VMware Inc.'s ESX server virtualization has changed quite a bit about the enterprise data center in the last five years, but one area where it has room to grow is in its integration with advanced data backup and recovery tools.
That's the conclusion from users and analysts, even as VMware technology partners in backup and replication work to integrate with new vStorage APIs for data protection released with vSphere 4 this year, with the goal of more efficiently backing up virtual machines without requiring the deployment of agents in each guest machine.
In our tutorial on VMware and data backup, catch up with the latest developments in VMware backup and recovery. Learn about new VMware data backup and recovery tools, whether or not VMware Consolidated Backup is right for your organization, how to use VMware Data Recovery Manager and more.
VMWARE AND VIRTUAL DATA BACKUP AND RECOVERY TECHNOLOGY TUTORIAL: TABLE OF CONTENTS
New VMware data backup and recovery tools
Is VMware Consolidated Backup right for your enterprise?
Data backup for virtual machines: Alternative methods to VMware Consolidated Backup
VMware Data Recovery Manager: A guide to installing and using VDR
A comparison of data backup software packages and their integration with VMware
VMware's latest release, vSphere 4, which began shipping this summer with new vStorage APIs for data protection partners that amount to an effort to make all VMware backups work more efficiently. The new vStorage API for Data Protection will offer direct API-based integration for backups, eliminating the need for VMware Consolidated Backup. VMware Consolidated Backup required a customer to add another software module to the backup server, and then the customer or backup vendor -- or both --had to join the backup software with VCB through scripting. VMware will now open up APIs to its backup partners, allowing backup software to query virtual machines directly.
To use VMware Consolidated Backup, you must install a physical Windows server next to your ESX server and give it access to the storage that you're using for your VMFS file systems. It can access both block-based (Fibre Channel and iSCSI) and NFS-based data stores. The server then acts as a proxy server to back up the data stores without the I/O having to go through the ESX server.
There are a few point products designed specifically to address virtual machine backup that can be incorporated into the data backup process. VizionCore Inc. was early to the market with its vRanger Pro product, and has been doing VMware backups longer than anyone else. Another popular alternative is esXpress from PHD Virtual Technologies. You can also use source data deduplication backup software, such as Asigra Inc.'s Asigra, EMC Corp.'s Avamar or Symantec's NetBackup PureDisk.
When VMware released vSphere, they also included a new product called VMware Data Recovery (VDR), which is their first entry into the virtual machine backup arena. Unlike VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB), which is an enabling technology and not an actual data backup product, VMware Data Recovery is a standalone product that creates hot backups of virtual machines to any virtual disk storage attached to an ESX/ESXi host, or to any NFS/CIFS network storage server or device and is not meant as a replacement for VMware Consolidated Backup.
Server virtualization has changed the way you back up and restore data. You can still use traditional backup methods for virtual machines by using a backup agent on each virtual machine, but there are more efficient methods to back up virtual machines.
Most data backup vendors have adapted their software to better integrate with virtual server environments. And VMware's Consolidated Backup technology allows backup vendors to easily integrate their applications into the VMware Infrastructure. While improving backup efficiency is important, performing whole virtual machine and individual files restores easily and quickly is equally important. In this article, we look at the major backup applications from CA, CommVault, EMC Corp., Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co., IBM Corp. and Symantec Corp. and see how well they integrate with VMware.