Backup MySQL Databases running on a Windows Server using Systems Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) 2012.

Running MySQL on a Windows machine is pretty straight forward.  One of the down sides though is that MySQL is not VSS aware and may mis-behave when back up software such as Data Protection Manager or ShadowProtect.  Data Protection Manager (DPM) has the ability (basically called Pre-Backup and Post-Backup Scripts) to perform actions before and after a backup run.

After installing the DPM Protection Agent onto the computer you want to run the protect (by default its %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Data Protection Manager\DPM) You’ll find a Scripting Folder and inside a ScriptingConfig.xml file which should only contain XML Schema data, we will want to expand on this by adding the following lines inside ScriptConfiguration

   <DatasourceScriptConfig DataSourceName="Data source">
     ”Path\Script Parameters” 
     "Path\Script Parameters” 

DataSourceName needs to be the name of the Data Source that you are protecting (matching in DPM Console) for example C:\MySQL_Backup and in our case we only want to use a PreBackupScript (ie C:\MySQL_Backup\BackupDB.cmd) which will dump a backup from our MySQL Databse into a single SQL file before the actual DPM Backup event.  As an example, the following will execute a backup for MySQL.  You will need to change -User -Password and the MaharaProd to something that suits your environment.

@echo off
set CurrentDate=%date:~-10,2%_%date:~7,2%_%date:~-4,4%
move /y C:\MySQL_Backup\Mahara-*.sql C:\MySQL_Backup\PreviousBackup.sql
mysqldump –user backupuser –password=changethis MaharaProd > C:\MySQL_Backup\Mahara-%CurrentDate%.sql

The above will output a Mahara-DD_MM_YYYY.sql file as well as make a Previous Backup before allowing DPM to go ahead and create the restore point.

Check out this TechNet article for more details on how to get this running.

Save Time by using CLI to Copy Command Output from HP switches to a TFTP Server

So I was recently doing some troubleshooting and needed to do a “show tech all” on a couple of our Switches to do some further analysis.  My usual way was to fire up PuTTY (or KiTTY which is an improved “fork” of Putty) and do a “show tech all” then manually copy and paste into a waiting notepad window to save the text file.

I recently found out there is a copy command that allows an administrator to copy a large number of configuration and logs files from a switch as well as a command-output option which allows an administrator to specify a CLI command to copy output of.  All you need to take advantage of this feature is an TFTP or SFTP server to copy the output to.  So a sample output to a TFTP server would be (where the IP address is your TFTP server and what ever filename you want to save the output as)

copy command-output "show tech all" tftp show_tech_all.txt

After entering that in, you will see the switch perform the TFTP download with the output of the specified CLI command.  Once done, navigate to your TFTP (or SFTP) server Root Directory and you’ll have a show_tech_all.txt file ready to open in Notepad.  You can also do running config (swName# show run) and crash logs using the method above, just to TAB completion on the copy command to see what is available on your particular switch.

Generate Mailbox Size and Usage Report using PowerShell for Exchange 2010 / 2013

So I recently wanted to create a report to show us who was using up the most space on our mailbox servers, previous administrators had either done away for limits for mailboxes or had set them to be very very generous and our users weren’t really the ones to either keep their mailbox tidy or archive items away.

I knew the quick and easy solution would be powershell and then getting the output to either a CSV file or HTML.  So a bit of a look around TechNet for Get-MailboxStatistics got me the commands I needed, but what else could I select out of that.  After a bit more digging I found a list on MSDN for MailboxStatistics members which allowed me to extract exactly what I was after.  After putting all that together, I cam up with the following

Get-Mailbox -ResultSize Unlimited | Get-MailboxStatistics | Select DisplayName,
TotalItemSize,ItemCount,Database,LastLogonTime,LastLoggedOnUserAccount | Sort 
TotalItemSize -Descending | ConvertTo-Html -Title "Mailbox Stats"| 
Out-file "C:\MailboxStatistics.html"

That gave me a nice HTML page output, you could easily improve on this with colours depending on outputs from StorageLimitStatus or LastLogonTime where we found that some mailboxes hadn’t even been used.

Solving the FIM (Forefront Identity Manager 2010 R2) FIMService start timeout (Portal) and getting it to Start

We were recently making changes to our FIM environment where our Forefront Identity Manager boxes required restarts.  With FIM we’re always making changes in our Development kit before moving into production (which is something everyone should try do).  We quickly found that we couldn’t get back into the FIM portal and taking a quick look at the services management console we could see the FIM Service as stopped.  We had already set it to delayed start in the beginning of the setup as we found it had a much more reliable rate of starting up in our particular environment.

After some Google-fu and digging through event logs seeing entries such as simply The service did not respond to the start or control request in a timely fashion. You may also get Error 1920. Service ‘Forefront Identity Manager Service’ (FIMService) failed to start. Verify that you have sufficient privileges to start system services. Or A timeout was reached (30000 milliseconds) while waiting for the Forefront Identity Manager Service to connect. Basically, one of the main reasons for this service not starting is around .Net verifying the Authenticode signatures for the FIM service.  To try and mitigate the service timeouts we can increase how long the OS is going to wait before issuing an error by adding the following registry key onto the FIM box.

Name: ServicesPipeTimeout
Value (decimal): 60000

You could also go and disable the .Net Authenticode check by following the instructions at

Connection closed gracefully error when sending bulk or large quantity of e-mails in an Exchange 2007/2010 environment

I was recently helping out an old work colleague who were having issues with their CRM software and sending bulk emails through their Exchange 2010 server. After around ten minutes they would receive an error message with connection closed gracefully.  They would then have to restart their mail out and need to monitor it for this issue to ensure it didn’t get stuck every ten minutes with this error.

After poking around their receive connectors on their hub transport server I noticed that the particular connector (for their internal applications) they were using had a connection time out of 10 minutes, which would result in us receiving the connection closed gracefully error from our end user application.  The fix for this is to simply increase the ConnectionTimeout value for our Recieve Connector to anything reasonable, for us it is 3 hours. We would do by issuing the following Exchange PowerShell command:

Set-ReceiveConnector "Internal Connector - Synergetic" -ConnectionTimeout 03:00:00 -ConnectionInactivityTimeout 01:00:00

You will want to make sure that your receive connector is protected (i.e. is only set to allow internal networks) as this basically allows anything to stay connected for up to 3 hours so it could be abused.

Checking the performance of your Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Server with Performance Monitor and PAL

Windows Server 2012 brings some great improvements to Virtualization.  We’re currently running it in production and it works wonders, especially with the new Hyper-V Replica feature which is great and free way of implementing DR.  So now you’ve got that cluster running, how can we tell if it is performing well.   I recently stumbled upon PAL or Performance Analysis of Logs Tool, which is freely available from  The tool comes with a Performance Monitor Template file that we can use to easily record the performance of a Hyper-V 2012 Server and get some visibility into our Servers.


When it comes to Performance things we would want to look at would be Disk Performance, Memory and CPU but understanding what effect these have on Hyper-V isn’t always straightforward, thankfully PAL helps us being making it easy and straightforward.  So first off go and download it from codplex and install it onto your workstation on desktop PC (not on your Hyper-V Host).  Once installed, open it up.  We need to get our Perfmon template so go into the Threshold File tab and select “Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V” from the Threshold file title, then choose Export to Perfmon template file. Get this onto your Hyper-V Host and open up Performance Monitor on the host we want to watch.

Open up Performance Monitor on our Hyper-V Host and open up Data Collector Sets, right click on User Defined and select New Data Collector Set.  We can call it Hyper-V Performance Counter Set or what every you wish, keep Create from a template (Recommended) selected.  Click next and then browse, selecting the  XML Template file that we exporter earlier from PAL.  Once you finish the wizard it will show up under the User Defined Data Collector Sets. You can now open up the properties and set it to run from 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on what you’re after.  It is best to run this during peak load times (so business hours).

avg_responseNow that you’ve collected the data you want to browse to it and copy the .blg file to your workstation (or where ever you installed PAL). Back to PAL, select the log file under the Counter Log tab, then move onto the Questions Tab where you need to specify things such as processors, total RAM, drive configuration to help specify thresholds for your performance report. Navigate to the other tabs if you wish to modify anything else and finally execute the report, this can be time consuming depending on how long you’ve captured performance data for (it took me around 20 minutes for a 1 hour capture). Once it has completed generating the report it opens up in your web browser.  Key things to look at are disk latency (as per the graph with RED being critical), memory and CPU issues.

That is a free and easy way to check on the health and performance of your new Hyper-V 2012 Cluster.  You can also use PAL for a Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V Cluster and other services such as Exchange or SQL Server, you just need to select the right template.

How do you stop Server Manager from loading up at start-up on Windows Server 2012

For quite a few of our servers, we would rather not have the server manager boot up every time we login. The quick and easy way to stop it from appearing when you log in is to go into Server Manager, click on the Manage menu item, then go to Server Manager Properties. Once there, simply tick on Do not start Server Manager automatically at logon. That will prevent it from starting up every time.


Changing the recovery mode doesn’t shrink an SQL Database log file, how to shrink logs manually.

So I found out recently that one of our servers was running out of space.  It’s our AV server so I was like what the hell, why is it running out.  Turns out it had an instance of SQL Server on there as a quarantine and configuration database.  The Virtual Machine was being backed up but not the database itself therefore no log back ups and log truncates after that.

To check exactly how much space the logs are taking up you can run the following SQL cmd:

SELECT * FROM <database>.sys.sysfiles

Or you could just as easily right-click the database and check file sizes from there.

To fix this I simply changed the recovery mode from FULL to Simple for the databases, but without a backup of the databases themselves the logs wouldn’t truncate.  Doing a backup from the right-click menu won’t truncate them either.  Since I wasn’t really worried about backing up the database itself I could just force SQL Server to truncate the logs.  I ran the following command to shrink the log file:

DBCC SHRINKFILE('<database_log>')

With <database_log> being the name of the database log file you want to shrink.  That solves that problem.

Fixing KDC Authentication Problems when upgrading your domain and forest functional level from 2003 to 2008 R2

We recently upgraded our Domain and Forest Functional Level from 2003 to 2008 R2, after a day or so I started having problems connecting to a number of 2008 R2 Hyper-V Virtual Machines. When attempting to connect I would receive the following error:
An Authentication Error Has Occurred. The Encryption Type Requested Is not supported by the KDC
At around the same time we also had one of our Exchange 2010 Transport Servers stop servicing clients, when I attempted to open the Exchange management console on the local server console ended with a HTTP server error status 500 and “Kerberos” authentication failed. So I decided to take a look through the event viewer to see what was up.

As part of Exchange there is an Active Directory Topology Service which will scan your environment for Active Directory Servers every 15 minutes or so, all of the exchange services rely on this service (if you ever have to restart all exchange services, simply restart the AD Topology Service). In the application event log I noticed the following error message:
Process MSEXCHANGEADTOPOLOGYSERVICE.EXE (PID=xxxx). Topology discovery failed, error 0×80040952 (LDAP_LOCAL_ERROR (Client-side internal error or bad LDAP message))….
There were also issues with the Exchange STORE service with the following two events:
Process STORE.EXE (PID=xxxx). All Global Catalog Servers in forest DC=xxx,DC=xx,DC=xx are not responding.
Process STORE.EXE (PID=xxxx). All Domain Controller Servers in use are not responding

The rather simple resolution to all this trouble is simply to restart the KERBEROS DISTRIBUTION KEY or KDC service on all Domain controllers. While simply restarting the Service will solve the problem, you’re probably better off just doing a proper restart after upgrading your functional levels, only from 2003 to 2008 / 2008 R2.

FortiAnalyzer shows xx of xx database tables need to be upgraded

So I was recently presented with a message after a firmware upgrade that a number of database tables needed to be upgraded.  I searched the Fortinet knowledge base but found nothing. After a discussion with a Support Rep from Fortinet we quickly found the solution and being that it is a very common issue I thought I would post the steps on here for the general public.

Log onto your Analyzer and follow the below instructions.

- System – > Config -> SQL Database set the location to “Disabled”
- run on the CLI “execute sql-local remove-db” and confirm
- On the CLI run “execute reset sqllog transfer”
- SQL Database reactivate

Depending on how large your logs are the remove-db command make take several minutes.

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