Install an agent

Written By Tami Sutcliffe (Super Administrator)

Updated at April 29th, 2022

D2C: Download the installer package 

You can download the Direct-to-Cloud installer package from the Clients page located on the vault. 

The standard Direct-to-Cloud installer package leverages a specially-named file that embeds a token value associated with the client being targeted. The installer file name (containing the identity token) is the only differentiating factor that separates this installation from a normal appliance agent install. The special filename format (with token) determines which client this agent will register under. This file name should not be changed or the token identity will be lost.

Note: This token contained within the downloaded file is valid for 14 days. After 14 days, new installations using this installer will no longer be able to register with the vault. A new file can be downloaded (whenever needed) to generate a new token for this client.

Example installer file name:

agentSetup-dataprotection-acme123-1150ba6723.msi

Configure custom properties

In order to perform an automated installation, custom properties must be set when calling the Windows Installer in order to configure the agent settings. 

To perform a silent installation of the x360Recover agent, use MSIEXEC as follows: 

msiexec /i <installer file name> /quiet <additional optional parameters>

Additional optional parameters include: 

  • BACKUP_VOLUMES=<Drv>,<Drv>...
  • PASSWORD=<agent password/passphrase>

Note: The SERVER parameter is not used.

EXAMPLE:  [Brackets] indicate optional commands

msiexec /i <installer file name> /quiet [BACKUP_VOLUMES=<DRV>,<DRV>…] [PASSWORD=<agent password/password>]


Looks like:

msiexec /i agentSetup-dataprotection-acme123-1150ba6723.msi /quiet BACKUP_VOLUMES=C,D,E PASSWORD=password123

  • See x360Recover Best Practices for guidelines, and recommendations when deploying agents.

D2C: Install the Direct-to-Cloud agent 

You can download the agent from the Users tab of the vault.

Note: The installation file is only valid for 14 days from the time of download. Installing from an expired agent installer file will fail and register invalid token errors within the log file.

STEP 1.  Open a web browser, navigate to the vault web interface, and log in.

Note: Each Axcient Cloud vault as a unique URL that is provide during onboarding. If you do not have this URL, please contact Axcient Support.

STEP 2. In the vault web interface, click the Clients tab

STEP 3. Locate the appropriate client and click the accompanying Download link.

CAUTION: Do not rename this Windows Agent file. This installation file contains a temporary token and identifying information embedded in the filename.

The installation file is only valid for 14 days from the time of download. Installing from an expired agent installer file will fail and register invalid token errors within the log file

Note: If your customers are not displaying in the Users tab, we recommend syncing the vault with the Licensing Portal. Do this by going to the Systems Settings left hand menu tab and navigating to the License Details section, as shown below:

STEP 4. Click the installation file to initiate the installation process.

  • When the Setup Wizard opens, click Next to continue.

STEP 5. After reading the agreement, select I accept the agreement. 

  • Click the Next button to continue.

STEP 6. Accept the default installation folder. 

  • Click the Next button to continue.

STEP 7. When prompted, enter the Volumes to back up.

  • Click the Next button to continue.

Note: You do not need to enter an IP address. You can optionally enter a lock password. If you enter a lock password, the vault will prompt you for this password before you begin a system recovery. We recommend setting a unique password to enhance security.

STEP 8. When you are ready, click the Install button to begin installation.










STEP 9. When installation completes, click Finish to exit.

STEP 10. After several minutes, the vault web interface will display the newly protected system in the Protected Systems tab. 

A full backup will automatically initiate based on your schedule settings.


D2C: Run a silent deployment of the D2C agent 

You can chose to automate the agent installation process from the command line. 

The Direct-to-Cloud agent can be silently deployed through RMM or other tools as follows:

msiexec /i <agent file> /quiet

Optional parameters include:

  • BACKUP_VOLUMES=<Drv>,<drv>...
  • PASSWORD=<encryption passphrase>

For example:

msiexec /i <agent file> /quiet

BACKUP_VOLUMES=C,D,E PASSWORD=password123


To install or uninstall the agent from the command line:

1. From the target machine, open a Command Prompt window.

2. To install the agent, run the following command:

MSIEXEC /I agentInstaller.msi /q SERVER=<Appliance IP Address> [BACKUP_VOLUMES=<Drv>,<Drv>] [PASSWORD=<encryption password>]

3. Replace each of the following variables with information relevant to your environment:

  • SERVER—list the IP address of the Appliance.
  • BACKUP_VOLUMES—list each volume to be backed up, separated by a comma.
  • PASSWORD—enter an encryption password for the protected device:

4. To uninstall the agent, run the following command:

MSIEXEC /x agentInstaller.msi 

Note: If you are performing an automated network deployment, you must specify the fully qualified UNC network path to the agent file.

   For example:

   \\Server\Share\agentInstall.msi

   and NOT 

   F:\Share\agentInstall.msi

D2C: Convert an existing appliance 

It is sometimes necessary or desirable to switch an existing protected system agent operating in the appliance mode to one operating in the Direct-to-Cloud mode.

With Agent 2.27 and newer, it is now possible to convert an existing appliance-based agent into a Direct-to-Cloud agent. 

For complete instructions on how to switch an agent from appliance mode to Direct-to-Cloud mode, please see this article: Convert from appliance mode to D2C mode

D2C: Replace other backup solutions 

Axcient x360Recover Direct-to-Cloud has been specifically engineered to help partners consolidate their backup and disaster recovery services onto a single platform, allowing migration away from other third party backup solutions.

Our goal is to make switching to x360Recover as painless as possible, streamlining your business operations down to a single vendor.

Painless transitional deployments 

The Direct-to-Cloud (D2C) agent has been specifically tested and is verified as ready to coexist with a wide variety of third party backup solutions during a transition period. 

  • The D2C agent can be installed alongside any third-party backup solutions you may currently have in place, allowing existing products to perform backups.
  • D2C agent does not require any reboot of the system during install or uninstall and does not deploy any Volume Shadowcopy Services components that might conflict with other vendor’s software.
  • Scheduling: If you choose to deploy D2C agents side by side with your existing backup solution, we recommend that you arrange backup schedules that do not overlap. 

For example, configure your existing solution to only perform backups during business hours, and then configure the D2C agent to perform backups after hours.  This will ensure that regular backups of your protected systems continue to take place while the initial full backup is being transferred to the Cloud by our agent.  Once the initial full backup completes, disable and remove your legacy backup solution and configure the D2C agent to take regular backups during business hours.

'Rip and replace' deployments 

To shorten the transitional phase (when systems are being protected by another product), you may remove your current solution up front when deploying our D2C agent and configure the backup to operate 24/7. 

For many protected systems with typical data sizes and Internet speeds, a long weekend is sufficient to complete the initial full backup to the cloud. Subsequent incremental backups are very light and efficient. This means deploying the D2C agent toward the end of the work week and then arranging for the devices to be left on continuously over the weekend is a good way to get your endpoints up to the cloud quickly for continuous protection.

Best practices: D2C agent deployment 

You can deploy Axcient x360Recover backup agents in Direct-to-Cloud mode, eliminating the need for a local BDR appliance.

This article provides a list of best practices to follow when setting up your customer’s protected system for Direct-to-Cloud backup. 

D2C: Deploy via RMM 

When deploying via RMM tools, we recommend using the TOKENID command-line parameter.  

Rather than downloading the dedicated client-specific agent installer, use the standard agent installer (agentInstaller.msi) with the TOKENID parameter. This will allow you to use a single installer binary for any customer. You just need to get the current TOKENID for the customer and specify it on the command-line in your RMM deployment script.

 

The RMM tool should execute something like this on the managed system:

msiexec /i agentSetup.msi /quiet TOKENID=6484c41f970d49ac8156b9c967e7a295

You may also include other command-line options (such as PASSWORD) to set the agent password/ passphrase, etc.

In a future release, a planned feature will make managing Token ID’s within the UI more user-friendly.


Perform a silent install of an agent 

The latest agent installer for Axcient x360Recover has now been packaged as a standard Windows installer .MSI package. 

In order to perform an automated installation, custom properties must be set when calling the Windows installer in order to configure the agent settings. 

To perform a silent installation of the x360Recover agent, use MSIEXEC as follows:


Install 

MSIEXEC /I agentInstaller.msi /q SERVER=<Appliance IP Address> [BACKUP_VOLUMES=<Drv>,<Drv>…] [PASSWORD=<encryption password>]

  • The SERVER parameter is required. If omitted, the agent will be installed without an appliance server address and backups will not occur.
  • The BACKUP_VOLUMES parameter is optional and may be omitted. Specify specific drive letters to be backed up in a comma separated list.  (i.e. BACKUP_VOLUMES=C,D,E) 
  • The PASSWORD parameter is optional and may be omitted. Specify the password that will be required to access the protected system from an appliance or vault when performing data recovery operations.

Uninstall 

MSIEXEC /x agentInstaller.msi


Deployment notes 

When performing an automated network deployment, specify the fully qualified UNC network path to the agent file.  

For example, use this:

\\Server\Share\agentInstall.msi

Do not use this:

 F:\Share\agentInstall.msi

BDR: Download an x360Recover agent 

On the navigation, click on Agent Downloads. You will find links to download the available agents and other components of Axcient x360Recover.

1. In the left navigation, click Agent Downloads.

2. You will now be able to view and download agents and other components.

BDR: Install an x360Recover appliance agent 

You can download the agent from two places:

1. From the Login screen of the appliance:

2. From the Agent Downloads tab within the appliance web interface. 

Whichever method you choose, access the appliance from a Web browser on the machine where you want to install the agent.

1. From the target machine, open a Web browser and navigate to the Appliance Web interface.

2. Click the Download Agent link.



3. When the file finishes downloading, launch the file to start the Setup Wizard

Click the Next button to begin.

4. After reading the agreement, select I accept the agreement. 

Click the Next button to continue.

5. Accept the default installation folder. 

Click the Next button to continue.

6. When prompted, enter the appliance IP address. 

This is where you will be prompted for an optional Lock password. 

If you enter an optional lock password, the appliance will prompt users before a system recovery. (This lock password is not yet used for Recovery Center or Virtual Office, but will be included in a future release.)

Click Next to continue.



7. When you are ready, click the Install button to begin installation.

8. When installation completes, click Finish to exit.

9. After several minutes, the appliance web interface will display the newly protected system in the Protected Systems tab.

Troubleshooting   

Axcient Support is available to assist you with problems you might be experiencing 24/5 (with 24/7 support for critical disaster recovery issues), but here are some tips to make DIY troubleshooting easier.

How do I troubleshoot D2C backup issues? 

STEP 1. Check the status of the particular backup job

From the vault, visit the Jobs -> Backup page to see the status of your Direct-to-Cloud backup jobs. 

Often, this job list contains many entries and you’d like to identify specific running, hung, or failed jobs. You can enter ‘Complete’, ‘Running’, ‘Missed’, ‘Failed’, or ‘Paused’ into the search field to highlight one of those categories. 

  • To select multiple job types in a single search, separate your entries with a ‘|’ (Pipe) character. 

For example, ‘Running|Paused’ will display all active jobs that have not already completed or otherwise failed

STEP 2. Review the agent log file

For a more granular view of agent status and troubleshooting details, examine the agent log file on the protected system.  The agent log file (aristos.log) is in the agent installation folder on the endpoint.

STEP 3. Run our Analysis Tool

Many of the most common reasons for backup failures are well known and can be tested for by our Analysis Tool

  • From the Protected Systems Details page, click the Run Analysis Tool button. 
  • Check all the available tests and click Run to send the job to the agent. 
  • Optionally, if you have an open ticket number with our support team, enter this ticket number in the Analysis Tool popup to have the results automatically attached to the ticket. 
  • You can monitor the Analysis Tool job progress from the Jobs --> Agent page. 
  • When done, you may download the results as a zip file from this page.  Inside the zip file will be many files containing detailed results of the various tests, but the end result is summed up in the ‘Problems.txt’ file.

How do I check to see if my initial full backup is making progress?

During the initial full backup, if your protected system contains a very large amount of data, you may question whether the backup job is actually making progress. 

During long-running jobs, the agent updates its log file (aristos.log in the Agent installation folder) with progress statistics every 5 minutes. 

Open the log file and scroll down near the end to locate the latest update. This will specify the volume uuid, drive letter, and completed / total GB for each volume being backed up to the Cloud.

Agent requirements, parameters and prerequisites 

x360Recover Agent Configuration Parameters [PDF]

Notes:

  • Configurations are case sensitive.
  • Boolean should be true and false and nothing else.
  • As a general rule, when several configurations are allowed they can be split by comma ","
  • Line comments are defined by #

Supported operating systems for agents 

Supported Operating Systems 

  • Server 2003 R2 *
  • Server 2003 R2 64-bit *
  • Server 2008 32/64 bit SP2 *
  • Server 2008 R2 SP1 * 
  • Server 2012
  • Server 2012 R2
  • Server 2016
  • Server 2019
  • Windows 8/10
  • Windows 7   SP1 
 * Microsoft Server 2003 and 2008 systems are deprecated and end-of-life. Although x360Recover is able to perform backups for these operating systems, support is limited to basic troubleshooting and diagnostics.

 Supported Filesystems

  • Microsoft NTFS 
  • Cluster Shared Volumes (CSVFS)**
 ** Requires Agent 2.24+ and Appliance 9.0.0+

Supported Networking

  • 1G Network Adapters and Switches
  • 10G Network Adapters and Switches 

 Supported DR Recovery Mechanisms

  • Bare-Metal Restore
  • Virtual Disk Export
  • iSCSI
  • Direct Virtualization

Supported Application Aware Backups

  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2003
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2007
  • Microsoft Exchange 2007 
  • Microsoft Exchange 2010
  • Microsoft Exchange 2013
  • Microsoft Exchange 2016
  • Microsoft Exchange 2019
  • Microsoft Exchange DAG Groups **
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2005
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2012
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2014
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2016
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2017
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2019
  • Oracle Database versions with Oracle VSS Writer installed
  • Other third-party Database software with their own VSS writer services

*Microsoft no longer supports this operating system. Although x360Recover can perform backups, support is limited to basic troubleshooting and diagnostics.

 ** Only the Active Cluster member in the DAG group will receive a VSS-aware backup of the message store. Passive cluster members will receive a crash-consistent backup.  (This is a Microsoft limitation of the Exchange VSS Writer.)

Supported Virtual Disk Formats

  • VMDK (VMware ESX/ESXi 3.x-6.x)
  • VMDK (VMware Workstation / Fusion)
  • VHD (Microsoft Hyper-V Gen-1 / Xen)
  • VHDX (Microsoft Hyper-V Gen-2)
  • VDI (VirtualBox)
  • RAW (KVM)

Prerequisites 

As an administrator, you will install the agent onto each protected device that you support. Before you begin, complete the following prerequisites for each protected device:

  • Uninstall third-party backup agents.
  • You must uninstall previous backup agents before installing the agent. Backup agents from other products can interfere with the ability to properly access VSS writers and successfully create backups.
  • Record the IP address of the appliance.
  • During the agent installation process, you will be prompted to enter the IP address of the appliance.
  • Check license availability.
  • The agent will not back up a protected system without a license. Log in to the appliance and check to be sure you have a license available for the protected system. To add or remove licenses, visit the Licensing Portal.

TCP Ports 

  • 9090-9200 is required if a firewall exists between the agent and the appliance.
  • 15000 internally is required for virtualization.
  • 860 and 3260 internally is required for an iSCSI connection to the appliance.

Important notes 

Please note the following:

  • Image-based backup and recovery can be a network-intensive operation. x360Recover does not recommend deployment on networks slower than 1Gigabit between the BDR and the protected system.
  • x360Recover does not support the backup of NTFS volumes shared between multiple services using Microsoft clustering.
  • x360Recover expects a standard Windows partition layout. Uncommon configurations (like custom OEM partitions, boot volume not on Disk 0, C drive not on a primary partition, etc.) might prevent successful virtualization.
  • x360Recover does not support recovery scenarios where multiple volumes exist on a single disk (for example, C and E on Disk 0). During recovery, each Windows volume will be created on a separate disk.
  • Most supported operating systems can be virtualized, except for XEN Server Virtual Machines with XEN-Tools drivers. XEN-Server 7.x+ paravirtual drivers are incompatible with the KVM Hypervisor used by x360Recover.
  • x360Recover currently does not support bare metal recovery onto systems that utilize Windows-only drivers. These drivers are typically embedded motherboard RAID controllers on very low-end servers or mid-range workstation devices.
  • The x360Recover Bare Metal Restore Wizard cannot recover systems with multiple Windows volumes on a single physical disk (for example, C and E on Disk 0). 

Hyper-V backups 

Host-level Hyper-V backups 

We do NOT recommend Hyper-V host-level backups (even though they are possible) 

Background: Why Hyper-V host-level backups are (technically) possible

  • The x360Recover backup agent uses Microsoft VSS, which typically can take successful snapshots of the entire host hypervisor system, including the VHD(X) files associated with running VMs. 
  • Hyper-V has a VSS writer that allows it to coordinate with the VSS snapshot process. This means it can safely take snapshots of VMs that x360Recover can backup.
  • Our FastDelta change detection mechanism is optimized for capturing change in large files, like virtual disk images. This makes it possible (and relatively straight forward) to deploy a single agent on the Hyper-V host to capture ‘backups’ of multiple running guest virtual machine systems.

Why don't we recommend Hyper-V host-level backups? 

Recovery is much more challenging when accessing VMs from a host-level backup:

1. Our backup appliances and Virtual Office cloud virtualization don’t support nested virtualization. This means that although you can quickly virtualize the Hyper-V host on one of our backup appliances or in our cloud, you'll be unable to do the nested virtualization needed to immediately turn on and recover the child VMs. You’d have the VHD(X) files with the data for those VMs -  but you would have no way to run them locally (or in the cloud) in a disaster recovery scenario.  

2. The only ‘backup’ of your virtual machine guests would be the raw virtual disk file, VHD or VHDX. This makes it difficult to do simple file and folder recovery. You would have to download the entire virtual disk image and mount it somewhere else before performing file and folder recovery.  

3. If you backup your protected systems at the hypervisor host level, you lose the most important part of your backup integrity checking:  AutoVerify. The nightly boot check would only be able to check the hypervisor host itself; It would not check any of the guest virtual machines that represent the primary data set you are backing up.

What we DO recommend 

  • Instead of installing the agent on the Hyper-V host,  install a backup agent directly onto each Hyper-V guest virtual machine

In this way, all systems will be backed up directly and each system can be virtualized in our cloud (or on the local appliance) - instantly, and without any issues. 

Additionally, nightly boot checks will be performed individually for each protected system, and all normal recovery options will be available. When failing back to the Hyper-V host, files can easily be restored as VHD(X) disk images again and configured as guest virtual machines. 

Summary 

  • We don’t officially support backing up Hyper-V hosts natively (in order to back up the guest virtual machines all at once.)
  • Instead, we strongly encourage installation of the backup agent inside of each individual virtual machine. This ensures the best possible backup results, including accurate data integrity validation and a efficient recovery experience for you and your clients.



 SUPPORT      | 720-204-4500 | 800-352-0248 

544 | 628 | 906 | 10410