At GreenPages, we have a well outfitted lab environment that is used for customer facing demos and as a sandbox for our technical team to learn/experiment/test various solutions in the market. We’ve been in the process of refreshing the lab for a couple of months but have kept a skeleton environment up and running for simple administrative remote access. As part of the refresh, we had been cleaning up old VMs, systems, storage, etc. to reduce our footprint, and as part of the cleanup we moved several management VMs from an aging HP blade environment over to a small 2+1 SimpliVity OmniStack environment. I really didn’t think much about it at the time as I just needed a place to put these VMs that had no tie to older systems, which were being decommissioned. Also, the OmniStack made sense because it had plenty of capacity and performance self-contained, thus freeing up any reliance on other external storage and older compute environments.
I just recently came back from a West coast trip. While I was there, I needed to re-configure something so that a colleague could do some other configuration work. I brought up my RDP client to login to the jump box terminal server we use to administer the lab, and I got an error that said my profile wouldn’t load. So, I VPN in to check out the VM, logged in as the local administrator, and quickly discovered the box had been pwned with ransomware and a good majority of the data files (my profile included) were encrypted. After saying a few choice words to myself I investigated and determined an old lab account with a less than secure password had been used to access the system. I got the account disabled and started thinking to myself how long it’s going to take me to either attempt to ‘clean’ the box and get the files decrypted (assuming I could even find a tool to do it) or to just trash and rebuild the box. I figured that was going to take up most of my weekend but then the thought crossed my mind that we had moved all of the management VMs over to the SimpliVity boxes.
For those who may not be aware, SimpliVity’s core value proposition is all around data protection via integrated backup, replication, and DR capabilities. I knew we had not configured any specific protection policies for those management VMs, we had simply dumped them into newly created resource pool, but I figured it was worth a look. I logged into the vSphere client and took a look at the SimpliVity plugin for that terminal server VM and, low and behold, it had been backed up and replicated on a regular basis from the moment it was put into the environment. From there, I simply went back a couple of days in the snap-in, right click, restore VM. Within about half a second, the VM had been restored, and I powered it up and within another five minutes, I was logging into it via my RDP session from the West coast. Bottom line, SimpliVity took a four to six hour process and transformed it into something that takes less than six minutes. Therefore, I suggest you check it out. Thank you SimpliVity, for being kind enough to donate some gear to our lab and for giving me some family time back this weekend!
By Chris Ward, CTO, GreenPages Technology Solutions
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