Veeam VM Backup Boasts Speedy Path to Resurrection

Veeam Software on Monday demonstrated its new vPower technology for backing up and restoring virtual machines when disaster strikes.

The technology’s capabilities include restoring an entire virtual machine (VM) within minutes; recovering individual items from any virtualized operating system; and verifying the recoverability of every backup of every VM.

The vPower technology is the backbone of Veeam Backup & Replication version 5, which will be available in October. Veeam demonstrated the technology at VMWorld 2010, being held in San Francisco through Thursday.

vPower to the vPeople

One of the capabilities of Veeam’s vPower technology is the ability to restore an entire VM from a backup file in minutes. Users can continue working with apps in the VM while IT troubleshoots the problem.

“Veeam’s new ability to run a VM directly from a backup file skips a major step in the usual recovery process, and time is always short during recovery,” Jake Sorofman, chief marketing officer atrPath, told TechNewsWorld. “This technique makes a lot of sense for environments that are backed up but not fully high-available, so we expect to see it adopted by other vendors over time.”

The vPower technology lets IT recover individual items from any virtualized operating system without having to use additional backups, agents or software tools. Further, it automatically verifies the recoverability of every backup of every VM, every time.

Included is an on-demand sandbox that lets users create test VMs from any point in time to troubleshoot problems or test workarounds, software patches or new application code. This eliminates the need for dedicated test labs, as well as the system overhead extra VMware snapshots require.

Another feature of vPower is instant file-level recovery for any operating system or file system. This lets IT recover an entire VM or just one file from the image-level backup.

Veeam Backup & Replication v5 will instantly index Windows guest files and create tape-friendly synthetic full backups. It also offers enhanced deduplication and faster off-site replication of VMs.

Pricing has been set at US$599 per socket for the standard edition and $899 per socket for the enterprise edition.

“Our customers tell us that they need to recover holistic applications from across the entire Microsoft SQL, Exchange or Active Directory products down to individual files or databases,” Dave Elliott, a senior product marketing manager at Symantec, told TechNewsWorld. “They need the flexibility to do everything.”

The New, New Backup

The backup and recovery market for virtualized environments has become increasingly feature-rich over the years.

“A number of backup and recovery solutions have been around for a while — but as virtualization becomes increasingly ubiquitous, quick and accurate backup and recovery capabilities are becoming increasingly critical,” Charles King, principal at Pund-IT, told TechNewsWorld. “Without them, virtualization adoption could be significantly impeded, particularly as a solution for business-critical applications.”

In the early days of virtualization, many organizations did not back up their virtual environments because existing tools for the physical environment couldn’t cope. That led vendors of physical-level management tools such as HP, IBM and CA to extend their existing products to the virtual environment.

“Some of these vendors are moving ahead more aggressively than others,” King pointed out. “Not surprisingly, EMC is one of these — it says it’s optimizing its entire solution portfolio for virtualized environments.”

However, these tools are for the large enterprise; they may not offer small and medium-sized businesses much help.

“Often, when people think about virtualized environment backup and recovery, they are looking at the situation from a data center or enterprise mindset,” said Rob Ciampa, vice president of marketing atMarathon Technologies. “They assume there’s 24/7 support, and they have adequate staffing and funding. But a majority of the businesses in the United States are mid-sized enterprises or smaller, which have serious staffing issues.”

Problems With Backing Up VMs

Virtual backup and recovery sounds simpler than it really is, Marathon’s Ciampa told TechNewsWorld.

“There’s this perception in the industry that you have an outage and you recover from it and are back up and working as normal,” Ciampa said. “In about one third of the cases, the recovery doesn’t really work as planned.”

One reason is that an outage often is followed by a second one, because the conditions that caused the first still persist, Ciampa said. In some cases, the RAID system isn’t in sync with the virtual system.

“The whole process of syncing a system, especially a virtual system, is difficult,” Ciampa pointed out. “It’s not just about the outage; it’s about all the other attributes of the outage. Virtualization has brought immense benefits in terms of consolidation, but it has also brought a good deal of complexity.”

Marathon offers a redundant solution that obviates the need for backup and recovery, Ciampa said.

“Taking a car accident as an analogy, it’s much better to avoid the accident in the first place than to pick up the pieces after the accident,” Ciampa explained.

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