Windows 10: First look: Macrium CMC - Central Management Console

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  1. Kari's Avatar
    Posts : 15,054
    Windows 10 Pro
       24 Oct 2016 #1

    First look: Macrium CMC - Central Management Console


    Macrium Software announced on Friday (October 21st, 2016) the release of their latest product Macrium Central Management Console (CMC):



    (In case the tweet is not shown:

    Macrium Software ‏@MacriumReflect Oct 21

    We are very pleased to announce the release of the Macrium Central Management Console!
    Central Management Console - KnowledgeBase - Macrium Reflect Knowledgebase

    Let's have a look what CMC is, what it does and how it manages your backups.


     First look at Macrium CMC

    Quote from http://knowledgebase.macrium.com/dis...ement+Console:

    Central Management enables backup, restore and monitoring of multiple networked computers running Macrium Reflect using a Web browser user interface. Supported browsers are Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge and IE 11.

    A Macrium Agent service is installed on each remote computer which then communicates using Microsoft Message Queueing (MSMQ) to a single installed instance of the Macrium Server service. This service also exposes an HTTP/HTTPS server service on a configurable port which enables web browser sessions to manage the Macrium Agent installed computers.

    The Macrium Server service can be installed on any single networked PC or Server. Both Domain and Workgroup networks are supported.

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    (Image: Macrium Software)
    Having tested CMC a few months now I have to say as my personal subjective but very sincere opinion that it is the best that has happened to Windows backup in years. There are still a few small glitches, mostly cosmetic ones to take care of but CMC does what it promises, what it is designed for.

    According to Macrium, CMC will be available as a free download to all Macrium Reflect customers (excluding the Free Edition). At this point I am not sure how long CMC will remain free as stated by Macrium now, my insecurity coming from this screencap I made from Macrium Webinar on October 11th, week and a half before the release:

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    Full Webinar, with a CMC demonstration:



    Anyway, at the moment every geek can test it, at least at this point you will get a 30 day trial license for one server and up to 5 workstations when installing it:

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    Download from Macrium, link in tweet on top of this post.

    Setting up is easy and fast. First you need to download an automatic agent configuration tool and run it on each PC you want to add to CMC to configure firewall. The tool sets some FPS and WMI rules. When done, click Add computers to add them, install Macrium Agent service on each computer (a barebone Macrium Reflect required even if client has Reflect installed).

    Add definitions, schedules and repositories (network share to store backups) and you are done. The CMC server runs as a service in background, using Microsoft Message Queueing (MSMQ) to communicate with clients. In below screenshot you can see how little resources the whole system needs:

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    A client PC needs even less:

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    When CMC is set up you can manage all backup and restore operations on all connected computers from your CMC server host, or from any of your networked computers.

    Trying to not make a too long post, here's a video I made to show CMC in action. Video is not meant to be a tutorial but it should show you how to work with Macrium CMC:



    (Sorry about the audio quality in video, my last microphone left this realm and went to bit heaven. Narration recorded on phone.)

    I find CMC to be extremely easy to use, with intuitive user interface and enough features to cater my needs. The dashboard shows all relevant information:

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    Widgets on dashboard can be moved, added and removed.

    One small but really cool feature I really love seeing integrated in CMC is Slack notifications (Slack: Be less busy). I set up a new group, myself as the only member, and set up a channel for CMC. Now when anything happens on my CMC server I get a notification immediately on Slack:

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    Allowing Windows notifications on Slack sends them directly to my Windows 10 Action Center:

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    I would like to use CMC even if I only had one computer. The user interface is excellent and easy to use, the footprint really small. CMC makes keeping track of backups, maintaining them a peace of cake.

    Of course I understand that Macrium's target segment with CMC is small and midsize business, corporate networks and domains, but I can see no reasons why a private user shouldn't use it.

    Let's put it this way: if you are one of those Macrium customers who have bought the Family Pack of Macrium Reflect Home to protect your PC and the spouse's and kids laptops, download CMC and see it yourself how easy and fast it is to master your backups without hassle.


    Wishlist (things I hope Macrium to fix & add):

    Basically the only thing I am missing in CMC is scheduled restore on multiple computers. Restore is now only possible selecting one computer at the time. It is not possible to schedule a restore operation.

    Some small details need to be fixed. One is agent installation and update.

    Macrium Agent creates a user profile on each computer. When you have to reinstall agent it does not remove the old one. In my case for example I had done last Windows reinstall on this computer I use as CMC server only a few days before the release. My CMC and agents on each computer where automatically updated on Friday after the official release, after what my Users folder looked like this:

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    The old Agent profile, and the new one. OK, not so big problem you might think but I have this stubborn old desktop which CMC keeps losing from its sight, the only way to get it back, to get it shown in CMC is to reinstall the agent. Before I noticed I had 11 Macrium Agent user profiles on that PC. First one is always simply named MacriumAgent, the second one MacriumAgent.PC-Name, then CMC starts adding numbers to profile names: MacriumAgent.PC-Name1, MacriumAgent.PC-Name2 and so on.

    All but last can be manually removed, safe, easy and fast, but although this really is a meaningless small detail, it bothers me. Well coded software cleans up after itself.


    That's it geeks :)

    Kari
    Last edited by Kari; 26 Oct 2016 at 06:36. Reason: Loads of typos :)
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    24 Oct 2016 #1

    Hi there

    @Kari

    This might be good for LARGE businesses but IMO this seems to be going with the trend towards "If you can Monetise things --then do it".

    I've been playing around with more simple things like rsync on linux and robocopy on Windows --seems to me that for SMALL businesses and home networks a little bit of adapting existing FREE (and good) software will save a huge slew of money.

    Of course for Enterprises - it's a different ball game - but for others - especially in SMALL busiinesses --the best thing you can do is LEARN HOW TO USE THE CLI --you'll be surprised how much money you can save and if you provide some decent interface to your users you don't have to go all "Corporate".

    That said I DO like Macrium Free -- but I sometimes wonder if these businesses are developing this stuff to cut more and more features out of Free editions.

    Cheers
    jimbo
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3. Kari's Avatar
    Posts : 15,054
    Windows 10 Pro
    Thread Starter
       24 Oct 2016 #2

    jimbo45 said: View Post
    This might be good for LARGE businesses but IMO this seems to be going with the trend towards "If you can Monetise things --then do it".

    I've been playing around with more simple things like rsync on linux and robocopy on Windows --seems to me that for SMALL businesses and home networks a little bit of adapting existing FREE (and good) software will save a huge slew of money.
    I have to say I disagree, Jimbo.

    A Mom & Pop shop with a Windows PC in back room office, another in study in upstairs apartment, family's two teenagers both with their laptops. A Macrium Reflect Family Pack for these four machines costs less than 35 per machine, CMC comes free for Pop to take care of everything.

    Cost effective, easy, flexible. No rsync and RoboCopy script writing, no extra skills or knowledge required. I can't see the cons.

    As I mentioned, I would use Reflect & CMC even if I ever had just a single Windows PC.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    24 Oct 2016 #3

    @Kari
    Well I do have a licensed home version of Macrium Reflect, so I downloaded the CMC and installed the app. When I try to run the program all I see is this screen Kari. ???
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      My ComputersSystem Spec

  5. Kari's Avatar
    Posts : 15,054
    Windows 10 Pro
    Thread Starter
       24 Oct 2016 #4

    OldMike65 said: View Post
    @Kari
    Well I do have a licensed home version of Macrium Reflect, so I downloaded the CMC and installed the app. When I try to run the program all I see is this screen Kari. ???
    That's one of those small things Macrium needs to fix. It hangs sometimes when first launched after setup, or when security settings have been changed and CMC restarted. Luckily this does not happen often and it is easy to fix.

    Simply end the CMC process in Task Manager, then re-launch CMC from Start:

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    Kari
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6.    24 Oct 2016 #5

    Kari said: View Post
    That's one of those small things Macrium needs to fix. It hangs sometimes when first launched after setup, or when security settings have been changed and CMC restarted. Luckily this does not happen often and it is easy to fix.

    Simply end the CMC process in Task Manager, then re-launch CMC from Start:

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    Kari
    Thanks for that tip Kari, that worked.
    But looking under licenses it reports my version is only good for a 30 day trial, I thought it would see my registered version of MR on my computer. So if all I am going to get is a 30 day trial, its not worth trying to setup for me. I do have 2 computers networked, 2nd computer only has the free version of MR and this computer has the licensed version.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  7. Kari's Avatar
    Posts : 15,054
    Windows 10 Pro
    Thread Starter
       24 Oct 2016 #6

    OldMike65 said: View Post
    Thanks for that tip Kari, that worked.
    But looking under licenses it reports my version is only good for a 30 day trial, I thought it would see my registered version of MR on my computer. So if all I am going to get is a 30 day trial, its not worth trying to setup for me. I do have 2 computers networked, 2nd computer only has the free version of MR and this computer has the licensed version.
    Did you run the agent configuration tool and install Macrium Agent on that computer?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  8.    24 Oct 2016 #7

    Kari said: View Post
    Did you run the agent configuration tool and install Macrium Agent on that computer?
    Yes Kari, that was it sir :) Sorry for being a pain .....Thanks for the help too. :)
    Mike
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  9.    25 Oct 2016 #8

    If using this in a home with multiple PCs running Macrium, does it require the PC with the CMC server software installed to run 24/7? I did some looking but could not verify if the server is what triggers the events or if the local machines somehow store the settings locally in case the server is offline. Thanks!
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  10. Kari's Avatar
    Posts : 15,054
    Windows 10 Pro
    Thread Starter
       25 Oct 2016 #9

    cjsmack said: View Post
    If using this in a home with multiple PCs running Macrium, does it require the PC with the CMC server software installed to run 24/7? I did some looking but could not verify if the server is what triggers the events or if the local machines somehow store the settings locally in case the server is offline. Thanks!
    The CMC server PC must be on and service running for CMC to be able to work. You don't have to be signed in to any user accounts, in my tests as soon as CMC server has been booted and connects to network, CMC starts working. Evenly important is that your repository is online; if using a network share on other machine than CMC server as repository, that machine has to be on and online, too.

    Luckily you can run any definition on-demand. If your CMC server missed a scheduled backup due being offline or turned off, simply select the definition as soon as you are back in Windows and click Run Now:

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    Naturally, also the clients need to be online. Wake-on-LAN is something I would like Macrium to implement to CMC, at the moment (my experience, no official information) CMC is capable to wake my sleeping machines but as the wake up process takes some time, when they are totally wake CMC has already flagged the backup operation as failed due client being offline.

    When a client is not online for scheduled backup you can repeat it's last backup operation. This is also practical if a backup for any reason totally fails, it can be easily repeated:

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    I have really bad WLAN NIC on one old laptop, disconnecting as it pleases without any logics. I have had to use repeat function with it quite a few times due backup failing when the WLAN NIC suddenly decides to take a break.

    Kari
      My ComputerSystem Spec


 
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