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Yesterday Veeam released V5 of it’s Backup and Replication product, a number of the UK bloggers celebrated with Ricky and the Veeam UK team at IPExpo with Vodka in true Veeam fasion!











We have been talking about it since the initial glimpses of information started being released in February this year.

Since then there has been snippets of information drip fed to us but today we finally get to learn all about it.








The first point that should be noted is that there is going to be for the first time 2 versions, Standard and Enterprise, the PDF below explains the difference between the versions and the good news is that Customer licenses under maintenance as of June 30, 2010, are eligible for a free upgrade to Enterprise Edition. Press Release

I have been lucky enough to have been running V5 beta in my home lab for a few weeks and I have been very impressed. Some of the main features in this new release are as follows.

Universal Application Item Recovery – The ability to be able to recover granular elements from any application backed up by Veeam, In addition to this Veeam are also releasing 3 wizards to allow simple recovery of AD, SQL and Exchange elements. You will be amazed when you see these in action!

Indexing of backups – All backups can now be fully indexed to mean you can easily search for that file you need to recover but the user can’t tell you when they deleted it.

Instant Recovery – You are now able to instantly recover a VM from a Veeam backup, the VM will be booted from the compressed backup directly onto your chosen host via NFS which is part of Veeam Backup 5. You are then able to storage vMotion your VM back onto your datastore or cold migrate it at a more convenient time.

Network less application aware processing VSS no longer requires a direct connection from the Veeam server to the VM. This could be very useful in DMZ environments!

The ability to be able to exclude HD’s on a per VM basis – This is much needed!

Surebackup – Automated recoverability verification of every backup

Labs – The ability to roll out a lab of your server at a click of a button, very useful for testing upgrades, problem solving etc.

Below is a screen shot of the left hand pain in V5, the first thing we notice is the new sections, instant recovery in the restore options and the whole Surebackup section.











First the instant recovery section, you can simply right click and choose to run a VM from backup, a wizard will then open to guide you through the process.








Next the Surebackup section, work from the top to the bottom with this section. First we start by creating our application groups, the application groups are created to allow verifcations, U-AIR recoveries and LABs of certain applications.

For exmaple for your Sharepoint enviroment you may create a Sharepoint application group with a DC, Sharepoint Front End and Sharepoint Back End.

Next you create yours labs, your lab contains all the information that will be used when doing a verification, recovery or sandbox. You choose a host, a datastore for redo logs and networking, including a proxy to allow access to and from production from the lab bubble.








Finally you have the job which pulls it all together, I created two jobs, one for verification and one for recovery the difference between these two was the following setting

The U-AIR recovery and the wizards uses a small piece of software called Virtual Lab Manager, this can be installed on the application administrators machine, they are then able to request a lab with the relevant machines. This is then approved by the backup administrator via the Veeam Enterprise Manager website.






I am planning on doing a deeper dive on using these features in the next few days.

Veeam in my opinion have done it again, from past experience backup can be one of the pain points within your environment and from my experience Veeam just works!  and works well! With minimal fuss you can have a reliable easy to use backup that you can relay on and with these new enhancements we can now retire old agent based products that we have been using for granular level recovery.

For more information head over to the product page on Veeam’s website >>

Home Lab Update

August 7, 2010 — 5 Comments

An update on my home lab post that I did earlier in the year >>

I have been running my Home Lab stage 2 since February this year and it has been a fantastic asset for my continual education. I have completed a number of beta’s and familiarised myself with a lot of new software using it. Shortly after the initial build I found I was suffering from the performance of the SATA disks, causing the system to slow down and feel like sludge when I have a large number of virtual machines running. At this time I looked into the cost of SSD’s and was unable afford this upgrade so I purchased 3 cheap SATA disks to spread the VM’s amongst the different disks. This solved the problem temporarily but I still wasn’t very happy with the performance.

With the launch of vSphere 4.1 it was time to crank the lab up and after a bit of reading I decided it was time to invest in a SSD.

Below are some of the blog posts I read when deciding whether an SSD was the right thing to purchase for the home lab

After reading these posts particularly I decided an SSD was the right thing to do, price and capacity was more important than performance for me as I was pretty sure any SSD would be better than my current SATA setup. In the end I went for the same drive as Simon Gallagher on the Kingston SSDNow vSeries 128Gb SSD.

Not only was the price and capacity right on this drive but as it came with a desktop mounting kit it meant I didn’t have to think about buying any convertors or cradles etc.

The drive arrived the very next day as I had paid for a Saturday deliver and I was quick to unbox and get it installed.

The SSD was soon unboxed, it comes complete with power and SATA adapter to use with a desktop PC (Or my ML115) a cradle to mount it in a 3.5″ enclosure and a data transfer CD (This was binned).

The drive was quickly converted ready to be mounted in the ML115 and installed in my server.

I took this opportunity to upgrade the lab to ESXi 4.1 GA, the plan was to run ESXi 4.1 installed onto one of the SATA drives, I would then have a number of infrastructure machines from this instance of ESXi running on top of the SSD. As well as these infrastructure machines such as a DC, vCenter etc I would create several nested ESXi servers and use a virtual appliance for some shared storage.

I decided on this setup, as for day to day usage I would run the one ESXi server with my DC, vCenter etc. This would allow me to test new releases and third party software etc. When a cluster was then required I could boot the VSA and the nested ESXi hosts, a cluster in a single box solution means no more expense on additional hosts. I decided to use the HP Lefthand VSA for the storage as it’s a product that I am familiar with. The key part to make this work on top of the relatively small capacity was to thin provision absolutely everything.

The following volumes are now available on my home lab

VMFS1-3 are SATA disks connected directly to the ML115 motherboard, note the onboard RAID controlller isn’t recognised by vSphere. VMFS4-SSD is the new SSD drive and SharedVMFS1-SSD is a LUN presented by the Lefthand VSA located on VMFS4-SSD.

A 50Gb thin provisioned LUN has been configured on the lefthand VSA as follows

These are the virtual machines in my environment at present, note ESX2 and 3 in the host cluster are the nested ESXi hosts. These are currently turned off hence the hosts in the production cluster are not visible.

With over 300Gb of provisioned virtual machine disks and 10Gb of ISO’s on my 128Gb SSD I still have 40Gb of free space thanks to thin provisioning.

I could also relocate some of the VM’s or individual disks to the SSD’s for a more tiered storage system once I start to fill up the SSD.

Now for the main reason for purchasing the SSD performance, I am pleased to report I am amazed. I am able to run all these virtual machines with no issues what so ever. I haven’t done any number crunching but the fact I am able to run what I need with ease makes me very happy. Previously when the VM’s were running on SATA I would often have significant lag when trying to interact with them.

The final very small change is i’m now running a small piece of wake on lan software on my Mac so when ever I want I can wake my homelab up without visiting the server it’s self, ultimate laziness when sat on the sofa! All my VM’s then start in the needed order using the Virtual Machine Startup and Shutdown options in configuration on the physical ESXi host.

As anyone that reads my blog on a regular basis will know I am a big fan of vEcoShell (VESI) Vizioncore are currently running a number of webinars surrounding this and its other projects. Full details, times and registration information can be found on there website

The first one in the series took place last week and discussed the basics and there was also the news that vEcoShell was finally coming out of Beta and will remain free!!!

I will be doing some more functionality specific blog post surround vEcoShell shortly.

My first VMUG

March 2, 2010 — 2 Comments

Last week I attended my first VMware User Group meeting, the meeting took place on 25th February in central London. The agenda for the day was as follows.

1100 – 1200 (Optional) PowerCLI / Powershell workshop – Alan Renouf. Please bring your own curly brackets.
12:30 – 13:00 Arrive & Refreshments
13:00 – 13:20 Welcome & News – Alaric Davies
13:20 – 14:00 Sponsor Presentation – Chris Hammans, Pano Logic
Real world vSphere deployment experiences – Stuart Thompson
(Mostly) Zero downtime DC migration for Dummies – Jonathan Medd
15:00 – 15:20 Refreshment break
ESX home lab update, virtualizing Terminal Server workloads – Simon Gallagher
Thin provisioning and capacity planning in a virtual world – Chris Evans, ‘The Storage Architect’
Bringing the Cloud Down to Earth – Stuart Radnidge, vinternals
16:45 – 17:00 Close
17:00 – Pub!

I didn’t really know what to expect from the day but hoped I would meet up with a lot of the community members and pick up some tips and tricks. I wasn’t disappointed by the contents of the day!

I joined in from 11am and saw Alan Renouf’s PowerCLI workshop that was focusing on automating the configuration of ESXi! A copy of Alan’s presentation can be found here >> as when ever I read one of Alan’s blog posts or meet up with him it inspires me to learn more with PowerCLI! Also loved Alan’s presentation he made it  using and it was very refreshing compared to the usual Powerpoint presentation!

I enjoyed listening to Carter Shanklin’s (Vmware product manager for PowerCli) presentation, I was pleased to learn that VMware View 4.5 would feature PowerCli cmdlets and that there is a PowerCli training course coming! (whether I will be able to persuade work to put me on it is another thing 🙂 )

Simon Gallagher’s home lab update made me realise that an SSD drive was probably the way to go for my home lab. I like Simon have began to feel my system get sluggish when multiple VM’s are booted on the SATA disks. I have just purchased two faster SATA disks so will see how I get on with them first! Blog post about it here >>

Both Jonathan Medd and Stuart Thompson’s real world experience presentations were very insightful and glad to hear people are experiencing some of the issues that we all face on a daily basis. Stuart Thompson’s design surrounded vSphere and HP C7000 blade chassis with SRM which was of huge interest to me as I have a similar project coming up soon.

The final presentation was by Stuart Radnide (@vinternals) and was surrounding considerations and planning aspects on a cloud deployment. This was very thought provoking session and was good to hear all the aspects that had to be taken into consideration. Presentation here >>

My favourite part of the day was meeting the people of the VMware community, catching up with a few people I had met before Alan Renouf, Matt Roblin and Stuart Radnide and meeting some for the first time. I finally met Tom Howarth, Mike Laverick!, Carter Shanklin Simon Long, Simon Gallagher, Chris Dearden, Daniel Eason, Jonathon Medd and Michael Poore plus many more as usual they were all top people willing to chat virtualisation and Tom Howarth even saving my life as we walked to the pub (must remember not to stand in the middle of the road!)

Below are a few picture I tweeted from the event.


Alan Renouf’s option session on configuring ESXi with powershell


The witty banter starts “More Power CLI to come from"Carter, The unstoppable sex machine"


Many Thanks to Ricky, Veeam and Jason Boche for my calendar!

4trjoRicky from Veeam for keeping quite about Surebackup!


Alaric kick the day off


Simon Gallagher, home lab update.

  pcoa  Stuart Radnide (@vinternals) Bringing the cloud down to earth.

A big thank you to all those that put time into organising and presenting on the day, VMware for the beers, Pano Logic for sponsoring and presenting (will blog a bit more about Pano Logic specifically when I learn a bit more about their Zero Clients and software!) but most of all to all the VMware community members! I hope to be able to make it to some more VMUG’s in the future work permitting!

Had the above issue this afternoon whilst installing vCenter on my home lab. After disabling Windows Firewall and Internet Explorer Enhanced Security the install went through without error.

Home Lab

February 14, 2010 — 6 Comments

Over the past month a number of people in the VMware community have been blogging and discussing their home labs. I have taken this opportunity to update my home lab, up until now my home lab has consisted of the following.

Desktop PC with the following hardware


StarWind’s Free iSCSI Target 

VMware Workstation and 2 nested ESX servers on top of VMware workstation. This setup has worked fine for me but does start getting a bit slow when I am running, two ESX servers, DC, vCenter and some guests all on the one workstation.

So with all the discussion about home labs I have decided to update a little so now thanks to all the wonderful advice of the VMware community and especially Simon Seagrave (@Kiwi_Si) at I am now running a HP ML115 G5 with ESXi installed to disk, whilst not on the VMware vSphere HCL it has been proven by many in the community to be a fantastic lab server. The specs are as follows.

hp-proliant-ml115-g5-server-series_190x170 AMD Opteron™ Model 1354 (4 cores, 2.2 GHz, 2MB L3, 75W)
1Gb RAM Standard
Four (4) DIMM slots
Embedded NC105i PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Server Adapter
HP Embedded 4 Port SATA Controller with Embedded RAID (0, 1, 5) 

For me amongst the best things with this server are the noise, after initial boot up all you are left with is a faint hum, so it is easy to work with in my study.

Obviously this gives you a good starting point but some upgrades were needed these are so far as follows

4 x Crucial 2GB DDR2 800MHz/PC2-6400 Memory Non-ECC Unbuffered CL6

Again thanks to the help of @Kiwi_Si these were found to be cheapest in the UK currently at 

1 x Intel Gigabit CT Desktop Adapter, this adapter is on the vSphere HCL and was the cheapest I could find I bought this from an Amazon Seller here >>

From a storage point of view the current favourite in the VMware community for a home lab is a Iomega IX4-200d >> I can vouch for these as I use one for backup storage at work but unfortunately it is slightly out of the budget for the moment in my home lab.

So after speaking with Gabe (@gabvirtualworld) from I am going to be giving StorMagic’s SvSAN a go >> 

StorMagic’s SvSAN is a virtual appliance that is run on top of your ESX/i host and will make the most of any onboard storage. the real bonus is it is free with a Promo key which are easily sourced. SvSAN also gives you the option of upgrading to a HA solution if required. By running StorMagic’s SvSAN it means I am going to be able to create a cluster with hosts virtualised on top of my VMware workstation installation on my desktop PC or nested ESX hosts on my ML115.

The final piece of the jigsaw was the switching, I needed an affordable gigabit switch that would allow me to create VLAN’s, in steps @KiwiSi again and recommends the Cisco SLM2008 a small business switch. 


I’m now in the process of getting this all setup, I need to purchase a couple more SATA disks to use with the SAN appliance and some time to get it all setup how I want. Another thing I would really like to be able to do is use my Drobo Gen2 and Drobo Share as shared storage but so far there is no out of the box way of being to do this.

So once again big thanks to the VMware community especially Simon and Gabe and all those others that assisted via Twitter.


Subject Author Link
VMware ESX(i) Home Lab – Why, What and How? Considerations when building your own home lab. @Kiwi_Si Click Here
Building your own VMware vSphere lab – A step by step guide. Part 1 – Lab Overview @Kiwi_Si Click Here
vT.A.R.D.I.S – 10 ESXi node cluster on a trolley as demonstrated at London VMUG @vinf_net Click Here
Linksys SLM2008 – A good Gigabit network switch for a VMware ESX test lab. @Kiwi_Si Click Here
StorMagic SvSAN with High Availability mirroring @gabvirtualworld Click Here
Homelab for VCP and VCDX @gabvirtualworld Click Here
VMware Communities Roundtable –

#79 – White boxes and home labs

John Troyer Click Here

vSphere Hot Keys

February 6, 2010 — 1 Comment

There are a number of hot keys that will help you move quickly around the vSphere client. A selection of these are listed below for ease of reference.

Key Combination


Ctrl + Shift F


Ctrl + Shift H

Hosts and Clusters

Ctrl + Shift V

VMs and Templates

Ctrl + Shift D


Ctrl + Shift N


Ctrl + Shift R


Ctrl + Shift S


Ctrl + Shift L


Ctrl + Shift O

System Logs

Ctrl + Shift I

Server Settings

Ctrl + Shift T

Scheduled Tasks

Ctrl + Shift E


Ctrl + Shift M


Ctrl + Shift P

Host Profiles

Ctrl + Shift U

Customization Specification Manager

For a more extensive list head over to thanks to Michael for the comment

Copying Sysprep files on a 2008 Virtual Center

Just a quick post, today I needed to start rolling out some XP desktops from a template for a new View install. When I came to install the XP sysprep files on the Windows 2008 Virtual Center I soon realised there was no all users folder in the users folder on the C: drive. After a bit of hunting and reading the VMware documentation which didn’t appear to help i reverted to twitter. Many thanks to Jonathan Medd for the answer below.

RT @jonathanmedd @VirtualisedReal C:\ProgramData is a hidden folder on 2008 which is the equivalent of C:\Documents and Settings\All Users on 2003

Alan Renouf was also quick to point out the following

RT AlanRenouf @jonathanmedd @VirtualisedReal Or on either server type %ALLUSERSPROFILE% into the explorer window and you will get to the correct place 😉

Cheers everyone for the input

I would like to wish a Happy New Year to all my readers, I hope 2010 is a fantastic year for you all.

2009 was a brilliant year for me! I have really enjoyed blogging about VMware and Virtualisation and will continue to do this throughout 2010. For me getting involved with the VMware community has been brilliant, I feel like I have learnt so much and met some brilliant people. I blogged about my community experiences last year >>

A wonderful surprise to start 2010 for me was to be included on the voting list for Eric Siebert’s top 25 bloggers. Just to be mentioned on the same list as these guys is a huge honour. So take a few minutes out of your day and go and pick your top 10.


Some of my most popular articles for the year were

And most recently Small and Medium Business Virtualisation – Part 1 which has only been up for a few days and had a huge number of hits.

A huge thanks to all my readers through 2009 and I hope I can continue to produce articles that are of interest or can help your out of a sticky situation during 2010. As always I look forward to your comments and feedback so feel free to contribute or email me barry (at)

Whilst working on a customers site I discovered an issue trying to customize a Windows 2008 Datacenter x64 template, whilst trying to discover if this was an issue with just this OS I have found the following.

The below section is taken from vCenter 4 administration guide (Page 176)


This is the same section from vCenter 4 Update 1 administration guide (Page 176)


Note that Windows 2008 support has been removed from the update 1 administration guide.

I would be interested to know if anyone has been able to customize Windows 2008 VM’s using update 1 and if you have what version of 2008 and was your vCenter a fresh install of update 1 or an upgrade.

@vmwareKB on twitter is currently looking into this for me at the moment, will update you with more findings.


A number of people in the comments and on twitter have told me they have been able to customise 2008 standard and enterprise with update 1, I have reinstalled the VMware tools in my Datacenter template and have now successfully been able to customise my VM. So this looks like a section has just been missed from the documentation. Will let you know when I get an official update from VMware on 2008 customisations.