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5 Ways VMware vSphere Improves Backup and Recovery
Sponsored by Veeam Software

Written by: Eric Siebert VMware vExpert and Senior Systems Administrator


5 Ways VMware vSphere Improves Backup and Recovery

Overview 2 Five Significant Improvements 3 Four Enabling Technologies 3 Thin Provisioning 4 vStorage APIs 5 iSCSI Software Initiator 8 Hot-add of VirtualDisk Files 9 Summary 9 About the Author 10 About Veeam Backup & Replication 11

VMware’s latest enterprise-level hypervisor product suite, vSphere, includes many new features and technological enhancements over its predecessor, VMware Infrastructure 3 (VI3). While there are several reasons to upgrade to vSphere, this white paper focuses on how VMware improved various storagetechnologies, how these relate to data backup and recovery, and how the new vStorage application programming interfaces (APIs) allow for better storage integration with third-party backup applications.

How virtualization improves the backup and recovery process
One of the key benefits of virtualization is that it provides unique and lower-cost options for data protection and disaster recovery. The reasonfor this is that a VM is encapsulated in a single disk file, which allows for image-level backups instead of traditional file-level backups. By using image-level backups, a VM can be backed up much faster. Image-level backups also allow for greater flexibility when restoring a VM, as either the whole image can be restored or just the individual files. Encapsulation of a VM in a single disk filealso provides the ability to easily replicate the VM for application or disaster recovery purposes either on-site or off-site. On-site replication is used for faster application recovery as the VM is located on a spare ESX(i) server in the native, ready-to-restore format, while off-site replication is used for disaster recovery purposes. A spare ESX(i) server can hold many more VMs than theproduction ESX(i) server, making data protection and disaster recovery really affordable.

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5 Ways VMware vSphere Improves Backup and Recovery

vSphere builds on the inherent benefits of virtualization for backup and recovery to provide organizations of all sizes with advanced data protection that leverages the best recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO)techniques, such as replication and continuous data protection (CDP).

vSphere improves backup and recovery in five important ways: 1. 30% average reduction in storage space on both the primary VM datastore and on backup storage due to thin provisioning. 2. 50% average increase in backup speeds when performing full backups also due to thin provisioning, whichresults in smaller backup windows. 3. 90% average increase in backup speeds when performing incremental backups and replication due to the new Changed Block Tracking technology of the vStorage APIs. 4. Near continuous data protection (CDP) at 20% of the cost of traditional CDP solutions. Faster replication cycles are possible due to Changed Block Tracking, with increments as small as five minutes. 5.Increased reliability. The vStorage APIs offer great reliability over VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB). As you can see, VMware vSphere provides several technological advances for storage that become compelling reasons to upgrade. Let’s take a look at the technology behind some of the storagerelated features that makes these benefits possible.

Of the many newstorage-related technologies in vSphere, the following four offer direct benefits to backup and recovery of VMs by improving backup speeds, reducing backup windows, and reducing the amount of storage required for backups: • • • • Improved support for thin-provisioned virtual disk files New vStorage APIs for third-party integration Improved iSCSI software initiator Hot-add of virtual disk files

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