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True 15-Minute RTO for Mission-Critical VM Systems with Vembu VMBackup Replication

Most IT sites, have a key system that is essential to the survival of their business. When processing on such a system is interrupted, essential Line of Business (LoB) operations cease to function and corporate business is significantly impacted. Moreover, the longer it takes to restore a mission-critical system, the greater the likelihood that the business will face substantial repercussions. As a result, nirvana for a Service Level Agreement (SLA) for business continuity centers on zero recovery time and zero recovery point objectives (RTO and RPO). READ MORE…. 

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.



Task: Ease of Install

Score: 5

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





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.







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.



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.



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.



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




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.

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