Anyone using VMware Data Recovery in production? Good idea?

The environment will be 5 ESX 4.1 Enterprise hosts and 1 ESXi 4.1 free host. I would like to be able to backup all the VMs in a cost effective way. I would like to be able to do incrementals, have data retention, and possibly off-site backups. I have watched some YouTube videos on VDR but have not set it up or used it yet.

I am also considering Acronis Backup & Recovery 10 Virtual Edition but there is a huge cost associated with it, especially since VDR is free. However you always get what you pay for so I am wondering if anyone is using VRD in production and how it is working.

I would be backing up to something via a UNC share, no tapes or anything fancy. Ultimately I would like to be able to do a full system restore as well as file level restores for Windows and Linux guests.
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Prashant KInfrastructure EngineerCommented:

I would like to suggest you to got for veritas netback that's an cost effective and more very fine.

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
vDR is not free, it's included with licensed versions of VMware vSphere.

vDR works very well using a UNC share, just make sure that the UNC share is not larger than 500GB (that's the VMware support recommendation).

Also make sure that the VNC share is stored on a server of NAS with fast network access.

Make sure you have the latest version of the vDR appliance and plugins.

We have many cients using it in production, but TEST, TEST and TEST it first.
vmwarun - ArunCommented:
VMware Data Recovery is a good option when you take cost effectiveness into consideration.

A single VDR Virtual Appliance can backup upto 100 VMs and can use data deduplication techniques based on vStorage APIs for vSphere.

File Level Restore for Linux VMs is available with version 1.2 of VDR.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
version is the latest stable version. It integrates well with vSphere Client, backup and resrtores are quick, and DeDupe works well.

I would also consider Veeam Backup, VizionCore vRanger Pro and phd virtual eSXpress, all are available for download, free trials - Veeam Backup is easiest to setup.

Some of our clients use, two products. vDR and another.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Personally, I wouldn't use Acronis Backup & Recovery 10 Virtual Edition, as it's new in the market place compared to the leaders Veeam Backup, VizionCore vRanger Pro and phd virtual eSXpress.
Well acronis itself is not new, but the most important point is they have a good support team.
vmwarun - ArunCommented:
Another gotcha is that the free ESXi you are planning to have in the environment cannot be backed up by VMware Data Recovery as the hypervisor needs to have either Advanced, Enterprise or Enterprise Plus license for VDR to work.
Luciano PatrãoICT Senior Infraestructure  Engineer  Commented:

Well again I need to focus the Veeam Backup & Replication. I have talk about many times of this product, that people think that I get some % :)

But for me is the best product in the market.The latest v5 version, is even better.

I have implemented this product in many costumers, but also VDR. Is not so good has Veeam, but also a good choice for people who have Enterprise license.

I did not test the new Acronis Backup(plan to test it soon), but this product for backup VMs... well I need to test before I take a independent and honest opinion.

Also VizionCore have a good product(not as complete as Veeam), but a good Backup environment options.

But in the end if the budged is an issue, then of course the VDR is a good choice, but like arunraju as stated, this only work with Enterprise Licenses.

VDR as a good restore points, and can manage very good our VMware Infrastructure and Backup/Restore options.

Your choice will depend on your budged and environment.

This is my opinion.

Hope this can help.

ThorinOAuthor Commented:
We already own the enterprise licenses so I figure I might as well take advantage of the product rather than throwing more money at other software.

I used vRanger 4.x and it was just awful and wouldn't touch it again. I know v5 had added features but the product was just awful and it left a bad taste in my mouth.

Veem was even worse.

I have used BESR but it isn't cost effective.

For the number of VMs we have Acronis doesn't make good cost sense.

At the end of the day backup software is one of those things I want to keep fairly simple since its one of those things you generally need in emergency. With that being said I don't want to go with free for cost sake and run into restore problems. I suppose ill just give it a go and see what happens.
Luciano PatrãoICT Senior Infraestructure  Engineer  Commented:

When you say "awful", what do you mean by that? Not user friendly? Not good products?

Because, those are the 2 best products in the market for VMware Backup.

ThorinOAuthor Commented:
The backups were incredibly slow. We were migrating away from BESR to it but there was no way to make them go faster. BESR works differently in that it is able to do incrementals on change whereas vRanger was always doing fulls. They said v5 would improve this but we chose to not use it even after buying it.

The interface was nice, support was good, but overall the product did not work in the way we needed it to.
Luciano PatrãoICT Senior Infraestructure  Engineer  Commented:

Sorry by Veeam have this feature since v4 and now is v5.

I have a 2Tb backup that takes only a couple of hours to finish.

In some VM incremental, backups I have only 5/10m of backup. Like DCs as example.

As an example I will add a printscreen one of my backup for Veeam(with 900Gb)

Of course any backup depends on the network, the Storage(where you put you backups) and Disks speed. All this can have many difference in a backup environment.

Luciano PatrãoICT Senior Infraestructure  Engineer  Commented:

Forget to inform that this backup is from a version v4.1.1

ThorinOAuthor Commented:
I just setup VDR and it is doing a backup of 2 VMs for testing purposes. The other thing I need to figure out is how to get a copy of this data off-site.

The VMs live at a colo which we have a 1Mbit VPN connection to. That location has a 35Mbit connection burstable to 1Gbit. Our corporate office has a 65Mbit connection.

My thought is to utilize the bandwidth and copy the data over the WAN to the corporate office. I know there is nothing built into VDR to do this for me, but could I do some crude copy like FTP or something?

My concern is because everything is deduplicated and has a backup Windows rather than a scheduled time that it would be difficult to get a reliable off-site backup that is constantly updated.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
We use ALL the backup products, and they are as FAST as your infrastructure.

The fastest is NetApp Snapshots, with SnapMirror to Off-site SAN for DR.

ftp or robocopy of the vDR CIFs share. Specify the time-window for your vDR backups, and then at another time-window, a robopy job with /mirror option or incremental option, you first copy robocopy job will be the largest.
ThorinOAuthor Commented:
I guess I will have to test it out, I could cut a windows out a night to not do vDR backups and try the robocopy like you suggest. My concern is that the changed data will be large, not sure how the files are broken down yet.
Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
vRanger does not always do full backups.  It can be configured to do full and synthetic incrementals so that it doesn't copy deleted blocks, empty space, etc...  Not sure why you're doing full backups but full/incremental is extremely efficient.

BESR has a virtual edition so it may be cost effective depending on license but in our testing it is 200%-300% slower doing restores since you have to use vmware converter and the process goes at about 400-800MB/s, way slower then vRanger or Veeam. I was on the beta test group for BESR and vRanger does much better job and is agentless.

My $.02

ThorinOAuthor Commented:
vDR seems to be doing a good job so far, I have also tried the file level restore in Windows which was really easy. I still have to test a full system restore but I assume that will go as planned as well.

The deduplication has saved a lot of space and I am very happy with that. I am going to setup Email alerts per the blog below. I realize that it is not as robust as some paid options previously mentioned, however even at $500 per socket for say vRanger we would end up paying $2500 to backup ~20 VMs.

With my bad experiance with both vRanger and Veem in the past I am not inclined to spend that kind of money for their product.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Glad you are happy with vDR it's a good product and getting better, watch out for new features in the future releases.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, at present email alerts are missing and VMware are aware of this "feature", but our concentrating on the stability of the engine. Look for new features in the future. (one reasin to keep you Support maintenance in check!)
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