I work with a lot of cool software and I have for many years. That is why I left VMware – which I loved working at and with, and moved to DataGravity. I could still work with VMware but also work with some very cool new software. I have been using for a while now PCSyncBack Pro to move files around. An inexpensive and simple tool that worked very good indeed. However, one of my co-workers has suggested I look at something that is even better. So here it goes.
We are working with ViceVersa Pro here and it is more then just a file mover. It does real-time backup, synchronization, and replication. It can copy open files (using Windows Volume Shadow Service) including PST files. It can sync visually (side by side) and even disconnected PC’s via USB. It has simple scheduling but also very advanced scheduling is available as an add-in at additional cost and is called VVEngine. It lets ViceVersa run as a service and even provides command line support along with a lot of other capabilities.
The combination of ViceVersa Pro and the VVEngine are very powerful indeed!
Stuff to gather
- Bits can be found here. 30 day eval is full featured. I am doing this with ViceVersa PRO 2.5 2514 64-bit.
- Vendor web site.
- Vendor support – more of a KB / FAQ. But the FAQ is pretty good and it can be easily printed to PDF which is handy. Here is the install info from the vendor. Here is the forum.
- I am using Windows 2012 R2 with 8GB RAM, x2 vCPU, and a 60 GB hard drive. This is, of course, a VM running on vSphere 5.5 U2 with all patches as of today. Same with Win2K12, as it is patched up to today.
- A service account that has access to everything that is going to be copied / moved.
Here we will actually get the software working. BTW, the question mark in the lower left of the UI loads context sensitive help that was actually pretty useful and well done.
- RDP into your VM (or physical machine) where you want to install ViceVersa. When I was testing it I just installed it into my desktop. Now that I have bought the software and going to start the ingest of a great deal of data onto my array I am going to give the software its own desktop to provide the maximum flexibility for me (and it too).
- Access the software.
- As you can see I have both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions but I will install the 64-bit – vvpro64.exe.
- I <right + click> and select Run As Admin – not because I need too necessarily but as a habit to avoid issues.
- So we see and move past the EULA. And we are prompted for disk path for install.
- But wait! Can it actually be so? 14 MB of disk space is required? Amazing in this day and age of the very big footprint for the smallest apps?
- Next we have Program Group.
- Now we are prompted about icons.
- So we see a Summary and after that a very fast install. At the end by default it will start up ViceVersa.
- The first time we start we see a screen that has a number of choices.
- From here we can do a 30 day eval, buy a license, or enter Registration info. Which is what I am going to do.
- And before you know it we are in the software.
- I like to enable the time sync so that we know ViceVersa is always working on consistent time. Will really help scheduling but also log interaction.
OK. We now have a working ViceVersa. Lets make it work now!
Our mission is to move a collection of files from old storage to new storage. So we are going to use File Sync and it will be one-way. This is a great way for us to test out ViceVersa and see how it goes. Our storage looks like this:
Our source storage is bosarray01.dglabs.com\library and our destination is bosarray02.dglabs.com\library.
My source has approximately 115 GB of disk in use and it is comprised of a wide range of file types. From .OVA and ISO that are pretty big to a wide range of document types that are big and small. This is pretty representative for an average company file store – size will vary but the mix of files is pretty normal.
So lets make this work.
File Synchronization Setup
We start at the main menu.
- Since this is our first time and we don’t have a profile ready to go – which is where all of your configuration is saved – we are going to work on the default one. Look in the bottom left corner and select Change Profile Setting.
- In the top left corner I like to select More so I can see a better picture of what is going on.
- Lets select the proper source and target folders. If you can jump down to where it says Continue here.
- But it is very likely you will not see the shares in the drop down list. I did not. I have seen this before. You need to fix an issue. First exit the ViceVersa software. Second, you need to open the File Explorer and select the network. A message will popup.
- You must now select Click to change. In the next choice enable Network and File Share.
- Now you must start up ViceVersa again and when you select the folders you will be able to scroll and under This PC see the network drives mappings you expect.
- Continue here – you should now be able to, and have selected the appropriate folders.
- BTW, if you are worried about your Source, or just conservative you can click the padlock next to it so it will not be modified.
- The next thing we do is move to the File Filters area. There are a number of files that do not need to be copied, plus we need to specify what to copy and order is important. Look below to see what I have configured.
- Not seen in the image above, is that you may want to exclude *.tmp and *.temp.
- Note that there is no include here? I did add an include at first and wondered why some things were not included. The fact is if you do an include you have to include everything specifically and *.* does not work like that! So just do excludes and you will be good.
- We move to Comparison now. Even though the first time we copy it will be a little irrelevant, we may use the profile again to update and then it will be useful.
- Notice the two check-marks above in the screenshot? I do recommend you use them, particularly the first one. It helps in NTFS disk environments. Based on my experience I select the second one above too.
- Lets move to Execution now.
- We are copying files to a new location. So that is one-way synchronization and is known as Backup as seen above.
- I love the Tracking option but we only need that for when we are doing two-way synchronization.
- I also enable the Logging option as it can be very useful for troubleshoot! Once I am a fan of ViceVersa and I have done a bunch of migration then I will change from log everything to log only summary and errors.
- For our first use of ViceVersa I do not think we need to use any of the Execution options such as Archiving, Compression / Encryption, or Performance / Bandwidth (all of these are seen above in the screenshot). Depending on the situation you may need Performance / Bandwidth as there is some very good options in there to help. You do not normally start there however.
- Now we move to Advanced Settings to make some changes.
- You can see the three checkmarks above, but the two highlighted options are important and should be selected – Use ‘Volume Shadow Copy Service’ and Copy permissions. The Use ‘Volume Shadow Copy Service’ is a very powerful feature but it is is not always necessary or appropriate. In my case, migrating between two arrays it is not necessary and even causes an error.
- In the Copy permissions choice, we must make some changes in Details.
- The first option is selected automatically but the second and third are most important.
- Most customers will want all three options selected as I have above. Once you are done select OK.
- We need to work on email notifications now. In the E-Mail Notifications section in the Execution \ Advanced settings area select Setup.
- We need to configure a number of things here! Check out my config.
- I made no change in the E-Mail conditions as this is a new install. But they might be useful in the future for further granularity in the sending emails.
- I also did not Customize E-Mail Subject and body as I think the default to start is good.
- Make sure to do a test email!
- The test email has a bit of info in it.
- I believe that once I complete the profile and save it that this test email will look better. Actually no, pretty similar. Maybe after I use the profile once.
- Now we are done with E-Mail we can move on. If we hit OK we return to the main men.
- We want to save our config as a profile so that we can easily change profiles if necessary so we can have complete sets of different configuration. Very handy.
- Use File \ Save Profile as to name your profile.
- Once you are using your profile and it has been saved, you can view it nicely. I like that to remind me of the config of the profile.
- So I would suggest that for each job you might have you should have a profile. So my big migration project I am working in now would have one, and then my personal data upload of my pictures to some other location would be another profile.
Lets move some files now!
So we are now ready to copy or move files. Even when we want to move files we should always copy them instead to be safe. But our software is configured and ready, plus we have logs and email notifications so we are good. But we have two choices now – do we want to actually do the movement, or do we want to see both destinations side-by-side which might now be useful now, but later in a migration effort it might be quite interesting.
We are going to use Compare first to see what it looks like. When it starts up we see this.
And we will see how long it takes to get to the compare screen. Not long and we see this.
So we see a very nice Status Summary screen, but also can almost see in the background the source and destination windows. Once you hit OK you will see at the bottom of the screen the controls area.
So we can Execute now or not. But you can also use the View menu to select what you see such as the excluded files.
This is a very important feature. I can now easily see that I have a problem with my exclusions. If I had looked through the list of 214k worth of files I could see that, but with this filter like capability it is much easier to check your preparation and much more likely to be successful.
My problem is that there are excluded files like readme (because I did at first an include *.*) you can see above that is excluded and that is unintentional. Need to fix that! But I want to do some copying! (I did fix this and redid the screenshot above).
So lets do the Compare and Execute and see how it goes! It starts up as as the compare.
But I really like the output window. That is how I find version info, and see how things are going.
I get an error – VSS is not supported on my array.
But I select Continue and Ignore all errors.
So it says another hour and we will see how it goes. The bandwidth monitor is pretty cool.
I see 1713 hours remaining. Must be a bunch of small files right now but I do not expect it to really last that long.
Before the copy I visited the file and folders to record some information to make sure that things are actually copied as expected.
Some examples include the following
- File permissions as they exist in source for a multiple of files.
- File and folder ownership for a variety of locations. In fact, to make this more interesting test, I have a folder that is owned by someone who I will delete before I copy. This is handled differently depending on the migration application – SecureCopy lets you define an account to make the new owner of things that don’t have an owner, and PC SyncBack Pro preserves the missing owner. Robocopy – depending on version will make the new owner the user who is doing the copy. Turns out that VV will preserve the state of the file so it will still show the SID of the deleted user – just like PC SyncBack Pro.
The results can be pretty tricky. Some questions you need to ask include the list below.
- Did we ‘get’ all the files and folders? Meaning do the numbers of source and destination make sense?
- Do the logs indicate we had any issues in flight? Sometimes if you have a numbers issue in number 1 this will help explain that.
- Any file in use issues? In my lab I have no other users but when I did this for customers I often had file in use issues. With ViceVersa it supposedly can manage that using Microsoft’s tools and I think that should work great in fact.
- How about the test file and folder permissions? Are they the same in the destination as the source?
- How the file or folder owners we checked. Are they the same?
If you have worked through the list above and have no painful surprises and you have all your files, folders, and metadata you are pretty well off!
In my migration it worked very well but I noticed something. The create and modify times – thanks to the settings we chose above were preserved. But the last access was not. It changed to the actual real date / time of the copy. This may not be good. It also may not matter. I can tell you when I called the vendor they mentioned that they would be able to support preserving the access time. I was able to test that with a pre-release patch and it worked great. I would guess you can expect to see that functionality in a future release. Update – as of 6/22/15 the updated release is available. You can see in the screenshot below where you can enable or disable preserving the last access time.
I found the performance of this to be within minutes of what PC Syncback Pro takes. Even though this tool is more expensive it is more full featured and it does manage last access time that PC Syncback Pro doesn’t yet do. I will be using this tool in the future.
Here are some of the filters I use to cut down on time of copy and space at destination. I will update as I learn more.
Be aware that I suspect most customers will have their own additions to this list. Also remember case – as .ds_store above is normally in proper-case. Some of these may not be necessary on a SMB share but I thought good to share.
If you are using the current build – 2516 or the previous one you can use the setting to preserve last access time. In that case you might have a profile like I use:
ViceVersa is not fast. In fact it is pretty slow. It does however, have a feature set that I appreciate and expect for migration of important data. There are two possibilities to speed it up.
The obvious one that will in fact speed things up is to use the VVEngine and have different profiles executing at the same time. The profiles will migrate subsets of data – no profile will migrate data that any other profile will touch. This works well but is a bit tricky to design. The VVEngine is pretty powerful as well and it has features that are useful.
A less obvious one is to use Windows Native Copy. I will need to test this one to see if it makes a difference.
You have learned to install, configure and execute a copy with this tool. I am very happy with it as it works well, has many features to grow into that do not slow me down now and their support is very good. I have barely touched the features in this article but you have what you need to make it work.
- 1/8/16 – added some new exclusion suggestions under the screenshot.
- 12/14/15 – seems like you cannot use Windows Native and preserve last access so that is a nonstarter and weird. Also, build 2516 which I saw on 12/13/15 and used may have some issues with preserving last access. Need to confirm.
- 12/13/15 – added the sample profile and performance info.
- 6/22/15 – added in the info on the new GA that includes preserving last access time.
- 6/18/15 – Initial release
Any questions or comments are welcome!
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