Virtual Machine Backup: Five Solutions

Virtual machines have enabled companies to cuts costs. But what happens when an enterprise wants to back up its new legion of virtual machines?
Posted September 12, 2011
By

Kenneth Hess


Virtual machines have solved a lot of problems and enabled companies to cuts costs. But what happens when an enterprise wants to back up its new legion of virtual machines?

Ask any system administrator what the top three pain points of his job are and you'll likely see a range of responses. However, there's a single response that always makes it into the top three: Backups. Backups are the bane of any IT professional's existence. The problem is backups are notoriously unreliable. Couple that lack of reliability with poor backup quality, and you've created a service that often disappoints and frustrates even the most optimistic system administrator. Now, add the frustration of virtual machine backup and restore to the mix, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Unreliable backups lead SAs to construct their own "renegade" solutions that aren't part of any corporate support strategy; nor are they sanctioned by corporate authority. But this is often the scenario when confronted with the burden of responsibility and the need for service reliability. This list of five backup strategies will help frustrated sys admins take the sting out of virtual machine backup and restore.

1. VMware Consolidated Backup

VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB) includes a small set of utilities that allows administrators to backup virtual machines via the command line. Originally, VMware provided VCB utilities and the associated application programming interface (API) so third-party vendors could build snapshot-based backup software. VCB features easy installation and integration with VMware's framework. It is part of the ESX product line. VCB is not included as of VMware 4.1. Going forward, VMware has decided to remove the backup utilities from its product and extend the original API into four separate vStorage APIs. There is no direct analog to VCB under the new system. In other words, to use this, you'll have to purchase a third-party backup suite for your virtual machine backup and restore needs.

2. Veeam Backup and Replication

Veeam's VMware products (free and commercial) are leading-edge and award-winning. (It was a Best of VMworld repeat winner.) Veeam Backup and Replication (VBR) takes full advantage of VMware's new APIs for enterprise scalability, advanced replication, multiple operating system file-level restoration and advanced recovery.

Read the rest about virtual machine backup at ServerWatch.




Tags: data storage management, virtual machine, virtual machine management, backup data


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