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Product Review: Vembu VM Backup and DR

My Platinum Sponsor Vembu asked me to review their VM Backup Product. So using my previously used format for reviewing backup products I tested each part of the product where possible and scored the test 1-to-5 5 being the highest score that test can receive. Some test where not scored but rather data used like speed or cost as a comparison. If you want to find out more about the Vembu products before we get going read my previous article found >HERE<

Before we get going, if you know me you know that regardless of whether they sponsor my site or not I am going to score them fairly but also record my opinions too.

To set the stage, you need to understand that my lab which these tests were conducted on use a 1Gb network with SATA ISCSI so as per the other vendors I tested don’t take the performance results as gospel.

Task: Ease of prerequisites

Score: 4

Comments: First step prebuild a Windows VM. Apart from having to restart the install after the C++ run time was downloaded and prerequisites were fairly painless effort to get going. But because I’m lazy I would love to see the C++ runtime bundled into the install.

 

1

Task: Ease of Install

Score: 5

Comments: Very simple to install, hardly any effort. Gotta love next next next installs.

 

2

 

3

Task: Time to Deploy

Score: 4

Comments: Very quick deploy time

Task: Ease of post install config

Score 4

Comments: Firstly you have to add your timezone. And then the usual tasks to add vSphere etc. Also you need to register the server with the Vembu portal before your 30-day trial goes live. So yup I did this test using their 30-day trial.

 

4

 

5

 

6

Task: Ease to setup job

Score 3

Comments: It was intuitive, but a job was defined based on VM membership of an ESX server. I would prefer to just select the cluster. I’m not sure if this is a non-issue or not because what was going through my mind was what happens if the VM moves and you want to restore. Would it expect to see the VM on the same server? However in hindsight that is something easily resolvable at restore time if needed. Vembu’s word on this matter “vMotion is supported. So, if a VM is migrated to another host, incremental backup will continue without fail. Also, selecting the entire vCenter Server will be included in our upcoming release”

To setup a backup job you find your vSphere deployment, and you will see a backup now icon as shown below. That opens a wizard to walk through to setup a backup job.

 

7

Task Backup Job Realisation

Score 4

Comments: Worked straight away, now hassle no errors.

 

Task Backup Performance

Speed: 59 MB/s in 7 Mins

Comments: Now if you compare that with other tests I have done for other vendors using the same lab that is super quick. This was not an incremental, this was a full backup of an Exchange server. Normally in my lab I’d expect to see ½ those kinda speeds.

 

8

Task Integration with CBT           

Score 4

Comments: Must have CBT as incremental finished in 1 min. Without CBT it would be much longer due change scan. The only thing is I didn’t see an option for this. Vembu did confirm that CBT is supported by default.

Task Restore Job Realisation     

Score 5

Comments: Worked without issue and that is exactly what you need. A restore without fail.

Task Restore Performance         

Speed 20.3 MB/s in 15mins        

Comments: Still quicker than other products. Restore speed is limited by my lab network.

 

Task File-level-Restore

Score 3

Comments: No UI and FLR is done through mounting the vdisks to the local FS. This is very basic. I could have missed this feature, but that is how it seemed. Vembu have since confirmed that FLR embedded in the UI is scheduled in a coming release.

 

Task Item-level restore

Score 4

Comments: Uses a separate app to mount the datastores of enterprise apps like Exchange and SQL. Would love to see this built into the main app but TBH most of the other vendors take this same approach. The only thing I don’t like is you have to have Outlook and SQL installed. Probably to make use of an inbuilt API.

 

Task Space Optimisation             

Score 3

Comments: Compression but no Dedupe. The Vembu guys feel that software-based dedupe poses too much of a resource penalty to be efficient. I don’t 100% agree and I think it depends on if you are prepared to group VMs that have the same operating system in the same processing job. This way you will see great savings. Vembu’s position on this is use an appliance built for this purpose.

 

Task vStorage API Capable         

Score 5

Comments: Think so but they call it “vSphere Plugin”

 

Task vCloud Director Capability

Score 1

Comments: None. TBH I’m going to remove this one in the future. The need for vCloud Director support is dwindling and limited to service providers.

 

Task Ability to Backup VSS Apps              

Score 5

Comments: What you’d expect. Has truncation features etc..

 

Task Support for physical server              

Score 5

Comments: Happy this is out of the box. Whether we like it or not some orgs still have physical servers.

 

9

Task DR Capabilities      

Score 4

Comments: Standard Replication feature which is a bonus as some products don’t have that.

 

Task Data Availability   

Score 4

Comments: Vembu has an Instant VM recovery feature. This is part of the restore wizard. So you can choose to restore or fire up the VM directly

 

10

 

Task API functionality

Score 3

Comments: Vembu has a REST API. Not obvious though and only because I’m selfish I would like to see a vRO plugin too.

 

Task Multi-hypervisor  

Score 2

Comments: Vmware and Hyper-V. It looks like I scored them quite low with a 2 but that is average compared to other products. However Vembu have said “For VMware and Hyper-V, we offer agentless backup with CBT incremental. For Oracle VirtualBox, KVM and Xen, we offer agents to backup VMs. Using the ImageBackup agent, the entire VM can be backed up.”

 

Cost: The Vembu backup product is $360 per CPU socket which is very very competitive.

 

Final Comment: Vembu is a very simple, cheap but feature rich product. There were some things I’d like to see done better but mostly that is personal preference. Remembering if someone asks me “which is the best product on the market?” I would answer “depends on your needs”. If you don’t need all the bells and whistle, then cost plays a big factor in your choice of product. I scored Vembu on average 4 out of 5 which is awesome.

Zerto 5.0 What will be new

Zerto have a new release very shortly, 5.0 With it a whole raft of new features. In their words lets take a look at what features are set to hit 5.0:

Replication and Recovery to Microsoft Azure

 

Building on the continuing trend of businesses looking to utilize the cloud as a disaster recovery site, ZVR 5.0 will support Microsoft Azure as a target platform. A Zerto Cloud Appliance (ZCA) running in an Azure Windows D3 v2 VM is used to store the replica data in a storage account. ZVR 5.0 only creates the recovery VMs upon initiation of a failover, test or migration from either Zerto interface. Replication from both VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V environments is possible with RPOs in seconds, multi-VM consistent Virtual Protection Groups (VPGs) and fully automated RTOs in minutes.

One-to-Many-Replication

One-To-Many replication allows the simultaneous replication of a VM within the same site and to multiple remote sites. This includes replication from, between and to VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V environments as well as DRaaS to AWS & Azure.

 

This feature works by simply allowing a VM to be placed into multiple VPGs, each with their own journal retention and Service Level Agreement (SLA) settings for maximum flexibility. There is no impact to the performance of the protected VM or the RPO enabling a multitude of use cases:

 

  • Recover files & VMs directly to production or a recovery site
  • Protect VMs to new datacenters during migrations
  • Utilise the cloud for longer retention and DR
  • Protect individual VMs locally to recover 1 VM from a remote multi-VM VPG
  • Protect multiple application in 1 consistency group to a remote site for app boot ordering

 

 

Zerto Mobile

 

Uncertainty and a lack of confidence in the recovery process are problems that often stem from the difficulty of monitoring the protected environment. ZVR 5.0 solves this issue by introducing a new SaaS delivered mobile app, enabling the ability to remotely view the status of multiple Zerto Virtual Managers (ZVMs), Virtual Protection Groups (VPGs) and any alerts of running tasks from anywhere at any time, using a mobile phone.

 

The app will be available for both Android and iOS platforms. All data is sent encrypted over the internet where it is stored in an encrypted cloud service and database back-end. Access is controlled by MyZerto enabling the secure management of employees requiring access to the app.

 

30-Day Journal History

 

For businesses that require longer retention of data, in ZVR 5.0 point-in-time recovery from the Journal will be extended up to 30 days in the past as the maximum history is extended from the previous 14-day setting.   When coupled with journaling compression and the new One-to- Many feature, each VM can have a different Journal history which can be configured on a per-VPG basis, enabling efficient usage of local storage or cheaper remote cloud storage. With compression there is no change to the recommended Journal sizing of 7-10%.

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