Veeam Inc. is the latest data backup and recovery vendor to roll out support for VMware Inc.'s vStorage API for Data Protection, adding it to its Backup and Replication 4 software released today. One beta tester said he's seen a significant increase in backup performance thanks to this new integration.
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Veeam Backup and Replication 4 supports vStorage's new data backup capabilities, and also supports backing up vSphere's new thin-provisioned disks.
With vSphere 4, VMware eliminates the need for using VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB). Now VMware backups can go directly from networked storage systems without having to pull data over a proxy server.
One Veeam beta tester who backed up with VMware Consolidated Backup said he's noticed a dramatic difference in performance with version 4. "Our backups used to run all night long, but we can now do full backups of our environment in a couple of hours," said Tom Sightler, network manager for Orangeburg, S.C.-based Zeus Industrial Products Inc.
Sightler said incremental Exchange server backups had previously taken 12 hours. With changed-block tracking through the vStorage API, it now takes about 50 minutes. Backups of other application servers were reduced from between eight hours and nine hours to about 20 minutes. "We can do snapshots as often as several times an hour now rather than just once a day," Sightler said.
Backup and Replication 4 will also support "hot" copies of running virtual machines, safe snapshot removal that reduces production application timeouts while hot snapshots are taken, PowerShell scripting support, automatic exclusion of virtual machine (VM) log files from backup and replication, and the ability to perform full backups periodically rather than "incrementals forever."
On the replication front, the new version lets customers make the first replica to a seeding device rather than over the wire. Users can also exclude certain disks from replication policies, pause backup and replication jobs, and change replication destinations without requiring new job policies or new full backups from scratch.
vStorage APIs create new competitive dynamics in VMware data backup tools
Veeam and its direct competitors PHD Virtual esXpress and Vizioncore Inc. vRanger emerged in the age of server virtualization with a strict focus on virtual machines, mainly VMware virtual machines. Meanwhile, traditional data backup software vendors have updated their applications to support virtual machines.
Often, the two groups of vendors are talking to different people in the data center. According to Doug Hazelman, director of Veeam's global systems engineering group, Veeam most often engages with server admins rather than the backup team at customer organizations.
Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Lauren Whitehouse said, "The first 15% to 20% of servers people virtualized were the low-hanging fruit or in test and development environments." As more mission-critical apps get virtualized, that's bringing application owners and data center storage teams into the mix, along with the tools those groups are used to working with.
This can lead to multiple data backup tools in use in the same organization, which Hazelman acknowledged is not ideal. Veeam plans support for Citrix and Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machines, and may expand support for physical servers as well, Hazelman said.