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Iron Mountain data recovery adds ransomware protection

Iron Mountain data recovery wants to perform “CPR” on organizations that get hit with ransomware.

The Iron Cloud Critical Protection and Recovery (CPR), set to launch this month, isolates data, disconnecting it from a network. It provides a “cleanroom” to recover data, in the event of an attack, and ensures that ransomware is out of the system.

“Every business is really data-driven today,” said Pete Gerr, senior product manager at Iron Mountain, which is based in Boston. “Data is their most valuable asset.”

Legacy backup and disaster recovery “really weren’t built for the modern threat environment,” and isolated recovery offers the best protection against ransomware, Gerr said.

Ransomware continues to get smarter and remains a prevalent method of cyberattack. Phil Goodwin, research director of storage systems and software at IDC, said the majority of risks for organizations’ data loss involve malware and ransomware. “It’s not a matter of if they’re going to get hit, it’s a matter of when,” Goodwin said.

That’s caused many organizations to proactively tackle the problem with ransomware-specific products

“It’s moved from a backroom discussion to the boardroom,” Gerr said.

Iron Mountain data recovery gets ‘clean’

Iron Cloud CPR features Iron Mountain’s Virtual Cleanroom, a dedicated computing environment hosted within Iron Cloud data centers that provides an air gap. The cleanroom serves as an offline environment where customers can recover backups stored within the secure CPR vault. Then customers can use data forensic utilities or a designated security provider to audit and validate that restored data sets are free from viruses and remediate them if necessary.

It’s moved from a backroom discussion to the boardroom.
Pete Gerrsenior product manager, Iron Mountain

Customers then use Iron Mountain data recovery to restore selected sets back to their production environment or another site.

“The last thing we want to do is recover a backup set … that reinfects your environment,” Gerr said.

The air gap, which ensures that ransomware does not touch a given data set, can also be found in such media as tape storage that is disconnected from the network.

Goodwin cautioned that the CPR product should complement an organization’s backup and recovery platform, not replace it.

“It will fit well with what the customer has,” he said.

Iron Cloud CPR also includes a managed service for organizations using Dell EMC’s Cyber Recovery for ransomware recovery. Hosted in Iron Mountain’s data centers, Iron Cloud CPR for Dell EMC Cyber Recovery on Data Domain enables customers to isolate critical data off site for protection against attacks, using a cloud-based monthly subscription model.

CPR is part of the Iron Cloud data management portfolio, which was built using Virtustream’s xStream Cloud Management Platform. The portfolio also includes backup, archive and disaster recovery services.

Both Iron Cloud CPR offerings are fully managed services and work without any other products, Gerr said. They will be available as part of Dell EMC and Virtustream’s data protection portfolios.

Iron Mountain, which claims more than 230,000 customers across its entire product line, said Iron Cloud CPR is expected to be generally available by the end of June. Several customers are working with the Iron Mountain data recovery product as early adopters.

New Arista switches use Barefoot Tofino programmable chip

Arista has launched a family of switches that companies can program to perform tasks typically handled by network appliances and routers. The company claims the consolidation capabilities of the new 7170 series reduces costs and network complexity.

The programmability of the 7170 family stems from the Barefoot Networks Tofino packet processor found in the hardware. Engineers program the silicon using P4, an open source language.

Barefoot markets Tofino as an alternative to fixed-function application-specific integrated circuits. Large enterprises, cloud and communication service providers are typical users of the high-speed Barefoot Tofino chip, which processes packets at 6.5 Tbps.

Arista, which uses Broadcom and Cavium packet processors in other switches, wants to broaden the potential customer base for the Barefoot Tofino chip by coupling it with the vendor’s EOS network operating system for leaf-spine architectures. To make programming on Barefoot Tofino silicon easier, Arista provides packaged profiles that contain data plane and control plane features for specific applications. Network managers can customize the patterns using P4 and deploy them on EOS.

“We’ll have to see what sort of benefits customers derive from using the [7170] technology in real-world production environments,” said Brad Casemore, an analyst at IDC. “In theory, it certainly has the potential to handle some tasks typically addressed by routers and middleboxes.” 

Arista application profiles

Examples of the applications defined in the Arista profiles include network overlays and virtualization to offload network functions, such as traffic segmentation or tunnel encapsulation from virtual servers.

Other profiles provide network and application telemetry for flow-level visibility, configurable thresholds and alarms, timestamping and end-to-end latency. Arista also offers patterns supporting some firewall functionality and large-scale network address translation. NAT is a way to manage multiple IP addresses by giving them a solitary public IP address. The methodology improves security and decreases the number of IP addresses an organization needs.

“How readily those profiles are embraced and productively employed could determine the extent to which the 7170 successfully addresses the use cases Arista has identified,” Casemore said.

The 7170 series has two models. The first is a 1RU chassis that supports 32, 64 or 128 ports at 40/100 GbE, 50 GbE and 10/20 GbE, respectively. The second is a 2RU system that supports 64, 128 or 256 interfaces at 40/100 GbE, 50 GbE and 10/25 GbE, respectively. The hardware processes up to 12.8 terabits per second.

Base pricing for a 64-port system is $1,200 per port.

In March, Arista introduced two 25/100 GbE switches for cloud providers, tier-one and tier-two service providers, high-tech companies and financial institutions ready to replace 40/100 GbE switches with more powerful systems.

Arista is targeting the two switches — the 7050X3 and the 7260X3 — at different use cases. The former is an enterprise or carrier top-of-rack switch, while the 7260X3 is for leaf-spine data center networks used in large cloud environments.

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Use PowerShell when working with Hyper-V checkpoints

images of Hyper-V VM. For example, you can take checkpoints of a VM, perform your application testing and revert the checkpoint to a known state if you need to retest. Although you can use Hyper-V Manager to perform checkpoint tasks, it’s easier to do the same tasks using PowerShell.

By default, Hyper-V checkpoints aren’t enabled on VMs. In order to execute the PowerShell commands below, you’ll be required to enable checkpoints on the VMs. You can use the Hyper-V Manager to enable checkpoints for a VM, but you can also execute the Set-VM PowerShell cmdlet. To enable checkpoints for a single VM, execute the Set-VM –Name SQLVM –CheckPointType Enable PowerShell command. Next, run Set-VM –Name SQLVM –CheckPointType ProductionOnly to configure the VM to use a production checkpoint — first introduced in Hyper-V 2016.

Once you have enabled checkpoints for a VM, you can execute the below PowerShell commands to take checkpoints or revert to a checkpoint of your choice.

Create a checkpoint

To create a checkpoint, use the CheckPoint-VM PowerShell cmdlet. Just executing CheckPoint-VM –Name SQLVM will create a checkpoint for an SQLVM. If you need to take another checkpoint, execute the same command. Note that when you take a checkpoint, Hyper-V creates a checkpoint entry with the date and time when the checkpoint was taken.

To list all of the Hyper-V checkpoints for a VM, use Get-VMSnapshot –VMName SQLVM.

Note that the Checkpoint-VM PowerShell cmdlet doesn’t support taking checkpoints for a VM running on a remote Hyper-V host. If you need to perform a checkpoint for a remote VM, interact with the remote VM using the Get-VM PowerShell cmdlet and then pipe the Checkpoint-VM cmdlet as shown in the command below:

Get-VM Remote_SQLVM –ComuterName RemoteHyper-VHost | Checkpoint-VM

By using the command above, you are performing a checkpoint for a VM that is running on RemoteHyper-VHost.

To restore or revert to a checkpoint for a VM, use the Restore-VMSnapshot PowerShell cmdlet. If you would like to restore an SQLVM to a previous checkpoint, execute the PowerShell commands below:

$ThisVM = “SQLVM”

$ThisVM | Get-VM | Get-VMSnapshot –Name “SnapshotName” | Restore-VMSnapshot –Confirm:$False

Note that you will be required to stop the VM before performing the checkpoint restore operation.

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