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VMware VDP and VDPA upgrades unlock more Avamar features

VMware adds cloud backup and Data Domain support to vSphere Data Protection (VDP) and VDP Advanced (VDPA) apps, which use EMC Avamar under the hood.

VMware this week enhanced its vSphere Data Protection (VDP) software, unlocking more features of the EMC Avamar software that VDP and VDP Advanced (VDPA) are based on.

VMware launched VDP 5.1 as a free product in late 2012, limited to 2 TB of deduplicated data and no replication capability. VDP integrates Avamar with vSphere and the vSphere Web Client. It added VDPA early this year, unlocking more features of Avamar as a paid product and extending the limit to 8 TB of deduped data.

This week, VMware upgraded VDP and VDPA to version 5.5 (the version number matches vSphere's). Both versions now support cloud backup. VDPA enhancements include asynchronous replication, support for EMC's Data Domain backup dedupe disk target, a Microsoft SharePoint agent and more granular Exchange recovery.

VDPA now can perform asynchronous replication of deduplicated backups to another machine running either VDPA or Avamar. It supports one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-one replication. It encrypts replicated data and lets admins set independent retention policies for data on the source and target sides.

VDPA allows Data Domain to dedupe the data at the target. It also supports Data Domain's DD Boost software, designed to speed backups by offloading the dedupe process to the backup appliances.

The SharePoint agent allows for granular support of application-specific objects such as databases, and the Exchange agent now enables restores of individual mailboxes.

VDPA 5.5 also sends automatic backup verification reports.

VDPA pricing starts at $1,095 per CPU. With the 8 TB limit, one VDPA license can support up to 200 virtual machines.

Alberto Farronoto, VMware director of product marketing, said that about 20% of VMware customers adopt VDP or VDPA. He pointed out that the products are designed for virtual infrastructure administrators rather than backup admins. "We want to make it simple. We can do the first backup in 30 minutes."

Enterprise Strategy Group Senior Analyst Jason Buffington said VDP and VDPA are mature products, even if their VMware integration is relatively recent.

"Do they have every single option and feature of other backup products? Maybe not," he said. "But this is not 1.0 stuff; it's Avamar under the covers. And Avamar made its name mostly based on virtual protection."

VDPA can have an impact on adoption of other backup products, especially those such as Veeam Backup & Replication, Dell vRanger and PHD Virtual software that were designed specifically to protect virtual servers. Those products were created because VMware did not have adequate built-in backup, and legacy backup software was developed to protect physical machines.

Buffington said the result could be that third-party backup vendors will accelerate development around protecting Microsoft Hyper-V, something we've already seen with Veeam and PHD.

"VDPA competes directly with those virtualization-only backup applications," Buffington said. "The other side of the coin is, those backup vendors recognize it's not only a VMware world and are working on the same capabilities for Hyper-V as they have for vSphere."

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