This post is meant to be educational but I realize many of you will see it as FUD. I won’t deny that this post is an attempt at answering the FUD put forth by one of our competitors as they prepare to release a fix update to their backup product, so I guess just take everything below with an open mind and realize that the virtualization marketplace is very competitive. Customers have chosen and will continue to choose the best software for VMware backup and replication!
Changed Block Tracking
Veeam has supported CBT for over 8 months starting with our 4.0 release back in October of 2009. With the first anniversary of vSphere behind us, we’re glad to see some of the last vendors finally catching up and utilizing this technology. There’s also been some discussion online recently about possible issues with CBT, rest assured that Veeam has you covered and in over 8 months of CBT support, none of our customers has run into this issue. For more information on this, please check out this thread in our forums that also includes information on obtaining a fix if you feel you’re exposed to this issue.
Most of you have heard by now of Veeam’s plans around Veeam Backup & Replication version 5 that includes the technology known as SureBackup. One of the things that makes me so excited about the new capabilities is that we’re going to be able to offer Universal Application Item-level Recovery – we’re not just talking about Exchange or files, but any data from any application without an additional charge for each application. Other vendors are promising object-level restore but only for Exchange and only if you purchase an additional and very expensive software tool (per mailbox) from their parent company. And yes, they’ve been promising this for years.
Volume Shadow Copy Services (VSS)
While other vendors try to make it seem like they’re the “thought leaders” when it comes to VSS, the truth is that Veeam has been leading the way in VSS for VMware backups for almost 2 years now. We knew early on that the only way to ensure proper VSS support was to write our own implementation and not rely on VMware to provide it for us. Additionally, with our VSS implementation everything is done at run time, no need to deploy and maintain a VSS agent executable on every Windows VM. Their implementation:
This driver is implemented as an .exe file which can be added to Windows 2003 and 2008 guests.
You can check out any of these previous posts on VSS if you want to know who the real thought leader is when it comes to VSS support on VMware:
Is your backup really VSS aware?
VSS and VMware ESX: What your VMware backup vendor isn’t telling you
Active Block What?
Now we’ve heard about this new technology that one of our competitors claims greatly improves the speed of backups. What they’re not telling you is all the limitations of this technology and the fact that it only makes FULL backups faster. Since Veeam uses a proven synthetic backup approach we only require 1 full backup. Here are some other limitations of that patent pending technology:
- No benefit in incremental backups (deleting NTFS data does not update disk content, so data blocks do not change and are not picked up by CBT in an incremental backup)
- Limited to NTFS and basic disks
- Limited to full ESX since it relies on the Service Console (does not work with ESXi)
- Not supported on direct SAN backups utilizing the vStorage API for Data Protection (90% of Veeam customers use VADP)
- Without built-in dedupe their “full” backups are still larger than Veeam’s.
Be Careful What You Read, It May be Paid for
I’ve seen some materials that are pointing to an analysis provided by a “pay for play” blogger. I’m not going to mention names or link to sites here because I’d rather not give anyone the traffic. My only advice here (and this goes especially for the VAR community) is to research any “independent” sources your vendor is quoting, there’s a good chance they paid for that analysis and those words.
And finally, consider this: what does it mean when a vendor promotes a survey of beta customers in which 39% of the participants claimed reliability was the most important NEW capability. If reliability is a new capability, then I understand why so many partners and customers have chosen and continue to choose Veeam Backup & Replication