Aftershock 2019 Music Festival Summary

This festival started in 2014 as a one-day event and this year expanded to three full days, with “90,000” attendees which in reality was around 30,000 per day. There were three stages, two main stages and a smaller one; scheduled so both the main stages had a bit of overlap. While the main stages were being reset, a band was playing on the smaller (Coors) stage. From the Kolas (dispensary change in the area) to the Monster Energy stage was less than a 10-minute walk and then about five minutes to the Coors stage. There were plenty of food, drink, port-a-potties and merch vendors throughout the entire grounds. Overall the festival was well planned, lines at all, but the festival merch vendors, were pretty short all weekend. Prices of stuff were on the high-end though, all beer and booze cost $12, same for crappy Coors Light as for a mixed drink, and a pulled pork sandwich (no sides) was $15. T-Shirt were the normal $40, concert poster $40, and Tool hoodie for $75; they had a HUGE merch area setup that had stuff for all 50+ artist who were there. The line-up was hard rock\metal focused, I saw 27 of them; of those I was mainly her for Tool since this was the 1st show of their new tour for the new album, but Rob Zombie and Dropkick Murphys were must see for me.

I booked an Airbnb just across the river, almost, from Discovery Park where the festival was held. Discovery Park is next to the America River where it runs into the Sacramento River, so it had rivers on two sides, with I-5 running right next to the Coors stage. While I was only about ½ mile from the Park it was just over 3 miles away by bike or car, since I had to go over a mile to get the closest bridge and another mile back to the park. When I booked the place, it looked like it might be on the other side of the river, but after booking the actual location wasn’t where I hoped. Not a big deal since there were Jump bikes and scooters everywhere, which I enjoy using. The Airbnb was a huge house right by the river, beautiful place, that an older later owned and used for short-term rentals. There were also two twenty-year-old girls from the UK who were also staying her for the festival and visiting CA. The daily bike ride took about 20 minutes and cost about $6, besides a bit of nerve-racking narrow bridge crossing it was a good ride. Saturday AM I went to Rite Aid and got drinks and snacks for the house, and had those for a 1st breakfast each day after. Sat & Sun AM I had full breakfast around noon and was at the festival around 1PM each day, where I had a late lunch and dinner.

Below is the list of the bands I was able to see Friday, after dropping my stuff at the Airbnb and taking a Lyft to the festival I got there about 3:30PM. The stand outs, to me, Friday were Dropkick Murphys , who always put on a killer show then, a new band to me, Halestorm. Halestorm’s lead singer, Lzzy, stood out and the band had a good beat, attitude, and stage presence. Yes, Clutch, STAIND, and Slipnot were good too but the top three bands of the day for me were Dropkicks, Halestorm, and Lamb of God. I spent all of Dropkicks set on the perimeter of or in the pit, the crowd energy at a punk show is hard to resist. Lamb of God also had a good pit I spent about half the show at it. STAIND I find a bit too mellow and main stream for my taste and I did enjoy Slipknot, but from near the back of the crowd.

Friday’s bands, I saw:

  1. Clutch (Rock)
  2. Dropkick Murphys (Punk)
  3. Halestorm (Rock) Listen
  4. Lamb of God (Metal)
  5. STAIND (Metal)
  6. Slipknot (Metal)

Saturday, I got there about 1PM and Badflower was just going on and I stayed for their entire set since I really enjoyed them. They were one of the newest bands there, 1st single in 2015 and 1st album in Feb 2019, and glad I got to see them. Fishbone was up next and can’t recommend seeing them enough, good band that always makes strong political statements; they have been around since 1979. Then I went to the smaller stage and enjoyed Ghostemane. Bad Religion put on a good show, but energy level was a bit low. STP was up next and their new singer, Jeff Gutt, does Scott justice as a single and front-man; but does sound a little bit different. I’ve been an STP fan since I first heard and saw them in the early 90s, but only got to see Scott once; I’ve now seen Jeff three times. Marilyn was on the other main stage, after STP, and it was packed over there. I didn’t bother fighting the crowd to get closer since the three other times I’ve seen Marilyn I’ve rated the show as “A bit lame” or Sucked; sadly this one was also a “A bit lame” show. Marilyn was out of shape and drunk or messed up on something. I stayed for a few songs before heading back to the middle stage for Zombie. This is the seventh time I’ve seen Rob, going back to 1992 with White Zombie, and five of those shows have “Kick Ass” (highest behind “Top 10”) and sixth had “Damn Good”. This time also got a Kick Ass rating, GO SEE ZOMBIE if you have the chance. He puts on a hell of a show, great performer, hard rock\metal music, with lots of pyro. Closing out the night was Blink 182, I stayed for a few songs before I left. I’ve never liked Blink much, too pop sounding for me.

Saturday’s bands, I saw:

  1. Badflower (Rock) Listen
  2. Fishbone (Funk Metal)
  3. Ghostemane (Metalish)
  4. Highly Suspect (Rock)
  5. Bad Religion (Punk)
  6. Stone Temple Pilots (Rock)
  7. Marilyn Manson (Rock)
  8. Rob Zombie (Metal)
  9. Blink 182 (Rock)

The last day I got there early and caught several bands I hadn’t heard of before, from the goth “dream” metal band Blue Midnight that was very mellow but entertaining. Then walking toward the middle stage I heard Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden, one of my all time favorite bands, and followed the sound to the solo performer Evan Konrad and stayed for most of his set, which was mostly originals. Enjoyed most of Brkn Love set then headed back to the smaller stage to see The Hu (pic), which is a Mongolian metal band. They put on a great show, with a unique string instruments, Mongolian throat singing, and other instruments in the seven-person band. Check them out if they come to your town! Then it was back to the middle stage for The Crystal Method, which is a DJ I’ve been catching since the 90s who always puts on a harder edged set and he did not disappoint the metal\rock crowd! A moving moment in his set, was when he did a tribute to Keith Flint (The Prodigy), who committed suicide on March 4th, 2019, with his image on the large screens. I then went over to see Babymetal, but only stayed for a few songs. It was three Japanese front girls singing and dancing with a backing band, all dressed in black with black mask. They are basically pop Japanese metal, and I wasn’t into it at all so headed over to see Gojira. Gojira, France metal band, did not disappoint! They are mix of prog and death metal and have been around since 1996, though I had just heard of them recently I think, and had a great set with a damn good pit. Chevelle was OK, but not really a fan, then was Fu Manchu, whose roots go back to 1985 punk scene. Fu I enjoyed a lot also and need to listen to them more. I did catch A Day to Remember, or some of them, but don’t remember their set so they didn’t stand out. But Deadland Ritual was who I was mainly looking forward to next. This is a “super group” made up of Franky Perez (Apocalyptica), guitarist Steve Stevens (Billy IdolMichael Jackson), bassist Geezer Butler (Black SabbathHeaven and Hell) and drummer Matt Sorum (Y Kant Tori Readthe CultGuns N’ Roses). They did a setlist made up of mostly Black Sabbath songs with two Billy Idol and Slither by Velvet Revolver and a few originals. The next big band up with Korn, but I skipped them completely to get a good spot for the main band I was here to see Tool!

Tool was the PRIMARY reason I came to Aftershock, when I got the ticket they hadn’t announced any other dates, their entire catalog had just been released to digital\streaming sites, and their 1st album in 13 years, Fear Inoculum was getting ready to be released on Aug 30th. So I decided I had to see them since they are one of my favorite bands and I had only seen them four times before, yeah I know for some people that’s a lot but I’ve seen most of my favorite bands around 10 times. The 1st time I saw tool was in July 1993 at Lollapolooza in Raleigh, NC, then again in Feb 1994 at a small venue in Norfolk, VA, then at OzzFest 1998. I wouldn’t get a chance to see them again until their very limited tour in 2016, when I flew to San Diego to see them with Primus. So, I had to see them and loved many others on the line-up for Aftershock and I hadn’t been to a music festival in 2019. As expected, Tool start with a song from their new album, the title track Fear Inoculum which was their 1st time playing in live. They did ten songs, with some from about each album, setlist and they sounded and looked great. The crowd was mainly there for Tool on Sunday, about 1/3 of the shirts were Tool ones and I think about all 30K people were packed into the middle stage area and stayed until the last song, Pneuma was played. I’m very glad I went and enjoyed Tool Sunday, but the Tue & Wed shows back in Denver at Pepsi Center were MUCH better; sound, visuals, and stage wise.

I really enjoyed this festival and on the last day they announced the TWO night headliner, doing a different set on Friday and Sunday, would be METALLICA! So the day I got home I bought a ticket to Aftershock 2020 and will be back next year! Hoping to line up some friends and split an house\condo next year, so who’s in!?!

Sunday’s bands, I saw:

  1. Blue Midnight (“Dream” Metal)
  2. Evan Konrad (Alt Rock)
  3. Brkn Love (Rock)
  4. The Hu (Metal)
  5. The Crystal Method – The Prodigy (DJ – Big beat\trip hop\breakbeat)
  6. Babymetal (Metal, sort of but not really)
  7. Gojira (Metal)
  8. Chevelle (Rock)
  9. Fu Manchu (Punk)
  10. A Day to Remember (Punk)
  11. Deadland Ritual (Rock)
  12. Tool (Metal)

Summary of the bands I saw, from my show database:
Aftershock 2019

 Kick Ass list from Aftershock 2019
Kick Ass - Aftershock 2019

Posted in Music, Personal | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Off to Europe on X-Mas for an adventure

It’s been almost a year since I’ve posted here. Since that time, I’ve been busy with work, got divorced (more on that another time maybe), dirt biked about 1,000 miles of mostly single track, and skied eight days so far this season. These are all topics of more blog post in the future maybe. It’s also been years since I’ve posted a personal blog post, but Facebook is my personal public blog for the most part.

This will be my 1st blog post on this trip to Europe and my 1st trip Europe, and out of the county, since 2010/2011. My last trip I celebrated NYE in Prague (pics), and have a blog post about somewhere, before this site came on-line. Since then I got married and divorced and my ex never got her passport, so I never went out of the county while we were together. It’s just me on this trip and this is my Christmas present to myself. 15 days in Europe, four in Amsterdam, Netherlands, four in Lisbon, Portugal and seven days in and around Porto, Portugal. Five of the days in Porto will be spent with Free Ride Spirit Enduro Tours, four of which will be on a KTM dirt bike!

I’m staying in an AirBnb in Lisbon, one night in a small hotel in Porto, five nights with Free Ride in their accommodations, and small hotel in Amsterdam. I fly into AMS, via MSP and Delta, Christmas, get in on the 26th in 11:30 AM (UTC+1). In AMS for three days, then fly via easyJet to Lisbon until the 1st; so I’ll be doing NYE in Lisbon. For NYE I’m planning on going to Club Europe for Freaky Fiction – Special NYE Party or maybe Club Noir, I plan on checking them both out before NYE and several others. There is a long list of places I went to see, but with only three full days it’s going to be tough to get the top sites on my cool places in even!

Then off to Porto, via 4 hour train from Lisbon, where the 1st night I’m staying in Pensao Favorita Hotel for one night. Next day I’m picked up by Free Ride Spirit and the dirt bike “long tour” adventure begins. The first night we meet all riders, I’ll be riding with a group from Canada, talk about the route, and have dinner. Next two days we ride, route TBD, then we have a day off in Porto, then we ride for two more days. All gear (hydrations back to boots), 2019 KTM, meals, support vehicle, spare bike, and guide all included… For about $2,000.

After the ride, I fly from Porto to Amsterdam, on Air Portugal, where I’m at for about 24 hours then back home, via MSP and Delta.

If all goes well, I should have some great pictures and stories that will be posted here later in 2019.

1/24/19 Update: The trip was AMAZING! I’ve got to create a blog post about it soon. For now here are the pictures: flickr.com/photos/izken/collections/72157705590771225/

Posted in Personal, Riding, Travel | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Using Commvault for Exchange & Exchange Online for Items

In this third and last post on this series this week, I will go over how Commvault provides data protection and much more for items in Exchange Server or Exchange Online.

First post: Using Commvault, by an Exchange MVP
Second post:  Using Commvault for Exchange Server

Protecting items

Besides the database level support, Commvault has extensive item\mailbox level backup support aka “brick-level backups”, a term coined going back before the ExMerge days. This support can be used for Exchange Server and Exchange Online (EXO). Connections are made from a “proxy client” which can be running on a Windows server\VM on-premises or in the cloud, like Microsoft Azure. The proxy client can also utilize CV’s deduplication technology to only send the unique bits across the network to the other Commvault backend servers. The backend data is then written and retained on storage targets based on the defined storage policies.

Commvault is flexible enough to meet many different organizational requirements. A key one is around item level protection and recovery, past Exchange’s Deleted Item retention setting. This setting comes into play when users or another process hard deletes items. For mailboxes in Exchange Online, item level retention is a concern for many organizations since Deleted Item retention has a max value of 30 days, as of Jan 2018. Almost every organization I’ve worked wants or needs to retain emails for years, in some cases 100 years! If using Exchange Server, O365 E3, or EXO Plan 2 license, a way to save data longer is to put mailboxes on retention hold. For some organizations, this might be a good enough solution. Although, if item level recovery is needed past the Deleted Item retention period, the recovery process requires doing a compliance search to find and copy items into a discovery mailbox, then exporting the items from that mailbox to a PST, and then imported the PST data back into the target mailbox; requiring PowerShell experience. So, this is not a very quick or simple task that can be delegated to most IT staff. In addition, using native tools alone keeps all the data in EXO, where there are no backups, just data replication, therefore no protection against intentional or accidentals data loss, item level corruption, or ransomware (Ransomware applies to O365 also).

Item level protection and easy recovery has a lot of value to many organization, to others it’s much more important to be able to carry out eDiscovery and search of their data. In this area CV truly excels, since CV can index and search files from Windows, *nix, NAS, Exchange/EXO, SharePoint/SPO, OneDrive for Business and more. When CV backups up data, it is available for both recovery and search from the same data. This provides major benefits to almost all the organizations, since CV provides cross-premises, cross-application, and cross-cloud support with a single platform.

Journaling Support

The 3rd way CV can provide data protection and help meet compliance needs for email data is via its SMTP journaling support. CV includes an SMTP listener that can receive journaled or any SMTP message. For orgs in EXO this is very import support, if they have the desire or requirement to use journaling. This is due to the fact you cannot have a journal rule in EXO have a target that is also in EXO. For such organization, Microsoft recommends having an Exchange Server on-premises as the target for this data or go with a 3rd party solution. CV’s has had journal mailbox management support for many years, which ingest data from and helps to manage Exchange journal mailboxes. CV’s direct SMTP journaling support was introduced in 2017 and it allows customers to reduce complexity, possibility eliminates the requirement of an on-premises Exchange server, or eliminate other 3rd solutions used for this.

Closing

In summary, Commvault has extensive support and benefits for Exchange via its database, mailbox, item, and message level protection, recovery, retention, and search capabilities. Commvault infrastructure can be configured to run all on-premises, all in the cloud, or as a hybrid of both. This enables an organization to backup their Office 365 and other data to Azure, for example, and for keeping their cloud data in the cloud, on-premises, or in multiple locations. Commvault provides the flexibility to meet almost any organization’s data protection, recovery, and compliance requirements without hardware, storage, or cloud vendor lock-in.

For more on what Commvault can do for Office 365 see https://www.commvault.com/solutions/by-technology/enterprise-applications/microsoft-office-365. Information on our general Microsoft support can be found at  http://microsoft.com/Commvault (one of the very few 3rd party companies to have a dedicated site on Microsoft.com) and https://commvault.com/Microsoft. In future articles, I’ll go into more detail on our Exchange support and do a similar post on CV’s SharePoint support.

Posts in this series:
1st post: Using Commvault, by an Exchange MVP
2nd post: Using Commvault for Exchange Server
3rd post: Using Commvault for Exchange & Exchange Online for Items  (This post) 

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this post are solely the author’s and don’t represent the views of Commvault.

Posted in Technical | 2 Comments

Using Commvault for Exchange Server

In my first post on Commvault, I provided an overview of the platform. In this post, I will cover what Commvault can do for Exchange Server databases, at a high level.

Reducing and protecting data in Exchange Server

With the basics of Commvault covered previously, let’s dig into some details about support for Microsoft Exchange. Within an Exchange DAG, mailbox databases can be replicated across multiple servers to provide high availability. The preferred architecture for Exchange calls for the usage of commodity servers and storage, including JBOD. What I have found, is that most large organization virtualize Exchange and store databases on a SAN still. Many large organizations have invested heavily in virtualization and SAN solutions and have optimized processes around them. They have become comfortable with these technologies and most workloads are pushed to use them, even if it doesn’t make for the most architecturally efficient design. In these orgs, reducing data via deletion and\or stubbing from can provide key value them.

A common requirement is to have a second\backup copy of data that is off-application, at different locations, and/or on different storage platforms to protect against logical corruption, catastrophic loss, vendor lock-in, administrator accidents, malicious actions, malware, and more.

Protecting databases

For data protection, which include database and individual items in Exchange, CV has VERY extensive support. For example, CV is DAG aware, so you can setup a policy so certain or all databases are always backed up from a passive copy, including support to fallback to the active copy if all passive copies are unavailable. If a SAN is used, CV can backup the databases directly from it, in an application consistent way, leveraging the SAN’s hardware snapshot technology. This is done by using the VSS calls, to ensure the databases have been quiesced correctly. Once CV gets the confirmation that the VSS call was successful, the LUN that the database(s) are on are snapped on the SAN, via the native APIs. In most cases, these LUNs are then mounted directly on a CV server and the databases are deduped against the previous data from early backups and the new unique data is sent to the CV configured storage, based on the storage policy. Using this method, databases are not streamed directly from production disk over the network from the Exchange Server to the target media. This means the backup I/O doesn’t impact the servers or users. Even if Exchange is running on a non-supported SAN or DAS, a VSS based streaming backup can be utilized.

From the backup copies, which can include the existing snapshots on the SAN, the databases can be restored back to their original location, to recovery databases, or directly to the file system. Database backups can even be browsed so individual items or entire mailboxes can be restored\exported.

In my next post, will cover what Commvault does for Exchange Server and Exchange Online for item and message level data management.

Posts in this series:
1st post: Using Commvault, by an Exchange MVP 
2nd post: Using Commvault for Exchange Server (This post)
3rd post: Using Commvault for Exchange & Exchange Online for Items

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this post are solely the author’s and don’t represent the views of Commvault.

Posted in Commvault, Exchange, Microsoft, O365, Technical | 2 Comments

Using Commvault, by an Exchange MVP

I’ve been at Commvault (CV) for three years and have been working with Exchange for 21 years and it’s long overdue for me to write on both topics. When I was being recruited to join Commvault, I thought they “just did backup” and the recruiter did a good job of explaining the many ways Commvault does more than “just backup.” At tradeshows and when talking to customers and prospect it’s very common to hear “I didn’t know Commvault did that.” In this post, I will provide a high-level overview of what Commvault does for Microsoft Exchange and Exchange Online/Office 365. In future articles, I will look at CV’s support for SharePoint, OneDrive for Business, Azure, and other Microsoft solutions. CV also supports many other application and data management features. This initial post provides an overview of the Commvault product, two additional posts will go over Commvault’s support for Microsoft Exchange and Exchange Online (Office 365).

The elevator pitch

Commvault is made up of data experts and they help their customers become experts with their data. CV has been doing backup and recovery for over 20 years, but goes far beyond backups.

CV provides data protection, replication, retention, eDiscovery, compliance management, and more. This is done using a single platform to provide data management across many areas. Unlike the many point solutions in this space, CV was developed internally on a single platform versus by acquiring technologies. Therefore, all modules work very well together and can be used with a single management interface.

The platform

Commvault can be utilized to protect dozens of applications, storage, and cloud solutions using their native APIs to provide application\database consistent backup and recovery; in many cases down to object level. CV can utilize many different vendor’s hardware, hypervisor, storage, and cloud offering to host the Commvault infrastructure and data. CV agents reduce data transmitted and stored by utilizing client-side and server-side data deduplication support. “Storage policies” define what data should be stored where if it should be deduplicated, encrypted, replicated to other locations, and how long it should be stored at each location. Data can be backed up from servers, databases, SANs, NAS, clusters, DAGs, clouds, VMs, etc. It can then be stored on JBOD, DAS, NAS, SAN, cloud, or tape; and each copy can have their own retention policy. Using these policies, data can be transitioned to lower cost storage as it ages based on an organization needs, comfort factor, etc.

In my next post, I will cover what Commvault does for Exchange Server, mainly Exchange databases. In the last post in this series, I’ll cover how Commvault provides data management for items and messages in Exchange or transmitted via SMTP journaling.

Posts in this series:
1st post: Using Commvault, by an Exchange MVP (This post)
2nd post: Using Commvault for Exchange Server
3rd post: Using Commvault for Exchange & Exchange Online for Items

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this post are solely the author’s and don’t represent the views of Commvault.

Posted in Commvault, Exchange, Microsoft, O365, Technical | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Exchange quarterly updates released

On 12/17/2017 Microsoft released the latest quarterly updates for Exchange 2010, 2013, & 2016.

Exchange 2010 SP3 RU19 Info | Download KB4035162
Exchange 2013 CU19 Info| Download KB4037224
Exchange 2016 CU8 Info | Download KB4035145

There aren’t any major changes in these CUs, but here are a couple of items to call out:

  1. .NET Framework 4.7.1 support in Exchange 2013 and Exchange 2016.
    • Install CU19 or CU8 BEFORE you install .NET 4.71
    • .NET 4.7.1 will be REQUIRED with the planned June 2018 CUs, so plan on installing it after you install these CUs or the ones in March
  2. Support for Hybrid Modern Authentication (HMA) for BOTH 2013 & 2016
  3. These CUs will not overwrite TLS settings like previous CUs would

For a bit more info see this EHLO blog post: Released: December 2017 Quarterly Exchange Updates

Posted in Exchange, Microsoft, Technical | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Microsoft Ignite 2017 – Key Sessions for Exchange

This year, which was around by 20th TechEd\Ignite, I was working the Commvault booth Mon-Thur and didn’t get to any sessions. As the field expert for most things Microsoft for Commvault (I cover AD, Exchange, SharePoint, Office 365 fully and Azure some), being in the booth to answer questions on what Commvault does for Microsoft solutions, which is a lot (microsoft.com/Commvault), at a Microsoft show was a must. But this also meant I didn’t get to attend any sessions.

So below are some link that lists some key one for Exchange Admins.

  1. By the Exchange Team https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/exchange
  2. By “Super Tekboy” aka Gareth Gudger https://supertekboy.com/2017
  3. Find all the online sessions here also: https://myignite.microsoft.com/sessions
  4. For Tony Redmond’s reflections on Ignite https://www.petri.com/author/tony-redmond

Know of others such list? Comment and I’ll add them, if they are focused on  Exchange/EXO.

Posted in Technical | Leave a comment