Veeam today presented a technology preview of its SureBackup concept. SureBackup is part of what Veeam calls “Virtualization-Powered Protection”. After a couple of weeks of buzz creation (including a dedicated website featuring nothing but a big countdown clock), readers might be disappointed to learn that Veeam Backup and Replication version 5, which will included the feature set that makes up SureBackup, won’t ship until Q3. (That is, July at its earliest.)
With that caveat out of the way, let’s see what the fuzz is all about.
Just to reiterate once more, Veeam SureBackup is not a stand-alone product, nor one feature of the upcoming Veeam Backup & Replication version 5. It is a collection of features that build on the existing functionality of VB&R.
The most significant feature is called Recovery Verification. With this feature, backup operators can opt to automatically verify the integrity of each and every backup.
To enable this, VB&R includes an NFS daemon that presents the images on the backup pool as a regular NFS datastore to the ESX farm. VB&R automatically registers the virtual machines (in a fenced-off network) and tests if the backup is bootable. (And doesn’t get stuck in Safe Mode, for instance.) This mechanism is OS- and application independent.
Recovery Verification is done in a dedicated resource pool. This can be a resource pool on the production environment, but it can also be a separate pool. This way, cross-site or remote backup is possible, with verification at the disaster site. The verification process takes application dependencies into account. (For example, it can know the relationship between and the correct boot order of a typical mail environment which includes DNS – AD – Mail – Blackberry – … servers.)
The verification wizard can also be used for application-item recovery (boot from a specific backup and then enter the application to recover the lost data), and for on-demand production replicas. (Eg. to test the impact of a patch in clone of the complete environment rather than a cloned individual VM.)
What about SRM?
With all this Virtualization-Powered Protection, the overlap with VMware’s own Site Recovery Manager increases even further. Veeam doesn’t openly position Backup & Replication against SRM, but it will surely be used to cover a lot of the SRM use cases. (As it is today.)
Furthermore, Veeam B&R is quite a bit cheaper than SRM, and doesn’t rely on – expensive – storage array replication. If you require near-zero RPO and RTO, then of course you’ll need storage based replication. (Preferably synchronous.) If ‘a couple of minutes’ is acceptable, you can run the backup or replication job as often as possible, thereby achieving a similar (but not equal) level of protection at a fraction of the cost. (Veeam calls this SmartCDP.
Of course Veeam B&R doesn’t do IP renumbering and other advanced recovery functionality present in SRM, but these kind of features will undoubtedly be something the active PowerShell community will get to work on. The on-demand production replica functionality even covers some Lab Manager territory.
Pricing and Availability
As mentioned before, Veeam Backup & Replication will be available in Q3 2010. There is no sign of a public beta yet. Pricing and packaging is not known at this time, but Veeam is expected to introduce two versions, at two price points. Hyper-V support, first expected at the end of 2009, is something that’s still being worked on.