Backup and Replication by VMware – New in vSphere 5.1
There have been a slew of announcements coming out of VMworld in San Francisco this week and also a slew of new products and enhancements to existing products. During the show I was attempting to look at everything from an SMB point of view and a couple of products that really stuck out for me was that of the new vSphere Data Protection and vSphere Replication. Below are just a few thoughts around each product, what it has to offer and where it is packaged from within VMwares’ licensing editions.
vSphere Data Protection
First off let’s explore vSphere Data Protection (vDP). There has been a lot of buzz during and even before the show around vDP and how VMware plans to position it. Working closely with EMC’s Avamar development team VMware have now packaged their own backup and recovery solution into vSphere 5.1, replacing, yet still supporting its’ predecessor VMware Data Recovery. In my opinion this is a great move for VMware. vDR was not gaining too much traction within the SMB or Enterprise market however I believe that vDP will. Why? Again, it’s built on top of EMCs Avamar backup and recovery technology therefore leveraging years of experience and ‘lessons learned’ which make the product more seasoned and production ready than vDR ever was. Also this complete solution is managed and embedded directly from within the new vSphere 5.1 Web Client. From within the same menus that you clone a VM, vMotion, perform power operations you can now apply backup policies and ensure your data is safe and protected. Simply install the backup appliance and you are good to go. Now vDP is not for everyone and as with any initial release (either on purpose or not) there are some limitations. A single vDP Appliance can scale up to 2TB of deduplicated storage or 100 VMs total. Certainly targeted at the SMB market. I’m excited to see what vDP has to offer and how widely it is adopted in the SMB space. vDP is bundled in with the Essentials Plus licensing and above.
Again this is nothing new. With the last release of Site Recovery Manager (SRM) vSphere Replication was included and provided users with the ability to perform replication on a per-VM basis without the need of shared storage or costly SAN replication functionality. The problem there was it was bundled with SRM, a product in which you probably already were utilizing that costly SAN replication technology anyways. Well, in vSphere 5.1 that has all changed. Although still available within SRM, vSphere Replication now is included within the Essentials Plus and above licensing. And on top of that there have been some new features and enhancements made to vSphere Replication – VSS Support, flexible RTO, and simplified management utilizing the new vSphere 5.1 web client are just a few. Again, there are some limitations. The biggest being that there is a 2TB limit (don’t take my word on this, I thought I heard it in the session but am trying to find data to back it up, i know there is most certainly a 500 VM limit) on the amount of data that you can replicate. If you need more than this you will have to purchase the full SRM suite, that being said, still a great alternative and great news for users in the SMB space.
So, a couple of products coming out of VMworld in the realm of data protection. I’m interested to see within the next year how many people adopt and use this products. There are no fancy features being offered that you might get with some of the more established third party products such as the ability to instantly restore your VMs, run VMs directly from backup, Re-IP VMs, etc… The 2TB lmiits imposed on the backup storage do not really bother me that much, however I would have loved to also see these bundled into at the very least the Essentials ROBO kits. It would have been a great way to protect those VMs running in a remote office where only one host resides and Essentials Plus didn’t really make sense. Only time will tell how widely adopted these products will be but this is certainly a great first step for VMware in my opinion. The ability to manage all of this from directly inside the web client is huge. And the ability to protect your virtualized environment with products from your virtualization vendor is even better. I’d love to hear from you, if you plan to use either vDP or vSphere Replication, if your using it now, or even any thoughts you may have on the releases or any other news coming out of VMworld for that matter…Let me know in the comments…