Recently, Vizioncore announced the next version of what they claim to be an industry-standard backup and restore solution. It is not known yet when this release is going to be available, but what's more interesting is the feature set of this planned future release. When reading the announcement, I simply could not drive away a feeling that I was reading a data sheet for the already generally available Veeam Backup 2.0 product. In fact, Veeam Backup has had yet another minor update since the release of 2.0 at the end of July.

Quote from Vizioncore’s original newsletter:

vRanger Pro v4.0 is Vizioncore’s next generation industry-standard backup and restore solution with increased speed and scalability. vRanger Pro 4.0 also shrinks the storage requirements for backups by introducing incremental support. This version will also deliver near instantaneous restores of files, finally eradicating the reason for procuring file level agents, as well as a simplified UI, upgraded reporting capability, improved load balancing, and platform support for ESXi.

Let’s take a look at all the pre-announced features one by one and compare them with the current generally available version of Veeam Backup.

  • Increased speed and scalability. Check! Veeam Backup 2.0 is several times faster than the current version of vRanger Pro, according to reports from our customers.
  • vRanger Pro 4.0 also shrinks the storage requirements for backups by introducing incremental support. Check! Veeam Backup has had this feature since version one.
  • This version will also deliver near instantaneous restores of files, finally eradicating the reason for procuring file level agents. Check! Veeam Backup has offered lightning-fast file-level recovery since version one. Vizioncore has talked about having fast file-level restore, but so far has not delivered anything other than vague descriptions, like this one, for instance.
  • As well as a simplified UI. Check! Veeam Backup has it already. And the interface blows vRanger’s away, according to a vRanger customer’s post on their support forum (the post looks a bit confusing because Vizioncore’s fair-competition principles allow ninja-editing of all mentions of “Veeam” on their forums). Here’s a quote of this post (since I suspect it may get deleted):

I agree this [ESXi support] should already be in place. We've waited long enough for vcb diffs among things. [MISSING WORD] supports 3i (can't restore though but you could restore to a regular 3.x host and vmotion it over to 3i) but still for a newer company they are coming up with great new features (and no I don't work for them!) They have backup and replication combined, vss support and consistent restores for databases, support for 3rd party tape backup, supposed de-dup etc... and the interface blows vranger away (start/end time, performance metrics! Ever since vizioncore was "acquired" or whatever, the support has gone down the tubes and the releases have become less impressive. I think [MISSING WORD] is the up and coming company and I'd love to hear the comparisons between the 2 companies and what they have to offer. I love the posts that state "oh that'll be released next quarter" and then it's always delayed quarters past that.

Moreover, an Information Week reviewer’s conclusion is the same.

Bottom line, vRanger's application interface flow, inability to preserve settings, and lack of a Windows service on which to operate will hinder it in enterprise data centers. If you can master the CLI you can effectively eliminate the GUI, but most folks won't go this route. That makes improving the interface all the more imperative.

  • Upgraded reporting capability. Check! Veeam Backup 2.0 already provides comprehensive reports with thorough job statistics.
  • Improved load balancing. Check! See speed/scalability above. By the way, since vRanger Pro currently has no load balancing whatsoever, so I fail to see how it could be “improved.”
  • And platform support for ESXi. Check! Veeam Backup 2.0 supports ESXi.

You might ask now, so what is the difference between Veeam Backup 2.0 and vRanger Pro 4.0? Veeam Backup 2.0 is nice, but vRanger Pro 4.0 seems to have almost all those “sexy” features too, except may be just a few (like built-in deduplication)?

The answer is easy – the only difference is that Veeam has all of these now, and it is all working. While Vizioncore is essentially saying “buy now, and we will have this soon…

But… how long is soon? Is it like ESXi support, which Vizioncore initially promised to deliver in Q2 2008, and with the current schedule this has already slipped to Q4? This is half a year slip (all provided dates are according to what they have been posting on their internal support forum). And think about this: since all of the features above were clearly not planned in advance, but rather added into the dev plans after the release of Veeam Backup 2.0 (end of July), I would guess that we may not be seeing vRanger Pro 4.0 for six to eight month from now!

Finally, where is the guarantee that these features will work as advertised? Or maybe it will be the same story as the incomplete VSS support Vizioncore introduced earlier, which simply does not work because VSS is only leveraged to perform freeze and nothing else? No wonder vRanger restore is done incorrectly from such VSS backups, killing Domain Controllers, Exchange Servers and other applications featuring multi-master replication functionality upon “recovery”. In my opinion, it would be better to have no VSS support whatsoever, than a fake implementation that gives your customers a false sense of security.

Alright, so let’s imagine that we have finally got to the point where vRanger Pro 4.0 works and has all the required updates available, and all features are working as advertised. How much more advanced will Veeam Backup be compared to vRanger Pro by the time they finally release a version that catches up with our current version? Needless to say, Veeam Backup will be a few steps ahead at that time, as Veeam already has many innovative features in our lab, just waiting to be incorporated into the next releases. Features which are not even promised by Vizioncore to be available “in the next version”.

And there is one single reason behind the fact that Vizioncore will always be trying to catch up with Veeam from now on: Vizioncore was acquired by Quest Software. Quest has already shown their heavy hand over Vizioncore by re-creating their vCharter product into vCharter Pro, built on their fledgling monitoring product, Foglight. Also in this newsletter is
the announcement that vCharter Pro will be rebranded as vFoglight. It’s always interesting when a company takes a product with brand recognition and rebrands it to a product with no brand recognition, especially in the virtualization space. What’s next for Vizioncore? Will it remain independent as they say, or will they fall into the black hole of so many other Quest-acquired companies?

To wrap up, I want to note this quote from the same Vizioncore newsletter:

vRanger Pro v4.0 is Vizioncore’s next generation industry-standard backup and restore solution.

Based on all of the above, I wonder who the real industry leader is now, to afford claiming such a thing. And why we have so many customers switching from the industry-standard backup solution to ours?!

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