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13.03.2015
Virtual machine-specific backup software and VM backup functionality from traditional vendors have changed virtual server backup for the better. One of the newer and more interesting features of VM backup software is recovery-in-place or instant recovery. Many shops use VM-specific backup software such as Veeam Backup & Replication or the VM backup functionality included with many traditional backup software products. VM backup software products take advantage of APIs provided by the hypervisor vendor, such as VMware's vStorage API for Data Protection.
While running from the backup VM, new write requests are directed to the temporary data store while the NFS data store is read-only. The virtual server backup approach an organization takes will be dictated by its specific needs. Today, there are a variety of virtual machine (VM) backup software products to ensure data on virtual servers is protected.
For example, many data protection products allow users to run an application from a backup instance of a VM following an outage of the primary virtual machine.


However, there are a number of important aspects to consider when it comes to VM backup software. Traditional backup software was designed around the idea that a single physical server would run a single application. For example, legacy backup software vendors like Commvault, Symantec and EMC offer VM-specific backup options today. This allows the backup application to put the virtual machine into a backup-ready state, known as quiescing the VM, before taking a snapshot and using it to create an image-level backup. Most backup vendors claim this technology can have an application up and running in the backup environment within a few minutes. Since backup hardware is not designed for high-performance applications, users should expect to see a performance dip while using recovery-in-place. Many shops use VM-specific backup software (28%) or VM backup options from a traditional backup software vendor (29%). Recovery-in-place allows a hypervisor to mount a backup instance of a VM and to get applications up and running quickly while the primary VM is restored.


This can lead to competition for compute resources and slow application performance during backup. Today's software is also sophisticated enough that it can retrieve and restore individual files from the VM image. If you plan to rely on recovery-in-place, you will need to ensure that your backup server has enough compute power to run your application(s) at a reasonable performance level. In addition, the percentage of those surveyed that rely on traditional agent-based backup for VMs has fallen to 20% versus 29% in 2012.
This approach also requires shops to treat each VM as a discrete client with separate licensing costs -- depending on the number of VMs you back up, this can become an expensive proposition.



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