Avamar – expiring snapups




In a perfect world, you should never need this command. As my friend Ian Anderson wrote in a great Ask the experts session  where he spoke of achieving  “Avamar Zen”.

Avamar Zen is a state of harmony, where you have achieved a steady state of data ingestion vs data expiration. Where hopefully, you have more data expiring and being cleaned by the garbage collection than you have new data coming in.  However, zen can be hard to achieve. Avamar is an amazing product. If the SE’s have done their job and sized it properly, you should realize steady state. What does happen sometimes is, the client is so impressed they begin adding more systems and workloads that were outside of the initial sizing scope.

Years ago, when I was embedded onsite we ran into such an issue. It wasn’t so much about adding to many systems, but one in particular.  We had some groups, one configured to cross mount points and another to only protect local data. A co-worker spun up a new system and instead of checking with me, added the system himself to Avamar, and the wrong group.

The next day I arrive and find my Avamar grid is filled, also this was replicated over to the secondary. Quite the mess. So just roll the system back to a previous checkpoint? You may think, unfortunately when an Avamar system has reached capacity there is not enough space for the required overhead to engage the checkpoint roll-back. Now, lets meet our friend expire-snapshots.

What does it do? What do you think it does? It expires snaps! Awesome, right? What is really cool is how it does this. The command runs with switches where you can granulary target specific data to remove. For example, if you wanted to remove all data from Nov 30, 2015 and the previous 25 days, you would run the following

expire-snapups –before=’2015-11-30′ –days=25 –domain=/ > do-expire.sh

This will create a script in tmp you can then run and wipe out the offending data.

There are other switches available to target specific data and clients. When complete, settle in for a long garbage collect to run and turf the offending client.

When complete, I hope you can achieve “Avamar Zen” as I did. I also changed the admin password, so my helpful co-worker could not again repeat the same mistake.


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Cannot access NetWorker VBA GUI

Had an issue recently where the VBA config and FLR GUI’s were inaccessible.  It was easy enough to stop and start tomcat with the emwebapp script, but it didn’t work. EMC provided this process to re-register the certificate also.


1. Stop emwebapp
emwebapp.sh – -stop

2. Back up existing keystore
cp /root/.keystore /root/.keystore.sav

3.  List tomcat certificate – should see 1 certificate
/usr/java/latest/bin/keytool -list -keystore /root/.keystore -storepass changeit -alias tomcat

4. Delete tomcat certificate from keystore
/usr/java/latest/bin/keytool -delete -alias tomcat -storepass changeit

5. List tomcat certificate again – should return empty
/usr/java/latest/bin/keytool -list -keystore /root/.keystore -storepass changeit -alias tomcat

6. Regenerate certificate using SHA256
/usr/java/latest/bin/keytool -genkeypair -v -alias tomcat -keyalg RSA -sigalg SHA256withRSA -keystore /root/.keystore -storepass changeit -keypass changeit -validity 3650 -dname “CN=localhost.localdom, OU=Avamar, O=EMC, L=Irvine, S=California, C=US”

7. List tomcat certificate again – should see 1 certificate

8. Start emwebapp.sh
emwebapp.sh – -start

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Do you have multiple Avamar grids? You probably do. You may have even more with multiple versions. Check out the AVOpener tool


Drop this  on your desktop and use it to open the MCS Console GUI. You can also create favorites and customize it for your environment.Not officially supported by EMC.

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Demonstrating Avamar BMR with EMC vLab

This is a screencast demonstrating and performing bare metal restores with Avamar. This was the first time I’ve used EMC’s vLab and I was very impressed.  EMC’s vLab alows you to provision work loads online to demonstrate and train on EMC’s technologies.


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Backing up and restoring VMWARE with Avamar

Starting Monday June 11th I’ll be participating in an online Q&A regarding backing up VMware with Avamar on EMC’s community network. If you support any EMC products you probably know how valuable the ECN network is. EMC has created and invested greatly in growing what has become a an active online community, where techs can engage with EMC knowledge experts. I met some of the guys from ECN while at EMC world and shared with them some of my experience, including building the Avamar grid to backup VMware for my companies cloud computing solution. I’m looking forward to sharing some of my learnings from this project.


The thread will be open for a few weeks and I’ll be logging in once a day to answer any questions.

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EMC and Data Protection Unification

A constant theme in all the Backup/Recovery sessions I have attended has been about the integration of Avamar, Data Domain, NetWorker, major applications and VM’s. I didn’t realize how much work EMC Backup has done in this area. I was pretty impressed to see the work that has been done in NetWorker to provide a single interface to manage the backup infrastructure in these products.  It’s interesting to hear this message from EMC and I think it is one that they should promote more. The single pane is very compelling to most customers. EMC has done a great job on positioning Avamar, NetWorker and Data Domain to provide specific benefits in data protection. Administration of these systems as well as application recoveries (including RMAN) can be completed via the NetWorker GUI.

I had not explored the virtualization monitoring area of NetWorker before, but I can see the huge value it adds after seeing it. The VM visualization screen shows the entire VM infrastructure and reports on how your virtual machines are backed up, but more importantly which systems aren’t.  The focus on best practices were on leveraging VADP and DD Boost for ever broadening application support.




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EMC Avamar Global Data Deduplication for Remote Offices

This video is very old, but I love it. It describes the Avamar product and benefits very well. It features Jedidiah Yueh, who developed the product originally called Axion and sold his company Avamar to EMC.


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