I have been a big fan of the Raxco products for a while now so when I heard that they had a new product about to launch I decided to do a blog post about it.
Raxco launched PerfectDisk12 in June of this year but have already released two Service Packs for the product (one in each subsequent month), I started testing with build 275 but have now upgraded to the latest release (Build 285).
Installing the product is fairly straight forward although it does fall into two steps, step 1 entails running the PD12_vsb installable, this creates the following folder “C:\Program Files (x86)\Raxco\PD12 vSphere Install” which contains the actual files required to install the product.
As you can see from the screen shots above all fairly basic, so the installation routine is over and now we come to the configuration.
Configuring the product is a little bit more time intensive but actually again fairly straight forward.
The first thing we need to do once the installation is complete is to define the database we’re going to use, as you can see it only supports SQL or SQL Express but as SQL Express is free that’s not a problem. In my case I am using SQL Express so the only things you need to worry about are putting in the passwords for both accounts, the installation routine will allow you to install SQL Express without a password configured, unfortunately if you do so the installation will fail as Microsoft state that the SA account needs to have a password configured. The nice thing with getting PerfectDisk to install SQL Express is that there are a couple of Stored Procedures in the installation files that will create all the relevant DB’s and schedules.
Next we come to the main Enterprise Console configuration, this is where you will be creating your Management Groups and managing your clients from, although this post is about the vSphere bundle it’s important to note that the Enterprise Console is the same for whatever Enterprise PerfectDisk bundle you go for.
In the screenshots above you can see that I have created an account to use for the installation of the PerfectDisk, in this instance I created a standard user and then using the Restricted Groups GPO policy added the user to the Local Administrators group on my Domain. I left everything else a default and because this was done in a lab environment with no email server I left the Email Notifications blank.
One of the nice things about the Enterprise Console is that it doesn’t just lock you down to using Active Directory for your computer accounts, that means if you have any standalone servers or workstations they can still be managed by the console so you’re not relying on Active Directory entries for every managed device.
As I mentioned previously you can manage devices not part of your Active Directory environment and in this step of the configuration you would set up any accounts required to access remote machines.
Client Configuration and Deployment
Now we come to the part where you’re going to have to decide on whether to use Group Policy or manual configurations for your Firewall Settings, as this was my home lab environment I just created a GPO for the required settings and applied it to the domain, as far as non domain members are concerned there is the Raxco PerfectDisk_Firewall_Config.exe file that you can run.
The following are the file locations for all required entries.
C:\Program Files\Raxco\Enterprise Console\PDConsole.exe
C:\Program Files\Raxco\Enterprise Console\PDConsoleS1.exe
C:\Program Files\Raxco\Enterprise Console\PDLiteClient.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Raxco\shared\PDEnginePS.dll
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Raxco\shared\AutoUpd.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Raxco\shared\AutoUpdPS.dll
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Raxco\Shared\PDEngine.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Raxco\Shared\PDEnginePS.dll
Further information on required ports etc can be found over on the PD12 Pre-Deployment Requirements page.
Next we needed to choose the installation credentials.
Then you choose the computers you’re going to deploy to. We also need to assign credentials to each machine.
Next we choose our deployment method, because we also have standalone machines we need to use WMI but if you’re deploying to a single WorkGroup or Domain then it’s recommended to use the Remote Service Control Manager.
Checking to ensure we have the latest version of the client downloaded. It’s important to note that path used above needs to be accessible across the network, so whilst my screenshot shows an LFS (Local File System) path I have since changed it to a UNC (Uniform Naming Convention) path and changed the network access so that it’s reachable across my network.
Leave the rest of the settings as default and click finish.
Now this is where I started to have issues, I tried to deploy to a couple of my VM’s and for whatever reason I never actually managed to successfully deploy using the inbuilt deployment tool, as luck would have it though I do also have Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager installed and working at home so I used that as my deployment mechanism. That worked out just fine and communications between the client and console worked flawlessly.
To ensure that all clients maintain the same properties and allow for centralised management of those settings PerfectDisk utilises Configuration Profiles, there are five pre-defined profiles available with a multitude of settings.
As this is guide is based on the vSphere bundle it makes sense to use the vSphere Virtual Guest profile, to add clients to the profile simply highlight the clients and click Add/Re-Push Computers button.