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VMware related material

Altaro the new VM backup solution on the block!

Given my background I’ve been kindly asked to review a beta of Virtual Machine backup product from Altaro. Altaro are not so well known in the VMware community but have been doing Hyper-V backup for some time. More recently they decided to take their simple functionality and apply it to backing up VMware VMs too. When I was asked do this the first thing that came to mind is I should perform and run through the same tests with Altaro that I did to the other products listed in the VM backup bake off paper I authored found >HERE<.

So this is what I found out through testing Altaro. Where applicable I also scored each test. Best score = 5

Ease of prerequisites:

  • Just a single executable and very simple install.
  • Only had to deploy a windows server.
  • Altaro installed any prerequisites for me
  • Score = 4

Ease of Install:

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

Time to Deploy:

  • Very very quick install. Took no time at all
  • Score = 5

Ease of post install config:

  • Prompts you to walk through steps
  • Not sure it has any transport mode other than NBD mode, although it is a beta
  • Score = 3

Ease to setup job:

  • Would love to see a walk though wizard . Although it has a different approach to scheduling. (Note: Altaro told me that this will be coming in v6)
  • Also has a nice drag and drop function so you can drop VMs into schedules.
  • Score = 3


Backup Job Realisation:

  • Backup completed smoothly and first time without hassle
  • Score = 5

Backup Performance:

  • Time to complete backup is 21 minutes. Now this is comparable to the other products I test in the VM Backup Bake off paper.
  • No Mb/s speed indication though. But I have to remember this is the Beta of v1


Integration with CBT:

  • Yes CBT integration
  • No CBT restore, not that I could find
  • Score = 4

Restore Job Realisation:

  • Completed no hassle
  • Nice feature to disable NIC on restore. Not only product to offer this though
  • Score = 4

Restore Performance:

  • Time to complete restore is 9 minutes. Again this is comparable to the other products I test in the VM Backup Bake off paper.


File-level Restore:

  • Fairly Straight forward but no option for direct restore.
  • Unsure about which file-systems it supports. Test was performed on NTFS
  • Score = 3

 Space Optimisation:

  •  Has compressed feature but unsure if  it offers any form of de-dupe (Note: I was informed it has in VM dedupe function)
  • Score = 3

 Self-service Portal:

  •  Could  not see any sign of self-service portal although this is beta product
  • This is important to my line of work.
  • Score = 0

 Ability to Backup VSS Apps:

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

 Ability to Backup non VSS Apps:

  •  Only with Pre-Freeze scripts, so I believe
  • Score = 3

 Support for physical server:

  •  I could not find this option
  • Score = 0

 DR capabilities:

  • Off-site capabilities
  • No replication function
  • Score = 3


Data Availability:

  • Nice sandbox feature
  • Score = 4


API functionality:

  • Unknown
  • In this day and age of SDDC and self-service API driven functionality is a most for me.


  •  Hyper-V
  • VMWare
  • Score = 2. Seems low but comparable to other products on the market.


  •  Very competitive cost with this product. Altaro license per host not CPU socket and the cost is £390


I believe I have been fair in my assessment of the product as with all the other products and I conclude that for a first attempt at dipping their toe in the VMWare space this is a very very good effort. Doesn’t do everything but will capture the requirements of most organisations. And the most compelling part is the cost. Out of all the products I have tested it was super super easy to install and setup. Drag and drop scheduling took a bit to get used to but maybe that’s the future. You can see from my test results there are a few features I would like to see but I cannot give Altaro a hard time as it’s a version 1 product for VMWare. 10 out 10 for effort.


VMworld Europe 2015

I believe this is my 10th year at VMworld and what a way to celebrate my blogs 10th anniversary. In past years having I’ve had too mix VMworld sessions with work and booth work, this year I think I have a bit of freedom to learn something. Anyway why don’t you join me and register > HERE <

vCO workflow parameters to request a vRA Catalog Item

OK playing around tonight with vRealize Orchestrator day I wanted to use the workflow from the vRA Plugin to Request a Catalog Item in vRA. In my case it was a Blueprint to deploy an Ubuntu server.

Now as a prerequisite you have to run a few other workflows to initiate your instance of vRA but you can find a plethora of blogs showing how to do that.

When I executed “Request a catalog item” workflow it failed. It was looking for parameters and I made an educated guess that the parameters where the parameters displayed when you requested a catalog item from vRA like CPU, Memory Storage etc.

When I ran the workflow without paramters vRO didn’t error but the request in vRA did with an error ‘Entries’ should not be empty which gave me the clue what the parameters were. My next attempt I tried to mimic the Item properties like VirtualMachine.CPU.Count . This time when I ran the workflow vRO failed and the complaint was it didn’t like the parameters. What I hadn’t noticed at first was in the log vRO was telling what parameters it was expecting:

[2015-07-02 18:59:25.124] [I] Accepted inputs:

[2015-07-02 18:59:25.125] [I] – provider-Cafe.Shim.VirtualMachine.NumberOfInstances

[2015-07-02 18:59:25.125] [I] – provider-Cafe.Shim.VirtualMachine.TotalStorageSize

[2015-07-02 18:59:25.125] [I] – provider-VirtualMachine.CPU.Count

[2015-07-02 18:59:25.125] [I] – provider-VirtualMachine.LeaseDays

[2015-07-02 18:59:25.125] [I] – provider-VirtualMachine.Memory.Size

[2015-07-02 18:59:25.125] [I] – provider-blueprintId

[2015-07-02 18:59:25.125] [I] – provider-provisioningGroupId


Of course after I added the CPU, Memory and Storage parameters (as above) while running the workflow it all worked :-) 

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