Skip to main content

· 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

· 6 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 November 2022.

November was a more active month for Comet development. There were six "Voyager" releases in the 22.9.x series during November, plus the first release of our new 22.11.0 "Ananke" quarterly series. This exceeds our previous quiet release volumes in October and September. A large number of minor cosmetic improvements were added, as well as many small bugfixes, so we would recommend that all users of previous 22.9.x versions should continue to follow the latest updates for the best experience.

Apple silicon

Comet 22.9.8 now includes a native Apple silicon version of Comet Backup for macOS. This will improve efficiency when running on recent Apple computers with M1 and M2 chips.

Your existing macOS users will likely be running the current, x86_64 version of Comet Backup for macOS on their M1 or M2 hardware. The x86_64 version does run well under Apple's high-performance Rosetta2 emulation layer included with macOS. In addition, the backup job speed is usually limited by network speed or disk I/O, not CPU speed, so running under emulation is not likely to significantly impact backup job runtimes. However, the native version for Apple silicon will be more CPU and battery-efficient. After upgrading to the native Apple silicon version, there will be no visible difference to the end-user, except for a snappier and longer-lasting computer.

When an existing macOS user, running a version of Comet prior to 22.9.8 on M1 or M2 hardware, is part of a Bulk Upgrade Campaign to upgrade their installed Comet Backup client app, they will first upgrade to the 22.9.8 x86_64 version under emulation. This version can detect that it is running under Rosetta2, and during the following software upgrade, it will upgrade to the ARM64 version instead of the x86_64 version. As a result, two upgrade cycles may be required for all macOS users to receive the full performance and efficiency benefits of this change.

Gradient MSP

Comet 22.9.6 added a built-in feature to integrate with Gradient MSP. Gradient MSP is an external service that allows you to sync user account data and backup job error alerts into many RMM/PSA systems including ConnectWise, Autotask, Kaseya, Syncro, Pulseway RMM, HaloPSA and more. There is no cost to connect one Comet Server to one PSA.

Check out our launch webinar below to see how to take advantage of this service to connect your Comet Backup user accounts to your PSA platform, perform billing and invoice reconciliation, and receive alerts about failed backup jobs.

Full integration documentation is available on the Gradient MSP knowledgebase at .

Quick access downloads

The latest version of Comet Backup adds support for a quick access download button directly within the navigation bar. This is intended to help first-time users of the Comet Server app find this option more easily, as well as being a quick option for experienced users.

Long-time users of Comet Server might remember the original version of this feature - a download icon in the top navigation bar - that existed between Comet Server 17.3.2 and 18.5.0 "Phobos". It was removed in Phobos owing to the introduction of the download links on the login screen, and also the download button within the home-screen 2x2 button pad.

Change your root keys for Comet Storage Powered By Wasabi

The "Comet Storage Powered By Wasabi" service is an integrated way to use Wasabi Cloud Storage and pay for it within your account. This service gives you full access to create and delete buckets in multiple regions, for use with Comet-Hosted servers, self-hosted servers, or any other use case.

During November we added support for regenerating the top-level root access keys for your Wasabi account. The top-level root access keys are needed by Comet Server for the Storage Templates feature, to automatically provision new direct-to-cloud Storage Vaults for your customer. Being able to rotate these keys and issue new replacements can be a crucial feature if anyone gains access to your Comet Server configuration.

For your convenience, if the old keys are in use on a Comet-Hosted server for a Wasabi Storage Template, or for Constellation, then the Comet-Hosted server will automatically have its settings changed to use the replacement keys.

JavaScript / TypeScript API SDK

Another feature released in November is our latest new SDK for the Comet Server API - this time for JavaScript:

The SDK is available on GitHub under the MIT license and also from the NPM package manager. It includes all the definitions you may have seen in the PHP, Ruby, and Go SDKs, bringing the total number of official SDKs up to four.

It comes with built-in examples and is built for TypeScript first. The SDK also contains generated JSDoc typings, ESM and CommonJS bundles, making this suitable for both Node.js and browser users. We've also created a sample app using the Next.js framework that shows how you can use this framework to create a custom B2C signup form for Comet Server using the new SDK.

The Comet Server web interface is a "single-page app" (SPA) that uses the same Comet Server API for its entire feature set, ensuring that our Comet Server API is stable, reliable and well tested. For many years now, our own Comet Server web interface has been entirely developed using Typescript, using a private internal version of this same SDK. We're very pleased to be able to release this work publicly under the open-source MIT license, unlocking productivity for Node.js, TypeScript, and JavaScript programmers looking to integrate Comet Server more closely with their businesses.

The Comet Server API is JSON over HTTP and can of course still be used in programming languages that do not yet have an official SDK, and we have many code samples available for other programming languages in our documentation.

Comet 22.11.0 "Ananke"

We've just put the finishing touches on our latest Quarterly release, 22.11.0 "Ananke". This rolls up the whole quarter of 22.9.x enhancements into a new fixed point for you to build your business on.

Like Comet's previous recent quarterly software releases, "Ananke" is named after a moon of Jupiter, discovered as recently as 1951. It's the largest moon of the "Ananke group", a set of seven of the moons of Jupiter that have similar orbits and are thought to have a common origin. The moon is named after the ancient Greek mythological goddess of inevitability and necessity.

If you prefer to watch and listen rather than read, I'm hosting a webinar next week to discuss the latest 22.11 "Ananke" software release. Please register for a notification before we go live on December 6th (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.

· 5 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 October 2022.

October was a quiet month for Comet development. There were two "Voyager" releases in the 22.9.x series during October, matching our previous September release volume. A large number of minor bugs were fixed, so we would recommend that all users of previous 22.9.x versions should continue to follow the latest updates for the best experience.

Migrating users between tenants

In the Comet Server it's now possible to migrate a user account between Tenants. To do so, click the "Transfer user" option from the "Actions" menu on the user account page.

When you log in to the Comet Backup desktop app, the login is directed to the Auth Role server URL. Each Tenant in Comet Server generally has its own isolated Auth Role URL for the clients to log in to. When you use the "Transfer user" option, a signal will be sent to the online logged-in devices, to redirect them to log in again to the updated URL.

However, it's not possible to send this message to an offline device. If there are any offline devices, the Comet Server web interface will warn you about this situation - you'll have to manually reconfigure any such devices to use the new login URL, as they will not be able to log in at the previous URL. You can make this change from the Comet Backup desktop app at the login screen, or by using the 'Update Login URL' live action at any other time.

Custom SMTP now available on Comet-Hosted

Our June 2022 recap blog post covered the new feature to allow custom SMTP servers at the Tenant level. One of the key limitations of this work was that the top-level administrator was required to configure these settings on behalf of the tenant. This is unfortunately an important restriction from a safety perspective, as it can help insulate the top-level administrator from any repercussions related to the IP reputation of their mail server.

The Comet-Hosted service is based on the Tenants feature, and correspondingly the responsibility for custom SMTP configuration falls on the web application. We're pleased to announce that the IP reputation concerns have been addressed for this environment, and it is now possible for you to configure a custom SMTP server for your Comet-Hosted server via the 'My Servers' page:

New My Servers page layout

Another change affecting the My Servers page on the website, is that this page has received a design overhaul to now show your servers in a table view, instead of a card view.

When redesigning this page, our design goals were to make the page more intuitive for new users as well as more powerful for existing users. With the new design, the page is more scalable if you have a large number of Comet servers (either Self-Hosted or Comet-Hosted). It's more visually consistent with the design of the rest of the site, and the ability to log in to a Comet-Hosted server is now clearer and much more obvious.

Date range filter for Credits Usage

The Credit Usage report at shows you a detailed history of all deductions to your Comet account balance. It's an essential tool for partners, to ensure you are appropriately matching your Comet expenses to your customer invoices. For partners with a large number of installed devices, or a very long history, this page can become cumbersome. We introduced a search feature on this page some years ago, but advanced filtering was not yet available, unless you exported the whole result as CSV or XLSX for external processing.

We're pleased to announce that it's now possible to filter your Credit Usage history by date, via the fields on the 'View' dialog.

This feature was a long-time request from our Feature Voting system. The regular feedback for requesting this feature helped us prioritize the work - so if there's anything you want to see in Comet, please do make your voice heard in the feature voting system.

Duplicating Protected Items

It's long been possible to "copy and paste" a Protected Item from the Comet Server web interface to duplicate it, however, this functionality was restricted to the web interface. As of Comet 22.9.4, you can now right-click a Protected Item in the desktop app to "Duplicate" it.

This is a welcome convenience feature for users of the Microsoft SQL Server, Office 365 and Hyper-V Protected Item types, which can in some cases benefit from having multiple Protected Items with slightly different settings. By duplicating a Protected Item and then making minor customizations, it can be much faster to configure these from the Comet Backup desktop app.


Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Comet team have been fortunate to be able to keep working remotely, while still continuing to expand the team by hiring and training teams of developers all over New Zealand. As restrictions lift, we brought the NZ team together face to face for the first time for the inaugural "Cometcon", a week-long event of networking, professional development, training, and brainstorming about Comet development.

We're looking forward to bringing the remote team together more regularly in the future!

· 5 min read

What's New?

"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 September 2022.

September was another busy month for Comet, following on from August and our release of Comet 22.8.0 "Carme". The Carme release has been very well received, and we have not yet needed to release a patch update for it.

There were two "Voyager" releases in the 22.9.x series during September. We followed through with the removal of Windows Vista support, as discussed in our August blog post. This has reduced the filesize for downloading the Comet Backup installer by about half, which is a significant improvement and helps new users start using the app sooner. This change has also made it possible for us to perform a lot of technical cleanup internally to the software, removing edge-cases and upgrading libraries.

Streaming restores for Microsoft SQL Server

Comet 22.9.2 added support for direct streaming restore of Microsoft SQL Server backups, straight back to your database server, without any temporary spooling.

This follows from last month's support for streaming MySQL restore in 22.9.0.

When you use this option, the Microsoft SQL Server backed-up data will be streamed from Comet's Storage Vault into Microsoft SQL Server without needing to temporarily storing any .bak files and manually importing them via SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS).

You can configure the Microsoft SQL Server restore feature with all the same connection settings as for backup. The settings will be prefilled based on the current matching Protected Item, or they can be changed as required. This feature is available for restores performed in the desktop app, or remotely via the Comet Server web interface, or via the Comet Server API.

If your Microsoft SQL Server uses the "FULL" recovery mode, Comet Backup can take differential or log backups from the database. Generally we recommend always taking Full or Copy backups - Comet will chunk the whole database into an incremental-forever deduplication system, so that you don't need to worry about chains or full images or log truncation. However, in some very large databases, you may still wish to do this. To restore a differential or log backup in Comet, you should first restore the matching full backup with the "I want to keep restoring additional files (WITH NORECOVERY)" option set; and then, restore your target differential or log files with the "This is all I want to restore (WITH RECOVERY)" option set.

Desktop app design

Following on from last month's redesign of the Comet Backup desktop app main screen, we've made some more minor changes. When creating a new Storage Vault using the 'Custom' option, the Comet Backup desktop app now shows this in a wizard.

This brings the behavior in line with creating new Protected Items in the Comet Backup desktop app: a wizard is used for initial creation, to help guide you through the process, but after initial creation a tabbed dialog is used, for quickly jumping to any setting.

We've also applied a cosmetic redesign of the Search dialog in the Comet Backup desktop app, to also use a wizard, allowing easier back and forward navigation. In particular, this is helpful if you want to change the set of search snapshots after having already entered a filename.

The restore dialog now lets you properly resize columns when selecting a Protected Item for restore.

There were also various fixes for viewing job reports from inside the desktop app. The 'View Log' button is now more responsive when first shown; long job report lines have better word-wrapping behavior, especially on macOS; and very long job reports will now load more quickly.

Integrations and Webhooks

Webhooks and Websockets are two features of Comet Server, for external partners to receive live notifications of changes inside the Comet Server. These features are used by third-party apps and services to ensure their synced data is fully up to date and responsive to the latest changes.

In Comet Server, the Tenants (formerly "Organizations") feature allows you to create a private, isolated zone of user accounts. The top-level administrator has visibility over all tenants, both in the Comet Server web interface and in the API. In Comet 22.9.1 we've ensured that Webhook and Websocket events for the top-level administrator will now include events from sub-tenants, fixing a consistency gap.

We've also added the option to filter which types of live event messages you would like to receive when constructing a Websocket, by using query parameters (e.g. ?allowList=4100). This brings the websocket support more in line with the Webhook support, which allows any choice of event messages.

Now that the Webhook and Websocket features are more aligned in terms of feature support, the choice of tool is primarily driven by whether you prefer the "push" or "pull" model for events. This comes down to practical decisions about network firewalls, connection establishment, message ordering, deliverability guarantees and observability.

One last thing to point out about Webhooks is that in the Comet Server web interface, we've renamed this tab to "Integrations" - for reasons that will become clear next week!

That's all

Thanks for reading - there are some great new features in the development pipeline, that we're excited to be able to share with you soon in the upcoming 22.9.x Voyager series.

If you missed our recent webinars last month, you can watch the 22.8.0 "Carme" release webinar or the Storj integration announcement now on our YouTube channel, or you can read the previous Storj announcement here. As always, please follow @CometBackup on Twitter and you can always contact us if you have any questions.

· 13 min read

What's New?

"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 August 2022.

This month at Comet we've been busy with behind-the-scenes changes. We've been lucky to continue to welcome many more new staff members that have joined the development team. Throughout August, there were three "Voyager" releases across the 22.6.x series; the launch of the new 22.8 "Carme" quarterly release track; and the slightly early reopening of Voyager for the 22.9.0 release.

Comet 22.8.0 "Carme"

Carme is the latest entry in our quarterly rollup series. It branches off from our main rolling Voyager development, into a fixed target for our partners to qualify and build upon.

Comet 22.8 "Carme" takes its name from another moon of Jupiter. It was discovered along with our previous Comet release "Lysithea" by Seth Barnes Nicholson in 1938, and both discoveries were reported in the very same publication. Jupiter's moons are classified into groups, and despite sharing a discovery event, Lysithea and Carme come from different groups of moons and have very different orbital properties. The moon itself is named after the Cretan goddess Carme, one of Zeus' lovers.

Photograph by OHP (Observatoire de Haute-Provence), CC BY-SA 2.0-fr

Carme brings 7 features and 14 enhancements, including IDrive e2 support, presigned clients, the ability to spread out peak job load across a random period, custom SMTP servers for Tenants, support for fallback domain controllers, more restore options, and improved performance.

For this last month of August, there have been very few features landing in the Voyager release track, with mostly a focus on fixing issues. This has resulted in a trouble-free release process and a great release that we have confidence in. It does mean that there are only a few new features and enhancements to cover, as all the larger changes were held back for the 22.9 "Voyager" release.

Simpler codesigning for macOS

The main enhancement in the 22.6 "Voyager" series over the month of August, and included in our latest 22.8.0 "Carme" release track, is the removal of the requirement to install Apple iTMSTransporter on your Comet Server machine for the purposes of macOS client codesigning and notarization. This builds upon an announcement from Apple at the WWDC 2022 conference regarding their improved support for automation in this area. We're very grateful to the macOS codesigning community for contributing this feature.

In early versions of Comet, macOS codesigning required Comet Server to SSH into a real Mac machine somewhere on your network in order to run the official XCode toolchain. We were very proud to integrate rcodesign as a native, built-in alternative in Comet 22.3.3; the bundling of pre-signed clients in Comet 22.6.2; and now, no longer requiring the third-party iTMSTransporter application as of Comet 22.6.9.


Another feature released in August is our latest SDK, which makes it easy to call the Comet Server API using the Go programming language.

The SDK is available on GitHub under the MIT license. It includes all the definitions you may have seen in the PHP and Ruby SDKs, as well as in our public API documentation. It comes with built-in examples and is designed for use with the Go module system.

In our company we use the Go programming language extensively, so it's perhaps a little unusual that we didn't have a public Go SDK until this point. That's largely because PHP and Ruby produced the largest demand from external developers looking to integrate Comet with their web sites and ecommerce platforms; and in our in-house Go development environment, we can use the type definitions directly from Go without any SDK at all. However, having a public Go SDK definitely makes it easier to write and develop auxiliary tools, and we've already seen several utilities being ported to this great and efficient programming language.

Announcement about legacy operating system support

The 22.8.0 "Carme" release is the culmination of everything up through the previous 22.6.x "Voyager" release cycle. From this point, we're planning to make some bigger changes.

During the 22.9.x timeframe, we expect to remove support for running the Comet Backup desktop application on Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, and macOS 10.10 "Yosemite".

If you have end-users running these operating systems, you should either

  • (A) stay with the 22.8 "Carme" release cycle, or
  • (B) install the 22.8 "Carme" Comet Backup desktop app and use it along with an upgraded version of Comet Server, or
  • (C) arrange for your end-users to upgrade to Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, macOS 10.11 "El Capitan", or newer.

This is the corresponding client-side change following our previous announcement of the end-of-life for running Comet Server on Windows Vista and equivalent Server 2008 late last year in Comet 21.12.1, and I'd like to provide an updated table for comparison:

OSComet BackupComet Server
Windows Server 2008
(NT 6.0 / Vista-based)
⚠ No longer supported in 22.9.x, please continue to use 22.8.x⚠ No longer supported in 21.12.x, please continue to use 21.11.x
Windows Server 2008 R2
(NT 6.1 / Windows 7-based)
✅ Still supported✅ Still supported

We don't take this removal lightly, but it's clear that in the present day, Windows Vista is not widely used or relevant, and we expect minimal issues as a result of this deprecation.

Although the Vista-based Windows Server 2008 and the Windows 7-based Windows Server 2008 R2 have the same extended support lifecycle, the underlying technology of the R2 update is significantly more advanced than the Vista-based RTM edition, and correspondingly easier for us to develop for. It's likely that Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 will remain supported by Comet for a much longer period of time.

New design for the Comet Backup desktop app

In Comet 22.9.0 "Voyager", we've put a new coat of paint on the Comet Backup desktop app. A picture says a thousand words:

The desktop app now shows you a summary of your Protected Items, Storage Vaults, and recent job history at a single glance. We're very happy to have struck a balance between information density, visual identity, and efficient performance as the charts remain using an optimized native-code renderer. We are excited to continue improving the UI going forward and we expect to make tweaks over the 22.9 "Voyager" series in response to your feedback before this lands in the next quarterly release.

This dashboard screen is divided into five main areas:

The Storage Vaults chart at the top left shows up to three Storage Vaults. If the Storage Vault has a quota, the sawtooth segment will be split into two colors showing the partial usage percentage of your Storage Vault quota. If you have more than three Storage Vaults, three are chosen for display based on whether they have Quota limits in place, and also whether they have been recently used on this device. Further details about your Storage Vaults remain available on the Settings tab.

The Currently Protecting chart at the top right shows a breakdown of your Protected Item size, across this device and across other devices in your account. If your Comet user account has a limit on the number of total devices allowed to be registered, or a limit on the total Protected Item size, these figures will be displayed here.

The Storage Vault size chart at the lower left looks at the past 10 days' of job history to build a visualization of how your Storage Vaults have grown or shrunk in that time. Comet measures the size of a Storage Vault during backup operations, so this chart is most effective if there are recent backup jobs for your Storage Vaults. A maximum of three Storage Vaults are shown, and as long as the necessary data points are available, the same choices and colors will be used as per the Storage Vaults chart at the top left.

The Transfer chart in the lower right looks at the past 10 days' of job history as well, to show the upload and download size for your jobs, including both backup and restore operations. These figures correspond to the Uploaded and Downloaded job report columns and at a technical level they reflect the transfer size to- and from- the Storage Vault. Notably this means that Upload/Download sizes may be reported even for Local Path storage vaults, and, Upload/Download transfer amounts for over-the-network Protected Item types (such as remote MySQL and MongoDB servers, or Office 365 tenants) are not currently reported here.

The news widget at the bottom shows bulletin messages created by the Comet Server system administrator. It's useful for contact details, notices of recent service changes, or promotional messages. Any news messages you create in Comet Server are shown immediately in the desktop app. If you have no news entries, this bottom section is hidden entirely.

We're excited to announce a partnership with, a decentralized cloud storage provider. It's been possible to use the Storj service with Comet's S3-compatible option, but in Comet 22.9.0 "Voyager" it's now possible to connect directly to the Storj P2P network without involving the centralized gateway. This allows for faster performance during download operations and lower latency without the centralized bottleneck.

At the time of writing, Storj coordinate a network of over 13,000 storage nodes worldwide and can offer great low-latency to nearby storage nodes at an industry-leading price of $4 / TB and a generous free tier of 150GB.

Please note that when using Storj in this way, Comet performs client-side erasure coding to distribute data redundantly throughout the Storj network. The file upload size reported in Comet reflects the amount of data delivered to Storj, but the upload size experienced over the network may be higher as a result of client-side redundancy.

A key aspect of the Storj integration is the ability to configure Storj as a Storage Template provider:

Storage Template providers (formerly known as Requestable Storage providers) allow your Comet Server to automatically provision new, private Storage Vaults for each of your customers, with isolated credentials - including Constellation Role support for automatically cleaning up Storj buckets that are no longer used by any Comet user account.

As with all of our supported storage platforms, the new Storj integration is also available as a backend for Comet Server Storage Role, if you would prefer all customer data to flow through your Comet Server.

Streaming restore to MySQL

Comet supports backing up MySQL using our dedicated Protected Item type. This was one of the original Protected Item types included with the very first Beta versions of Comet, and is available at no additional charge. It works by streaming the output of mysqldump directly into our chunking deduplication engine, without requiring any spool space or temporary files.

In Comet 22.9.0 "Voyager" we've introduced corresponding support for streaming MySQL restores:

The data will be streamed from Comet's Storage Vault into the MySQL server without needing to temporarily store any .sql files and without needing to manually import them.

You can configure the MySQL restore feature with all the same connection settings as for backup. The settings will be prefilled based on the current matching Protected Item, or they can be changed as required. This feature is available for restores performed in the desktop app, or remotely via the Comet Server web interface, or via the Comet Server API.

This is a great feature that simplifies the restore process for this highly popular database. We expect to announce a similar feature for another popular database very soon, so keep an eye on our release notes for the latest news.

Configure webhooks from the Comet Server settings page

Webhooks are a feature to send live events from Comet Server to your other systems. They are largely of interest to developers who want real-time information to flow from Comet Server into other systems, such as CRM and ERP systems.

Comet Server has supported webhooks since 20.6.1, with major enhancements happening for custom header support in Comet 21.9.2. However, they've largely been hidden and confined to users who read the documentation and can make manual changes to the cometd.cfg file. In Comet 22.9.0 "Voyager", we're improving the discoverability of this feature by allowing you to view, edit and manage your current webhooks from the settings page in the Comet Server web interface.

This feature is available for webhooks both at the top-level, and for individual Tenants, including Comet-Hosted users.

As a top-level administrator, you can control permission to access this feature via the admin permission checkbox or via the AllowEditWebhooks API field.

Constellation Role for tenants

Constellation Role has previously been restricted only to the top-level administrator. In Comet 22.9.0, it is now available at the Tenant level as well:

A "Bucket Users" report generated by a tenant Constellation is entirely independent of the top-level Constellation. The tenant also has an independent choice for the "Data deletion" setting.

Access to this feature can be controlled by a top-level administrator. If your Tenant administrator has all settings features enabled, this feature is included. If your Tenant administrator has been configured to have no- or limited- settings available, the Constellation Role feature is enabled by default. This is because Constellation Role is an essential partner of the Storage Template feature, to clean up disk space or cloud bucket space that was used by since-deleted user accounts.

Misuse of the Constellation Role feature can cause data loss, so please take care when configuring this setting. Our documented advice is that you should have exactly one Constellation Role for your Comet Server cluster; when running multiple Constellation reports on a per-tenant basis, the key advice is likewise to not overlap Constellation responsibilities - one set of user accounts and one set of buckets (local, Cloud Storage, Storage Role or otherwise) should be managed by one Constellation Role configuration only.

If you are using Constellation at the top-level of the Comet Server with top-level credentials, then it is able to see Tenant user accounts and deallocate their buckets as required. However, if you are in the situation of not using Constellation at the top level, or if you are not in control of which remote Storage Templates are used by your Tenants, then this new feature is especially useful to enable data cleanup.

Upcoming webinar

If you prefer to watch and listen rather than read, I'm hosting a webinar next week to discuss the latest 22.8 "Carme" software release. Please register for a notification before we go live on September 6th (PST) to catch up on all the latest Comet news with me - there will 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, and webinars for previous quarterly software releases.

· 7 min read

What's New?

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

It's been a busy month for Comet, and we've been lucky to welcome many new staff members that have joined the development team. This month, the 22.6.x "Voyager" release track has seen five minor updates. We've also released two minor updates for our 22.5.x "Lysithea" quarterly release track. There were many interesting improvements:

IDrive e2 support

We're pleased to announce that IDrive e2 are now available as a built-in option in the Storage Vault selection type. This direct integration uses the IDrive e2 API to automatically determine the target bucket hostname, reducing the number of configuration steps compared to the S3-compatible option.

As well as using IDrive e2 directly, you can also add them as a Storage Template provider (previously known as "Requestable" Storage provider) in the Comet Server settings area. If you enter your top-level credentials in this field, Comet Server can use them to provision private buckets with separate credentials for each user, allowing seamless direct-to-cloud backup without traversing through the Comet Server Storage Role.

Mention Comet Backup when signing up to get 1TB free storage for 30 days.

A quick reminder - when using the Storage Templates feature, it's likely you'll want to configure cleanup for cloud buckets that are no longer being used by any user account. Comet's solution for this problem is called Constellation Role, and it's available from the settings page of your Self-Hosted Comet Server. In Constellation, you can enter the same IDrive e2 top-level credentials for it to search through. When a Constellation report runs, it finds all your buckets; checks all the user accounts; cross-references the user's Storage Vaults with the available buckets; and deletes any discovered buckets that are not in use by any user account.

Constellation is designed to scale up to clusters of multiple Comet Servers, with any mix of server replication, Storage Role, or direct-to-cloud buckets created by the Storage Template feature. You should have precisely one Constellation Role server amongst your entire cluster of Comet Servers.

In Comet Server 22.6.6, Constellation now has an extra safety guard to prevent deleting any data if no Auth Role server is configured. This feature can help prevent accidental misconfiguration. This feature joins the many other safety features in Constellation, such as the ability to turn off deleting buckets until you are satisfied with the discoveries it makes.

Custom S3-compatible regions

Amazon AWS first launched their ground-breaking S3 service ("Simple Storage Service") back in 2006. In the 16 years since then, the S3 protocol has evolved and grown, adding support for V4 signing, path-vs-subdomain bucket addressing, multiple regions, batch processing, streaming processing, and many more features. As "S3-compatible" has become the de-facto standard cloud protocol for object storage, there are many varied implementations of the protocol and many different providers require different quirks for compatibility.

Comet has an extensive set of auto-detection for various S3-compatible cloud storage providers, which all require slightly different configuration. We've recently encountered several S3-compatible providers all needing the same type of custom configuration, related to the region field. For providers that we officially support and partner with, such as Wasabi and Storadera, we were able to specify the necessary fields internally, but it wasn't an available configuration option for any custom S3-compatible provider. This is now available in Comet 22.6.7.

For example, configuring a custom S3-compatible Region field helps Comet connect to Scaleway Object Storage in their Paris, Amsterdam, or Warsaw regions with the latest V4 signing mode instead of requiring legacy V2 signing. We're happy to improve support for Scaleway as a well-established European cloud provider offering 6+3 data redundancy (6 data drives plus three parity drives).

Job Execution Delay

Last month, we launched the Job Execution Delay feature, to pseudo-randomly delay a backup job schedule by a different amount each time. If you apply this random job execution delay across your entire customer base, it can spread out the load on your storage infrastructure, reducing the peak spike of CPU usage that happens when many jobs all start simultaneously.

This month in Comet we've expanded our support for this feature. In Comet Server 22.6.3 you are able to enforce this setting at the Policy level and also at the whole-server level, where it will override any user or policy settings.

Test Connections

In the Comet Server web interface, when looking at a user's Protected Item or Storage Vault, a "Test Connection" button is available that uses Comet's code to reach out to the target and ensure the device is able to reach it successfully. Because Protected Items are private for each device in a user account, it's clear that we should send this live-connected signal to the correct device, but for a Storage Vault, any device in the account could potentially respond with this information for us. Up until now, Comet Server has picked a random device in the account for the connection.

For Storage Vaults, the situation can be a little different. In the case of shared Storage Vaults in the cloud, it's likely that any device can reach them. However, there are various situations where only some devices in an account might be able to access a Storage Vault. For example, a Local Path vault for an external harddrive; or troubleshooting if one specific device is unable to reach the target network. To help in these situations, the "Test Connection" button now shows a dropdown if multiple device connections could be used for the test.

We also fixed a security issue related to the Test Connections button in the web interface in Comet 22.5.2 and 22.6.4. If you are running an older version of Comet Server, please upgrade at your earliest convenience, or avoid using the web interface button.

For the programmers in the audience - the AdminDispatcherListActive API that underpins the live-connection selection here was also extended to support choosing the target username. This change is available now also in the latest updates to our PHP and Ruby SDKs on GitHub - and watch this space for more programming language SDKs coming very soon.

A tale of two compression libraries

This month we've upgraded the main compression library used by Comet Backup - the industry-leading Zstandard - to its latest 1.5.2 release. This brings with it a major improvement in compression performance. The practical impact will be limited - backup jobs are almost always bottlenecked by the speed of reading files from the local disk, or by the network speed of uploading them to the Storage Vault - but even in that case, a more efficient compression system should result in lowered CPU usage during backup jobs.

There is a second compression-related story to discuss this month - I'd like to thank everyone who reported a recent issue with the RPM installer for Comet Server. In last month's "What's New" report, we described the new option for pre-built clients. Bundling these pre-built clients with Comet Server resulted in a large size increase for the Comet Server installer. To compensate for this, we adjusted the compression settings used by the Comet Server installer to use a larger window size, so that the pre-built clients would compress effectively with the piecemeal client components that are used with custom branding. This was highly effective, and the pre-built client feature ultimately had a negligible effect on Comet Server install sizes.

However, this compression change caused issues with some RPM-based Linux distros. After some research and testing, we were not able to resolve the issue while still maintaining the optimized file size of the RPM installers - so apologies to RPM users, the Comet Server installer for 22.6 "Voyager" has jumped from ~150MB to ~250MB. This is still a relatively small file size for the great functionality packed within, so we're sure you'll be happy to have the RPM installer functioning correctly again.

· 8 min read

What's New?

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

After our 22.5.x "Lysithea" release last month, June saw the reopening of Voyager under the 22.6.x release track. This month we shipped four software releases - one Lysithea point upgrade and three Voyager versions. There were many interesting improvements:

Spread out peak load with a randomized job delay

If you have a large customer base on your Comet Server, it's likely that across your users, there is a large number of jobs starting at 7pm, 8pm, and 9pm, and in general a pattern where a lot of jobs start at the top of the hour. In some cases, this can cause a performance issue with the Comet Server to have to accept so many jobs at once.

There is now a new feature in the backup job schedules, to specify a random delay. The random delay is calculated based on per-user, per-schedule parameters, and if applied to many customers, it will stochastically have the effect of spreading out this peak load spike over a longer time period.

Early next month we're looking at extending this to support bulk application in the Policies system and also server-side, so watch this space!

Presigned clients and server addresses

This month in Comet 22.6.2, there is a new option to download a pre-built codesigned client installer (Comet branded):

Until now, Comet Server has always generated a custom Comet Backup client installer, customized to embed your own branding and Comet Server login URL. But this makes all our MSP partners into distributors of custom software, and therefore subject to some of the problems faced by software distributors.

If you are experiencing issues with SmartScreen, Gatekeeper, or AV products with your custom-generated client installer, and you are in a position to allow the default Comet branding, then using a pre-built codesigned client installer may resolve the issue.

Default server URL features

When using a pre-built client installer, Comet Server no longer has an opportunity to embed your default server login URL into the application. To compensate for this, we've made three other changes:

Firstly for the silent install process on Windows, there is a new /SERVER= command-line parameter to override the default login URL

The silent installer has long since allowed pre-filling the username and password on the command-line, but it always relied on the internally embedded Comet Server login URL. The new pre-built codesigned installer does not embed any Comet Server login URL, and you must enter the Comet Server URL at the Comet Backup login screen. This is a problem for the silent installer which is resolved with this new /SERVER= parameter.

If your silent install runs under cmd.exe, you should use double-quotes as per /SERVER="" to avoid issues with character escaping.

Secondly, the Comet Backup Windows installer now allows reading the default URL from the installer's filename if there is no embedded default URL. On Windows, the Comet Server URL will be read from the installer's EXE filename (e.g. Comet Backup (http-my-company-com-8060).exe) if present. This information is only used if there is no default URL embedded into the installer itself.

Thirdly and finally - if the default server login URL could not be determined - then the user is of course required to enter it in the login dialog in the software. Generally this field is hidden behind the 'Advanced Options' checkbox:

We now automatically open this area up in more cases if no default URL is known.

We've also decided to automatically open this area up if a 192.168.x.x address is used for the Comet Server. When you are first configuring Comet you may be accessing the Comet Server by its LAN or localhost IP address. This address may get compiled in to a custom client installer and be difficult to troubleshoot. Comet already showed the server URL by default if a localhost IP was used, but also showing it for a LAN IP can help speed up troubleshooting this issue.

Fallback LDAP servers

Comet Server supports using external authentication sources for admin accounts. If you have a highly-available LDAP server infrastructure using multiple servers, such as an Active Directory failover cluster with primary- and fallback- domain controllers, you are now able to configure multiple LDAP server addresses in Comet Server. When an admin user tries to authenticate at the Comet Server login screen, if a connection to the first entry on the list fails, Comet will try the remaining entries on the list before denying the authentication attempt.

Custom SMTP servers for Tenants

In Comet Server, the Tenants feature allows you to create an isolated zone within the Comet Server that has its own user accounts, admin accounts, domain name, and branding settings. You can use Tenants for resellers, branding imprints, or just general customer grouping. It's a very flexible feature but every Tenant is ultimately under the jurisdiction of the top-level system administrator, and there are some limitations on the allowable settings.

A Tenant can have customized email settings, so that the Tenant's customers will receive their email reports "From" the tenant company's email address. This month, we've expanded this to also allow customizing the SMTP server used for a specific tenant.

In the last few years, email has become highly rigid and standardized. In order for your email to be properly delivered to the recipient's Inbox folder, there is a certain amount of administrative work required to authorize domain names, set up SPF and DKIM, before allowing someone to control these fields arbitrarily. An incorrect email configuration can result in tarnishing your IP address's reputation. As a result, we only allow the top-level Comet Server administrator to configure these email settings on behalf of the tenant.

Our own Comet-Hosted service is based on the Tenants feature. We expect to be able to offer custom SMTP support to Comet-Hosted users soon!

Storage Templates

We have renamed "Requestable storage" to "Storage Templates". This is the feature of Comet Server that can provision new per-customer credentials for your storage platform.

This change is currently rolling out across our online documentation and the Comet-Hosted service. If you are operating a Self-Hosted Comet Server, the change will appear after the 22.6.2 upgrade in the Comet Server settings page and in the Comet Backup desktop app.

Overall, the new name should make the behavior clearer to new Comet partners.

PHP SDK v4 and Ruby SDK v2

We've released new major versions of our PHP SDK and Ruby SDK. These SDKs allow you to very easily write code that talks to the Comet Server API to list users, create accounts, and change settings - doing anything at all that the Comet Server web interface can do.

Our SDKs use Semantic Versioning ("semver") and bumping the major version is done to indicate a compatibility break, as has happened here. We take backwards compatibility very seriously at Comet, it's a key aspect of how our API is designed. The API itself remains fully backward compatible at the HTTP / JSON wire-level. Old versions of the SDK will continue to work, even against new versions of Comet Server.

So why make a "semver-major" breaking change at all? The compatibility break is solely in SDK code, not in the Comet Server API. We cautiously made a change to the MAJOR number in response to some minor type definition changes. These changes are fully compatible at the HTTP / JSON level, but if your application was using these type definitions - for instance, declaring variables explicitly using these types - then you might get an error when upgrading the library. Please read the full changelog (PHP / Ruby) for detailed upgrading guidance.

As long as a "semver-major" change was required to clean this up, we've taken the opportunity to modernize our system requirements for the PHP SDK. The PHP SDK now uses PHP 7 return type declarations, as well as parameter type hinting for scalar values. This should give a better development experience and help you catch bugs sooner before they make it to production. If your PHP server platform is still using PHP 5.x, we advise looking at upgrade options - or else the previous 3.x major version will remain available on GitHub and in Composer.

Translation updates

We're always happy to see work taking place in our language translations. In the course of June we saw updates to the Thai (22.6.0) and Dutch (22.6.1) translations for Comet.

As always - Our staff mostly only speak English, so we do hire translation contractors for the bulk of this work - but over the years we have consistently found that the best-quality translations come from our customers, who have a full understanding of both the software and the IT / MSP backup industry. If you see a typo in our translations, or if you want to help translate Comet into a new language, we'd love your contribution and it couldn't be easier to get started - just head to our GitHub page and follow the instructions.

· 8 min read

Where are you originally from?

I grew up on a dairy farm in rural New Zealand. I went to a country school with 30 kids and only two classrooms. One of the teachers at that primary school used to go to the computer graveyard and pick up old Macs. He'd have us cobble together working computers from the parts. If you got enough gold stars at the end of the two weeks, the person with the most gold stars got to keep the computer. That's where I got into technology.

What attracted you to Comet? You impressed during the hiring process because you applied for more than one role and took a lot of initiative during the hiring process.

I liked working at my student job, 24 hours a week, being the IT guy for a local high school. It was client-facing work which was great experience for working on Comet's Support Team. Mainly, I helped teachers get their laptops and projectors working. But it was part-time, so I needed to move on.

I was scrolling through job applications when a development role at Comet popped up that didn't specify the experience level needed. I thought, "Oh, maybe I'll get lucky". I applied and interviewed for that role. I really liked the team members I interviewed with. The main thing that attracted me to the job was the modern tech stack, which includes Golang and TypeScript. If a company is advertising for that, it means they have a modern product; you're not going to be working on something from 2005. I was really excited about that aspect.

Unfortunately, I wasn't experienced enough to get that role. The same week I didn't get it, I saw another job at Comet pop up, the Support role. I emailed and asked, "Is there a way that I could do support for a year, learn about the product, and upskill to the point where you'd be happy to bring me on as a Junior Dev?" I thought I would be a good fit for the Support role since I was already in support, but I didn't want to do Support in the long run; I wanted to use my degree and go into programming.

The team hired me! A few weeks later, I was working at Comet.

Support to Junior Dev wasn't a role that existed before at the company. You are pioneering this. How have you found the process of being the first to follow this pathway?

At first, I thought, What have I gotten myself into? I'm just going to be doing Support for another year, having already done Support for a year and a half. And then I'll be dumped into a junior developer position. I was worried I wouldn't have the training or the skills to go into that position.

But basically, from Day 1 at Comet, I've been doing development work on the side, along with the support work. It's been really good to be able to take on small things that need doing. So when I did move into a full-time developer position, I would be confident that it would go well.

How does development work end up on your plate?

I get small tasks assigned to me during the monthly dev meeting. The leadership team gets together and figures out the priorities, then the work gets divvied out. I will pick up smaller tasks. There are a lot of opportunities at Comet. You could be working on the Comet client one day, or the account dashboard, or the billing system. You go where you're needed.

Do you like that about working at Comet? At larger companies, people will often be quite specialized in one area of the code.

It keeps me from getting bored and isn't repetitive because you're not getting stuck in one area of the code base. I really like that.

The other way that development work lands on your plate is through working on the Support tickets, correct? For someone who moves into this role after you do they need to be able to take the initiative?

Being in Support, small problems come to you. I either raise them to the Development Team, or sometimes I just go into the code myself and have a look around and see if I can figure out why it's not working properly.

Have you had times when you've been able to do bug fixes by yourself?

Probably not by myself, but I have had quite a few investigations with the support developer of the day. We'll have a look at it together and figure out why it wasn't working, and that's always quite fun.

Why choose Comet over working at a large corporate?

When I was choosing where to work, I looked at some post-graduation programs, like at the big banks. I read one of their 'Day in the Life of a Developer' articles, and it seemed overly structured. Having a schedule is good, but having to be so strict, it seemed like extra, unnecessary stress.

Have you been mentored at Comet?

Yes, I meet with Ersin, the Technical Lead here at Comet, once a week. Any development I'm working on, I can take to him and ask for ideas or help or review, which is really nice.

Have you learned a lot through that process that you don't think you would have learned otherwise?

Yes, definitely. Going from being a student, where most of the projects are individual, to working in a team, where everything is reviewed, was a learning experience. I've learned to work within a team in a way that I haven't needed to before, which is good.

Does Ersin often lead you in a direction that's a new way for you to think about the problem?

It's always different! I'm constantly learning new approaches and gathering new ideas. I will go to Ersin, "I want to implement this. This is how I'm planning to do it, but how would you go about it?" Then after a while, I see why his solution was different than mine, and I see why I'm a junior developer and he's a senior developer. [Laughs]

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

Definitely, the more interactions you have with people who have more knowledge, the more knowledge rubs off on you, the better you become as a developer.

What advice would you have for someone following in your footsteps in this Support to Junior Developer role?

Learn Git!

Have you been given opportunities to grow at Comet?

Shortly after starting, I was asked, "We're looking for team members who want to continue to upskill. Would you like to get certified in AWS?" I had only been doing Support for a month and did not expect to get an opportunity like that so early on in a new role. I worked on it for a few months, did the test, and got the certification along with another developer.

It was great! I really appreciate these sorts of opportunities. I had used AWS before but wondered, Do I really know what I'm doing? It's nice to have that knowledge validated. It's already been useful.

What makes for a great day at Comet?

The hackathon was really cool! Just having a few days to work on whatever you wanted to work on. Having time dedicated to that was really nice. Completing some small features, it was really, really gratifying to look at that and say, "I did those! These little bits of Comet were done by me and they're in the product!" After those few days, having accomplished that felt great.

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

Solve the customer's issue the first time!

What's your best tech tip?

Test your backups! Don't just expect everything to be configured correctly or assume that your end-user hasn't changed any settings.

On support calls, I always try to ensure that the customer is backing up their server. It's a common oversight. People remember to backup devices but forget to back up their backups!

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

Christchurch is very well placed to get to anywhere else on the South Island. I like the proximity to so many things. There is lots of stuff to do. Over the weekend, I went out to the Akaroa Peninsula and the Lyttelton Farmers Market.

What do you enjoy about Comet's company culture?

The BBQ's are always great. Coming into the office, there's always people to talk to. You can always ping someone on Slack and reach out to them, have a chat -- work related or not. Everyone is friendly and approachable.

This year, one of the developers cultivated a bunch of chili plants and gave seedlings out to some of the team members. I enjoyed it when people posted their chili garden updates on Slack. Even though I didn't get in on growing chili's, I enjoyed everyone sharing their updates.

We'll get you into the chili club next year! Maybe we'll pick something to grow that isn't spicy next time.

Maybe by then, I'll have built up my tolerance. We'll see! [Laughs]