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Azure Backup Server Offering New Features: Central Monitoring, Enhanced Security, and New Regions
Posted by Augusto Alvarez on February 20, 2017
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We talked about Azure Backup before in this blog, when they recently added the capability to backup VMware virtual machines, now they are introducing a new set of features: Central monitoring, enhanced security and available in new regions.

Microsoft Azure Backup

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Upgrade your CA to SKP & SHA256. Part II: Move from a CSP to KSP provider
Posted by Didier Van Hoye on February 3, 2017
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Move from a CSP to KSP provider

Once you have moved to a least Windows Server 2008 R2 you can take this step. Any version below doesn’t allow for this and should be considered the end of life. Many haven’t made the move from a CSP to KSP provider yet, even when they are already running Windows Server 2012 or 2012 R2 for a few reasons. There were some issues with older clients like Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP. These were fixed with a hotfix but in all seriousness, if you’re still on those OS versions you need to move a.s.a.p. and if not there’s nothing we can do to help you. A modern and secure PKI will be the last of your worries I’m afraid. For a Microsoft reference, see Migrating a Certification Authority Key from a Cryptographic Service Provider (CSP) to a Key Storage Provider (KSP).

PKI Certifivate general

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Encryption of VMware vSphere 6.5 virtual machines and vMotion migrations. And their performance
Posted by Alex Samoylenko on January 26, 2017
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As many admins of virtual infrastructures know, for the first time ever, VMware vSphere 6.5 received the long awaited encryption feature of both virtual disks content and vMotion hot migrations.

The VMs encryption works based on AES-NI algorithm, and the key management is carried out based on KMIP 1.1 standard. When I/O operation comes to the disk of the virtual machine, it is immediately encrypted on-the-fly, which provides complete security against data security attack.

Virtual machine Encryption How it works

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Design a ROBO (Part 1): Introduction and high-level design
Posted by Andrea Mauro on January 25, 2017
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What is a ROBO scenario?

A Remote Office / Branch Office (ROBO) is an office located in a different site or a remote geographical area from another office (usually the headquarter or the main office). Several organizations have one (or more) main office, as well as remote offices in another city, country or continent.

Many organizations today have in each remote office some local IT infrastructure, usually for data locality, but also for service local services.

ROBO scenario

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Ransomware: 14 Key Methods of Protection
Posted by Oksana Zybinskaya on January 9, 2017
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After 2016 everyone can come to a certain conclusion that ransomware is a persistent phenomenon to reckon with from now on, with more sophisticated and innovative techniques to come. That is why it is crucial for very user and administrator to learn how to improve and protect their computer from ransomware. Here are some important steps to remember:

ransomware key

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Azure Offers Backing Up VMware VMs with a Freeware Tool
Posted by Augusto Alvarez on November 21, 2016
4.83/5 (6)

After hearing some news about Microsoft like, largely investing in Open Source hardware, PowerShell open source and for Linux, SQL Server for Linux, MS joining the Linux foundation, and so many others; you may think hell just starting freezing, but no, this is how Microsoft is engaging the world now. Integration is the keyword, and we salute them for that.

Adding a new feature among these is the recent update to their main backup tool for cloud: Azure Backup Server now supports VMware virtual machines. MABS (Microsoft Azure Backup Server) it is not a new tool, it’s been around for a while now offering backups for Hyper-V virtual machines, physical machines, file servers, SQL, SharePoint and Exchange.

Microsoft Azure Backup Server

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Are We Trending Toward Disaster?
Posted by Jon Toigo on October 6, 2016
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Interestingly, in the enterprise data center trade shows I have attended recently, the focus was on systemic risk and systemic performance rather than on discrete products or technologies; exactly the opposite of what I’ve read about hypervisor and cloud shows, where the focus has been on faster processors, faster storage (NVMe, 3D NAND) and faster networks (100 GbE).  This may be a reflection of the two communities of practitioners that exist in contemporary IT:  the AppDev folks and the Ops folks.

Data managment

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Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V Backup Rises to the challenges
Posted by Didier Van Hoye on September 19, 2016
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Introduction

In Windows Sever 2016 Microsoft improved Hyper-V backup to address many of the concerns mentioned in our previous Hyper-V backup challenges Windows Server 2016 needs to address:

  • They avoid the need for agents by making the API’s remotely accessible. It’s all WMI calls directly to Hyper-V.
  • They implemented their own CBT mechanism for Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V to reduce the amount of data that needs to be copied during every backup. This can be leveraged by any backup vendor and takes away the responsibility of creating CBT from the backup vendors. This makes it easier for them to support Hyper-V releases faster. This also avoids the need for inserting drivers into the IO path of the Hyper-V hosts. Sure the testing & certification still has to happen as all vendors now can be impacted by a bug MSFT introduced.
  • They are no longer dependent on the host VSS infrastructure. This eliminates storage overhead as wells as the storage fabric IO overhead associated with performance issues when needing to use host level VSS snapshots on the entire LUN/CSV for even a single VM.
  • This helps avoid the need for hardware VSS providers delivered by storage vendors and delivers better results with storage solution that don’t offer hardware providers.
  • Storage vendors and backup vendors can still integrate this with their snapshots for speedy and easy backup and restores. But as the backup work at the VM level is separated from an (optional) host VSS snapshot the performance hit is less and the total duration significantly reduced.
  • It’s efficient in regard to the number of data that needs to be copied to the backup target and stored there. This reduces capacity needed and for some vendors the almost hard dependency on deduplication to make it even feasible in regards to cost.
  • These capabilities are available to anyone (backup vendors, storage vendors, home grown PowerShell scripts …) who wishes to leverage them and doesn’t prevent them from implementing synthetic full backups, merge backups as they age etc. It’s capable enough to allow great backup solutions to be built on top of it.

Let’s dive in together and take a closer look.

Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V backup
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Windows Server 2016 – Three Built-in Tools To Protect Your Data From Ransomware
Posted by Vladan Seget on May 10, 2016
5/5 (2)

After spyware and malware IT administrators do have to face another threat – A Ransomware. You have to pay to recover your data that has been encrypted by malware. Clever move from the Pirate’s perspective. Indeed. Pirates are hoping that they can make some dirty money out of it. And sometimes they’re successful. You might be asking what can you do, as a system administrator, to protect yourself against ransomware?

Hackers will always find a way to your data and Anti-malware solutions will always try a way to block them. But you as an admin, must be prepared for an eventual data loss. Prepared how? We’ll try to find some strategies and tools which might be good to know. The tools that are built-in Windows Server 2016 that will be out later this year. Currently in TP5, but there won’t be any major updates on features further down the development cycle so the RTM of Windows Server 2016 shall have all what you can see in the TP5 which is available for download since about a week. We try to do a recap on which tools can be helpful to fight ransomware today.

system protection on Windows Server 2016

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Virtual Volumes (VVols) backup – how it works and which solutions should be used
Posted by Alex Samoylenko on April 27, 2016
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Many of you have heard of Virtual Volumes (VVols) storage technology, which allows essential increasing of storage I/O performance within VMware vSphere environment by using logical volumes for certain virtual machines components and transferring of some storage operations to disk arrays.

 Backup infrastructure

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