File-level restores are handled through a separate appliance, which mounts the restored volumes. Backups on Microsoft Windows guest operating systems can take advantage of Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) to quiesce applications and databases, resulting in more consistent and useful backups.Administrators have the option between a full image backups or an incremental backups using Veeam's Synthetic Backup. This tool works in the background to increase performance by computing changes to the full backup. As a result, the restore is relatively quick and utilizes the least amount of storage space. Veeam Backup & Replication also performs deduplication, a process that sends, processes and stores only necessary data. It has compression capabilities to further reduce the size of the backups, and it's able to handle storage on disk arrays where deduplication happens on the hardware level, which is another prominent feature. Installation of Backup & Replication 3.1 requires a Microsoft Windows server and a Windows or Linux server as a backup target. Replication is built into Backup & Replication 3.1, but only VMware ESX servers can be used as replication targets (VMware ESXi is not currently supported as a target). The console software requires a Microsoft SQL Server 2005 database, offering no support for Microsoft SQL Server 2008. While Veeam's software can use an existing database server in your organization, it also ships with Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition. Backup & Replication 3.1 can integrate with VMware Consolidated Backup but does not require it. Replication functionality relies on the SSH service in VMware ESX console operating system. Unlike other products, though, Backup & Replication 3.1 does not require remote root access and can use sudo, a thoughtful addition to increase security. The interface for managing Backup & Replication 3.1 is a separate application within the Backup & Recovery suite, and does not integrate with VMware's vSphere client. The interface is easy to use and uncluttered. Fortunately, Veeam's product documentation is straightforward and contains everything you need to know about the installation of firewall ports to required backup target permissions. They also have a growing forum and user community as well. Veeam Backup & Replication 3.1 is licensed per VMware ESX CPU socket, with additional ongoing contracts for access to software upgrades and support. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bob Plankers is the lead Linux and VMware systems engineer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Plankers has 14 years of experience in IT, and he also runs The Lone Sysadmin blog.
This was first published in October 2009