N2WS Backup & Recovery v3.0 has now gone live. Below is my review of a late beta version.

For those that have been following, you’ll know that Telstra Purple use N2WS Backup & Recovery (I’ll call it BaR from now, not as good as CPM, but I’m not going to type the whole thing). I was lucky to get a beta preview of N2WS BaR v3.0 and have been very impressed. The new UI is a massive improvement, but there are also a number of small things that have been fixed too. Things that weren’t really broken, but just annoying, e.g. having a default 30 generations on policies and having to click up or down to change.

So, let’s start this off with the UI. The common options are in a bar on the left window, with the home screen now having a dashboard. This gives a nice overview of your account.

User & Notification config

While all the configuration items would be familiar to CPM admins, locations have changed quite a bit in BaR v3.0. The first of these is User configuration. To get to those, you need to go to the dropdown under the user name and choose Settings.

 

This gives a new menu in the left hand pane. Once there, you have all the standard user configuration, but with a new cleaner layout. What I will also point out that it is this pane that also contains the Notifications configuration. I will admit, it took me a bit of playing to find this. Once you find it though, it’s the familiar Notification configuration.

General

The server settings are now shown as a cog in the top right set of icons.

Clicking on this brings up a new left hand pane with server configuration options. This is where you configure proxy settings, SES (for reporting) and you set and run Tag Scans. Rather than the previous vertical configuration, this now has a updated horizontal scheme. Again, nothing too new here. Just a refresh.

Accounts

The Account config is now found in the main left hand pane. It’s mostly the same, but now has a cool feature to select those items you want to scan. Under the normal “Scan Regions” is a new “Scan Resource Types” box.

When you click on the dropdown, you are presented with a listing of all the resource types that BaR can scan for. If you aren’t using something, then don’t check it. This will make your scans faster as it won’t scan services that don’t have BaR tagged resources.

Policy

So, once you’ve got your basic config done, Policies is the meat of BaR. With v3.0 you have the horizontal options again. The other cool thing is that now you can jump straight to Schedules if you want a new one. Otherwise, it’s fairly standard.

Not only your Copy to S3, but also your Generations are now found in Lifecycle Management. This makes sense, but isn’t instantly obvious. The very cool feature that I mentioned earlier is that you can now click in the generations box and type in the number you want. No more clicking up & down!!! (Yes, I’m REALLY happy about this.)

If you use Copy to S3 for long term backups, there is a nicer interface to that and an option for lifecycle transition to Glacier (and Deep Archive)! The storage class is selected just under the lifecycle configuration.

Stepping back one tab is the DR section. Nothing too different on this one. Just remember, you do need to select a target region, even if doing a Cross Account DR.

Backup Monitor

Before I get into the Backup Monitor window, I realised I’d not taken any screenshots of the main left hand frame. Well, the below screen shot has it. 🙂 As you can see, all the main features that a BaR admin would use are there.

OK, now back to the Backup Monitor. Previously this was the default screen, but that’s been replaced by the dashboard. Once you get here though, you’ll see it’s familiar, but also a little different. If you look at the left hand pane, you won’t see a separate option for Freezer. Those items are now displayed in the this pane. Using the icons next to “Show:”, you can toggle on or off Backups and Frozen backups.

If using Copy to S3, you can also see whether an item is sitting in S3 or has been moved to Glacier.

Recover

Mostly the recover options in BaR will be familiar to CPM admins. I’ll point out a couple of new locations and a quick preview of the Recovery Scenario feature. When doing a recovery from a DR backup, you have the “Restore to Account” drop down. From there, you can select to restore to the DR account or back to the Original account.

When doing an Instance Recovery, the new horizontal layout comes through. If you only want to select certain volumes, that’s the Volume tab, to make instance changes, those are in the Advanced Options.

Recovery Scenarios

The biggest new feature in BaR v3.0, other than Glacier, is Recovery Scenarios. Previously you could only recover one instance, volume, etc. at a time. With Recovery Scenarios, you can select multiple options AND the order you want those recovered. This is great for a DR scenario where you might have an AZ or Region outage and need to recover several servers. The Recovery Order also means that if you have resource availability requirements, e.g. your DB server before your app server, these can be met.

One of the other cool features of the Recovery Scenarios is the Dry Run option. Once you have the scenario configured, the Dry Run checks to see if the restore can be completed, without actually doing it.

Summary

As I said at the start, I am VERY happy with this update. Some of the UI changes take a little bit of getting used to, but overall this is such a great facelift. Even if there was nothing more than that, I’d say to upgrade as soon as you can. Having the option to transition your Copy to S3 to Glacier and the Recovery Scenarios is just the icing on the cake.

The beta version that I had didn’t support doing an update, so I can’t comment on that. I was told that if you have Copy to S3, you can do an update from CPM v2.7. If you’re not using Copy to S3, there are no issues. As with v2.7, if you are using Copy to S3 with v2.6, you’ll need to start afresh, similar to the instructions with v2.7.

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Amazon Web Services, Managed Services
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