Virtualization technology has affected the data storage backup market significantly – and continues to do so. Driven by the dynamic nature of the virtualization marketplace, as more and more aspect of the IT infrastructure become virtualized, backup products have adapted.

“Given the continued trend of server virtualization adoption and deployment, it should not be a surprise that there is also strong and growing demand for data protection solutions, including backup for those environments,” said Greg Schulz, an analyst at StorageIO Group. “Some traditional backup/data protection solutions also support virtual, while some virtual solutions also support physical environments, and some also support both VMware along with Hyper-V among others.”

While there are many potential products to consider, for the purposes of this guide, we focus on four solutions: Quantum vmPRO VM Data Protection Software, Veeam DNE, Dell/Quest vRanger, and PHD Virtual.

Quantum vmPRO VM Data Protection Software

Quantum recently introduced enhancements to vmPRO that bring open standard data protection and archive capabilities to virtualized environments. In addition to disk or cloud, vmPRO 3.1 leverages Scalar LTFS tape technology to provide searchable archive capabilities for VMware data. The new software is also said to simplify management while improving performance and workload efficiency for backing up virtual machines in their native VMware (VMDK) format.

“Quantum vmPRO 3.1 enables companies to access and recover backup and archive VM data from disk, tape or cloud across its lifecycle,” said Casey Burns, Product Marketing Manager, Virtual Solutions at Quantum. “By backing up VMs in native state, users can instantly boot VMs from any remote site, including the cloud, without requiring a proprietary backup application.”

He added that vmPRO allows users to browse, search and retrieve files from any browser. New features include automatic configuration protection and aggregated management for multiple Quantum vmPRO virtual appliance deployments. Performance is enhanced via HotAdd support from VMware, as well as the ability to perform multiple backup jobs simultaneously.

vmPRO Standard Edition is a free, 1TB, full featured edition with limited support through Quantum’s Community Support Forum V. It would work well in small offices or for testing purposes. The vmPRO Enterprise Edition is said to provide unlimited capacity for $799/TB, including one year of Silver Support.

“Deployed as a virtual appliance, vmPRO Software is a light-weight, agentless backup application that protects data in native format,” said Burns. “When combined with DXi appliances, it enables deduplication and VM recovery.”

Veeam DNE

Veeam Backup & Replication v7 is designed for VMware and Hyper-V environments. Its built-in WAN Acceleration is said to enable organizations to get backups offsite up to 50 times faster than a standard file copy, while eliminating the need to purchase and deploy a general purpose WAN acceleration appliance or acquire additional network bandwidth for offsite backups. Its Backup from Storage Snapshots feature enables IT departments to create backups from snapshots taken by HP StoreVirtual VSA, HP StoreVirtual and HP StoreServ storage products.

“IT admins can make backups as often as they wish, even for I/O intensive virtual machines,” said Doug Hazelman, Vice President of Product Strategy at Veeam Software.

Additional new features include native tape support, Veeam Explorer for Microsoft SharePoint, Veeam Explorer for Microsoft Exchange, and VMware vCloud Director Integration.

Veeam Backup & Replication v7 is available with pricing starting at $750/socket for Standard Edition, $1,250/socket for Enterprise Edition and $1,999/socket for Enterprise Plus Edition. Veeam Backup Free Edition is available at no charge.

“Compared to legacy backup tools, Veeam Backup & Replication reduces backup and recovery time by 95%, admin time by 90% and costs by up to 70%,” said Hazelman. “Users will never have to update another agent, recover another virtual machine from scratch or explain why IT is still missing its backup windows.”

PHD Virtual

PHD Virtual works with VMware, Citrix and the cloud. It comes with a version for each of these platforms and has built up a user base of almost 7,000. The PHD Virtual Backup Appliance (VBA), is a lightweight Linux virtual appliance requires no third party software license costs or server maintenance. It includes support for Microsoft Exchange and Sharepoint.

Further, it is set up to make it easy to copy backup data offsite to the cloud via the purchase of its CloudHook module. Or admins can back up to removable disk devices. Cloud storage options include Google, Amazon, Rackspace or any OpenStack/Swift enabled provider. Users have the option of recovering a full virtual machine, a single virtual disk, a single file, a mailbox, or an application object.

Dell vRanger

Schulz said Dell Quest/vRanger used to be the darling of the VMware virtual server backup and data protection environment, but that Veeam seems to have taken over that position. Both have large installed bases. Dell acquired vRanger, which was part of Vizoncore (by way of the Quest acquisition). The problem is that Dell also has BakBone NetVault, along with Appassure for protecting virtual server environments.

“The challenge for Dell will be articulating to customers how to avoid competing with themselves as opposed to others such as Veeam, Quantum, Symantec Commvault, Acrronis, Unitrends, Retrospect, EMC Networker & Avamar, Evault and a long list of others, not to mention tools from VMware and Microsoft,” said Schulz.

So how is Dell articulating its vision?

vRanger offers auto discovery of new VMs, eliminating the need to manually install agents on every VM, integrated backup, as well as Active Block Mapping (ABM) technology that is said to reduce the size of backups by up to 40%. vRanger is available for $769 per CPU/socket.

And the company is investing in this platform going forward.

“Later this year, Dell Software will add support for both Hyper-V and for its own Rapid Data Access (RDA) technology,” said Steve Paravola, Product Marketing Manager, Data Protection, Dell Software.

“RDA support will enable vRanger to tightly integrate with Dell’s own DR4100, a scalable, disk backup appliance with built-in deduplication and compression capabilities. This integration will enable customers to augment vRanger’s ABM technology with global deduplication at source and target, delivering data reduction rates of up to 15:1, in the process speeding backup times and significantly reducing storage requirements.”

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