Replay Manager Configure Server There was an error loading the configuration information.

Replay Manager Configure Server There was an error loading the configuration information

When Replacing a bunch of servers with new DELL R740s (Hyper-V clusters, File clusters, backup targets etc.) I ran into an issue with the DELL Replay Manager software. The servers leverage multiple DELL EMC Storage Center SANs. The have multiple ones for Scale-Out, Redundancy, Failover, Mutliple Datacenters, …

With some of the servers I noticed that the loading of the information was slow, while most others were just fine. But with 4 out of all servers the connection never actually happens. The connectivity was just fine, and test connectivity confirmed this. As this had zero impact on the actual replays that were scheduled this went unnoticed. But when you are adding and removing servers you might need to dive into Server Configuration and that were after a minute we got the below error thrown

Configure Server
There was an error loading the configuration information.
Error Message:
The request channel timed out while waiting for a reply after 00:01:00. Increase the timeout value passed to the call to Request or increase the SendTimeout value on the Binding. The time allotted to this operation may have been a portion of a longer timeout
.

Notice that the GUI says connecting to our demo server82… but unless you need info from the server you might still see the info it get’s from the Storage Center SAN itself.

This is quite annoying as we need to be in there. So how to fix this. I have some ideas as I know this error from .NET WCF but in this case I was looking for an easier way out especially when I don’t have all the information about this 3rd party application. The good news is that it is easily fixed.

Fixing this

Replay manager stores the replays and metadata info about those replays it creates on the SAN itself. That’s why you can still see those even when you actually ca’t connect to the server. The config of servers you add and use in Replay Manager is stored locally where the client lived. This files is portable, just copy it form your profile and had it to a colleague. No big deal.

Now the server configuration you do from the Replay Manager GUI tool itself is stored on each and any server where you have the Replay Manager service installed. You will find that file, ReplayManager.config.xml, under C:\ProgramData\Compellent\ReplayManager.

Make a copy to be sure and edit the original using a text editor that has elevated permissions so you can save your changes. In the example file of one server below note that server82 (green) has 2 old Compellent SC entries (yellow) that are no longer in service. One SAN it cannot find won’t exceed the time-out windows, but it does slow the GUI down significantly. 2 or more phantom old SAN slow things down looking for them and you get the time out error.

The fix is easy, cut the key values out of the file and save the file. You then restart the Replay manager service on that server via an elevated command prompt (or use the GUI):
net start ReplayManager
net stop ReplayManager

Restart the Replay manager service on the server you need to manager before connecting to the server again with the Replay manager client tool GUI.

When you now close and launch the Replay Manager GUI and connect to the server things will be a lot faster and certainly wont time out anymore.

Conclusion

Maintain your environment. Try to remove and decommissioned storage center SAN from your server configurations in Replay Manager before you take it off line an dispose of it.I f you forget you and run into slow loading Replay Manager GUI or hit a time out. Don’t panic. The Replay manager is actually quite solid and recoverable. We have shown you how to fix this by editing the ReplayManager.config.xml file on the server you need to connect to but can’t.You basically just remove the references to the no longer existing storage centers I hope it helps some of you out there if you run into this. Feel free to reach out in the comments if you have any questions.

Testing Compellent Replay Manager 7.8

Testing Compellent Replay Manager 7.8

So today I found the Replay Manager 7.8 bits to download.image

As is was awaiting this eagerly (see Off Host Backup Jobs with Veeam and Replay Manager 7.8). So naturally, I set of my day by testing Compellent Replay Manager 7.8. I deployed in on a 2 node DELL PowerEdge Cluster with FC access to a secondary DELL Compellent running SC 6.7.30 (you need to be on 6.7).

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The first thing I noticed is the new icon.

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That test cluster is running Windows Server 2016 Datacenter edition and is fully patched. The functionality is much the same as it was. There is one difference and that if you launch the back upset manually of a local volume for a CSV and that CSV is not owned y the Node in which you launch it the backup is blocked.

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This did not use to be the case. With scheduled backup sets this is not an issue, it detects the owner of the CSV and uses that.

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Just remember when running a backup manually you nee to launch it from the CSV owner node in Replay Manager and all is fine.

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Other than that testing has been smooth and naturally we’ll be leveraging RM 7.8 with transportable snapshots with Veeam B&R 9.5 as well.

Things to note

Replay Manager 7.8 is not backward compatible with 7.7.1 or lower so you have to have the same version on your Replay Manager management server as on the hosts you want to protect. You also have to be running SC 6.7 or higher.

Wish list

I’d love to see Replay manager become more intelligent and handle VM Mobility better. The fact that VMs are tied to the node on which the backup set is create is really not compatible with the mobility of VMs (maintenance, dynamic optimization, CSV balancing, …). A little time and effort here would go a long way.

Second. Live Volumes has gotten a lot better but we still need to choose between Replay Manager  snapshots & Live Volumes. In an ideal world that would not be the case and Replay manager would have the ability to handle this dynamically. A big ask perhaps, but it would be swell.

I just keep giving the feedback as I’m convinced this is a great SAN for Hyper-V environments and they could beat anyone by make a few more improvements.

Off Host Backup Jobs with Veeam and Replay Manager 7.8

It’s all about application consistent hardware VSS provider snapshots

I was browsing to see if I could already download Replay Manager 7.8 for our Compellent (SC) SANs. No luck yet, but I did find the release notes. There was a real gem in there on Off Host Backup Jobs with Veeam and Replay Manager 7.8. We’ll get back to that after the big deal here.

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So what kind of goodness is in there? Well obviously there is the way too long overdue support for Windows Server 2016, including the Hyper-V role and its features. That is great news. We now have application consistent hardware VSS provider snapshots.I do not know what took them so long but they need to get with the program here. I have given this a s feedback before and again at DELL EMC World 2017 The Compellent still is one of the best “traditional” centralized storage SAN solutions out there hat punches fare above its weight. On top of that, having looked at Unity form DELL EMC, I can tell you that in my humble opinion the Compellent has no competition from it.

Off Host Backup Jobs Veeam Replay Manager 7.8

Equally interesting to me, as someone who leverages Compellent and Veeam Baclup & Replication with Off Host Proxies (I wrote FREE WHITE PAPER: Configuring a VEEAM Off Host Backup Proxy Server for backing up a Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V cluster with a DELL Compellent SAN (Fiber Channel))  is the following. Under fixed Issues is found:

RMS-24 Off-host backup jobs might fail during the volume discover scan when using Veeam backup software.

I have Off host proxies with transportable snapshots working pretty smooth but it has the occasional hiccup. Maybe some of those will disappear with Replay Manager 7.8. I’m looking forward to putting that to the test and roll forward with Windows Server 2016 for those nodes where we need and want to leverage the Compellent Hardware VSS provider. When I do I’ll let you know the results.

Dell Storage Replay Manager 7.6.0.47 for Compellent 6.5

Recently as a DELL Compellent customer version 7.6.0.47 became available to us. I download it and found some welcome new capabilities in the release notes.

  • Support for vSphere 6
  • 2024 bit public key support for SSL/TLS
  • The ability to retry failed jobs (Microsoft Extensions Only)
  • The ability to modify a backup set (Microsoft Extensions Only)

The ability to retry failed jobs is handy. There might be a conflicting backup running via a 3rd party tool leveraging the hardware VSS provider. So the ability to retry can mitigate this. As we do multiple replays per day and have them scheduled recurrently we already mitigated the negative effects of this, but this only gibes us more options to deal with such situations. It’s good.

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The ability to modify a backup set is one I love. It was just so annoying not to be able to do this before. A change in the environment meant having to create a new backup set. That also meant keeping around the old job for as long as you wanted to retain the replays associated with that job. Not the most optimal way of handling change I’d say, so this made me happy when I saw it.

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Now I’d like DELL to invest a bit more in make restore of volume based replays of virtual machines easier. I actually like the volume based ones with Hyper-V as it’s one snapshot per CSV for all VMs and it doesn’t require all the VMs to reside on the host where we originally defined the backup set. Optimally you do run all the VMs on the node that own the CSV but otherwise it has less restrictions. I my humble opinion anything that restricts VM mobility is bad and goes against the grain of virtualization and dynamic optimization. I wonder if this has more to do with older CVS/Hyper-V versions, current limitations in Windows Server Hyper-V or CVS or a combination. This makes for a nice discussion, so if anyone from MSFT & the DELL Storage team responsible for Repay Manager wants to have one, just let me know Smile 

Last but not least I’d love DELL to communicate in Q4 of 2015 on how they will integrate their data protection offering in Compellent/Replay manager with Windows Server 2016 Backup changes and enhancements. That’s quite a change that’s happing for Hyper-V and it would be good for all to know what’s being done to leverage that. Another thing that is high on my priority for success is to enable leveraging replays with Live Volumes. For me that’s the biggest drawback to Live Volumes: having to chose between high/continuous availability and application consistent replays for data protection and other use cases).

I have some more things on my wish list but these are out of scope in regards to the subject of this blog post.