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Veeam releases free backup tool for VMware and Hyper-V

VMware and Hyper-V admins can now get a free set of tools from Veeam for backing up, copying and transporting virtual machines.

Veeam Backup Free Edition has no time limit on use, but it is limited in the amount of functions from the full Backup and Replication tool it offers. There’s no scheduler, no incremental backup, no replication, no deduplication, no Instant Recovery (Veeam’s term for its ability to run a virtual machine (VM) from a backup image), and no PowerShell support in the free edition.

What IT pros can do with the free edition is perform full backups of virtual machines; manage host and VM files (replacing a previous free offering called FastSCP); Instant File-Level Recovery (restore files directly from a backup images); and use a new feature called VeeamZIP.

VeeamZIP allows for a one-time ad-hoc backup of virtual machines with compression, so that they can fit on removable media such as a USB drive.

VMware Inc. users will also get a feature called Quick Migration with the free edition, which allows for the live migration of a running VM from a backup image to any host or data store, for users who don’t use clusters, shared storage and / or Storage vMotion. Quick Migration is also available for Hyper-V with the full Backup and Recovery, but not in the free version.

Update 6-8-2012: After this blog was published, Veeam got in touch with the following clarification: “Hyper-V VMs that go through an Instant VM Recovery task can be migrated back to production storage directly through Veeam. [But] Quick Migration is only a vSphere feature. The Quick-Migration -like feature for Hyper-V is actually only part of Instant VM Recovery.

Veeam isn’t alone in offering a “freemium” model for its VM backup software, with a free subset of features held out to attract users to the pay-to-play goods. Altaro allows Hyper-V users to backup up to two VMs with its free version. PHD Virtual offers a free trial as well as a utility called VMNetBac, which backs up and restores the network configuration of VMs. Arkeia has its Virtual Appliance Free Use Edition, and Trilead its VM Explorer. Finally, VMware offers its own VMware Data Recovery tool bundled with Essentials Plus and Enterprise Plus licenses.

If you’re willing to use guest agents to save a few bucks, there are also a myriad of cheap-to-free open source backup options available.

The announcement of Free Edition coincides with the release of Veeam Backup and Replication 6.1, which adds Instant Recovery for Hyper-V, support for SCVMM 2012, and a new GUI.