Veeam introduces SureBackup technology

At March 22 Veeam introduced a new set of technologies marketed as SureBackup. The technology enables customers to verify the image level backups made of the virtual machines running on VMware.

Currently verifying if a backup can be restored and made operational (that is all about making a backup in the first place) is a complex, time consuming and expensive job. It takes quite some  effort to restore your backup to an alternative target, located in a fenced off network environment having enough storage. But performing an actual restore is the only guarantee the backup is reliable. For compliancy reasons a regular performed restore is often mandatory.

SureBackup will make life much easier. It is not a product available on the marktet yet but a technology currently being under development by Veeam. The technlogy will be included in Veeam Backup and Repliciation version 5, expected to be released in Q3 of 2010. Veeam decided to announce the new technology which is not available as a product yet to make customers and the industry aware of this new approach to backup and restore.

The technolgy enables an image level backup, stored on a Veeam server having a Veeam supplied NFS server, to be started in minutes for testing and verifying. The backup is compressed and de-duped reducing the usage of storage.  The virtual machine is started in a separate, fenced off, network to prevent conflicts with the production virtual machine. The Ip-address of the virtual machine running from the backup repository will be identical to that of the source vm running in production. Unlike VMware Site Recovery Manager automated adjustment of IP configuration is not possible. A set of virtual machines with dependencies can be tested  using vApps. Also the virtual machine backup is read-only to maintain its integrity. Changes are written to a delta .vmdk file which is removed after shutting down the vm. An automatic report can be generated informing the management about failure or success.

Talking about VMware SRM; there seems to be some common functionality in both products. However, Veeam says it is not positioning their new technology to that of SRM. SRM needs a SAN with replication and is  more focussed  on automated disaster recovery.

 The process of starting such a virtual machine from the backup repository on a NFS datastore takes only minutes. Tests done by Veeam showed a startup time of two minutes for a 150 GB virtual machine having 200 mailboxes. Compare this to the needed time and resources for a traditional restore where the backup file is actually restored to a virtual machine, or worse, a restore of a physical server.

Besides being able to verify your backup, this technology also enables an universal application-item recovery. This will enable you to recover a single item, for example an email in a mailbox or a record from a SQL-server database. The recovery is done using the available standard tooling. For example Exmerge or just manually opening a mailbox using WebAccess pointing to the backup VM and extract an emailmessage.

Another use case is being able to troubleshoot issues on your virtual machines or test software updates and patches on server identical to your production servers.

No additional hardware is needed. The current VMware ESX hosts running the production VM’s are able to connect to the NFS datastore provided by the Veeam server. It also does not need additional VMware licenses. Recovering virtual machines during peak times might be a problem when resources are low though. 

Version 5 of Veaam Backup and Replication will be available in two editions. The expensive one will have the advanced features.

More info on virtualization.info or read the press release of Veeam.

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About Marcel van den Berg
I am a technical consultant with a strong focus on server virtualization, desktop virtualization, cloud computing and business continuity/disaster recovery.

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