API documentation
  • Score = 4

Multi-hypervisor:

  • Hyper-V
  • VMware
  • Score = 3. Seems low but comparable to other products on the market.

Multi-Cloud:

  • Only as an offsite target
  • No cloud support for source infrastructure. This is a gap for me. Altaro is a great (one of the best) products for on-prem virtual infrastructure but is behind on cloud support. You could argue that most companies are still on-prem, but given what just happened in COVID19 we see a surge of migration to cloud looming. No company wants to be responsible for an on-prem datacenter anymore.
  • Score = 2

 

Unreviewed feature:

  • O365 Backup – you can back up and restore all your Office 365 mailboxes and files stored in OneDrive and SharePoint through, and you can centrally manage and monitor your backups through Altaro’s cloud-based management console. You also get unlimited backup storage. Click >HERE< to find out more
  • Score = 4 < even though I didn’t review this feature, it’s a notable feature.

Bonus Feature:

  • In-app support chat – gotta love that, right? In the Altaro console, you fire up a chat window and talk to Altaro support staff. I didn’t have to wait more than a few seconds. I had no problems to report but just wanted to test what would happen. Awesome feature!
  • Score = 5

Conclusion – Altaro, while I’d like to see more cloud support, is a great solution. Reasonably priced and hits the mark for many organizations. It was super simple to use, and from an on-prem perspective doesn’t lack many features. If you know me and know me well, you know the whole API thing was at the top of my list of wants, and Altaro doesn’t disappoint there too. Overall a great product!

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