HOWTO: Using #PowerShell to ensure a #Veeam USB Repository always has the correct drive letter

Some time ago I had a customer who switched completely to Veeam from Backup Exec (yeah baby!!!).  Offsite replication of any sort was out of the question as the customer simply couldn’t get the necessary bandwidth from any of the ISPs that serviced the area at anything that even approached an unreasonable price.  Instead we opted for a HPE StoreOnce for onsite and some sort of removable drive system for daily offsite.  The customer insisted on using Western Digital My Books (USB3) due to their capacity (6TB) and semi-ruggedness for the offline repo.  The drives are rotated out each day by a staff member for a new drive and they send the previous night’s drive offsite.

The My Books were originally setup using F: as the drive letter.  This would work great until someone plugged a USB key into the server and it was auto-assigned F: by Windows 2012R2, or if someone logged in who had a drive mapping of F:.  And then other days, Windows would randomly assign a drive letter other than F: even though F: was available.  At this point, Veeam would puke because it couldn’t find the repo anymore.  And occasionally the customer would forget to swap the drive for a fresh one (or even correct drive some days), which meant there wouldn’t be enough free space on the repo to complete that night’s backup (about 4.9TB is processed daily).

To work around all this, I ended up writing a PowerShell script to always map the My Book to Z:, clean the previous backups off of it (if any were found, or if the wrong drive with a different backup set was plugged in), and start the actual backup job.  And if the script can’t find the My Book or free disk capacity is less than 95% after attempting cleanup, it will abort the backup and send an email warning to the support team that the backup was aborted.  Rather than have Veeam schedule the job to run, I use Windows Task Scheduler instead to run the script, then use the Veeam PowerShell module to start the backup job from inside the script after I’ve verified Z: is present.

This script assumes that every rotated My Book drive has been formatted and has a volume label containing “WD MY BOOK”.  It also assumes the SMTP server is called mail dot whatever the DNS domain name of the machine running the script is (i.e. my AD is jbgeek.net, so mail.jbgeek.net).  All of my client sites have a cname for their Exchange server called “mail” created in their AD DNS zone – which means I can cut and paste the same script without modification from one client site to another, which cuts down the chance of an editing error, and makes it quicker to deploy new scripts when necessary for my team.

You will need to adjust the “Get-ChildItem -Path” (lines 21 to 26) directories to fit your environment, along with the $SendEmailTo variable (line 7) and the “Start-VBRJob -Job” job name (line 41).  Line 28 defines the cutoff point for disk capacity – if the available disk space is less than 95% of the drive capacity, the backup aborts.  Line 1 is commented it out – I generally always start my scripts with # start notepad++ script.filename so that I can just cut and paste it into a command prompt to create my script file – that way as I on-board each new customer, their sites are configured the same as existing sites.  Again, it cuts down the chances of an error and makes it quicker for my guys to deploy new scripts.

**NOTE – the following deletes data from your backup cartridges. Use any tips, tricks, or scripts I post at your own risk.  I accept zero liability and responsibility if you use these scripts!!!**

Here is the command line to create the scheduled task to run as the logged in user at 10pm each weekday (it will prompt you for your password when you run it in a command prompt):

schtasks /create /tn "Weekday Veeam USB Drive Backup" /tr "\"C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell.exe\" -ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned -noprofile -File  C:\Windows\Run_External_Drive_Veeam_Backup.ps1" /sc daily /st 22:00:00  /rp "*" /ru "%userdomain%\%username%"

Here is the Powershell script (updated 2017.01.17 to fix an error):

# start notepad++ C:\Windows\Run_External_Drive_Veeam_Backup.ps1

add-pssnapin Veeam*

$DnsDomain = Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_NTDomain -Filter "DSDirectoryServiceFlag='True'" | Select -ExpandProperty DnsForestName
$ThisComputerName = Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_ComputerSystem | Select -ExpandProperty Name
$SupportEmailAddress = "support@$DnsDomain"

# Get-WmiObject Win32_Volume | Where-Object {$_.DriveLetter -eq $null}
$drives = Get-WmiObject -Class win32_volume | Where-Object {$_.Label -match "WD MY BOOK"}
$i = 0
Foreach($drive in $drives)
{
#Set letter
$DriveLetter = "Z:"
Set-WmiInstance -input $drive -Arguments @{DriveLetter="$DriveLetter"}
$i++
}

if (Test-Path -path Z:\){
Get-ChildItem -Path "Z:\Veeam\Backups\All VMs - Z Drive" -Include *.vbm -recurse | foreach { $_.Delete()}
Get-ChildItem -Path "Z:\Veeam\Backups\All VMs - Z Drive" -Include *.vib -recurse | foreach { $_.Delete()}
Get-ChildItem -Path "Z:\Veeam\Backups\All VMs - Z Drive" -Include *.vbk -recurse | foreach { $_.Delete()}
Get-ChildItem -Path "Z:\Veeam\Backups\All VMs" -Include *.vbm -recurse | foreach { $_.Delete()}
Get-ChildItem -Path "Z:\Veeam\Backups\All VMs" -Include *.vib -recurse | foreach { $_.Delete()}
Get-ChildItem -Path "Z:\Veeam\Backups\All VMs" -Include *.vbk -recurse | foreach { $_.Delete()}
$externaldrivelabel = Get-WmiObject -Class win32_volume | Where-Object {$_.Label -match "WD MY BOOK"} | Select -ExpandProperty label
Get-WmiObject -Class win32_volume | Where-Object {$_.Label -match "WD MY BOOK"} | % { if (($_.FreeSpace/$_.Capacity) -le '0.95' )
{Send-MailMessage -From "$($ThisComputerName.ToUpper())@$($DnsDomain.ToUpper())" -To "$SupportEmailAddress" `
-Subject "Backup Aborted due to low space on $($externaldrivelabel)." `
-Body  "Aborting nightly Veeam backup to $($externaldrivelabel) (Z:) on $($ThisComputerName.ToUpper()).$($DnsDomain.ToUpper()) due to low disk space." `
-Priority High -DNO onSuccess, onFailure -SmtpServer "mail.$DnsDomain"
break}
}
}
if (Test-Path -path Z:\){
Send-MailMessage -From "$($ThisComputerName.ToUpper())@$($DnsDomain.ToUpper())" -To "$SupportEmailAddress" `
-Subject "Now starting nightly Veeam backup to $($externaldrivelabel)." `
-Body  "Now starting nightly Veeam backup to $($externaldrivelabel) (Z:) on $($ThisComputerName.ToUpper()).$($DnsDomain.ToUpper())." `
-Priority High -DNO onSuccess, onFailure -SmtpServer "mail.$DnsDomain"
Start-VBRJob -Job "All VMs - Z Drive" -FullBackup -RunAsync
break
}else{
Send-MailMessage -From "$($ThisComputerName.ToUpper())@$($DnsDomain.ToUpper())" -To "$SupportEmailAddress" `
-Subject "Error:  No external backup drive (Z:) found on $($ThisComputerName.ToUpper()).$($DnsDomain.ToUpper())!!!" `
-Body  "Error:  Cannot find or mount the external backup drive (Z:) on $($ThisComputerName.ToUpper()).$($DnsDomain.ToUpper())!!!  Now aborting nightly backup to external hard drive!!!" `
-Priority High -DNO onSuccess, onFailure -SmtpServer "mail.$DnsDomain"
break
}

As always – Use any tips, tricks, or scripts I post at your own risk.

HOWTO: Converting from BackupExec to #Veeam when using RDX drives

Ok – I’m completely done with Backup Exec when it comes to VMware.  I’ve been selling, supporting, certified on and even using Backup Exec for our own internal backups since it was Conner Backup Exec for Windows NT 3.1, way back in 1993.  Once upon a time, it was a great product – in fact it was the only product for backups that worked worth a damn.  But it’s reliability has dropped to nothing over the past 6 or 7 years.  Technical support has been off-shored and 99.9% of the time, if I am lucky enough to finally reach someone in technical support on the phone, I can’t understand a damn word they say due to their thick accent and shitty VOIP lines crossing the Pacific Ocean.  Today was the last straw with Backup Exec, their crappy bugs, and unreliable VMware backups.  So now it’s time to fully embrace the move to Veeam, which I’ve been considering for some time (note of disclosure – I am also a certified Veeam VMCE – v7, v8, & v9)

Several of my clients have single standalone ESXi hosts, an HPE StoreOnce appliance, a physical Windows Server 2012R2 with a RDX drive or two (for offline backups), and both Backup Exec and Veeam loaded on that Windows server.  Oh – and many, many, many RDX cartridges that have months of rotated backups on them that are all three quarters full.  I can’t just erase all these cartridges in one swoop and use them for Veeam backups.  And I certainly don’t want to have to log into the clients’ servers everyday to manually delete the old Backup Exec folders off the RDX (as they come up in rotation) so that there is enough room for the nightly Veeam backup.  And finally, even though I’m dumping Backup Exec for my VMware backups, I still need to use Backup Exec to backup the 2012R2 physical instance to the same RDX cartridge that Veeam is going to use (atleast until Veeam releases their next project).  So what do I do?

A little PowerShell scripting to the rescue – that is what I am going do!

After going through a sampling of several RDX cartridges at several different client sites, I’ve determined that when Backup Exec runs with GRT enabled it dumps those backed up VMs in IMGxxxxxx folders on the root of the RDX drive (including the VMDKs).  I also discovered (or at least in the environments that I’ve setup) that GRT enabled application backups (not VMs, but rather SQL, AD, Exchange) will also be in an IMG folder with either a file called ntds.dit or edb.chk, and sometimes both!  In my case, my 2012R2 server has SQL and AD on it, so I want to be careful not to delete IMG folders that potentially contain my SQL and AD backups (which could screw Backup Exec up even more than normal when it uses that cartridge again for the 2012R2 server).

In the end, I setup the RDX drive as a new rotated drive repository in Veeam (prior to this Veeam only backed up to the HPE StoreOnce).  I then create a new Veeam job that did active fulls to the RDX drive every night (with a restore points to keep of 1).  In the job’s Advanced Settings menu, I added a pre-run script that runs C:\Windows\Remove_BackupExec_IMG_Folders.cmd.  This script in turn launches a PowerShell script that deletes all the IMGxxxxxx folders off the RDX drive except IMG folders that contain either ntds.dit or edb.chk.

**NOTE – the following deletes data from your backup cartridges. Use any tips, tricks, or scripts I post at your own risk.  I accept zero liability and responsibility if you use these scripts!!!**

Here is the contents of my batch file.

rem start notepad++ "C:\Windows\Remove_BackupExec_IMG_Folders.cmd"
PowerShell -NoProfile -ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Command "& {Start-Process PowerShell -ArgumentList '-NoProfile -ExecutionPolicy Bypass -File ""C:\Windows\Remove_BackupExec_IMG_Folders.ps1""' -Verb RunAs}"
exit/b

Here is the contents of the PowerShell script to remove the IMGxxxxxx folders (adjust the drive letter accordingly)

# start notepad++ "C:\Windows\Remove_BackupExec_IMG_Folders.ps1"
foreach ($i in Get-ChildItem R:\IMG*)
{if ((test-path "$i\ntds.dit") -eq $False -and (test-path "$i\edb.chk") -eq $False) {Remove-Item $i -force -recurse -confirm:$false}}

But wait! There is more!

Because I am still going to have to suffer with Backup Exec a while longer to backup my 2012R2 server, I need to make sure my nightly Backup Exec job doesn’t eject the RDX cartridge on me before Veeam finishes it’s RDX job.  To ensure this, I disabled the scheduled RDX jobs on my Backup Exec server.  Fortunately, Backup Exec includes a PowerShell module called BEMCLI.  So I wrote a second set of scripts as it was simply a matter of starting PowerShell from a script, importing the module, and starting the job.  So this time my scripts are a post-job script to start the Backup Exec job only after the Veeam job completes.

2017-01-11-16-33-43-snagit-0002

Here is the batch file to launch PowerShell.

rem start notepad++ "C:\Windows\Start_BE_UTIL01_RDX_JOB.cmd"
PowerShell -NoProfile -ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Command "& {Start-Process PowerShell -ArgumentList '-NoProfile -ExecutionPolicy Bypass -File ""C:\Windows\Start_BE_UTIL01_RDX_JOB.ps1""' -Verb RunAs}"
exit/b

And here is the PowerShell script to start the Backup Exec job called “23:10 UTIL01 RDX-Full”.

# start notepad++ "C:\Windows\Start_BE_UTIL01_RDX_JOB.ps1"
Import-Module BEMCLI
Get-BEJob -Name "23:10 UTIL01 RDX-Full" | Start-BEJob -confirm:$false

Now when my Veeam backup job to RDX starts, it deletes all the IMGxxxxxx folders off the RDX drive (unless those folders contain either ntds.dit or edb.chk), and when it completes, it starts the remaining Backup Exec job, which ultimately ejects the RDX cartridge when it completes.

As always – Use any tips, tricks, or scripts I post at your own risk.