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· 7 min read

"What's New?" is a series of blog posts covering recent changes to Comet in more detail. This article covers the latest changes in Comet Voyager over May 2023.

There were four Comet software releases during May, all in the weekly 23.3.x Voyager release series. The work this month included a mix of core application development as well as projects in the surrounding ecosystem:

Learn about Chunking

Earlier in May, Mason gave a presentation of the history and overview of backup technologies, starting with simple file copies, through chain-based approaches, and culminating in the Content-Defined Chunking technology used by Comet.

Comet Server in Docker

The Self-Hosted Comet Server is now available as a Docker container:

Docker is a popular system for running applications in "containers". In the same way that freight shipping containers have a consistent size and shape, in order to fit within a larger shipping ecosystem, Docker containers also have some consistent behaviors in order to fit within a larger application runtime ecosystem: a "containerized" application has a standard way to start, stop, and log messages; how their storage and configuration is managed, how ingress and TLS termination works, and how sandboxing and permission restrictions are applied.

By offering Comet Server as a Docker (OCI) container, it should be easy for existing Docker users to get started with the Self-Hosted app and to manage it going forward. It also enables new functionality such as running multiple self-hosted Comet Servers on the same PC or VM. This does not replace the existing Self-Hosted installers, which will continue to be available.

There has been a long-standing open feature request for an official Docker container. Thank you to everyone who voted and commented on this feature, and a special thanks to "Hobadee" for providing an unofficial solution to the community so far.

C# .NET SDK and expanded API documentation

When you visit the the Comet Server web interface, your web browser loads and runs a "Single Page App" (SPA) locally inside your browser. This webapp speaks to the Comet Server backend solely using our public API. This API broadly covers every action you take within the Comet Server web interface, which means if you can do an action in the web interface, then it can be automated by a developer.

The Comet Server API is comprehensively documented, and during May we added many more comments and explainer notes to the constants, endpoints, and type definitions. Developers using the existing PHP SDK, Javascript / Typescript SDK, Ruby SDK, and Go (Golang) SDK will see these new comments appear in their IDEs during autocomplete.

During May, we put the finishing touches on the latest addition to this group - a new public .NET SDK. It's available as CometBackup.CometAPI.SDK on NuGet and is developed in C# for use with any compliant .NET Standard 2.0 runtime, including .NET Framework 4.6, .NET Core 2.0, .NET 5, or any later versions.

Getting started with the SDK should be straightforward:

using (var client = new CometAPI("", "admin-user", "admin-password")) {
var users = client.AdminListUsers();
foreach (var user in users) {

Every API method is also available as an Async() version to allow for concurrency.

Our SDK version numbers generally adhere to Semantic Versioning and any enthusiastic readers may have noticed this SDK uses a "version zero" version number at present. We don't necessarily expect to make breaking changes, but we are actively requesting feedback about this new SDK from existing C# users to ensure we've created something idiomatic. We'd love to hear any feedback about the SDK design or any bug reports before we commit to v1 compatibility, so if you are a C# developer then please reach out by ticket or on GitHub.

Audit logging

To help our partners meet their compliance obligations, we've added advanced audit logging capabilities into Comet Server. Almost every action - including login events for administrators and users, restoring data, changes to user and server settings, and more - can now be logged server-side into a secure file.

This work was based on expanding Comet Server's live event streaming features to cover a much more comprehensive set of data. If you are making use of the existing Webhook feature or the Websocket API feature, when upgrading to Comet Server 23.3.7 or later, you may start receiving a larger amount of data. You can control this by declaring a restriction on the streamable event types you want to receive.

In current versions of Comet, this feature must be configured by setting the AuditFileOptions property inside the cometd.cfg file. We expect to make it available via the Comet Server web interface soon!

Quality, performance, and memory enhancements

As we approached the quarterly release, we took a special focus on quality improvements to give us a solid foundation.

The fresh new design for the Comet Server web interface had its debut in 23.3.3, and since then throughout the 23.3.x Voyager release track, we have spent additional time and effort to ensure quality. In the latest versions of Comet Server you will see fewer cosmetic issues as this work has stabilised nicely.

We've also made significant performance improvements to key areas of the client application. Performing granular restore of single files from inside a Disk Image or Hyper-V backup may now be 3-8x faster while using 40% less memory. Comet also now uses less memory for loading files from S3-compatible Storage destinations like Wasabi, and when loading very large files from a Storage Vault.

The Office 365 Protected Item type in Comet has been a continued development focus this quarter, including a partial rewrite. Comet is now better able to handle incremental changes to mailboxes; the reported error messages are more detailed; and Office 365 backup jobs taken with the latest version of Comet should be more resilient against network errors and rate-limiting from the Microsoft Graph API. We would encourage all users to raise a support ticket if you experience any issues with Office 365 backups as we continue to improve the sync capabilities.

Comet 23.5 "Thebe"

On the 1st of June, we put the finishing touches on our latest quarterly release, Comet 23.5.0 "Thebe".

Thebe is the latest entry in our quarterly rollup series. It branches off from our main rolling Voyager development into a fixed target for you to qualify and build your service offering upon.

Like Comet's previous recent quarterly software releases, "Thebe" is named after a moon of Jupiter, which in turn takes its name from an ancient Greek mythological figure. It is a very small moon with only 0.004x Earth's gravity, meaning it is less likely to shape itself into a sphere - in fact a large impact crater covers around 40% of its surface area:

It was discovered by the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft in 1979, but owing to its small size and position, almost nothing more could be discovered until the next spacecraft Galileo visited two decades later. Scientists believe it contains frozen water.

As always for a new quarterly release, there are two changelogs for 23.5.0 "Thebe" depending on whether you are coming from the previous quarterly release or the previous Voyager release. You can see the full details in the release notes.

That's all for this month! Thanks for reading - there are some more great features currently under development that we're excited to be able to share with you soon. As always, please follow @CometBackup on Twitter and you can always contact us if you have any questions.

· 5 min read

Where are you originally from?

I'm from Stockholm, Sweden and I just celebrated 5 years in New Zealand! Times flies when you are having fun! Love, family and new adventures brought me to this lovely country.

What is the one thing about Sweden that you’d like non-Swedes to know about?

We have a useful word that I don’t think many other countries have – “lagom”. It means not too much, not too little, but just the right amount and it’s a very handy word to have in your vocabulary (I think).

Also, that there are no polar bears in Sweden. It’s funny how many times I get asked that question!

How long have you been working at Comet Backup?

This is my seventh week at Comet, but it feels longer than that (in a good way)!

Before Comet, after completing a master’s degree in IT engineering and a bachelor’s in business studies, I worked as a BI Consultant in Stockholm for 8 years. When I moved here, I started working as a Senior Product Owner and I did that for almost 5 years before joining Comet.

What attracted you to Comet?

The industry was completely new to me, and I wanted to try working in a younger business that was growing fast. Having the chance to be the first dedicated product person in the company was an exciting opportunity too!

How would you describe your role as Product Manager at Comet?

In short, my role is to work closely with all Comet teams to ensure we deliver a high-quality product with a great user experience, that meets the business goals and our customers’ needs!

But to expand a bit on that, I need to keep up with industry trends, understand the market needs, know the competitor landscape, and understand what our customer needs and their pain points.

Combining this information with the business strategy, product metrics, data analytics, and all the input from Comet’s teams, I can create a product roadmap that outlines how the product will be developed and what the teams will be focused on for the next while.

Basically, as a Product Manager, you are responsible for guiding the direction of the product and its development, making sure we’re working on the right things to ensure the continued success of our product and keep growing our market share.

What was your first day at Comet like?

It was great! Everyone was so friendly and welcoming, and I’ve always enjoyed working with smart, talented, and down-to-earth people, so that has been one of the highlights here at Comet so far.

What aspects of your role challenge and excite you?

It’s wonderful how much trust, support, and freedom Comet gives me – they trust me to do the job as I see fit. I just hope I can live up to their expectations and do my part to help continue making Comet the success story it already is!

Product Managers have to juggle a lot of activities and deadlines. What best practices would you recommend for organising one’s workload?

I think a simple to-do list does the trick, but you need to make sure to re-prioritize the items on the list regularly, based on their urgency and how important they are. When I get stuck, I refer back to the product vision or strategy to figure out what should be done first (or just take a break to clear my head).

You love being out and about. Would you recommend any running or biking trails in the Canterbury area?

I think it’s really nice running or biking up the Rapaki track and then going down Victoria Park and Bowenvale Valley – it’s such a peaceful area and the views up there are great too!

What’s the most memorable or most interesting thing that’s happened to you on a trip?

In 2019 I spent three months biking around South America - the whole trip was pretty memorable, but riding through coca plantations and getting stopped by a group of suspicious-looking characters to have a beer is probably up there.

Wait, what??

Yeah it was pretty scary - we were biking around South America and this truck comes with these five guys, and you can tell they’re working at the coca plantation. They were all drinking beer and seemed to be drunk, and they stopped where we were. They were speaking Spanish and we could only understand a couple of words. Then they offered us a drink and we couldn’t say no!

There is an ongoing debate at the Comet office on whether or not pineapple should be a pizza topping. Would you care to share your thoughts on this?

Ha! No, I don’t think pineapple should be a pizza topping - but if I can stick with my pepperoni pizzas, I don´t mind if others have pineapple on their pizzas.

· 7 min read

"What's New?" is a series of blog posts covering recent changes to Comet in more detail. This article covers the latest changes in Comet Voyager over April 2023.

There were five Comet software releases during April - four in the weekly 23.3.x Voyager release series, plus one minor patch update 23.2.2 for our quarterly "Leda" release track. We've also released a new YouTube tutorial for the new Object Lock feature!

There were some very large and exciting features released in Voyager during April:

New design for the Comet Server web interface

When upgrading to Comet Server 23.3.3, you'll be greeted with a new experience:

This is the first major Comet Server web interface upgrade in six years. We're very excited and proud of the new layout. The left-aligned navigation bar allows for faster navigation to pages without clicking through menus, and the quick search bar has been modernized. The new design has also expanded the set of colour customization options that are available: in addition to setting your custom brand colour, you can also set an accent colour for highlights.

The homepage has seen the most dramatic change, including new navigation buttons on the top-right and a rework of all the admin widgets. There are new widgets showing how many of each Protected Item type is being used; how much used/free space there is on your Storage Role data location; the status and last run time of your Server Self-Backup; a live real-time chart of replication progress; and more.

The policies page has also been redesigned. As we add more and more policy options in new versions of Comet, we split the long Policy section to use sub-tabs. This includes a summary page, and a new feature to suggest possible common file path exclusions. We're continuing to work on additional Policy features, and you can expect to see a highly-voted feature coming soon!

When looking at a user account, on the Protected Items tab, the new user interface design has also added a quick-access "Run Backup" button that can remotely command the device to start a backup job. Previously, this feature was available from the Connected Devices page or from the Devices tab - but adding it to the Protected Items tab is a significantly more convenient place, and demonstrates this functionality more clearly to new Comet administrators.

We would appreciate hearing your feedback on the new web interface design before it lands in the upcoming quarterly release!

Search restore from web

When restoring data, Comet prompts you for the Storage Vault to restore from; the backup snapshot to browse inside; and then the file (or all files), respectively. However if you're trying to restore a single file without knowing exactly when it was last available, or what folder it was inside, Comet's Search button can search through all backup job snapshots to find the right match.

The Search button has been available on the Restore dialog in the desktop app for a while. New in Comet 23.3.4 is the ability to remotely perform a file search for restore from the Comet Server web interface.

Test Connection for Storage Templates

Comet is highly flexible in the number of ways you can configure your storage. From the customer's device running Comet Backup, a Storage Vault could point to a local path; directly at a cloud storage provider; or to your Comet Server with Storage Role enabled - which could then receive the data and store it on a local RAID array or forward it to another cloud storage provider.

Storage Templates are the provisioning system for new Storage Vaults. If you set up a Storage Template for Wasabi or Backblaze, you gain the ability to provision private, per-customer cloud buckets and access credentials with a single click. If you enable Storage Role for receiving data into your Comet Server (or another clustered Comet Server), using a Storage Template can help to very easily provision new Storage Role buckets for each customer.

Comet has long supported a Test Connection button on the Storage Vault page, to check that your custom entered credentials are valid. But when setting up a Storage Template for the first time, the only way to verify that everything was functioning was to attempt to provision a new Storage Vault for a test customer.

In Comet 23.3.5, a new Test Connection button was added to the Storage Template configuration popup in the Comet Server web interface. This allows you to quickly verify that your template is working as expected.


Comet Backup requires a connection to a Comet Server to safely store its configuration. But if you are self-hosting the Comet Server application, the Comet Server also should be backed up to mitigate against the risk of data loss. However, you can't really use Comet Backup for this purpose, since this creates a circular dependency during recovery.

As a solution, Comet Server includes the Server Self-Backup feature. This creates a consistent snapshot of Comet's configuration files, and allows you to store it encrypted on any supported storage location, including cloud storage. Multiple targets, custom scheduling, and data retention policies are all supported. The files are simple zip files to ensure that any eventual necessary restore is an easy and low-stress process.

The latest version of Comet Server made improvements to the Server Self-Backup feature. The generated filenames now clearly show the date and time of the backup job, instead of solely an epoch timestamp. Any automatic SSL certificate files provisioned by Let's Encrypt are now included in the archive, ensuring that it is not required to reissue the certificate. This helps avoid any issues with rate limits on the Let's Encrypt service, which could otherwise prolong your service outage.

We've also added a new option to include server log files in the Self-Backup archive. These log files are not generally required, but for completeness or for an investigation, they can provide an additional view into the circumstances behind the event.

Codesigned uninstallers

Microsoft, along with third-party security vendors, continue to harden the security posture of the Windows operating system. Comet Backup's client installer is codesigned - either by our company, or if you are using custom branding, then possibly with your own custom codesigning certificate. However over time, the security hardening has increased, and we've recently heard reports that the uninstaller for Comet Backup could trigger alerts in some security products. As a result, the latest versions of Comet Server apply Authenticode codesigning to the uninstaller to help avoid this issue.

The 23.5 Quarterly release is coming soon

At Comet, we release our software under two tracks - the "Voyager" release track approximately weekly, with all of our very latest changes; and the quarterly release track, where we bundle up three months' worth of development into a new fixed point for you to qualify, offer, and build upon, in order to provide a consistent experience for your own customers. Depending on your market position or your requirements, you may find either one of these tracks better suits your needs. As per our regular release schedule, you can expect a 23.5.0 quarterly release towards the end of this month, which will bring all of the exciting features to the quarterly track and also for Comet-Hosted users.

That's all for this month! Thanks for reading - there are some more great features currently under development that we're excited to be able to share with you soon. As always, please follow @CometBackup on Twitter and you can always contact us if you have any questions.

· 7 min read

"What's New?" is a series of blog posts covering recent changes to Comet in more detail. This article covers the latest changes in Comet Voyager over March 2023.

There were just three Comet software releases during March - two in the 23.3.x Voyager release series, plus one minor patch update 23.2.1 for our quarterly "Leda" release track.

We've landed a few large and exciting features this March:

S3 Object Lock

Comet 23.3.1 adds support for Object Lock on S3. This feature allows Comet to "lock" an object inside a S3-compatible bucket, preventing it from being deleted or modified for a fixed period of time.

This is a fantastic new capability for Comet and it is a key defense against ransomware. Comet generally requires the capability to add and delete files within your Storage location; deleting files is necessary for applying retention passes, updating index files, and coordinating locking across multiple devices. However, if malware is running on your PC and manages to intercept Comet's storage credentials, the malware would also be able to delete files, causing much wider havoc.

Comet uses S3 "Compliance Mode" to lock individual objects within the storage location. This ensures that there is no way for the object to be deleted for the specified time, not using Comet's storage credentials, nor even if your administrator S3 keys are leaked or exposed.

For a visual overview of the process, please see our usage guide and also the simplified explanation.

This feature is available for Amazon S3, Wasabi, IDrive (excluding Storage Template provisioning), and other S3-compatible providers including Minio-based providers. Please check with your S3-compatible provider's documentation to see if Object Lock is available.

Object Lock is an opt-in feature, both in Comet and with cloud storage providers. It also relies on S3 bucket versioning. These properties generally must be set when the S3 bucket is created for the first time. It is not generally possible to enable Object Lock on an existing S3 bucket. To use Object Lock with an existing S3-based Storage Vault, you would have to create a new S3 bucket with Object Lock enabled; migrate the data; and update Comet's Storage Vault settings to point to the updated bucket.

Comparison to Backblaze B2

Regular users of Comet may be aware of the existing "Hide files rather than deleting them" option for Backblaze B2. Backblaze B2 supports both a native API and also an S3-compatible layer over the native API. Comet Backup integrates with the native API, so the new S3 Object Lock feature is not available for use with Backblaze B2. However, the existing "Hide files instead of deleting them" option can be used to provide the same protection against ransomware.

Codesigning with Azure Key Vault

If you are customizing the branding of the Comet Backup desktop app, then we would recommend setting up codesigning certificates. Having a codesigning certificate means that installing Comet Backup proceeds more smoothly through Smartscreen and Antivirus popup warnings on Windows, and through Gatekeeper on macOS.

The Windows codesigning programme, "Authenticode", is currently in a period of disruption as new rules are being put in place. Owing to the high number of events where developer codesigning certificate files were leaked or lost, new requirements are being enforced from June 1st 2023 that newly issued codesigning certificates must no longer be stored as plain files on disk, but instead must be stored in a Hardware Security Module ("HSM") or equivalent isolated device. Comet has long supported Authenticode certificates using either certificate files ("PKCS #12"), or via plug-in HSM devices that are compatible with the "PKCS #11" standard.

There are two tiers of Authenticode available. The Extended Validation ("EV") service performs a deeper level of business-level and legal checks of the target organization before issuing the certificate. The extra vetting comes with a higher purchase cost, but it also results in a higher level of initial reputation for the resulting codesigned .exe file. An EV certificate was always required to be stored on an HSM.

However, it's common to install Comet Server on a cloud VM or VPS, where plugging in a USB dongle or smartcard hardware device is not physically possible. This difficulty also discouraged many MSPs from using the higher-quality Extended Validation service. With the impending phaseout of the file-based method for newly issued certificates, neither existing option is suitable, so another option had to be found.

Comet 23.3.0 adds support for codesigning using Azure Key Vault. This is a cloud service from Microsoft to manage the secure provisioning of security keys and certificates, including for Authenticode codesigning. There are various services and pricing tiers available; in particular, it's possible to purchase a managed cloud HSM, which meets the new June 1st 2023 Authenticode requirements.

At the time of writing, we would recommend GlobalSign or TrustZone for issuing new Authenticode certificates. There is no carry-over reputation with Authenticode, so replacement certificates can be issued from any provider. These particular providers were prepared early for the new requirements and have a secure vetting process to prove your use of an HSM, such as an Azure Key Vault managed HSM, before issuing your certificate. The private key never leaves the managed cloud HSM device, and Comet Server only uses an Azure application ID to remotely perform the signing steps.

Comet Server can perform Authenticode codesigning for Windows, regardless of whether Comet Server is installed on a Windows or Linux host OS. This is achieved by using a cross-platform signing toolchain. To support the new Azure Key Vault feature, we replaced our existing bundled codesigning toolchain from osslsigncode with a new jsign version. Comet ships these third-party utilities as a courtesy in compliance with their redistribution license.

For most existing users of codesigning with a PKCS#12 file-based certificate on disk, there will be no noticeable difference and Comet will continue to work without any configuration changes. However, some users may experience breaking changes:

  • The new jsign program takes different parameters for hardware devices using the PKCS#11 standard, which could not be automatically converted. Users of hardware devices may need to revisit their settings.
  • If Comet Server is installed on ARM64 Linux, the version of jsign distributed by Comet is not compatible with the musl C runtime generally used for static binary distribution. A glibc-based Linux distribution is now required to run the codesigning toolchain on ARM64 Linux. The issue does not apply to x86_64 Linux. We may be able to resolve this issue in a future version of Comet.

For more information, see the full Authenticode codesigning documentation.

New web interface features

Looking beyond these headline features, there have been many more improvements to Comet this month, particularly in the Comet Server web interface.

It's now possible to select custom snapshots for deletion from the web restore dialog. This builds upon last month's feature to add this in the Comet Backup desktop app. To use this feature, enable "Advanced Options" from the top-right user menu, and then click the new Actions button in the Restore wizard dialog.

You can now see an online device's software version, OS platform, and IP address directly on the User Detail page in the Comet Server web interface. This was a minor feature request on our Feature Voting page. To view these new columns, click the "View" button to configure which columns are displayed. Your custom column selection is preserved for this browser throughout multiple page views, but your custom column selection will be reset when a new version of Comet Server is released.

If your Comet Server is configured to show software downloads to logged-out users, the login screen has expanded the number of download options from three (Windows, macOS, and Linux) to four with the new Synology download button. This fixes a minor inconsistency with the web interface as this fourth platform should be shown in the same context as the other three platforms.

There have been many cosmetic improvements to the Comet Server web interface too, including better spacing and padding when configuring an Office 365 Protected Item or a Windows System Backup Protected Item. We regularly make small improvements like this, but this month, we've also been working on a much more major cosmetic change for the Comet Server web interface. We will be able to share more information about that soon.

· 3 min read

Comet Partners with aconitas GmbH for Exclusive Distribution in Germany, Switzerland and Austria

Christchurch / Mertingen – March 2, 2023 – Comet Backup, a leading data backup platform, is proud to announce its first reseller partnership with aconitas GmbH for Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

aconitas GmbH is an ICT service provider headquartered in Mertingen. The company has been in the marketplace since 2010 and is represented at six locations. The company is a solution provider and titanium partner of 3CX.

Comet Backup provides Managed Service Providers (MSPs) who want to offer their customers a latest generation a backup solution.

"The demand for managed cloud backup services among small and medium-sized enterprises is growing rapidly. With Comet's white-label solution, which is specially designed for MSPs, we are taking this trend into account," explains Andreas Schober, Managing Director of aconitas.

Comet Backup's all-in-one backup and restore platform is easily scalable, easy to implement and easy to manage. Management and monitoring are done via a central, web-based dashboard; backup itself is handled by agents. Features such as inline deduplication and data compression save bandwidth, and Comet's own "chunking" technology makes backup and restore reliable and fast. Backups are end-to-end encrypted and also immutable, depending on the cloud storage used, so that data can be restored to its originally backed-up form even in the case of ransomware attacks. A wide variety of workloads is backed up directly to the cloud.

"With Comet Backup, we offer a lean, fast and reliable backup solution that MSPs can use to grow their business. Integration into the Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) solution 'Riversuite' by the German company Riverbird has been implemented. That will be of interest for all those MSPs who want to manage and monitor their managed services remotely via a central platform," says Andreas Schober. aconitas assists with the implementation and provides support in their markets.

"This reseller partnership is a new venture for Comet Backup, one we intend to do more of in the future in markets where it makes sense to have that distribution model. It's imperative to Comet Backup that our reseller providers are high-quality ICT providers who understand the level of customer experience that we set out to achieve. This is true of aconitas and will be of any reseller we choose to partner with in the future," said Josh Flores, General Manager at Comet Backup. Any pre-existing customers in Germany, Switzerland and Austria will continue to be managed directly by Comet Backup.

About Comet Backup

Comet provides fast, secure backup software for IT professionals and businesses worldwide, localizing to 14 languages. It enables organizations to secure their data, deliver business continuity and disaster preparedness. Trusted by customers across 120 countries, Comet has been recognized as a 'High Performer' leader by G2, awarded "Top Performer" by Sourceforge and "Category Leader" by Get App. Comet is a privately held company based in Christchurch, New Zealand, founded by a team of ex-backup professionals and industry experts.

Follow and connect with Comet: | Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook

Comet PR Contact

About aconitas GmbH

The ICT service provider aconitas is supra-regionally active and headquartered in Mertingen. The company has been in the marketplace since 2010 and is represented at six locations. Among other things, the company is a solution provider and titanium partner of 3CX. Managing Director Andreas Schober is also Chairman of the supervisory board of the IT expert network kiwiko eG,

· 7 min read

Where are you originally from?

I am a Kiwi, but I was born in Cairns, Australia. I only spent six weeks there, don't judge me for that! Then growing up, I lived all over New Zealand. I have mostly lived in Christchurch, but I've also lived in Oamaru, Wanaka and spent my twenties in Wellington. On the brink of New Zealand's first Covid lockdown in 2020, I returned to Oamaru to look after my Mum during the lockdown. That brought me back to the South Island, and then I was naturally drawn into the nearest city, Christchurch, and also I have a lot of friends still here from when I lived here before.

How long have you been working at Comet Backup?

Nearly two years. I joined an excellent support team, now I lead a very different - still excellent - support team.

What attracted you to Comet and the Customer Support role?

I was shoulder tapped for the position by someone in the leadership team here at Comet Backup. I was looking for work after moving to Christchurch. I had the right IT experience and qualifications. And I'm also a "grammar pedant" and British comedy fan, so I fit within the culture!

What is the scope of the Customer Support role at Comet?

I'm the Customer Support Lead here at Comet Backup. The primary role is answering support tickets and taking support calls with customers.

I also provide technical support for onboarding customers. Sometimes onboarding is an extended enquiry, sometimes it is essentially a support call, i.e., "I'm trying to set up my server in a specific configuration". I also look after Tier One Support based in Europe. I'm essentially 2.5-level support; I end up with escalated tickets. I also report on support tickets in general, volume and any trends of note to management.

The role does have the freedom to expand into other areas; for example, sometimes, I also work on special projects like testing specific use cases with Comet, and recently did some work on the IAM side.

What was it that appealed to you about Comet's culture?

I figured that since I knew someone who worked here, and I knew that that person would not put up with a bad environment – then it must be a good place to work. So, I had that indirect recommendation/validation.

How have you found your manager's style of managing you?

I really like how my manager manages me. He is really hands-off, he doesn't micromanage me, but he does watch from afar. He's very proactive at flagging possible issues I might want to consider. He also listens to my views and opinion on important matters.

What advice would you have for someone following in your footsteps in the customer support area?

Do what interests you, but also try to do a bit of everything. It's great to specialize, but it's also helpful to have a wide array of systems you have experience with; you don't know what you're going to encounter. For example, I was the only person in my course, possibly even in the history of my network engineering course, that opted for the Linux server admin (RHCSA) course instead of the Windows server admin (MCSA) course. I did that because I already had a job where I was administering Windows servers, so I thought it was a good opportunity to learn more about Linux.

If you want to learn a new skill and you don't know how to use Linux, I would recommend installing command line only Debian Linux on your personal computer's primary operating system and seeing how far you can get. If you get stuck, just Google it… from the Lynx browser. That's how I learned!

What makes for a great day at Comet?

When there is an opportunity to work on interesting customer problems in the tickets. Friendly customers with stories, for example, when they were a video games developer in the 90s. Yeah, so interesting problems and interesting people make for a great day at Comet for me.

Do you have any advice for MSPs?

Don't be afraid of Linux. Certainly, if you don't know how to use Linux, don't put everything on it in production because it's cheap. That is how you lose everything. Definitely use the system you're most comfortable with diagnosing in an emergency. Linux can be a great option as it's much more cost-effective than some other options in the marketplace.

It seems that you perform a very important function at Comet Backup of feeding back to the Development team on the user experience. Can you tell me a little more about that?

Yes, that comes from my team always showing customers how to do something. Through the process of talking customers through the steps, we see how the interface performs first hand, which the Developers don't get as much exposure to. So, I am often giving feedback on UX/UI, how Comet could work best from the customer's point of view.

It also works with information going back the other way. I can translate how the feature works, and I think customers appreciate a more specific and candid response rather than a corporate, sanitized one.

If you could have any tech superpower, what would it be?

My superpower would be taking any feature or piece of software from a product and making it work seamlessly on another.

I'd replace the Windows 11 interface with KDE. I would take Nvidia features and put them on my AMD card. I would take nothing from macOS (laughs).

I'm a big fan of the Looking Glass project, which is kind of like a superpower. It takes a lot of configuring to work, but gaming in a Windows VM on Linux is very cool tech.

Comet is headquartered in Christchurch; what do you enjoy about living here?

Christchurch has great weather. Post-earthquake, there are fantastic restaurants in the city centre. If you're in the city, it is quite walkable and has a lot of cycleways, and I am avidly "anti-car” and I’m committed to never owning a car. I have driven a car twice in my life and I don't have a driver's license. I miss my friends in Wellington, but not the weather.

Why do you dislike cars? Is it just because you are an environmentalist?

I put off getting my driver's license for so long that I never acclimatized to the convenience of having one, which I think I a lot of people do. I think cars are inefficient as a transport method and they shouldn’t be required to get around. I have a reputation around the office for being the "anti-car" guy. I do wear it as a badge in a "Tyrion Lannister" sort of way; I laugh with the jokes and it can lead to great office debates.

Which restaurants in Christchurch would you recommend?

One of my favorites from pre-quake times is known as "AFG" or “the Afghan Restaurant" on Lincoln Road. There is a sign with the hours of opening that hasn't been put out in years because the owner just opens when he wants to. The only way to really know when they are open is to join the unofficial Facebook group called “Is AFG Open?” It's not vegetarian-friendly, there is one item on the menu, and when you walk in, he asks you, "How many?" As in how many servings are you ordering? (Laughs) It's spiced butter rice with two generous sized lamb and chicken kababs, a pot of tandoori chicken curry, and a salad. All for the grand sum of $20NZD. I make more than one meal out of it.

Like many foodies, you are also an avid home cook. What is your favorite dish at the moment?

That’s an exaggeration! I’m quite lazy with food but I can also get carried away when I find an elaborate recipe. I bought a pressure cooker a while ago. One of my favorites to cook at home at the moment is Dakbokkeumtang, which is a spicy chicken stew.

I also make a lot of chili con carne. One of the developers grows chili plants at home and gave some of us some seedlings.

· 4 min read

"What's New?" is a series of blog posts covering recent changes to Comet in more detail. This article covers the latest changes in Comet Voyager over February 2023.

There were just three Comet software releases during February - two in the 22.12.x Voyager release series, plus the launch of our latest quarterly series 23.3.0 "Leda".

February is a short month, and it was also a quiet month for new feature development as we focused on quality assurance ahead of the new quarterly software release. Most new feature development this month has been held back as a result, so you will see many more exciting new features land in the 23.3.x "Voyager" series when it reopens shortly next month in March.

Better email reports

The latest 22.12.x versions of Comet included improvements to the email reporting features that launched at the start of the 22.12.x series.

The Recent Activity email report template now includes a table legend in the email footer, helping to distinguish the color series from each other. By way of comparison, when you view Comet Server's Recent Activity page in a web browser, it's possible to hover the mouse over each color segment to display more detailed information about the breakdown of different job types. However, email is a more limited technology medium and an equivalent hover feature is not available. The legend is a simple solution that makes the Recent Activity email report more accessible to Comet Server operators who are not yet familiar with the colors.

The email feature has received more attention to detail, leading to us developing additional fixes for email report previews; for filtering the subset of customers; and for partial configuration of time boundaries.

Better granular restore

Another one of our areas of focus this month has been the granular single-file restore system, that now shares some common core functionality across both the Disk Image and Hyper-V Protected Item types. Granular restore now supports more types of NTFS compressed file, including a fix for files that have been compressed with the LZNT1 algorithm. We also fixed an issue with reading single files from within NTFS partitions that have a highly fragmented MFT (Master File Table).

Additionally, we have fixed additional issues with the new Hyper-V single-file restore if a single Protected Item contains multiple virtual machines with multiple VHDX images, as well as fixing cosmetic issues when toggling between Protected Item types in the Comet Backup desktop app.

Better syncing with Gradient MSP

There have been improvements to the process of syncing Comet data with Gradient MSP. As a reminder, this is an external service that can correlate your Comet user accounts and storage usage with RMM invoices in systems such as Autotask, Syncro RMM, Connectwise, and many more.

The latest versions of Comet Server allow more fine-grained control of the connected feature set; the ability to toggle sending backup job failures to the RMM; optimizing the number of alerts that are sent; and providing clearer error messages if there is an error from Gradient's service.

Comet 23.2.0 "Leda"

All of our focus on bugfixes this month has been building up to one thing - a smooth and seamless release of our latest quarterly milestone software version. This time, it's named "Leda", and this rolls up the whole quarter's worth of 22.12.x enhancements into a new fixed point for you to build your business on.

Like Comet's previous recent quarterly software releases, "Leda" is named after a moon of Jupiter. Jupiter has a great number of moons and more are continuing to be discovered. When Leda was discovered as recently as 1974, it was one of Jupiter's 13 known moons. Today, Jupiter has 92 known moons, with the most recent discovered just this month in February 2023!

You can read the full release notes for Comet 23.2.0 "Leda" to see the full details - or if you'd prefer to watch rather than read, I'm hosting a webinar next week to discuss this new quarterly release and all its new features. Please register for a notification before we go live on March 7th (PST) to catch up on all the latest Comet news with me - there will be a free live Q&A session after the presentation.

As well as that, we have many more videos available on our YouTube channel, including guides on getting started with Comet, individual features, demonstrations with our technology partners, and webinars for previous quarterly software releases.

· 8 min read

"What's New?" is a series of blog posts covering recent changes to Comet in more detail. This article covers the latest changes in Comet Voyager over January 2023.

We've entered the second year of the "What's New" blog post series. There were seven releases during January - five in the Voyager release series, plus an additional two releases in the quarterly "Ananke" series.

Restore single files from a Hyper-V vhdx file

The latest Voyager versions have an exciting new feature for the Hyper-V Protected Item type - when restoring a Hyper-V backup job, there's now an option to choose a granular restore of individual files inside the disk .vhdx file:

If you've used Comet's Disk Image Protected Item type, it's much the same - choose the "Restore files and folders" radio button option and click the "Next" button. When browsing the files to restore, the virtual machine's .vhdx file will appear as a folder instead of a file, allowing you to navigate inside the interior partitions and select files from supported filesystems.

It understands both GPT (Hyper-V Gen 2) and MBR/EBR (Hyper-V Gen 1) partition table layouts. The option to restore single files is available for older existing Hyper-V backup snapshots that you have taken with older versions of Comet Backup; it doesn't require you to take new backup snapshots.

There are some caveats to note. As with restoring single files from a Disk Image backup snapshot, this feature currently parses NTFS filesystems only. It doesn't yet support .avhdx differencing disks, only the .vhdx files within the backup snapshot - so if you are using Hyper-V checkpoints, and there are checkpoints present within the backed-up snapshot, then you'll only be able to perform a granular file restore from within the oldest base Hyper-V checkpoint.

This was a highly requested feature from our Feature Voting page. Just as a reminder - you can use this system to request features to be developed, add your votes for features requested by other users, and get notified when new features are available.

Security notice

The 22.11.2 and 22.12.5 versions of Comet Server fix an important security issue related to administrator accounts. A malicious administrator with access to certain settings areas could achieve remote code execution on the Comet Server host operating system. If you share your Comet Server with untrusted tenant administrators or untrusted limited-permission administrator accounts, then we strongly recommend upgrading at the earliest possibility.

A separate notice has been sent to all self-hosted Comet Server users to encourage them to upgrade.

Recent Activity by email

Last month, we added a new feature to Comet Server to send custom email reports based upon searching over your entire customer base. This can be used for sending an "all customers" report to your system administrators and staff technicians; or, it could be used to send a targeted email to specific groups of customers.

This month, we've extended the email system to include two new email report templates: the Recent Activity report and the Grouped Status report.

These two new template options are available for both individual users and as part of the new multi-customer email report system. When configuring an end-user's report, you can use the "Preview" button to quickly check your custom filters.

Another related feature for the email report system is the new guidelines for time boundaries. Previously when using the "Summary Table" report type, all jobs from all time would be included in the report. Users would have to configure a "Time since job start" is "greater than"... filter in order to restrict the results to show only recent jobs. To make this easier for users and for administrators, there's a new option in the configuration dialog that sets a default time boundary and makes it clear that it should be configured.

The Recent Activity report uses a fixed time-bound of the last 10 days, the same as the Recent Activity view in the web interface.

Delete multiple snapshots

In Comet, you will eventually want to delete backup snapshots from your Storage Vault. The main use case is to free up space that is being consumed by very old backup jobs that are no longer required. For this use case, the Retention Policy system takes care of this automatically based on your configured retention rules.

Another use case for deleting snapshots is if you accidentally back up a large amount of data. For instance, maybe your Downloads directory was included in the Protected Item selection unexpectedly. For this use case, the Comet Backup desktop app allows you to delete specific backup snapshots by right-clicking them from the Restore wizard. You can delete single snapshots, or all snapshots for a selected Protected Item. You can also delete single files and folders from within a snapshot.

Every time you delete snapshots, the Comet Backup desktop app deletes the specific snapshot, and then, deletes any stored data that is no longer used by any snapshot. The first part is quite fast and the second part can take somewhat longer. If you have a large number of snapshots to delete, it's preferable to request to Comet that it deletes all your intended snapshots, and only then, runs the second "cleanup" phase.

To allow for this, the Comet Backup desktop app now has an advanced "Delete" option in the Restore dialog. When clicking this button, you'll see a new popup dialog with the option to make an arbitrary selection of snapshots. The internal ID of the snapshot is also displayed if you are acting on advice from your support contact.

Overall, this new dialog makes the process much more efficient as the cleanup pass only needs to run once for the entire set of deleted snapshots.

If you don't want to allow your customers to delete individual backup snapshots, you can prevent this by checking the "Prevent manually deleting backup snapshots from a Storage Vault" option in that user's Policy settings.

Remote browse for MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server and MongoDB

In the Comet Backup desktop app, when configuring a new database Protected Item for MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, or MongoDB, you can use the "Items" tab to browse the content of the database server, to select individual databases for backup.

This feature has been available in the Comet Backup desktop app for a while. In the latest 22.12.x "Voyager" series, we've also made this available from the Comet Server web interface:

Use the new green folder icon to remote browse. If the device isn't currently online, you can still use the green plus icon to manually enter the names of databases to include and exclude from the backup job.

This feature works by remotely controlling a Comet Backup device that has an active live connection to the Comet Server. This allows you to remotely browse databases that are reachable only from the device's network position, such as the device's localhost or databases within the device's local area network (LAN).

As a related feature, we've upgraded the way that Comet Backup connects to a MongoDB database server. Comet no longer requires you to configure the "Mongo Shell" application, which was difficult to obtain for newer versions of MongoDB. This Protected Item type should now be a lot more reliable and easy-to-use.

All-around improvements

There have been a few notable performance improvements throughout the 22.12.x "Voyager" series during January 2023. Retention passes use less peak memory, which can be a significant quality-of-life improvement for smaller laptops and NAS devices accessing a large Storage Vault.

Browsing a user's job history is now faster in more cases. If you are using the Job History API to search for the number of backup jobs meeting certain criteria, there is now a separate dedicated API to count jobs that can transfer a much smaller amount of data. There have also been speed improvements for Comet Servers that have a large number of tenants.

The Comet Backup desktop app has been streamlined, to show the "New Protected Item" dialog when using the app for the first time on a new device. If you're a "hands-off" service provider, this should make it easier for new users to get started backing up their files. We've also added new warnings when saving a Protected Item without actually selecting any files or databases for backup.

The website has also had minor improvements. You will now see the filesize of uploaded ticket attachments, the country for Self-Hosted Comet Servers, and extended configuration for email forwarding for Comet-Hosted servers.

· 7 min read

Where are you originally from?

I am originally from the Philippines. I came to New Zealand in 2016. I decided to move to New Zealand because it has a high standard of living. And also, the Lord of the Rings was shot here, and I thought it was a beautiful country.

How long have you been working at Comet Backup?

Since April – so just coming up to ten months now.

What attracted you to Comet and the Customer Success role?

Before joining Comet Backup, I was an Onboarding Executive at an online eCommerce retailer. I moved to the Technical Support team with that company just before I spotted the role at Comet backup. The job description looked really interesting, and I was attracted to the variety within the role. It sounded like no two days were going to be the same.

What is the scope of the Customer Success role at Comet?

To summarise the role in one sentence, I'm responsible for all non-technical customer communications and new customer enquires pricing inquiries. Facilitate the "next steps," getting them in touch with the Technical team, understanding their requirements for backup software and ensuring that's communicated to the wider team so that the rest of the team understands the potential customer's requirements.

What was it that appealed to you about Comet's culture?

When I interviewed with my now manager, one of the statements he made up front was that Comet doesn't hire jerks! They only employ nice people – I felt that was a big claim; it's hard to gauge a person's character before hiring. Comet isn't just interested in 'talent.' There is a focus on building a culture of cooperation and team building. I thought that sounded like a really promising company culture, and I wanted to be part of that. Also, it was made clear to me that I would be able to learn, explore and possibly make mistakes – that was all allowed at Comet Backup.

How have you found your manager's style of managing you?

I like that I'm given a lot of freedom to make decisions. It's a very challenging environment, and I like that. I feel like I'm trusted to make a call on some bigger issues, for example whether we should partner with a particular company for an integration to Comet Backup. I have the freedom to say, "this is what I think we should do," and my rationale behind my thinking. I think that's the best way to learn and see how it goes, within reason—being able to take calculated risks.

Do you feel it's contributing to your career growth in the direction you want to be going?

I'm definitely learning from getting to make my own decisions. I'm also learning a lot about the cybersecurity industry as I'm new to it. I am learning about the technology that is relevant our product. It's not a topic you can read up on; you have to absorb it through experience and application of that knowledge.

What advice would you have for someone following in your footsteps in the Customer Success area?

Understand your role and what you need to accomplish your goal. Next, identify what you need to know to do that role. And then seek help to learn. Don't be discouraged if you don't get it right away; it will stick eventually if you keep at it. There is a lot of jargon, but don't expect yourself to understand everything all at once. It will make sense eventually if you keep on asking questions. Make an effort to use the terms. Even if you misuse the term, people will correct you, and you'll learn! I was raised to believe that everything is learnable; you just have to put in the effort.

What makes for a great day at Comet?

What makes a great day is when most of the team comes into the office. Ah, and if the taco truck turns up, a free coffee and a funny slack thread going about the memes or the latest Elon Musk shenanigans. [Laughs]

If you could have any tech superpower, what would it be?

I would like to have the superpower to make old technologies like Betamax, VHS, and the old family Nintendo work again. I'd bring them all back, make them work all the time, and never die!

Comet is headquartered in Christchurch; what do you enjoy about living here?

It's very flat, so it's very easy to walk around. Easy access to South Island and there are a lot of places in the South Island to explore, like Twizel for skiing, and if you want to go to the seaside you can go to Akaroa.

I know that you are a foodie. To the non-initiated, what is the must-try South East Asian or Filipino dish?

Oh, that's a good question. I would say because it's summertime, you have to try Filipino mangoes. They are soft and juicy and supper sweet. You get more flesh as the seed is relatively small.

What are your thoughts on the controversial South East Asian fruit, Durian?

I'm not a fan! Warning; only eat outdoors or with all the windows open! The taste of the flesh isn't too bad, but the skin is very smelly, it smells like garbage. It must be a protection mechanism for the fruit.

You are about to go back to the Philippines. How long are you going back for, where are you going, and who are you seeing?

The last time I was home was in 2019, so it's been about three years. I'm just visiting family, but that's a lot of people because I have a very big family and I want to spend some time with all of them. I'm going to Manilla, where they live. The highlight of my trip will be visiting Boracay, which is a really nice beach. I am going to relax, have a coffee or Mai Tai or Pina Colada… at 11 am… guilt free… [Laughs]

What are your thoughts about the new employee benefit that Comet have launched for staff – free health cover for the employee – including pre-existing conditions?

That was so generous of them, as health insurance is so expensive these days. It's a really good perk that not a lot of companies offer their employees. It was really thoughtful and caring of them. I'm a huge fan of having dental care cover included.

What do you enjoy about Comet's company culture?

Professionally, I enjoy that the Management really wants to give you every opportunity to improve your skills. You're encouraged to make your own decisions; what I was saying before about I have their support to make my own informed decisions and learn from the experience, it's okay to make mistakes. I’ve found that's not as accepted in bigger companies, and they tend to be more adverse to risk. Also I’ve been encouraged to seek development and growth. They have invested in my development; for example, I'm currently completing the Certified Customer Success Manager programme, which is the most recognised Customer Success qualification.

Personally, I've enjoyed the fact that I've found that my manager was true to his word, and I have found that he's made every effort to hire people that can have different points of points view or opinions but not take that to a personal level and get the best outcome for the customer. We're not pitted against each other to compete.

· 4 min read

"What's New?" is a series of blog posts covering recent changes to Comet in more detail. This article covers the latest changes in Comet Voyager over December 2022.

December was a quiet month for Comet development as we entered the holiday season. After the release of 22.11.0 "Ananke" in late November 2022, December saw the "Voyager" series reopen with two releases in this 22.12.x series, plus one point-release in the Ananke series for a total of three releases.

Multi-customer email reports

As a Comet Server administrator, it's now possible to configure a single email report covering multiple customers. You can use this new feature to receive a regular report of all your customers, or, you can create custom reports for groups of specific customers.

You can access this from the Comet Server web interface, on the Settings page > Email Reporting tab:

This settings page previously contained only email reporting configuration, such as your SMTP server and "From" display name. The page now contains additional email-related settings including your custom reports. You can use the "Add" and "Edit" buttons in the table to create a new report, using the same configuration options you are familiar with from the existing per-user email reports.

When creating a report, you can choose to include all customers and send the report to yourself; or, you can add a "Username" "equals" filter to find a specific group of multiple user accounts and send the report to their designated contact. Both the "Summary table" and "Immediate job notification" report types are available in this dialog.

A special thanks to all the Comet users who upvoted this feature in our Feature Voting system. We check this system regularly to help guide our priorities.

Quotas for Office 365 Protected Accounts

The Office 365 Protected Item type in Comet allows you to back up an Office 365 tenant from your Comet Backup device, including mail, contacts, calendars, OneDrive files, SharePoint sites and more. At the time of writing, using this Protected Item type comes with a "Booster" charge of $1.50 USD per Protected Account. When you select an Office 365 resource to back up, such as an employee's mailbox or a shared OneDrive drive, all Office 365 users within the tenant who can access that resource are tagged as "Protected" for the purposes of Comet billing.

This is a simple system that scales with the size of your Office 365 tenant. However, we heard feedback from MSPs that unexpected changes to their customers' Office 365 tenants were resulting in unexpected charges to their Comet balance. To help mitigate this, we've introduced a quota feature for the number of Protected Accounts covered by the Office 365 Protected Items in a Comet user account profile. If more mailboxes are added to the Office 365 tenant and are selected for backup, if the total number of Protected Accounts exceeds the configured quota limit, the backup job will not run to prevent any unintentional charges from being billed to your Comet account.

If a user has reached your expected limit of Protected Accounts, you can detect this from the "Quota Exceeded" job status. This job status is specially highlighted on the Comet Server home screen and can also be seen from the search and user pages. When detecting this case, you can raise the limit and also modify the invoices you send to your customers.

Polski (Polish) translation

We're very pleased to announce the new Polski (Polish) translation in Comet 21.12.0 "Voyager". We'd like to extend a special Dziękuję bardzo! (Thank you very much!) to the very dedicated Comet partner from Poland, who supplied the initial version of this translation and worked back-and-forth with us to ensure a high quality result.

Warsaw Skyline / Skitterphoto (CC0)

As a reminder, if you're interested in correcting a translation in Comet or helping to translate Comet into a new language, then please check out the instructions on our GitHub page.

Notice about Windows 7 and 8.1

Microsoft will stop extended support for Windows 8.1 and stop ESU support for Windows 7 on January 10th 2023. From this date, no security updates will be available from Microsoft for either Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.

Comet Backup will continue to work and will continue to support Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 for the foreseeable future; however, your customers may be exposed to operating system security issues unless they upgrade to Windows 10, Windows 11, or Linux at their earliest opportunity.

For more information about Microsoft's lifecycle policies, please see