mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks



  • I manage an ESXi server at work, and also have a game server at home running ESXi. I've always used Trilead's free backup solution which is just a Windows application that can hook up to VMware's hypervisor over the LAN and do ad-hoc backups of virtual machines. Simple and easy.

    HP bought Trilead and had the software all reworked somehow. As part of that, they remotely deactivated all instances of the old software, and I suddenly no longer have a backup solution. If I launch Trilead, it says "Mandatory update required" and will not let me launch it. If I try to update it, it fails because Trilead no longer exists and is now some new application called HPE VM Explorer.

    I finally got over my initial revulsion at this and thought I'd check out the new solution. They still have a free edition (they didn't several months ago when I first became aware that my backup software was remotely deactivated). The "features" page mentions a web interface which kind of scares me, but I need something.

    After installing, I get this little dialog:
    0_1472756057331_hpe1.png

    Ugh. Local web server required. This is annoying. Fortunately my workplace hasn't blocked that. So I clicked "start" and seemingly nothing happened except for "Start" being disabled and "Stop" being enabled.

    Oh, I gotta open the web page myself. Thanks. Real user-friendly. I went to https://localhost and had to add SSL exceptions because it's not using a "real" SSL certificate, just an ad-hoc self-signed one.

    I got a web page with a standard-looking login form. But I can't log in because the password can't be empty, which it defaults to as you can see in the first image. So I go back to the Windows application that configures the web application and tried to put in "password". I don't care about security, I just want to evaluate this thing. Besides, since it's the free version I can't schedule backups, I have to do ad-hoc only, and I'm not leaving some random HP web server running on my system when I'm not actively doing a backup.

    0_1472756308874_hpe2.png

    Oh come on! You know what was better than this? A Windows desktop application that required no credentials other than the VMware server's login.

    So I set it to something ridiculous which I then wrote down on a sticky note and put on the back of my monitor, and was able to log into the web interface.

    I went to add a new server. I put in the display name, noticed the tab interface on the left for other settings, but couldn't click on anything. You can't see it here because PrintScreen doesn't capture the mouse, but I was getting a red circle with a slash through it on any of the tabs.

    0_1472756668482_hpe3.png

    Oh, there's a "Next" button below. So :wtf: is there a tab interface? Bad HP, this isn't how tabs work! BTW, there was nothing remotely interesting on the next 23542345892489 tabs and I was able to "Next" through all of them.

    Now, why are there two servers in my server list, differing only by capitalization?

    0_1472756886659_hpe4.png

    No idea, but they are in fact the same server, added into the list twice because this software is stupid.

    0_1472756996404_hpe5.png

    Okay, so let's try a backup. I clicked on a VM, and there is no backup option anywhere on it. It does however show the hostname as belonging to an Active Directory domain that does not exist, and that's also dumb because as a rule we never put Linux systems on AD anyway.
    0_1472757158800_hpe6.png

    Let's check out the other view on this window.

    0_1472757191488_hpe7.png

    Um, that's really not very useful ESPECIALLY SINCE I ALREADY HAVE THE VSPHERE CLIENT INSTALLED. And it's horribly scaling the VM's screen and it looks like butt.

    So how the flip do I do a backup? I start poking around in other views and settings. We already looked at Datacenter, lets look at Tasks.

    0_1472757327234_hpe8.png

    So useful! Next up, "Management."

    0_1472757373652_hpe9.png

    Getting warmer. Management actually means "Backup Explorer", which I guess allows you to view the backups the application won't allow you to make?

    Next, Storage Systems.

    0_1472757450764_hpe10.png

    Nope. Also, great UI consistency. While the Tasks pane is disabled since I have the free edition installed, this one is also disabled but gives me a popup instead.

    Eventually i found the VM backup button. It's on a right-click menu per-VM back on the Datacenter view. BUT THIS IS A WEB PAGE YOU DON'T RIGHT-CLICK ON WEB PAGES WHARBLLGARBLL!!!

    0_1472757591722_hpe11.png

    Hey, this looks familiar. This is the old Trilead interface completely rewritten in a web page and made difficult to find. This view was the very core of Trilead, because it was a backup application. You'd think the "Make a backup" view would be front-and-center for a backup application!

    Great work, HP. You took an amazing product, swallowed it up, digested it, shit out the remains, and stuffed the excrement into the mouths of the product's confused customers. This is in no way an improvement over the old solution that Just Worked. Get Off My Lawn.

    Next up, doing this all over again at home and hoping that my old Trilead backups are compatible with this new thing. Otherwise I have several VMs that are gone with no way to recover them from backup.

    EDIT: Okay, so this requires a web server, right? So maybe it makes sense to put it on a server, or perhaps a virtual machine?

    HA HA nope, because it will only save backups onto the system's local drives. So if I put it in a VM on the ESXi box I want to back up, it will back everything up to...itself. This has to be on a dedicated system to make sense. So why go through all the effort of turning it into a web application when you're only ever going to use it from a workstation like it's a locally-installed desktop application?



  • HP has sucked for a long, long time now, at least since 2002 if not much earlier. Before that, only their tech support and their low-end consumer PC line sucked; the latter mainly due to all the shovelware (including such joys as Bonzi Buddy IIRC), while the former always sucked.



  • And I'm not sure why this topic migrated itself from "Sidebar WTF" to "General".



  • @mott555 Moved to sidebar.



  • @ScholRLEA Yeah, HP is terrible. The HP Z420 was our standard workstation and most of us are still on them. Every single one is different even though they have the same model/part number. Hardware that works fine in one will cause BSODs in another seemingly-identical Z420. On mine, half the SATA ports don't work, and the USB controller is really flaky and I have to replug my mouse on every reboot.



  • @mott555 True; even some of their printers now suck, though mostly the disposable models that you would have to be an idiot (or desperate) to buy regardless of brand.

    HP used to have really, really good hardware, back in the days of minis and workstation-grade systems. When they did the PC thing, the peripheral hardware was great, and occasionally the drivers wouldn't suck (most of the time they did, that was mainly due to their refusal to play well with Windows' driver model and insisting on having their own special :snowflake: driver management system). That's all long gone, except for in their laser printers.


  • Impossible Mission Players - A

    @ScholRLEA said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    That's all long gone, except for in their laser printers.

    Yeah. Windows Update still wants to install a PCL5 driver for one of my laserjets, which fails because raisins.
    Besides that, thing is a champ, haven't had any issues with it.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @ScholRLEA said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    their own special :snowflake: driver management system

    I've had the darnedest bugs reported due to HP printer drivers, such as where they'd change the current language supported by the program (that my code was technically a library in) just because the user chose to print something in another program.

    What is this; I don't even

    I still don't grok why they could possibly have thought that what was going on there was a good idea. I think it was something to do with the printer drivers being injected into every user process and having a custom event delivered when someone opened the system print dialog which triggered the weird buggy code that set the current locale to what the driver thought the system locale ought to be. Or something like that. I think we fixed the code by throwing out all the code that used the C locale management APIs anyway; it was shit in the first place and we'd been lazy to use it. Whatever we did seemed to fix it, as no further weird side-effects from HP printer drivers were reported…



  • @ScholRLEA said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    @mott555 True; even some of their printers now suck, though mostly the disposable models that you would have to be an idiot (or desperate) to buy regardless of brand.

    HP used to have really, really good hardware, back in the days of minis and workstation-grade systems. When they did the PC thing, the peripheral hardware was great, and occasionally the drivers wouldn't suck (most of the time they did, that was mainly due to their refusal to play well with Windows' driver model and insisting on having their own special :snowflake: driver management system). That's all long gone, except for in their laser printers.

    Back in the day, I had one of their scanners, the C4700 or something, and it was good.
    Less far back in the day, I had the C5400 scanner, and it wasn't so good.
    Less far still, but still fairly far, I got a DeskJet 1280 A3 inkjet printer, which worked really well on Windows 2000, but didn't have HP drivers for Windows 7 (and even Microsoft's drivers for it were really for Vista), so I was left without any way to tell which ink cartridge was running low (black one? colour one? there was only one LED that merely said "one of my cartridges is running low") before it started printing weird.

    A couple of months ago, replacement cartridges for the 1280 being not quite as rare as hens' teeth, but nearly so, I caved and bought a Color LaserJet Pro M252dw. Installing it went more or less like this: Lug the box home from where I bought it (I shall not embarrass myself by admitting that I bought it in the local Apple Store, no, not at all), extract it from the box, put it on a desk. Connect a power cable, switch it on, fumble with the touch screen and enter my WiFi password. Zam, it's on the network. Download the Win10-64 drivers, install, find the printer on the network, print test page, done. Break out "Numbers" on the iPad, ask to print, find printer, print, hardcopy of the sheet arrives. Get multipage document on Windows, select "both sides" in the print dialog, watch it half-eject single-sided pages before reingesting them and printing on the other side.

    I was so pleased it was that easy.



  • @dkf said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    @ScholRLEA said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    their own special :snowflake: driver management system

    I've had the darnedest bugs reported due to HP printer drivers, such as where they'd change the current language supported by the program (that my code was technically a library in) just because the user chose to print something in another program.

    What is this; I don't even

    I still don't grok why they could possibly have thought that what was going on there was a good idea. I think it was something to do with the printer drivers being injected into every user process and having a custom event delivered when someone opened the system print dialog which triggered the weird buggy code that set the current locale to what the driver thought the system locale ought to be. Or something like that. I think we fixed the code by throwing out all the code that used the C locale management APIs anyway; it was shit in the first place and we'd been lazy to use it. Whatever we did seemed to fix it, as no further weird side-effects from HP printer drivers were reported…

    I'd be willing to bet that they were calling the DLL C runtime (that you were using) from inside their DLLs. The answer to that is to beat them with a mackerel until they stop doing that and/or link against the non-DLL version of the runtime.



  • @mott555 said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    HP bought Trilead and had the software all reworked somehow.

    Shit happens, man.

    As part of that, they remotely deactivated all instances of the old software, and I suddenly no longer have a backup solution.

    There is a non-zero number of countries in which that is illegal. (Unauthorised changes to a computer, that sort of thing.) Getting it to stick would be ... difficult.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Steve_The_Cynic said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    I'd be willing to bet that they were calling the DLL C runtime (that you were using) from inside their DLLs.

    I'm guessing that they were calling something vaguely like setlocale() inside there, but when you're doing that inside a DLL that gets injected all over the place (because that's obviously how you do printer drivers!) that's just going to break random code somewhere.


  • Fake News

    @mott555 said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    I got a web page with a standard-looking login form. But I can't log in because the password can't be empty, which it defaults to as you can see in the first image. So I go back to the Windows application that configures the web application and tried to put in "password". I don't care about security, I just want to evaluate this thing. Besides, since it's the free version I can't schedule backups, I have to do ad-hoc only, and I'm not leaving some random HP web server running on my system when I'm not actively doing a backup.

    0_1472756308874_hpe2.png

    Oh come on! You know what was better than this? A Windows desktop application that required no credentials other than the VMware server's login.

    Waaaiiiit... Let me parse that for a bit.

    Your password must comply with the HPE VM Explorer security policy. Number of characters: min 10 & max 20

    Why would you restrict the length of the password? Some kind of max length on a password input field? Fixed-width column in a database? WHY?


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @JBert said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    Why would you restrict the length of the password?

    For the same reason everyone else does: Stupidity!


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @mott555 said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    @ScholRLEA Yeah, HP is terrible. The HP Z420 was our standard workstation and most of us are still on them. Every single one is different even though they have the same model/part number. Hardware that works fine in one will cause BSODs in another seemingly-identical Z420. On mine, half the SATA ports don't work, and the USB controller is really flaky and I have to replug my mouse on every reboot.

    We have had so much trouble with HP in the past few years that we have stopped purchasing their products, and stopped recommending them for purchase. It is all utter shit.

    Speaking of the Z420, one of our clients saw a bunch of them come up as HP certified refurbs a while back. Those have been the worst of the worst. Not even two trips through HP quality control can catch a piece of shit.

    We have one machine that will straight up fucking crash and reboot if you plug anything in to a USB port on the front. Another will crash and reboot if you slightly move a USB plug that is plugged in to the back ports. We "fixed" the first one by taping over the front USB so that no one uses it and ran a USB extender cable from a port on the back up to the desktop for flash drives and such. For the second, the only way we could "fix" it (the real fix would have been to toss it in to the dumpster) was to Silastic the peripherals in to the USB ports on the back.

    Some clients just order stuff without consulting us. A few weeks ago a client ordered a few SFF HP Prodesk systems that are basically laptop components in a SFF case. It is even powered with a laptop type power supply. It starts flashing and beeping 4 times and will not boot. Looked up that code, power supply failure. We never believe the beep codes so take it over and plug it in to another machine's power supply. It won't start there either. Maybe the internal power supply? Not so fast, it ends up booting and running for a week or so, then same thing again. If you reset the BIOS, it will boot fine. This one is still under warranty, so waiting on replacement.

    This week we setup a new HP laptop for a client. Everything working fine, login confirmed, they are good to go. Next morning, it gets stuck on the login screen after you put in the password and login. We go back out, go through all of the usual slow login shit on Windows and end up that when we uninstalled some of the HP crapware, it left a bunch of scheduled tasks that ran on login and was causing the issue.

    I fucking hate HP. They need to die in a fire.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @Steve_The_Cynic said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    I was so pleased it was that easy.

    Talk to us in a year, I bet you it shits itself a week out of warranty.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Polygeekery said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    We have had so much trouble with HP in the past few years that we have stopped purchasing their products, and stopped recommending them for purchase. It is all utter shit.

    In 2000, I bought an HP Pavilion desktop that had some kind of weird creeping crud that caused it to refuse to boot. They cross-shipped me a new one once I told them I couldn't run their diagnostics because it wouldn't even POST.

    In 2010 I bought a Pavilion laptop. Really nice machine until halfway through the first year it stopped booting, choosing only to notify me via blinking LEDs that it was either suffering from a CPU failure or a motherboard failure. I shipped it back to them 3 times, each time losing it for about a month. They claim to have replaced the CPU twice and the motherboard twice, but it kept locking up again. Eventually they managed to run out the clock on my warranty and I declined to extend it just to go through that runaround a few more times.

    Fuck HP. I will never buy or recommend any of their products again.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Polygeekery said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    uninstalled some of the HP crapware,

    The desktop I mention in my last reply? It came with Windows Me, and HTTPS wouldn't work due to the crapware. I reinstalled Windows from CD--not the one that came with the computer, mind, but an actual retail copy I'd been gifted for being in the beta program--and I never had another software problem.

    People love to bash Me, but I have evidence a lot of the problems where actually bundled crapware.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @FrostCat said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    People love to bash Me, but I have evidence a lot of the problems where actually bundled crapware.

    That or bad drivers, reportedly. (Can't confirm; I skipped that version for unrelated reasons.)



  • @Polygeekery said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    @Steve_The_Cynic said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    I was so pleased it was that easy.

    Talk to us in a year, I bet you it shits itself a week out of warranty.

    Yeah, well, you find me a printer I can easily buy at retail. Not one of those things with scan and print and fax and shit like that. I have a scanner that's quite functional, see, and I don't need a fax machine (leaving aside the futility of buying a device that needs a land line when I'm hoping against hope to get rid of my land line). So I don't want to replace a functional printer (the 1280) with an object with functions I'm trying to invalidate and functions that duplicate things I already have. (Furthermore, an object whose name might be abbreviated MFD, and we know what that means around here...)

    I just want a GDMF printer. An item that consumes toner, electricity and blank paper and produces hardcopy.



  • @mott555 said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    Eventually i found the VM backup button. It's on a right-click menu per-VM back on the Datacenter view. BUT THIS IS A WEB PAGE YOU DON'T RIGHT-CLICK ON WEB PAGES WHARBLLGARBLL!!!

    It's 2016, web pages are full blown applications, why should it be limited to a single mouse button?



  • @Steve_The_Cynic said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    Furthermore, an object whose name might be abbreviated MFD, and we know what that means around here...

    Milwaukee Fabulous Download-speed ? :trollface:


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election


  • Impossible Mission Players - A

    @Steve_The_Cynic said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    . (Furthermore, an object whose name might be abbreviated MFD, and we know what that means around here...)

    Multi-function device? We might have whooshed here...


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @dkf said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    That or bad drivers, reportedly.

    Bad drivers is the same as shovelware, though: not Microsoft's fault, even though they took the blame.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Steve_The_Cynic said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    I just want a GDMF printer. An item that consumes toner, electricity and blank paper and produces hardcopy.

    Here's one from Tesco, which I don't know if you can get in France.



  • @JBert said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    Why would you restrict the length of the password?

    We want to be "secure". Don't mess with the NSA.



  • @Steve_The_Cynic said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    I just want a GDMF printer. An item that consumes toner, electricity and blank paper and produces hardcopy.

    I've been happy with Brother. I get the low-end, B/W, single side, no network ones... My first, HL2040 lasted a long time (I forget when I got it, but it was something between 7 and 10 years) - and that included hauling it to all my (outdoor) dog shows. It still worked when I replaced it - it just couldn't pull paper from the tray (I was single page feeding until I bought a new one)



  • @Polygeekery said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    @Steve_The_Cynic said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    I was so pleased it was that easy.

    Talk to us in a year, I bet you it shits itself a week out of warranty.

    Wouldn't that be the greatest thing ever? Assuming you bought it with amex? You can buy a new one every year.



  • @dcon said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    @Steve_The_Cynic said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    I just want a GDMF printer. An item that consumes toner, electricity and blank paper and produces hardcopy.

    I've been happy with Brother. I get the low-end, B/W, single side, no network ones... My first, HL2040 lasted a long time (I forget when I got it, but it was something between 7 and 10 years) - and that included hauling it to all my (outdoor) dog shows. It still worked when I replaced it - it just couldn't pull paper from the tray (I was single page feeding until I bought a new one)

    I love my brother laser printer. Wireless, duplex and the toner lasts forever.



  • @Tsaukpaetra said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    @Steve_The_Cynic said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    . (Furthermore, an object whose name might be abbreviated MFD, and we know what that means around here...)

    Multi-function device? We might have whooshed here...

    I assumed "around here" implied Mandatory Fun Day.


  • Impossible Mission - B

    @wharrgarbl said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    It's 2016, web pages are full blown applications, why should it be limited to a single mouse button?

    What if they're Apple web pages?



  • @masonwheeler said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    @wharrgarbl said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    It's 2016, web pages are full blown applications, why should it be limited to a single mouse button?

    What if they're Apple web pages?

    Then I suppose us Windows users can't see them at all - because they only work in Safari, right?


  • Impossible Mission Players - A

    @HardwareGeek said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    @Tsaukpaetra said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    @Steve_The_Cynic said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    . (Furthermore, an object whose name might be abbreviated MFD, and we know what that means around here...)

    Multi-function device? We might have whooshed here...

    I assumed "around here" implied Mandatory Fun Day.

    Oh. Ooohhhhh!



  • @FrostCat said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    @Steve_The_Cynic said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    I just want a GDMF printer. An item that consumes toner, electricity and blank paper and produces hardcopy.

    Here's one from Tesco, which I don't know if you can get in France.

    All the places round here where I can just walk into them off the street and buy a thing that prints, they all(1) sell Mandatory Fun Days.

    (1) Except the Apple Store, duh. They sell a just-a-printer, as described.

    EDIT: Also: the DeskJet does not consume toner.



  • @dcon said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    It still worked when I replaced it - it just couldn't pull paper from the tray

    I'm bemused by the contrast between the two halves of this thought, summarisable as "it worked except that an important part of it didn't work so I had to work instead".



  • @Steve_The_Cynic said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    @dcon said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    It still worked when I replaced it - it just couldn't pull paper from the tray

    I'm bemused by the contrast between the two halves of this thought, summarisable as "it worked except that an important part of it didn't work so I had to work instead".

    That's why it was replaced! :) (I just waited until it finally ran out of toner)

    And speaking of the Brother - I just printed 2 reams of paper in about an hour on the HL-L2300D. It's still happy.

    @Steve_The_Cynic said in mott555 tries to backup his ESXi software, and HP sucks:

    EDIT: Also: the DeskJet does not consume toner.

    Ah - so you get to spend about 10x as much per page. :trolleybus:



  • Would it be possible to try and work around the "mandatory update" part in the old software?
    By, say, disconnecting from network before launching the thing, and possibly checking with ProcessMonitor or ProcessExplorer (I never remember which is which) to check wherever it stores a "cache" of there being a mandatory update available?


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