Small and mid-sized businesses, and more specifically their IT departments, continue to search for a stable backup solution for their virtualized environments. VMware, too, has offered several solutions for this problem: think VCB and VDR (VMware Consolidated Backup and VMware Data Recovery, respectively). But those solutions haven’t been able to scale well with the growing data in even the smallest environments. Enterprise-class backup solutions can be costly, as can the engineers needed to keep those systems running properly.
VMware’s latest attempt to solve this problem was announced this week: VMware Data Protection, or VDP. First things first, yes, VDP is a product of collaboration between EMC’s Avamar de-duplication. But it’s not Avamar (see Jeff Hunter’s post for the official VMware position on this matter). And it’s not specific to shops that use EMC as their storage vendor.
Those of you who deployed VDR in vSphere 4 will no doubt remember two painful experiences: long-running integrity checks (that were usually successful…) and (if you were forced to use a CIFS share for your backup location) hitting that 500GB network file storage limit MUCH faster than you anticipated. You’ll be happy to learn that VDP addresses both of these issues (which one could say were really two symptoms of the same problem).
VDP uses Avamar’s variable-length de-duplication to reduce the size of your VM backups. It’s a great way for a small or mid-sized environment to reduce the amount of data stored on their SAN. And here’s the cool part, from the end-user perspective: self-service restore. Virtual infrastructure admins can allow end-users to restore their own files without help from IT (well that’s what VMware says, and it sounds great, but… yeah).
Short version (or tl;dr if you’re into that sort of thing): VDR is VMware’s best backup and recovery offering yet for SMB. In my next post, I’ll put together a list of configuration considerations that will help you avoid squirrely behavior down the road.
If you’ve got questions specific to VDR or to virtualization in general, I’d love to hear them. Post them below!