Backup Checks… the easy wayA look at automating and extending Spiceworks                       by               William Ne...
The Problem Backup checks take too long to do!   – Many customers      • If 5 minutes/customer x 60 customers = 3 hrs/day!...
The Limitations    – Spiceworks was designed for single site       • Remote Collector adds support for multiple sites    –...
The Challenge   – Insert data into Spiceworks safely      • E-mail helpdesk      • NEVER write to the database!   – Get da...
The Process   – Bullet-proof the checks      • 3 categories: Success, Failure & No Notification      • No Notification is ...
The Plan   – Automate creation of tickets      •   Scheduled VBScript      •   Customer (as device) has custom field check...
The VBScript      •   Reads MSG.TXT and looks for certain fields within it      •   Mail From tells us who the customer is...
IF-THEN loops      • Not all customers use the same backup software      • Backup notifications are different      • Small...
The Notifications    Example notifications       • Backup Exec: (Server: “< Servername >") (Job: "Full Server")         Th...
Building it    Example IF-THEN loop       If strEmail = "administrator@CustomerName.co.uk" then               strCust = "C...
The SQL     select * from `tickets` - get everything from the Tickets table     WHERE c_backup_status = To be checked – Th...
The E-mail From:    Zantra JAD Backup Checks Sent:    16 May 2012 11:29 To:      Spiceworks Subject: [Ticket #4303] Custom...
The Overview     • We automate backup checks     • We auto-close successful backup tickets     • We have fail-safes design...
The Future   –   Flexible system   –   Allows support for ANY alerting system   –   As long as alerts are by e-mail   –   ...
The End
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Checking your back ups without batting an eye

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Checking your back ups without batting an eye

  1. 1. Backup Checks… the easy wayA look at automating and extending Spiceworks by William Nel-Barker
  2. 2. The Problem Backup checks take too long to do! – Many customers • If 5 minutes/customer x 60 customers = 3 hrs/day! – Need to maintain quality of Service • Techie time can be far better spent than on checks • Yet backups are essential • And so backup checks are essential • Need to automate it
  3. 3. The Limitations – Spiceworks was designed for single site • Remote Collector adds support for multiple sites – No native support for multiple customers • But customers may be added as devices – No easy way to get data into/out of Spiceworks • E-mailing data to Spiceworks is safe • Reading directly from the database is safe • Custom scripts needed
  4. 4. The Challenge – Insert data into Spiceworks safely • E-mail helpdesk • NEVER write to the database! – Get data out of Spiceworks safely • Read the database directly – Notifications arrive by e-mail • Need to automate Outlook • Mail rules within Outlook – Auto-create Backup Check tickets • Scheduled script that e-mails the helpdesk
  5. 5. The Process – Bullet-proof the checks • 3 categories: Success, Failure & No Notification • No Notification is treated as failure! – Successful backups • Auto-close the ticket – Failed backups • Ticket remains open & techie investigates failure • Ticket is updated with status • Account manager is auto-cc’d
  6. 6. The Plan – Automate creation of tickets • Scheduled VBScript • Customer (as device) has custom field checkbackup • VBScript reads from Spiceworks database • If checkbackup = Yes then create ticket • We control which customers has a backup check ticket created from within Spiceworks – Automate Outlook • Mail rule to run a script is conditions are met • Script (VBA) exports message as MSG.TXT file • VBA Script calls external VBScript • VBScript reads MSG.TXT
  7. 7. The VBScript • Reads MSG.TXT and looks for certain fields within it • Mail From tells us who the customer is • Date tells us when the message was sent • IF-THEN loops within VBScript for each customer • SQL query unique for each customer • Connects to Spiceworks DB and gets ticket NR • Sends e-mail to update the ticket, e.g. backup succeeded, so #close the ticket
  8. 8. IF-THEN loops • Not all customers use the same backup software • Backup notifications are different • Small Business Server is in Daily Summary Report • Backup Exec, Altaro, Yosimite, etc send dedicated e- mail • We need to support all these methods
  9. 9. The Notifications Example notifications • Backup Exec: (Server: “< Servername >") (Job: "Full Server") The job completed successfully. However, the following conditions were encountered: 29 files were skipped. • Backup Exec: (Server: “<Servername>") (Job: "Daily Backup") Daily Backup -- The job failed with the following error: The item could not be opened while in use. • SBS 2003 Report: Backup: Completed successfully • SBS 2008/2011 Report: Backup OK • Altaro: Successful backup <virtualservername> • Altaro: Failed backup <virtualservername>
  10. 10. Building it Example IF-THEN loop If strEmail = "administrator@CustomerName.co.uk" then strCust = "CustomerName" strSql = "select * from `tickets` WHERE c_backup_status = To be checked AND status = open and description = Do daily backup check for CustomerName AND created_at >= " & strDate If InStr(strMsg,"Backup Exec Alert: Job Failed (Server:") >30 then strBody = vbCrLf & "CustomerName - The last backup failed." strCmd = "#set c_backup_status=Failed" End If If InStr(strMsg,"The job completed successfully") >30 then strBody = vbCrLf & "CustomerName - Last backup: Backup was successful." strCmd = "#set c_backup_status=OK" End If
  11. 11. The SQL select * from `tickets` - get everything from the Tickets table WHERE c_backup_status = To be checked – This value is set by the script that creates the ticket AND status = open AND description = Do daily backup check for CustomerName – We want tickets for a particular customer AND created_at >= " & strDate – We can play with the date to allow for weekends
  12. 12. The E-mail From: Zantra JAD Backup Checks Sent: 16 May 2012 11:29 To: Spiceworks Subject: [Ticket #4303] Customername - do daily Windows backup checks on 16/05/2012 -Summary- -This allows us to cherry-pick what goes into our monthly reports Customername - Last backup: Windows backup was successful #assign Backup - Dedicated account to assign backup tickets to #set c_backup_status=OK - Custom value that makes it easy to run a report #close - Successful backup, let’s close the ticket! Recognise this? We’re using Tickets Anywhere!
  13. 13. The Overview • We automate backup checks • We auto-close successful backup tickets • We have fail-safes designed into the process • We add customers as devices • We use My Ticket Rules to auto-relate tickets to customers (devices) • We extensively use custom fields • We NEVER write to the database • We save many hours each day
  14. 14. The Future – Flexible system – Allows support for ANY alerting system – As long as alerts are by e-mail – Spiceworks How-to will be published
  15. 15. The End
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