A few weeks ago Veeam released Veeam Backup & Replication 4.0. I should have written a post the week it was released but I’ve been pretty busy and I also wanted to wait and get some of our customer’s reactions before writing about it. Our 4.0 release is a major milestone for us since it provides full support for the vStorage APIs for Data Protection. There appears to be a bit of confusion with some on what the vStorage APIs for Data Protection really do, especially when compared with VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB). As VMware states on the vStorage page, the vStorage APIs for Data Protection are the next generation of VCB. For a good explanation on the differences, check out my friend @Gostev’s blog over at vNotion "What is VMware vStorage API?”

So why do we still have support for VCB? The simple answer is that we have a number of current customers that are using VCB and have not switched over to vSphere yet. We could have dropped support for VCB but then that would require us to maintain both 3.x and 4.x releases. Since 4.0 is an built upon 3.x and not a complete re-write of the software, we left VCB support in for our customers. The benefit is that our customers have a choice of how to process their backups: vStorage APIs, VCB or Veeam’s Service Console or Network modes. Of course I do recommend that customers use the vStorage API methods, it gives you the best performance and is also built specifically for vSphere.

Up to 10x Faster

Yes, it’s really true and our customers have posted as much on our forums. We’ve consolidated this feedback into a handy PDF document INSANE BACKUP SPEED, it’s not us saying this, it’s real people using our 4.0 product.

How is it so fast? One of the biggest reasons is Changed Block Tracking (CBT) which is included in the Virtual Disk Development Kit (VDDK). With CBT enabled for VM’s running on ESX or ESXi 4.x, VMware actually tracks the block level changes made to the VMDK. This way, when software like Veeam Backup & Replication takes a Snapshot, VMware returns a list of what blocks have changed. This significantly increases backup speed as we no longer have to try and determine the changes ourselves, VMware tells us in a matter of seconds.

The Critics

Of course anytime a vendor releases software that’s cutting edge and ahead of the rest of the field, others will try and knock it down. This recently happened on a blog sponsored by one of our competitors, claiming Veeam Backup & Replication was corrupting data. Of course when I first saw this I was a bit alarmed, but since they included a link to our forum where a user was reporting the problem, I followed the link and realized they were just sensationalizing something for their own apparent gain. Since this particular blog decides to heavily moderate comments, I thought I would post the facts here, lest any other competitors decide they want to sensationalize this non-issue.

The Facts

Taken from the Veeam Forum post:

  1. Backups are NOT corrupted.
  2. You can only run into this issue with NON-DEFAULT restore mode, in 1 restore mode of 3 existing modes.
  3. Despite what competition may be claiming, there is no actual user data loss or corruption - VM will still boot and work.

The only real issue is OS and file system check tools complaining about unexpected content of the unused disk blocks. Linux ext3 file system and disk test tools merely suspect a problem seeing unused blocks being non-zeroed, and warn about this. This is specific to certain file systems only, for example, Windows NTFS considers this situation absolutely normal.

Of course every software has bugs, the example above is a bug in our software when using 1 particular recovery method and we have a fix available and it will be included in our next release. The important piece of information is that NO DATA WAS EVER CORRUPTED, just an issue on recovery and zero byte blocks. We are very thankful to our active forum community and for bringing this to our attention. Veeam’s motto after all is “Listening to You, Building the Tools You Need”, it’s on the back of all of our business cards. I’d like to point out the below points about our user forum:

  • Our forum is one of our greatest resources where people share their experience, best practices and getting support from Veeam and the community
  • We understand that our competitors are so desperate that they will continue using our own forum to try and fool the community
  • We will continue to be honest and direct with our customers in our forum vs. ending all the threads with ‘please contact our support’
  • User feedback: The quality and effectiveness of this Forum alone would be enough to justify switching to Veeam, even if the product wasn't superior to its competition (as it is at the moment). It seems just too good to be true... I hope it will continue this way!

Conclusion

Sorry to waste so much space on this post answering the competition. If they would allow comments on their own blog I would have written it there. In closing I just want to say that we encourage everyone to evaluate our software and make decisions for themselves. Put us in the lab and you will see, others promise, Veeam delivers!

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    Author: Doug Hazelman (VMDoug)

    Doug Hazelman is Vice President, Product Strategy, Chief Evangelist. Doug consults with customers, partners and industry analysts on key considerations for implementing virtual server infrastructures. He works with Veeam’s R&D team to enhance and develop new Veeam products to address market needs, and advises customers... 

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