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.

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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.

Windows 2012 R2 is unable to connect to HP StoreOnce CIFS shares

I ran into this issue the other day with a new HPE StoreOnce deployment. When attempting to connect to a CIFS share on a StoreOnce appliance (it does matter if it is physical appliance or VSA) from a Windows 2012 R2 server, the following error is received “The account is not authorized to log in from this station”.

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To fix this, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanWorkstation\Parameters and set RequireSecuritySignature = 0  and then reboot Windows.  When Windows comes back up, you should now be able to browse the CIFS share on the StoreOnce appliance.

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