Unitrends Free – Review: Part 2


In Part 1 of this review, I walked through the deployment and initial configuration of the Unitrends Free backup appliance. I'm now going to touch briefly on some of the other features of the product before summarising my thoughts. Recovery There's no point taking backups if they don't work, right? Well there are a few options available here. The first of them is a file level recovery. This mounts a VM's backed up disks as file shares on the backup appliance. To test it, I created a couple of test VMs to backup and selected to restore from one.   A file level recovery "job" is started and a share is created using the backup job number.     It's pretty easy to browse to the share and the … [Read more...]

Unitrends Free – Review: Part 1


I was asked to give a new, free backup tool a quick road-test recently. Unitrends have had an Enterprise version of their backup software for some time. And, as I've used it a bit in my lab with an NFR license in the past I was only too happy to give Unitrends Free a go. Features As a free edition, you expect a basic set of features. The goal of such offerings is normally to get you hooked, but wanting more. Unitrends Free offers the following features: Backup from VMware vSphere or Microsoft Hyper-V Unlimited VMs and host CPU sockets supported Instant VM recovery (allows you to run a VM directly from the backup files) - this feature also allows for recovery verification testing and use of backups for test and … [Read more...]

vCenter’s Number – Is It Up?

(This is all based on information that's in the public domain at the time of writing and is all my own opinion. I may very well be wrong!) ESXi first saw the light of day as version 3.5 in 2007 / 2008. Rumours were rife after ESXi 4.0 was released in 2009 that the clock was now ticking on ESX "Classic". With the release of 4.1 in 2010 VMware finally confirmed the rumours and, from 5.0 onwards it's been ESXi only. You know this already of course if you've been working with vSphere for any length of time. The reason that I'm bringing it up though is because I think it's a clue as to what's going to happen to vCenter in the future. The vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) first appeared as a technology preview called "vCenter 2.5 on … [Read more...]

Google Hangout with VMware EMEA, Joe Baguley and Paul Saffo (& vSpecialist!)

As part of it's 15 year birthday celebrations, VMware EMEA are hosting a Google Hangout where Jo, Paul and 5 other bloggers (including yours truly) will be having a live Q&A session about current and future IT trends. For more information from the VMware EMEA blog, see: http://www.vmwareemeablog.com/events-uk/hangout-with-joe-baguley-and-paul-saffo-to-hear-them-discuss-technology-past-present-and-future-1 Attending the hangout live will be: Joe Baguley - VMware EMEA CTO Paul Saffo - Futurologist - http://www.saffo.com (VMworld 2013 video) Patrick Sauerwein – Virtual Patrick - http://virtualpatrick.wordpress.com David Terrar – Business Two Zero - http://biztwozero.com Julian Wood – WoodITWork.com - … [Read more...]

Fusion HR Link: Process Workflows & Automation


It's not often that we here at vSpecialist write-up specific vendor technologies, or blog about our workplaces. This is, after all, a generic virtualization blog where we discuss all aspects of IT. However, once in a while, interesting pieces of technological integration comes along that transcends the specific target audience and appeals to the wider IT audience as a whole due to the way the different elements fit together or a new approach. HR Link is one of those occasions. Before I start, in the interests of transparency, I need to point out that I work for Fusion Business Solutions, the developers of the HR Link integration application. HR Link is built on the BMC RemedyAR workflow platform. AR is short for the Action Request … [Read more...]

XP: The Final Countdown

People have been saying that "this is the year of VDI" for a number of years now. Could it be true this year? Windows XP will be 13 years old when Microsoft finally pull the plug on its support in 2014. That's a decent innings for domestic pet dog let alone an operating system. Why has it lasted this long and will anybody miss it? For me, the answer to that last question is "no", but without a doubt there are users out there for whom it won't be the case. Some of them will be home users, holding on to that creaking PC or laptop that they've had for years and that has always worked (except for BSODs, viruses, lost files and the lack of telepathic functionality that some of the less technically savvy wish was available). Others still may … [Read more...]

TrainSignal Online – 1 Month On…


It's been just over a month since TrainSignal switched to providing their courses only via an online model and binned the idea of shipping DVDs around the world. Although they kept their plans under wraps fairly well (at least they did as far as I know), it shouldn't really have come as a surprise to anyone that they changed their model. You only have to look back another month or so to one of the UK's big high street names going to the wall to see further evidence that physical media is just not as popular anymore. I had been planning to purchase one of TrainSignal's courses just prior to them making the switch. Good job I waited eh? But after giving it a week or so to bed in, I subscribed and I now have access to the whole training … [Read more...]

The End of the VMTN Saga?


If you don't know what VMTN is, you might be new to VMware virtualisation or the IT industry. Either way, I have an older post that covers it a bit. I posted it in November 2011 just as the campaign to get the VMTN subscription re-instated by VMware was kicking off. Here we are though, nearly 18 months later, and it looks like it's not going to happen. One of VMTN's biggest proponents, Mike Laverick, posted on the VMware Communities thread related to VMTN today that it looks unlikely. In his words: The prevailing view appears to be that other projects will be sufficient... Such as Project Nee... Project NEE is VMware's online learning resource that's currently being put through its paces. If you read around what it does, you can see … [Read more...]

Google Reader RIP, Should I Care?


Yesterday, Google announced that as of July 1st 2013 they are retiring the Google Reader service. It was one of several stories that caused some bloating of my twitter timeline as scores of people that I follow picked up on it. My initial reaction was not a good one. I started using Google Reader only a few years ago but it has become a trusted and valuable way for me to consume information and news from the industry that I work in. Its absence will have a considerable impact on my daily activities. Having slept on it though, I'm certainly a lot more relaxed about it. Yes, it's going to have an impact but have Google actually just provided me with a catalyst to change the way that I consume information? I mean, I could easily just … [Read more...]

“Cloud” Backups


An increasing number of vendors are beginning to offer backup solutions where your data ends up being stored on some cloud storage platform or other (e.g. Amazon S3). As with any new technology, some people will lap it up, some will keep a curious eye on it and others will eschew it completely. Which are you? Are you likely to adopt it or not? I think the answer to that is not cut and dried. Think for a minute about why you'd want your backups to end up on a cloud storage platform. In years past, backups ended up on tape cartridges. Most sensible organizations would then store those tapes offsite and hopefully not need them again until the data expired. Of course, if you did need to perform a restore it meant getting the tape back etc. … [Read more...]