ShadowProtect SPX ReadMe

General Information

Go to the SPX Release Notes for information about SPX 6.5.0 and newer.  This ReadMe includes information about StorageCraft ShadowProtect SPX 6.3.0 and older.  Both documents are supplements to the SPX User Guide

 

What's New

See SPX Release Notes in the SPX User Guide for the latest product information.

 

January 9, 2017 - The Socket Licensing Service was updated to version 1.1.4 on January 9, 2017. See Socket Licensing Service updates for ShadowProtect SPX 6.3.0 (January 2017) for additional Socket Licensing Service information.
 

Windows 10

Windows 10 is now a supported operating system for SPX. For Windows upgrades, StorageCraft recommends deactivating the SPX license prior to upgrading the OS to Windows 10. While a Windows upgrade may work with SPX without a license deactivation, StorageCraft recommends as a best practice to deactivate the software first, then perform the OS upgrade (including Windows 8 to 8.1 or to Windows 10). After the upgrade completes, reactivate SPX.

Caution: SPX currently has an issue with continuing a backup chain from a Windows 10 VM created using VirtualBoot.

Migration Issues from ShadowProtect 5.x

Caution: SPX supports only NTFS and FAT partitions (not "hidden" or "unknown" partitions) for backup in Windows. During an upgrade to SPX, if a ShadowProtect 5.x backup job includes one or more hidden partitions, SPX does not migrate the part of the backup jobs for these hidden partitions.

Note that the vast majority of hidden partitions have static content and do not require incremental backups.  Users may prefer to have a simple periodic full backup of these partitions rather than include them as part of a continuous incremental backup job.

 

1. System Requirements

Linux Operating Systems 

StorageCraft is committed to supporting distributions of Linux with long-term support (It does not support self-compiled or short-term releases.). Refer to the StorageCraft Supported Linux Versions list to determine if your current installed Linux kernel supports SPX, this list is continuously updated.

  • Ubuntu 12.04 (64-bit)
  • Ubuntu 14.04 (64-bit)
  • CentOS/RHEL 6 (64-bit) with EPEL repositories enabled
  • CentOS/RHEL 7 (64-bit) with EPEL repositories enabled

Kernel Version

An automated approach to determine if SPX supports the installed Linux kernel is to run these commands:

Ubuntu 12.04

1. Set up the repo:

wget https://downloads.storagecraft.com/spx/Ubuntu12.04/storagecraft-repo-latest.deb -O storagecraft-repo-latest.deb
sudo dpkg -i storagecraft-repo-latest.deb

Note: The above command installs a copy of the StorageCraft repository public signing key to the files system. It then automatically adds it to the apt keystore in Ubuntu. To see a copy of this key go to http://downloads.storagecraft.com/spx/Ubuntu12.04/stc/repository.key .

2. Run the command

apt-cache search kmod-stcvsm
Ubuntu 14.04

1. Set up the repo:

wget https://downloads.storagecraft.com/spx/Ubuntu14.04/storagecraft-repo-latest.deb -O storagecraft-repo-latest.deb
sudo dpkg -i storagecraft-repo-latest.deb

Note: The above command installs a copy of the StorageCraft repository public signing key to the files system. It then automatically adds it to the apt keystore in Ubuntu. To see a copy of this key go to http://downloads.storagecraft.com/spx/Ubuntu12.04/stc/repository.key .

2. Run the command

apt-cache search kmod-stcvsm

CentOS/RHEL 6

1. Set up the repo:

wget https://downloads.storagecraft.com/spx/CentOS6/storagecraft-repo-latest.rpm -O storagecraft-repo-latest.rpm
sudo yum install storagecraft-repo-latest.rpm -y

2. Run the command:

yum list kmod-stcvsm*

CentOS/RHEL 7

1. Set up the repo:

wget https://downloads.storagecraft.com/spx/CentOS7/storagecraft-repo-latest.rpm -O storagecraft-repo-latest.rpm
sudo yum install storagecraft-repo-latest.rpm -y

2. Run the command:

yum list kmod-stcvsm*

File Systems

SPX supports these Linux file systems on storage devices:

  • ext2
  • ext3
  • ext4
  • XFS

Hypervisor Support

Supported socket licensed Hypervisors

  • Microsoft Hyper-V
  • VMWare vSphere  5.x and 6.0

Supported virtual key licensed Hypervisors

  • Microsoft Hyper-V
  • Microsoft Virtual PC
  • Microsoft Virtual Server
  • VMWare ESX/ESXi
  • VMWare Workstation
  • Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV)
  • Citrix Xen Hypervisor
  • Oracle VirtualBox
  • Linux KVM
  • ProxMox
  • Qemu
  • Stratus everRun

ShadowProtect also correctly detects its licensing on these hypervisors.

Recovering Linux Backup Files

The 64-bit Recovery Environment CrossPlatform (RE-X) supports SPX-generated Linux backup files.

 

Windows Operating Systems

SPX supports the majority of contemporary Windows and Windows Server operating systems, from Windows XP Home or XP Professional w/SP3 and up to and including Windows 10. Minimum is Windows XP SP3.

SPX provides both a 32- and a 64-bit Windows installer. SPX requires the correct bit-level installer for the OS. If the OS is 32-bit, use the 32-bit SPX installer. If the OS is 64-bit, use the 64-bit installer.

SPX does not support:

  • Windows Server 2003 (all iterations)
  • Windows Storage Spaces storage pools
  • Windows Server Cluster Shared Volumes

File Systems

  • FAT16
  • FAT16X
  • FAT32
  • FAT32X
  • NTFS
  • MBR Disks
  • GPT Disks
  • Basic and Dynamic Volumes and Disks
  • 4K/AF drives with 4096-byte physical sectors and 512-byte sector emulation.

Ports

SPX uses these ports:

  • TCP 443 outbound (secure)
  • TCP 8282 outbound (subnet to socket license proxy)
  • TCP 13581 inbound (default port for the SPX remote management service)

Login Credentials

You must use Windows credentials to log into the SPX console. The user  account must be a member of the Local Admin group. SPX requires the user to have a password. If your user doesn't have a password you must create one prior to logging in.

Hypervisor Support

  • Citrix XenServer
  • Linux KVM
  • Microsoft Hyper-V
  • Microsoft Virtual PC
  • Microsoft Virtual Server
  • Oracle VirtualBox
  • ProxMox
  • Qemu
  • Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV)
  • Stratos everRun
  • VMware ESX/ESXi (including the free version of ESXi)
  • VMware Workstation

Recovery Environment

The 64-bit Recovery Environment CrossPlatform supports restorations of both Windows and Linux boot volumes. Use the REBuilder app to create the 64-bit Windows Recovery Environment if the restore requires additional driver support. (StorageCraft recommends using the 32-bit Recovery Environment only when required by the destination hardware.)

 

2. Features/Enhancements

 

Socket Licensing Service 1.1.4 updates for ShadowProtect SPX 6.3.0 (January 2017)

  • Improved logging messages in the Socket Licensing Service logs. 
  • Improved error messages in the Socket Licensing Service user interface.
  • Fixed an issue where the Socket Licensing Service user interface wasn't loading in Google Chrome browser.
  • Fixed an issue with log files being overwritten when Socket Licensing Service was restarted.
  • Fixed an issue where Hyper-V virtual machines deactivated after 23 days and couldn't be reactivated until rebooted.
  • Fixed an issue where virtual machines couldn't be activated on Microsoft Hyper-V.
  • Fixed other general items to improve functionality and performance. 

ShadowProtect SPX 6.3.0 (August 2016)

  • Added VirtualBoot Plugin for vSphere. This is a cleaner recovery process and replaces the need for HeadStart Restore in a pure VMware environment. See VirtualBoot Plugin for vSphere in the SPX user guide for detailed information.
  • Enhanced the VirtualBoot wizard to track progress and status through each step of the VirtualBoot process.
  • Added messaging for errors that may occur when configuring VirtualBoot.
  • Fixed an issue where details of .spi files (under retention by ImageManager) weren't being displayed correctly in SPX.
  • Fixed an issue where the right-click context-menu option for StorageCraft Quick Dismount was no longer visible after an upgrade from ShadowProtect 5.2.x to SPX 6.2.x-6.3.x.
  • Fixed an issue where the base and incremental chain numbers were rolling backward when re-creating a destination object in SPX. 

ShadowProtect SPX 6.2.0 (May 2016)

  • With this release, SPX can now be licensed for up to one or two years. This license includes maintenance and a one or two year expiration.
  • Collapse to full, resurrects an image conversion tool capability that allows users to collapse an image chain down to a single .spf for archiving.
  • SSL is enabled using port 443 to talk with the StorageCraft activation server.
  • VirtualBox support has been update to incorporate the following versions: 5.0.12, 5.0.14, and 5.0.16.
  • Added: Dialog warning of an unmanaged chain will be displayed after seven days of backups, within a continuous schedule, without a consolidate file being created.
  • Fixed: Windows patch affecting the bootloader and preventing successful VirtualBoot or restore. Suggest rebuilding StorageCraft Recovery Environment with REBuilder 1.1.8. (May 2016).
  • Fixed: General error reporting with snapshot/VSS, -32 sbrun, -31 sbrun, unmanaged chain, and split images.
  • Fixed: Destination scan integrity error caused by case sensitivity.
  • Fixed: Network connection dropped or credentails changed during backup process, causes the file rename to fail.

ShadowProtect SPX 6.1.0 (March 2016)

  • With SPX 6.1.0 StorageCraft added the Socket Licensing Service (v1.0.0) to enable Hypervisor based socket licensing. Socket licensing makes it possible to use SPX to create backup images for all VMs running on a socket licensed hypervisor. Now you don't need to buy a separate license for each VM. 
  • Fixed an issue where an HIR problem in VirtualBoot was causing blue screen failures. 
  • Fixed a user interface problem that was causing a timeout when many backup jobs were in the timeline. A setting was added to the spx_config.json file (in the C:\programdata\StorageCraft\spx folder) to limit the number of backups shown in the user interface. The default value (45 days) can be changed by editing this entry “job_event_days”: <the number of days>.

ShadowProtect SPX 6.0.16 (November 2015)

  • Fixed an issue where in some cases SPX didn't save SMTP settings. 

ShadowProtect SPX 6.0.14 (November 2015)

  • Supports multiple email destinations for notifications.
  • Supports the option of using Hyper-V (on Windows Server 2012 R2) for VirtualBoot operations in addition to Oracle Virtual Box.
  • SPX backup jobs now support changing the destination for backup files. (Note that this requires the user to move the existing chain to the new destination.)
  • Backup Job List now includes a Next Backup field to show each job's next scheduled backup.
  • Backup file encryption now defaults to AES 256.
  • SPX messages and errors now appear in the Windows Event Log with unique IDs to allow for search and sorting on those codes.
  • Fixed an issue where some localized versions did not correctly display the monthly calendar in the Select Every Month option in the Job Scheduler.
  • SPX now supports both TLS and SSL for email notifications.

ShadowProtect SPX 6.0.12 (September 2015) (Update for Linux endpoints only)

  • Supports Ubuntu 14.04 and CentOS 7.
  • Fixed an issue where a mount operation would fail in Linux when the destination path included a space.
  • Fixed an issue with freespace pruning on Linux volumes.

ShadowProtect SPX 6.0.8 (July 2015)

  • Extends SPX services to Windows systems.
  • Provides automatic backup job migration from ShadowProtect 5.x.
  • Supports ShadowControl 3.x SPX policies.
  • Supports Windows 10.

ShadowProtect SPX (March 2015)

  • Extends ShadowProtect services to Linux servers.
  • Runs as a native 64-bit application
  • Introduces a new user interface for configuring and managing backup jobs.
  • Includes a more flexible backup job scheduler.
  • Supports VirtualBoot for Linux system volume images.
  • Fully supports ImageManager services (consolidation and replication) and all levels of StorageCraft Cloud Services.
  • Supports Recovery Environment CrossPlatform (REX) for system volume restores.
  • Recovery Environment CrossPlatform includes Boot Repair and LVM for Linux recoveries.
  • Leverages HTTP rather than DCOM to reduce issues with firewall access
  • Does not require a specific language license to match the SPX installation..

3. Known Issues 

ShadowProtect SPX 6.3.0 (August 2016)

  • In some situations, a timeout error can occur when trying to activate SPX with the Socket Licensing Service. If this happens, verify that the Socket Licensing Service can still connect to each of the configured hypervisors, and address any issues, such as IP address changes, firewall rules, etc.
  • Uninstalling the VirtualBoot Plugin for vSphere fails if virtual machines in the cluster are running. Shut down all virtual machines before attempting to uninstall the plugin.

ShadowProtect SPX 6.0.16 (November 2015)

  • There are no additional known issues in this maintenance release.

ShadowProtect SPX 6.0.14 (November 2015)

  • SPX only displays a generic error message when attempting to launch a VirtualBoot operation on a system without either VirtualBox or the Hyper-V plugin installed. At that point, confirm that either VirtualBox or the Hyper-V plugin are intalled at that point. The preferred solution and to avoid confusion, install VirtualBox or the Hyper-V plugin first prior to needing the VirtualBoot functionality.
  • The Hyper-V plugin requires Windows Server 2012 R2 that is acting in a server role.
  • Microsoft Hyper-V may require additional time to launch a VM using VirtualBoot in comparison with VirtualBox, particularly with a long backup chain.

ShadowProtect SPX (July 2015)

  • SPX email notifications support TLS only, not SSL. This will be fixed in an upcoming release.
  • A Windows upgrade from ShadowProtect 5.x to SPX fails to migrate a backup job which has the scheduled job end at 12AM midnight.
  • On a Linux server, mounting a volume fails if the destination path includes a space.
  • VirtualBoot in Windows does not support mounting or virtual booting of Linux volumes.
  • ImageManager consolidated files display an erroneous "split files" message when selected in the SPX Timeline. The files are not split and function as normal consolidated files for virtual booting or mounting.
  • SPX places an incorrect time stamp on the resulting file when mounting an image as Writable or after a VirtualBoot. Saving this modfied file to the same folder as the existing chain results in the Image Chain Browser failing to display the full chain. This will be fixed in an upcoming release. The workaround is to move this new file to another folder, wait 10 minutes to refresh the database, then open the Image Chain Browser.
  • Logging off from a remote session using Windows 2003 via a non-RDP session may stop the SPX service on certain machines. Manually restart the service using Windows Services to correct this. (Windows 2003 no longer supported as of October 2016).

ShadowProtect SPX (March 2015) (Linux-only)

  • SPX on CentOS might present a package conflict with fprintd-pam. One option is to uninstall fprintd-pam if it isn't needed.
  • Requires a user password to run SPX. Otherwise, SPX issues an error and does not launch the interface.
  • Does not support a virtual boot of Windows Small Business Server.
  • SPX does not support Push Installs.
  • On database and other transaction servers, use the scripting option in Backup Job > Advanced > Scripts to quiesce applications prior to taking snapshots.
  • In rare instances, a system restore may require using GRUB to confirm correct storage device access.
  • Linux file explorer does not include right-click options for Mount or Virtual Boot. Use the SPX interface to access these functions.
  • Remote management from the SPX console also supports performing Mount and Virtual Boot functions on the target (agent) system. SPX does not indicate that it is the remote agent system performing these functions rather than the console.
  • Using VirtualBoot via remote management of an SPX system will fail if the backup files are stored on a network share.
  • If SPX runs Retention, and deletes an incremental file, the SPX UI only greys out some of the deleted files in the timeline.
  • XFS support does not include free space pruning.

4. VirtualBox Support


General

When run for the first time, VirtualBoot installs the appropriate plugin for the installed version of VirtualBox. If it sees a newer version of VirtualBox than the one officially supported it will still attempt to install the appropriate plugin. For instance, if it sees VirtualBox 4.3.30, but the latest version SPX supports is 4.3.28, it will install the plugin for 4.3.28. In most instances, this works without issue. However, this may become an issue when SPX must update the plugin between minor releases of VirtualBox. If the VM shows a black screen with a message like "A Disk Read Error Has Occurred," this may be the problem.

VirtualBoot attempts to upgrade the plugin when it determines that VirtualBox was upgraded and there is a new version of the plugin corresponding to the new version of VirtualBox.

Special Considerations For Linux

Warning:
It is possible to configure the VirtualBox Repo on a Linux machine. (This makes it easy to download updates to VirtualBox.) However,  this option will tend to download the latest version of VirtualBox for that particular branch defined in the Repo (e.g. 4.3.x or 4.2.x). This presents two potentially serious problems:

  • Some versions of VirtualBox are not supported for SPX. These are rare but they do occur when there are bugs in the VirtualBoot API used by SPX. Using the VirtualBox Repo may install a new, untested version and VirtualBoot functions would fail.
  • Some versions of VirtualBoot may update to the system kernel. This may result in a kernel version that is not supported by SPX. StorageCraft regularly releases updated kernel drivers as new kernels become available, so this issue should be rare. However, it is still possible and would cause SPX functions to perform erratically or not at all.

For these reasons StorageCraft recommends downloading directly specific versions of VirtualBox that StorageCraft confirms are supported by SPX. The SPX user guide contains a table of supported VirtualBox versions

In general, using HIR, VirtualBoot can launch a VM of a Windows system if the source is the boot volume backup. (Note that the original system may have had a separate volume called "Boot", often without an assigned drive letter, but that volume isn't needed for VirtualBoot.) Linux however is different. 

Frequently in Linux, the /boot and /root directories needed for a successful boot are on separate volumes. There's sometimes a third directory called /home that is required and also on a separate volume. Assume then that VirtualBoot needs all of these volumes for a successful VirtualBoot.

Currently, Linux images can only be booted on Linux hosts. Among other reasons, this is because VirtualBoot needs to mount the volumes contained in the image during the prep phase, and Windows doesn't know how to do this with the Linux filesystems.

 

5. FOSS Components

Information on FOSS software components used in SPX appears at stcfoss.org.

 

 

Copyright © 2016 StorageCraft Technology Corp. All rights reserved. This Software and Documentation are copyrighted.  Ownership of StorageCraft ShadowProtect Software, StorageCraft ImageManager, and StorageCraft Cloud Services is reserved to StorageCraft Technology Corporation. The StorageCraft logo, the StorageCraft ShadowProtect logo, StorageCraft ImageManager logo, and StorageCraft Cloud Services logo are trademarks of StorageCraft Technology Corporation. StorageCraft, ShadowProtect, ShadowControl, and HeadStart Restore are registered trademarks of StorageCraft Technology Corporation in the United States and elsewhere. ShadowProtect Server Edition, intelligentFTP, and ShadowStream are trademarks of StorageCraft Technology Corporation in the United States and elsewhere. All other brands and product names are or may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.


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