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VMware VCB To Be Replaced by VADP. Does That Mean vDR Is The VMware Alternative?

I received an email today from VMware addressed to all customers about the end of availability for VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB). Quoting from the beginning of the communication but not the entire message, it reads:

“The purpose of this letter is to inform you of our vSphere backup product strategy, ongoing enhancements, and end of availability plans for VMware Consolidated Backup.

VMware Backup Product Strategy
VMware released vStorage APIs for Data Protection (VADP) with the vSphere 4.0 release in May, 2009. VADP is the next generation of VMware’s backup framework. We have also been working with several backup partners to integrate VADP into their solutions to make backup of vSphere Virtual Machines fast, efficient and easy to deploy compared to VCB and other backup solutions. Several of our major backup partners have already released VADP integrated backup products and we expect most of the major backup partners to have VADP integrated backup software by the upcoming feature release of the vSphere platform in 2010.

Future Product Licensing
Given the strong interest and adoption of VADP by our backup eco-system and the benefits offered by VADP compared to VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB), we are announcing the End of Availability for VCB starting with next vSphere feature release in 2010. Starting with the next vSphere platform feature release, VCB will be removed from vSphere platform. VADP integrated backup products (including VMware Data Recovery) will be the recommended option for efficient backup and restoration of vSphere Virtual Machines. This will allow us to focus new value added feature development on VADP instead of two backup frameworks (VCB and VADP).”

[omited]

I’ll go out on a limb and say that most of the VMware community will

help VCB “pack it’s bags” as quick as possible, but does that mean VMware’s vDR will be VCB’s replacement? If so VMware is going to have to expand the scalability of vDR’s current combination of virtual appliance and vSphere Client plugin, in my opinion.

The email doesn’t provide any hints about the future of vDR, but here are some thing to think about if you are considering vDR as VCB’s replacement:

(The following has been taken from http—www.vmware.com-pdf-vdr_11_admin.pdf)

  • Virtual machines to be backed up and the backup appliance must both be running on ESX 4 or later or ESX 4i or later. Do not use Data Recovery with vCenter Servers running in linked mode.
  • Recovery does not support:
    • vCenter Server in Linked Mode.
    • Pv6 addresses. IPv4 addresses are required for the Data Recovery appliance.
    • NFS is only supported if the share is presented by an ESX Server and the VMDK is assigned to the Data Recovery appliance.
    • Hot adding disks with versions of vSphere that are not licensed for hot add
    • Restoring linked clones. Data Recover can backup linked clones, they are restored as unlinked clones.
    • Backing up virtual machines that are protected by VMware Fault Tolerance.
    • Backing up virtual machines that use VMware Workstation disk format.
    • Backing up virtual machines with 3rd party multi-pathing enabled.
    • Raw device mapped (RDM) disks in physical compatibility mode.
  • Data Recovery has been tested for use with:
    • One backup appliance for each vCenter instance.
    • Each backup appliance protecting up to 100 virtual machines.
    • VMDK or CIFS based deduplication stores of up to 1TB.
    • Up to two deduplication stores per backup appliance.

In the immediate future it appears that third party VADP based products may be the best replacement for VCB, but I’ll be watching for future changes to VMware’s VDR as well.

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  • http://www.VMDoug.com vmdoug

    The vStorage API for Data Protection really is awesome. I don’t see how vDR could be a replacement for VCB…VADP is the replacement. When you look at the architecture of VADP it’s very similar to VCB, just without the software layer. Take a look at Gostev’s post on VADP: http://www.vnotion.com/?p=181

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  • virtualgeek

    Disclosure – EMC employee here.

    Rich – it's important to understand the distinction: VCB and VADP are **backup APIs**. vDR – like NetBackup, EMC Networker, vRanger, Veeam Backup, EMC Avamar, etc – are **backup products**.

    VMware has intentionally targeted vDR at the SMB customer – so the design point is focused there. Most of the startup backup product folks, and some of the large backup folks have embraced VADP (it is much, MUCH better than VCB).

    In general, when you hit the scale, or “replicate to tape or offsite disk”, or other requirements (many of them on that exception list), many of the 3rd party backup apps cover that (and also have much deeper app-level recovery options).

    That's not to say “vDR bad, 3rd party VADP-integrated backup good!” – rather that each is built for it's target market, but each is leveraging VADP.

  • http://communities.vmware.com/blogs/vmroyale Brian Atkinson

    Rich,

    I suspected it was coming – thanks for posting this.

    Brian

  • http://vmetc.com rbrambley

    Doug, Chad,

    vDR actually uses the vStorage API, if I am not mistaken. My point is
    that since it uses VADP and it is a VMware product, it seems to be the
    logical replacement internally. However, it is geared towards the SMB
    and will need to be improved if it will be functional for enterprise
    backups.

    So, you guys are clearly the winners with the products you have today!
    On the other hand, It will be interesting to see if VMware leaves vDR
    as.

  • http://www.vladan.fr/ Vladan

    I'd say that the vDR will be enhanced, bugs will be fixed and the product will arive to maturity. The features lucking to vDR righ now…. like: file level restore for linux guests, backup only up to 100 VMs and there is many more..

    Otherwise the vDR just works well in SMBs..-:) Set it and forget it…

  • simonseagrave

    I agree – vDR definitely has a feel of being a gen.1 release of the product.

    Though not to take anything away from it as it is currently an appropriate solution for the SMB space, though it will be interesting as Vladan mentions to see what the next release of vDR will offer and whether this will start addressing the more demanding requirements of an enterprise level VMware environment. When (not if) this happens it will start to get interesting as VMware starts to encroach on pre-established and mature VM backup products.

    Interesting times ahead?

  • Dracolith

    “# Hot adding disks with versions of vSphere that are not licensed for hot add”
    Didn't they fix the ability to add virtual disks in Essentials/Standard/Free with that vSphere Update 1 ?
    http://www.vnotion.com/?p=231

  • http://vmetc.com rbrambley

    Vladan, Simon,

    I guess it will come down to whether or not VMware's customers are requesting vDR be enhanced or not.

  • http://vmetc.com rbrambley

    Dracolith,

    I wouldn't be surprised if the vDR documentation available for download is slightly behind.

  • MarkDCampbell

    Great post. I'd agree that vDR, like other point products, is differentiated from the API set. What VMware has done here is finally offer an API (and deprecated a horrific approach in VCB) that makes not only point products easier to integrate but allows backplane products that can handle VMware along with other virtual and physical environments to offer VMware support at the same level of quality.

    Most small and medium businesses don't have the headcount to deploy point products and then manage and maintain them – so this direction by VMware should help in this area. I post more on this at http://www.unitrends.com/weblog/index.php/2010/

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