Every small or medium sized business has a unique IT environment, and each environment can present technical obstacles that may interfere with the smooth operation of data protection. While the Axcient backup, business continuity and disaster recovery service is designed for easy set up and use, it’s also equipped with tools that offer a little help in avoiding and troubleshooting connectivity problems, both onsite and offsite. These include:

  1. A script that helps with configuring Windows systems for agentless protection
  2. A connectivity test for accessing local devices
  3. A connection health check between the Axcient appliance and data center
  4. Tools for diagnosing networking issues.

Let’s look at each of these individually:

1. Configuring Windows Systems for Agentless Protection

Configuration helpers can be downloaded from the Axcient appliance to ensure systems are properly configured for agentless protection. You’ll find them under System->Tools in the Axcient Unified Management Console (UMC).

One such helper is the Windows Configuration tool, which is an interactive script that verifies and sets up specific permissions and services, prompting you along the way. These include verifying user rights for the Axcient appliance to access the target Windows system, registering scripting engines that are utilized by backup and restore operations, and enabling file sharing so that data can be successfully backed up and restored.

Using the Windows Configuration tool is optional, but doing so can help avoid common set-up mistakes.

2. Testing Connectivity to Local Devices

Connectivity between the Axcient appliance and any server, desktop or laptop to be protected can be verified through the UMC. After selecting a device in the UMC, simply click the Test Access button. This will initiate three tests:

  • “Connectivity Access” checks whether the device is reachable from the appliance
  • “Data Access” verifies whether data on the device can be accessed by the appliance
  • “Control Access” ensures data protection functions can be executed against the device

If you used the Windows Configuration helper tool described earlier, then these tests will most likely succeed. However, if any of the tests fail, corrective action will be required. The Axcient product documentation and online help provide guidance on what to check. The most common culprits are an invalid or inaccessible hostname or IP address, the inability to resolve a name using DNS, or authentication errors due to incorrect credentials for accessing the device.

3. Checking Connectivity Health between the Axcient Appliance and Data Center

Connectivity between the Axcient appliance and Axcient data center can be tested through the UMC. Under System->Network Utilities, clicking the Connectivity Health button will execute a sequence of ping and nslookup commands. If the output shows any errors, then offsite operations, such as appliance registration and offsite backups, will not function properly. The most likely cause of an error is an improperly configured firewall. Check the appliance specifications in the Axcient production documentation or online help for ports that are used by the Axcient service.

4. Networking Diagnostics

To aid in troubleshooting general connectivity issues, the Axcient appliance provides a user interface to several common networking utilities. These include ping for checking device connectivity, traceroute to help diagnose slow network connections, and nslookup for verifying proper device name resolution.

That covers our connectivity helpers. Next time we’ll look at helpers for configuring Microsoft applications for data protection. In the meantime, please be sure to take advantage of the Axcient documentation, including the PDF manuals, context sensitive online help, and Partner Portal knowledge base.