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Think your VMware snapshots are all good? Guess again if you're on Windows Server 2019

App-quiesced saves fail, workaround is to shrug it off


A compatibility issue between VMware's ESXi hypervisor and Windows Server 2019 will leave some customers unable to safely snapshot their virtual machines.

A Register reader tipped us off this week that the newest edition of Windows Server is causing some admins to encounter show-stopping errors when making snapshots of their Server 2019 virtual machines on ESXi versions 6.7 and 6.5. A fault message will appear along the lines of:

An error occurred while taking a snapshot: Failed to quiesce the virtual machine.

The clash, it seems, occurs when using a VMware-provided feature called application quiescing, which prepares a virtual machine to be safely frozen as a snapshot. In order to make sure a system is properly saved to storage, running software and file systems are fully suspended by app quiescence, and the saved state should be a perfect and complete snapshot of the VM.

Specifically, according to the virtualization giant, "this issue occurs because Windows 2019 cannot support the recovery volume that is included into the VSS SnapshotSet during the VSS process."

Without this process, you could end up with incomplete or out-of-date snapshots: data held in application memory, such as in caches or buffers, for instance, may not be fully committed to storage without application quiescing.

Here's where it gets really annoying for customers. VMware offered a work-around for Server 2019 and ESXi users, and it involves simply turning off quiescing before they take their snapshots. That means you may be left without a complete snapshot.

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"This means most customers will be unaware they are now backing up VMs in a file system consistent manner, NOT application consistent," explained our tipster, who we will keep anonymous at their request.

"So if customers come to restore any application sensitive VMs (DB servers etc.) then there is a good chance of inconsistent data."

Another workaround is to "use an MBR disk layout instead of GPT while provisioning the machines" if the disk is smaller than 2TB, which isn't a great workaround.

This is not just a recent problem, either. VMware's support forums have reports of this issue being reported multiple times in the past several months, without any sort of long-term resolution.

The Register asked VMware for comment on the matter, and the Dell-EMC-owned biz was only able to point to its aforementioned knowledge base guidance. One other solution, for those with the budget for it, is to use an additional product, such as Veeam, to handle snapshots.

For those without an IT budget to burn, however, the alternatives are less appealing.

"They continue to say 2019 is supported and are advising customers to disable this function without making them fully aware of the possible catastrophic side effects," our Reg reader noted. "A one-liner in the Knowledge Base is woefully inadequate."

We've asked Microsoft for comment. ®

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Uncle Sam to clip wings of Pegasus-like spyware – sorry, 'intrusion software' – with proposed export controls

Surveillance tech faces trade limits as America syncs policy with treaty obligations

More than six years after proposing export restrictions on "intrusion software," the US Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has formulated a rule that it believes balances the latitude required to investigate cyber threats with the need to limit dangerous code.

The BIS on Wednesday announced an interim final rule that defines when an export license will be required to distribute what is basically commercial spyware, in order to align US policy with the 1996 Wassenaar Arrangement, an international arms control regime.

The rule [PDF] – which spans 65 pages – aims to prevent the distribution of surveillance tools, like NSO Group's Pegasus, to countries subject to arms controls, like China and Russia, while allowing legitimate security research and transactions to continue. Made available for public comment over the next 45 days, the rule is scheduled to be finalized in 90 days.

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Global IT spending to hit $4.5 trillion in 2022, says Gartner

The future's bright, and expensive

Corporate technology soothsayer Gartner is forecasting worldwide IT spending will hit $4.5tr in 2022, up 5.5 per cent from 2021.

The strongest growth is set to come from enterprise software, which the analyst firm expects to increase by 11.5 per cent in 2022 to reach a global spending level of £670bn. Growth has fallen slightly, though. In 2021 it was 13.6 per cent for this market segment. The increase was driven by infrastructure software spending, which outpaced application software spending.

The largest chunk of IT spending is set to remain communication services, which will reach £1.48tr next year, after modest growth of 2.1 per cent. The next largest category is IT services, which is set to grow by 8.9 per cent to reach $1.29tr over the next year, according to the analysts.

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Memory maker Micron moots $150bn mega manufacturing moneybag

AI and 5G to fuel demand for new plants and R&D

Chip giant Micron has announced a $150bn global investment plan designed to support manufacturing and research over the next decade.

The memory maker said it would include expansion of its fabrication facilities to help meet demand.

As well as chip shortages due to COVID-19 disruption, the $21bn-revenue company said it wanted to take advantage of the fact memory and storage accounts for around 30 per cent of the global semiconductor industry today.

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China to allow overseas investment in VPNs but Beijing keeps control of the generally discouraged tech

Foreign ownership capped at 50%

After years of restricting the use and ownership of VPNs, Beijing has agreed to let foreign entities hold up to a 50 per cent stake in domestic VPN companies.

China has simultaneously a huge market and strict rules for VPNs as the country's Great Firewall attempts to keep its residents out of what it deems undesirable content and influence, such as Facebook or international news outlets.

And while VPN technology is not illegal per se (it's just not practical for multinationals and other entities), users need a licence to operate one.

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Microsoft unveils Android apps for Windows 11 (for US users only)

Windows Insiders get their hands on the Windows Subsystem for Android

Microsoft has further teased the arrival of the Windows Subsystem for Android by detailing how the platform will work via a newly published document for Windows Insiders.

The document, spotted by inveterate Microsoft prodder "WalkingCat" makes for interesting reading for developers keen to make their applications work in the Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA).

WSA itself comprises the Android OS based on the Android Open Source Project 1.1 and, like the Windows Subsystem for Linux, runs in a virtual machine.

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Software Freedom Conservancy sues TV maker Vizio for GPL infringement

Companies using GPL software should meet their obligations, lawsuit says

The Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), a non-profit which supports and defends free software, has taken legal action against Californian TV manufacturer Vizio Inc, claiming "repeated failures to fulfill even the basic requirements of the General Public License (GPL)."

Member projects of the SFC include the Debian Copyright Aggregation Project, BusyBox, Git, GPL Compliance Project for Linux Developers, Homebrew, Mercurial, OpenWrt, phpMyAdmin, QEMU, Samba, Selenium, Wine, and many more.

The GPL Compliance Project is described as "comprised of copyright holders in the kernel, Linux, who have contributed to Linux under its license, the GPLv2. These copyright holders have formally asked Conservancy to engage in compliance efforts for their copyrights in the Linux kernel."

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DRAM, it stacks up: SK hynix rolls out 819GB/s HBM3 tech

Kit using the chips to appear next year at the earliest

Korean DRAM fabber SK hynix has developed an HBM3 DRAM chip operating at 819GB/sec.

HBM3 (High Bandwidth Memory 3) is a third generation of the HBM architecture which stacks DRAM chips one above another, connects them by vertical current-carrying holes called Through Silicon Vias (TSVs) to a base interposer board, via connecting micro-bumps, upon which is fastened a processor that accesses the data in the DRAM chip faster than it would through the traditional CPU socket interface.

Seon-yong Cha, SK hynix's senior vice president for DRAM development, said: "Since its launch of the world's first HBM DRAM, SK hynix has succeeded in developing the industry's first HBM3 after leading the HBM2E market. We will continue our efforts to solidify our leadership in the premium memory market."

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UK's ARIA innovation body 'hasn't even begun to happen' says former research lead

DARPA imitator not doing much after two years of Johnson government

Updated The UK's efforts to copy US government and military innovation outfit DARPA are stalling, according to a leading figure in research and development.

Appearing before the Science and Technology Committee, Sir John Kingman, former chair of UK Research and Innovation, told MPs this morning that ARIA – the Advanced Research and Invention Agency – was a good example of departmental research spending that could be cut, sidelined or delayed.

"A very high-profile example would be ARIA, which has been this big plan for the Boris Johnson government, and yet here we are a few years into the Johnson government and it still hasn't even begun to happen," he told MPs.

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Facebook fined £50m in UK for 'conscious' refusal to report info and 'deliberate failure to comply' during Giphy acquisition probe

That rebrand can't come soon enough

Updated The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has smacked Facebook with a £50m ($68.7m) fine for "deliberately" not giving it the full picture about its ongoing $400m acquisition of gif-slinger Giphy.

The move – fingered by the CMA as a "major breach" – comes just weeks after the antisocial network dismissed the UK's regulator's initial findings as being based on "fundamental errors" and just hours after the US Dept of Justice and its Department of Labor announced separate agreements with the firm in which it will fork over $14.25m to settle allegations of discriminatory hiring practices.

Facebook first announced its intention to buy the image platform, which hosts a searchable database of short looping soundless animated GIFs – many of which are sourced from reality TV and films – in May last year. Giphy also hosts MP4 looped video clips (so users can "enjoy" audio), which it also unaccountably calls gifs. Pinterest, Reddit and Salesforce's comms firm Slack have all integrated Giphy into their platforms so you can "react" to friends and colleagues. Facebook's acquisition values the company at $400m.

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Not just deprecated, but deleted: Google finally strips File Transfer Protocol code from Chrome browser

A death by a thousand cuts

The Chromium team has finally done it – File Transfer Protocol (FTP) support is not just deprecated, but stripped from the codebase in the latest stable build of the Chrome browser, version 95.

It has been a while coming. A lack of support for encrypted connections in Chrome's FTP implementation, coupled with a general disinterest from the majority of the browser's users, and more capable third-party alternatives being available has meant that the code has moved from deprecated to gone entirely.

Support for fetching document resources over FTP was stripped from Chrome 72, proxy support for FTP was removed in Chrome 76, and Chrome 86 introduced a flag to turn it off completely.

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Brave's homegrown search claims to protect your privacy but there's a long way to go if it's to challenge the big G

Ad-free now but not forever

The Brave browser will now default to the company's own search engine, claimed to preserve privacy, while a new Web Discovery Project aims to collect search data again with privacy protection.

The Brave web browser is based on the Google-sponsored Chromium engine but with features designed to prevent tracking, as well as an unusual reward system using its own cryptocurrency, the Basic Attention Token (BAT). Brave search will now be the default on new installs for desktop, Android, and iOS. Existing Brave users will keep their current default unless they choose to change it.

Brave Search was released in beta in June and uses technology called Tailcat, acquired from the failed German Cliqz project, which also sought to provide a Google-free index.

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