Upgrade Steps Outline – DPM 2010 to 2012 SP1

System Center

What follows is the basic outline I followed to upgrade System Data Protection Manager 2010 – DPM – running on a Windows Server 2008 R2 host to DPM 2012 SP1. Obviously each step has small libraries of documentation you could read, warnings you could ignore, and whatnot – but if you’re simply looking to make sure you’ve got the right steps planned out, this is what I did to upgrade our setup:

Please note – I did this same set of steps across both of our systems (primary site and secondary site).

  1. Ensure Windows is up to date.
  2. Ensure DPM 2010 is up to date.
  3. Ensure you are running SQL Server 2008 R2 (I have SP1 — 10.50.2550.0)
  4. You are set to install DPM 2012 at this point. Install was simple – put in the disk, provide some passwords… next, next, next. Continue reading “Upgrade Steps Outline – DPM 2010 to 2012 SP1”

Monday Sucks: DPM BMR Restore of Hyper-V Cluster Nodes

First of all – let me tell you that I did not get to this point lightly. As a matter of fact it was quite honestly the LAST damned place I wanted to be. So how did I get here?

A while back Dell, who we purchased our EqualLogic (EQL for short) units from, contacted us about apparently requiring some annual maintenance as part of our service contract. So they email you up out of the blue and basically tell you that you have 30 days to schedule a time with an engineer who will assist you in updating your firmware on your EQL units. Oh and by the way, they want you to update your Host Integration Tools (HIT) Kit on all iSCSI connected servers as well at the same time. So, I went about collecting the information they wanted and getting some MX time setup for a weekend. I understand (and completely agree with) updating firmware and software that fixes big bugs so I don’t really blame Dell for wanting this done and quite honestly once a year is not too big of a deal.

So, the MX day comes along and all goes pretty well aside from the fact that it took about 12 hours to get the whole thing done because of the EQL firmware, switch firmware and the long list of servers that needed to be done, not to mention that (per Dell) HIT kit 3.5.1 needs to be uninstalled before moving to 4.0. Long day. However one little issue sprung up. We run Windows Core for our Hyper-V hosts. The tech who was running the show couldn’t find the documentation for how to remove 3.5.1 from Core – so the install of 4.0 was run directly over 3.5.1. Turns out… that was a BAD BAD move. Why? Well my Core Hyper-V hosts are basically headless and configured to boot directly from iSCSI not from internal disks. After said 4.0 installation – the system for some reason continues to generate more and more iSCSI connections to the boot LUN until…. the server crashes, the VMs on said node failover (ungracefully) to another host and spin back up.  All told my hyper-v hosts crash once a day, at least.

H0w do I know Dell’s HIT Kit is to blame? The logs… it’s all in the logs. I went from a few Event ID 116 (Removal of device xxxx on iSCSI session xxxx was vetoed by xxxx) events a week to  200+ a day per host .. and the logs started going nuts right after the HIT Kit update reboot.

Note: Typically there’s about 40-50 per EQL Unit not 200 per unit. When Nagios starts sending me these alarms I’m guaranteed a host crash within minutes.

Anybody else see the pattern that starts to develop at some random time after boot? This could happen 12 hours after boot or 3 hours. No rhyme or reason. Just starts creating new connections to the LUN and never releases the old ones until the system goes down in flames.

Case opened with Dell, spent almost 4 hours on the phone while they had tech after tech look at it and come up with bubkis. At Dell’s recommendation I’ve uninstalled 4.0 and gone back to 3.5.1. I’ve gone through the registry bit by bit looking for residual 4.0 stuffs. I’ve spent all kinds of time on technet and google looking for anything I can find to try and solve the issue. No joy. I’ve sent a multiple DSETs, a couple Lasso files. Nada. The final straw this morning (summary of email conversation – I was much more polite than this):

Tech: Please send more DSETs so we can send to Engineers.

Me: WTF happened to the last ones I sent on Friday?! Nothing has changed except for more crashes.

Tech: Oh… there they are teehee … let me get them to the engineers.

Me: Like what should have happened two days ago?

… sounds of birds chirping as the emails stopped coming …

Anyway, part of this was my own stupid. I should have (and dammit I thought about it and then forgot to add it to my checklist) but I should have snapshot the boot LUNs prior to the MX. Whoops. Thankfully I was smart enough to make sure I had BMR backups being done on the Hyper-V hosts (and had tested it before actually trusting it).

The process for running a BMR restore is pretty simple – and even though these are clustered hosts the process remains pretty much the same (even from an iSCSI boot perspective).

The generic process can be found here:

The only gotchas with my setup were:

1.I had to transition all the VMs from one host to the other and put the host in MX mode (SCVMM).

2. I had to allow the iSCSI connections to start and then cancel booting from the LUN. I was then prompted to boot from CD. This way the Boot LUN was attached to the server and Windows Setup could see it. Obviously doing the restore setup from Admin Tools wasn’t an option on Core.

3. Since my BMR was apparently a little too old (2 weeks?!) I had to disjoin the host from the domain and rejoin it. Not a big deal and the cluster picked the host right back up as if nothing had changed.

4. Only do one host at a time (depends on your cluster’s ability to tolerate failure obviously).

Now I get to spend many hours monitoring every little thing to make sure the host stays stable and it doesn’t go LUN happy again. Needless to say HIT Kit 4.0 is no longer on my ‘update’ list. Here’s hoping this fixes it…

UPDATE: No Go. This did not fix the issue. At this point I’m at a loss. Going back to a pre-install BMR recovery and still having the same problem — Which did NOT exist when the BMR backup was taken. Temporary solution now is I’m migrating one host to use physical disks inside the chassis (post on how I’m doing that upcoming) – so at least one host is stable and can host the critical VMs along with the ones that can’t handle spontaneous reboots very well (like SQL).

VHD Parent Locator Fixup Failed – DPM 2010 ID 3130

DPM failed to fixup VHD parent locator post backup for Microsoft Hyper-V \Backup Using Child Partition Snapshot\SERVER(SERVER) on DPMSERVER. Your recovery point is valid, but you will be unable to perform item-level recoveries using this recovery point. (ID 3130)

So I’ve seen this happen a couple times now on my DPM 2010 installation. I wasn’t too overly worried about it because it was an occasional alert and usually the next set of recovery points would be fine. However, after a couple VMs started having the same recovery point error on a near nightly basis it was time to start figuring out what was going on.

I found this thread which contained a link to this KB article and that was the solution for the original poster. Unfortunately that KB didn’t really apply to me because all the hosts/vms in question are 2008 R2. But, what it did do is point me to the root of the problem itself. What I had done a while back was setup checkpoints on the systems in question and then a short while later (when I was done testing a couple things) I deleted all the previous checkpoints for those systems and kept only the current running point in time. The problem was I never took the downtime to merge the differencing disks and naturally I later forgot that I needed to. So, what would end up happening is I would have say 5 minutes of one of these VMs being off as I made configuration changes and Hyper-V would begin the merge process. However SCVMM didn’t show anything like that happening, so when I was done my config changes, I would boot the VM and Hyper-V would cancel the merge process.

So, in short the solution to this error is quite simply shut down your VM, open the Hyper-V console (not SCVMM) and wait while the merge process completes. Depending on the size of the differencing disks it may take a (long) while.

And for reference – the easiest way to determine if you have a disk merge that needs to be completed is to browse to your VM storage and check to see if there are AVHD files in there. You can also open the VM’s XML configuration and look for this line:
disk_merge_pending type=”bool” True

DPM 2010 Deleting Old Restore Points

Ok, so for the most part this happens automagically and you won’t have to mess with it at all. However, for some reason I found that a few recovery points I had manually created with Microsoft Support while troubleshooting an issue were not going away. How do I know? Here’s the script for determining if you have expired but not pruned recovery points (source):

Continue reading “DPM 2010 Deleting Old Restore Points”

Hyper-V Cluster Service Crash During DPM 2010 Backup and EqualLogic Hardware VSS

Hurrah! Another interesting issue while using Hyper-V with CSV. The problem was odd – If I kicked off a backup of a protection group in DPM which is configured to backup using the Child Partition Snapshot of the VMs, on a random Hyper-V node the cluster service would crash, the attached VMs backups would fail, and the VMs would be brought up on another node. Definitely not what I would like to have seen happen. The problem is there wasn’t a whole heck of a lot of information to go off of in the logs. In fact the only really recurring error is Event ID 5121 which is expected – but only if you’re storage provider didn’t supply a hardware VSS component.

Cluster Shared Volume ‘Volume1’ (‘Cluster Disk – CSV’) is no longer directly accessible from this cluster node. I/O access will be redirected to the storage device over the network through the node that owns the volume. This may result in degraded performance. If redirected access is turned on for this volume, please turn it off. If redirected access is turned off, please troubleshoot this node’s connectivity to the storage device and I/O will resume to a healthy state once connectivity to the storage device is reestablished.

EqualLogic does support hardware VSS – but you need to configure it to work. This should remove any event id 5121 errors…. of course it didn’t with mine. (Need to reboot maybe…)

1. Launch Remote setup Wizard from Programs menu->Equallogic->Remote setup
wizard. ** c:\Program Files\EqualLogic\bin on Core
2. In remote setup wizard select “Configure this computer to access a PS
series SAN”
3. If the group is not added then add the group. If the group is added
select the group and click on “Modify”
4. Verify that “Group Name”, Group IP address, Chap Credentials and the
password is entered correctly. Note that the chap credentials for VSS/VDS
access could be different from iSCSI access.
5. restart the equalogic vss provider (net stop eqlvss & net start eqlvss)

Turns out the actual crashing was an easy fix with a patch from Microsoft – KB2494162. Install that, reboot and let DPM run rampant. So far I’ve been running my protection group every hour on the hour (to test) and its not hiccuped once.