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Veeam Software adds WAN acceleration, tape support for VM backup

Veeam upgrades its virtual machine backup software, building WAN acceleration and native tape support into Backup & Recovery v7.

Veeam Software added WAN acceleration to improve off-site backup, tape support for long-term data retention, and the ability to back up from snapshots with Hewlett-Packard arrays today, when it upgraded its backup and replication application for protecting virtual machines.

The WAN acceleration built into Veeam Backup & Replication v7 is designed to copy data off-site faster than moving it by a regular file copy.

The WAN acceleration feature makes better use of bandwidth for customers with remote offices or several large data centers, said Veeam product strategy specialist Rick Vanover. It doesn't serve as an all-purpose WAN acceleration tool, but it alleviates the need to use a WAN acceleration device for backup. "It's a Windows service that's built into our software," he said.

Rachel Dines, senior analyst at Forrester Research, said the big advantage of Veeam Software's WAN acceleration is that it allows customers to copy backups across sites without prohibitive bandwidth requirements. "In the past, Veeam didn't have the ability to do a backup copy job and copy a backup from one site to another," she said. "You don't need WAN acceleration to do it, but without WAN acceleration, you need a lot of bandwidth for a small amount of data."

Tape support for D2D2T protection

Veeam's native tape support allows customers to move data off their disk repositories to virtual tape libraries, tape libraries and standalone drives. They cannot go directly to tape, however, making tape an option for archiving and long-term retention rather than daily backups.

Tape support is the top customer request for Veeam, and lack of it has cost the vendor large deals, Vanover said. "We are listening to customers and finally going to have tape support," he said. "The backup will land on disk first for performance reasons. Once it's on disk, we'll pick it up and move it to tape. It's another option to go off-site."

"Tape support may not be considered super innovative, but many companies are still using tape for long-term retention," Forrester's Dines said. "Most people backing up to disk in large organizations still go disk-to-disk-to-tape."

Snapshots support limited to HP arrays

With the new release, Veeam can offload snapshots to Hewlett-Packard (HP) StoreServ (3PAR), StoreVirtual (LeftHand) and StoreVirtual VSA arrays.

Vanover said Veeam plans to support other arrays. HP was the first to cooperate with Veeam in developing snapshot support for its arrays.

Veeam uses VMware's changed block tracking, or CBT, to reduce backup time for incremental backups, so admins can make replicas frequently without affecting performance. Instead of mounting snapshots directly to virtual machines (VMs), Veeam hands the backup to the array for faster processing.

Veeam, which backs up VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V environments, recently passed the 63,000 customer mark, Vanover said. It's considered the market leader among VM-only backup products, a group which also includes Dell vRanger, PHD Virtual and Quantum vmPRO. But Veeam's major challengers are the mainstream backup applications from Symantec, IBM, EMC, HP and CommVault that have added VM capability in recent years.

"Veeam's momentum has slowed a little bit," Dines said. "It had such strong growth that it was not sustainable for a long period. But it's still growing, and I see it being used by clients of all sizes."

Veeam Backup & Replication v7 is expected to be generally available by September. WAN acceleration will be part of the Enterprise Plus edition only, but Veeam is offering Enterprise Edition customers a free upgrade until Nov. 1. The Enterprise Plus pricing is $1,999 per CPU socket. Enterprise licenses cost $1,250, and the Standard edition is $750 per socket.

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