Working as a VMware instructor and consultant I have seen a lot of different backup solutions for backing up virtual machines on VMware. A lot of people still go the old way with agent based backup, a tradition some companies have carried on from the physical datacenter. Unfortunately they are missing out on some great opportunities. PHD Virtual Backup is one of those solutions that moves past agent based backup and is aware of the VMware virtual infrastructure. The product is extremely easy to install and get up and running.
Installation is just three simple steps:
- Install the PHD Virtual Backup Console
- Deploy the PHD Virtual Backup Appliance from an OVF template
- Use the PHD Virtual Backup Console to configure it with IP, credentials and backup store
After completing these three steps you are ready to take your first backup. I did the installation, configuration, a full virtual machine backup and did a file level restore in less than 10 minutes. I really like how the product has implemented file level restore. One must remember that most restores are not going to be full virtual machine but on a file or folder basis. When doing File recovery a CIFS share is created from the backup appliance. You can then browse the file share and copy the files and folders you need. When you are done copying simply press delete to remove the CIFS share.
Everything you do in the product you do from the Virtual Backup Console. It is intuitive and a pleasure to work with. When entering the Backup Console you will be presented with a Dashboard. It will tell you about your virtual backup appliances. You will need at least one appliance per cluster. The appliance approach makes sure that the product is very cost effective. You don’t need to have multiple Windows Server running for backup and storage.
The product comes with some great features like Instant Restore and Replication. I tried the instant restore and I had my virtual machine up and running in 2 minutes from when I started the job. Instant restores simply runs the virtual machine directly from the backup appliance. This is what you need to lower your backup RTO. The data on the appliance is of course de-duplicated, this feature saves a lot of disk space!
It was a pleasant experience to try PHD Virtual Backup. It was simple to install, simple to use and it just worked. This product is what you need if you want to move past agent based backups. From my short experience with the product I would recommend you to take a serious look at this product when choosing your future backup software for VMware specific backups.
You can find more information on PHD Virtual Backup at www.phdvirtual.com