Posts Tagged ‘virtual disk backup’

PHD Virtual Backup software with XenServer support: One down, ESXi to go

PHD Virtual, creators of the backup product for VMware environments formerly known as esXpress, have introduced a new version of their PHD Virtual Backup software with support for Citrix XenServer.

The PHD Virtual Backup product is the first “virtual only” backup product with full support for Xen based virtualization I know of. But then again, I am no XenServer expert. For me, this is not too important at the moment, because I’m still very focussed on VMware only. But it is a major step for PHD Virtual; a lot of vendors are roadmapping support for all leading virtualization platforms, but today PHD Virtual actually delivers!

Keep going guys! The backup solution they have on the market right now for VMware is simply brilliant, especially in its robustness and its almost famous “install and forget” ability. I actually installed the product at several customer sites, and it started backing up. Fully automated, no headaches. No one ever bothered again. New VMs are automatically added to the list to backup if configured to do so. Simply brilliant. In many ways VMware has been looking closely as to how esXpress has been doing backups. Prove of this is VMware’s Data Recovery, which basically is a poor copy of esXpress in its way of working.

Some other vendors have been shouting about this great “hotadd feature” they now support. People tend to forget that esXpress has used similar technology for several YEARS now! Because hotadd did not exist then, they were forced to use “coldadd” , meaning their Virtual Backup Appliances (VBAs) needed to be powered down between backups (to clarify: NOT the VMs to be backed up).

Whether you use hot- or cold-add, backup speeds are great in any case. But cold-add has a drawback: The VM performing backups has to be powered up and down, reconfigured etc. That takes time. Especially now that Changed Block Tracking (CBT) is used by most vendors, a backup can take as little as 20 seconds if not too many blocks have changed within the virtual disk to backup. And this is where “cold-add” start to hurt: Reconfigure, power up and down of the VBAs for every virtual disk to backup easily takes a 3-5 minutes to complete.

PHD Virtual has been working hard on a version which is compatible with ESXi. Especially now that VMware is pushing even more towards ESXi, this is more important than ever. I hope to see a beta version soon of the ESXi compatible product; I cannot wait to test 🙂 . This will also solve the “cold-add” overhead, because I’ve been told this version will use a single VBA per ESX node which hotadds multiple disks in parallel and then performs the backup also in parallel. Very exciting: Hopefully we’ll see both backup efficiency and robustness like never before. Add replication in the mix (which is a part of the product by default) and you have a superb solution at a relatively low cost.

PHD Virtual Backup with XenServer support link:

Soon to come