It’s time to Hook SMB into the Cloud with PHD Virtual 6.2

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cloudhookA couple of months back I did a post on PHD Virtual Backup v6.1 enhancements (take a look here). Last week PHD announced their flagship PHD Virtual Backup 6.2 with a new module called Cloud-Hook.

I signed up for their beta program and took a test drive on the product.

Cloud Hook is what PHD calls their connection to cloud storage.  All of the on-premises capabilities are still there with PHD Virtual Backup.  Now they enable you in a streamlined way, to take advantage of the benefits that cloud storage brings to SMBs for offsite data protection.

PHD Virtual Cloud Hook supports several cloud storage providers as a backup destination:

  • Amazon S3
  • Google Cloud Storage
  • Swift/OpenStack
  • RackSpace CloudFiles

PHD Virtual Backup consists of a Virtual Appliance called VBA and their client application called PHD Virtual Console. The Appliance saves you the cost of purchasing windows licenses compared to other backup vendors where management and proxy servers are installed on to Windows Servers. With PHD you only pay per ESX host ( on April 1st it will be licenses per ESX CPU). You can install as many VBA appliances you want.

My Setup

  • Deploy the 6.2 VBA. There are multiple design options here: Only install one VBA to backup your VM’s to the cloud or install multiple VBA’s to backup your VM’s to local disk and / or replicate to other VBA’s.
  • When the deployed VBA has finished booting. press CONTROL-N to setup static IP for your appliance (recommended)
  • Install the PHDVirtualBackup_Client_Install.exe on your Client workstation.
  • Open the PHD Virtual Console by right clicking on some VM in your vCenter inventory.
  • Configure the local cache using the “Write Space” tab of the VBA configuration menu.  You must use a local attached virtual disk for this.  Attach a second disk to the VBA. Select Configuration > Write Space, and select the Attached Virtual Disk drop down menu. Then click the Configure button.
    “A guideline for selecting the right size Write Space disk is to calculate at least 50% of your daily changed data, then attach a disk that can accommodate that size. Typically, changed data is about 5% of the total of all virtual disks in your environment that are being backed up. So for example, if you were backing up ten VMs every day that totaled 1 TB, you should attach a virtual disk that is at least 25 GB (Changed data is approximately 5% of 1 TB, which is 50 GB; of which 50% is 25 GB). Write Space can be expanded at any time by adding additional attached virtual disks.”
  • When asked, please restart the appliance.
  • Configure your backup target by selecting the provider and entering the bucket / prefix information, as well as the ID, secret and an encryption passphrase that you choose.

Setting up the Amazon S3 storage

I selected Amazon S3 to use for my cloud backups. To use the Amazon S3 cloud storage you’ll need to create what they call a Bucket from your dashboard at Amazon. This is very straightforward. When on your dashboard, click the button to Create a Bucket.

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I selected Ireland because this is close to the Netherlands.

You also need your Security Credentials, this allows PHD to write to the cloud:

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Copy and paste your Access Key ID and Secret Access Key into the VBA control panel together with the Bucket created and make up an unique prefix and make up your encryption Passphrase:

Be aware that this passphrase must be remembered if you ever need to replace the VBA. It will be needed for the new VBA to properly mount the backups and restore from them. Please write it down somewhere!

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About Marco Broeken

Marco Broeken is Author of this blog and owner of vSpecialist Consulting and has 20 years experience in IT. Marco has been rewarded with the vExpert status from 2011 - 2018.

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