Wednesday 24 November 2010

VMWare backup comparison

Looking for a suitable backup program for our use. Our systems are 3 dual socket VMWare ESXi servers with direct attached storeage running a selection of virtual machines. One is a windows 2003 SBS server running exchange and some file shares. We also have a NAS storage box with windows file shares and NFS file shares which other systems backup to.

We purchased an LTO3 tape drive + tapes with backup exec 2010 for small business which works well except that it can not backup the whole windows SBS virtual machine when running inside the virtual machine which was something I explicitly asked for with exchange granular restores when talking to BT Businessdirect sales support. I was hoping it would create a snapshot then backup from the snapshot or something but no such luck.  UPDATE: Currently negotiating with BT Businessdirect to get a refund as we purchased that program based on them saying it would work 100% in exactly this setup and I can't really afford/justify the extra £1k to get the full version of Backup Exec 2010.  So option 1 below has been eliminated.

  1. Full backup exec with agents for exchange etc which I could then install on a seperate server. More expensive and not sure what server I could use... Waiting for prices.
  2. Trilead VM Explorer - Does not seem to support Exchange granular restores. Or Exchange at all on its features page. Does have a completly free version with a few limitations.
  3. Veeam - Looking fairly good. They do a "Veeam Essentials" bundle which tallys closely with the VMWare Essentials bundle - 3 servers with 2 sockets per server etc. For non VMWare virtual machine backups it has the ability to copy files to/from any location which is visible to the server as a network share/local drive/iSCSI drive etc.
    Veeam does not backup to tape - would need a seperate process to do this for offsite backup. Could experiment with replication to offsite ESX hosts but that would need a more expensive licence. Could use something like Backula to go from hdd backup to tape fairly easily or just use old copy of Backup Exec or similar - at this point it is just copying files to tape, no fancy open files or anything to worry about.
  4. vRanger - Another promising possibility, requested quote a few days ago and not heard anything yet.
  5. Arkeia - Possibility, not investigated too much yet. They provide a free version which is limitied to two VM backups etc.

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