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jlillard

VMware Agent

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Can you post any details on the upcoming VMware Agent? I'm curious as to what it will be able to do and what the system requirements might be. We only run the free version of ESXi 4.1 and don't use vSphere.

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I think you'll still need a VMware licence to allow Retrospect to connect to the Vmware data stores... :( The VMware agent (to my knowledge) is just a way of centralising backups in Retrospect, but you still need the Data Protection feature available.

 

Richard

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Now that the VMware Agent is released is there any advantage to backing up clients with it vs installing the client in the guest OS? It sounds like you still have to install the guest client for Linux.

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Now that the VMware Agent is released is there any advantage to backing up clients with it vs installing the client in the guest OS?

 

For backing up a Windows VM, the newly released Retrospect VMware Host Server add-on works with VMware to enable Retrospect server to bypass the VM and read the VM’ volumes from the VMware host storage, instead of going through Retrospect Client software running inside the VM utilizing the VM's storage and network stacks. The benefit is significantly less impact to the VM's performance while achieving much higher backup throughput. The backup is still safe because during this process VMware works with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service to prepare a crash- and application-consistent state for Retrospect to back up. And it works with Retrospect's efficient file-level deduplication across multiple physical and virtual backup sources, selectors to precisely control what to and what not to back up, disk storage management via grooming as well as the option of direct-to-tape support. There is more information here.

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So the thought is that a Retrospect Client on a Windows machine that has access to the VMware storage will be able to process data faster than a Retrospect Client installed in the guest. It would be interesting to see some tests done in a lab to know how much of an improvement there is. Can I assume that only one virtual machine can be backed up at a time? If I use the current method of installing the client in the guest then I can back up the data from multiple virtual machines simultaneously.

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With the Retrospect VMware add-on:

* During backup Retrospect server would directly access the backup source VM's volume(s) which are mounted on the Retrospect server computer by VMware. It is a little bit like using Retrospect server to "locally" (i.e. without going through Retrospect Client) backup a network share.

* VM is backed up one at a time. We do have improvements planned for several areas regarding backing up VMs.

 

The performance advantages over Client-based backup come from:

* Avoiding Retrospect Client's CPU, storage and network load on the VM

* Shortening storage and network IO to between the Retrospect Server and the VMware host storage

 

Trials are available:

* 45-day trial license for Retrospect Multi Server 8.1, which includes the VMware add-on: http://retrospect.com/en/store/try

* Trial license for just the VMware add-on for already-licensed Retrospect Multi/Single Server 8.1: mailto:sales@retrospect.com

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I am using the free version of ESXi 4.1. Will the agent work with that? Someone previously said in this post that it probably wouldn't and I just wanted to confirm that.

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The free version of ESX does not include all of the backup APIs used by Retrospect, so it is not supported.

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How does it work with vCentre? i.e. if you run vCentre and have licenses in place, does Retrospect see that as a single virtual entity to backup, or 2, 3, 4+ vHost servers, each needing their own Retrospect license?

 

Richard

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