At the NE VMUG, while walking the floor I saw a new virtualization backup player, perhaps the first generic Replication Receiver Cloud: TwinStrata.  And information gained while not at the NE VMUG. There is also a new virtualization backup player just for Hyper-V: Altaro. As well as a new release of Quest vRangerPro. The Virtualization Backup market is a very dynamic market with new ideas, technologies, and concepts being put into the market at every turn. In many ways, the market leaders are not the bigger companies but the smaller and fast growing companies. In the past, it was about features associated with pure backup, but now it is about features and fast disaster recovery and recovery testing.While TwinStrata is not a backup tool, per say, it presents itself as an iSCSI cloud device which can then be the target of replication or an offsite backup.  Which means that it can be used as a Replication Receiver Cloud for software based replication tools from Veeam, VMware, Quest, PhD Virtual, etc. as well as a backup target for all these tools and many more. A combination of tools will be the best way to make use of TwinStrata as it is not ‘fast’ storage, but ‘cloud’ storage.

Altaro becomes the second virtualization backup vendor to target the Hyper-V space. The first one being Veeam. Both products will be out sometime after VMworld.  Hyper-V is becoming the target for quite a few vendors as we are finding that there is just not one hypervisor in use across the space, but often find there is more than one within a given data center and they all need to be backed up using some intelligent tool. Backup is really about recovery, and Veeam and Altaro have targeted recovery as their primary concern and have multiple ways to recover (per virtual disk and per file) as well as recovery testing in each product.

Quest also announced recently their new vRangerPro 5.2 version, which includes ESXi support. vRangerPro  integrates seamlessly with cloud storage vendors such as Riverbed and StorSimple without changing anything.  vRangerPro always lacked an ability to integrate tightly with ESXi, this has changed with vRangerPro 5.2, which now allows you to backup ESXi using just the credentials in your VMware vCenter server. This goes quite a ways to ensuring a single set of role based access controls (RBAC), that you do not see within any of the other backup tools.  While those tools integrate with vCenter to perform hotadd of a disk, they do not use the same set of credentials but instead delegate the work. vRangerPro 5.2 unifies this to one set of RBAC.

Backup mechanisms have always been an interesting ‘thorn’ in any security persons side, due to the need to get to the data and the lack of good RBAC. Within the virtual environment this has always been a worse problem than other environments as it was hard to track which user took which action, but vRangerPro now allows a finer mesh of user integration making it easier to perform audits and implement controls as there is one place to control everything instead of multiple places. This is always a big win.

The Virtualization Backup market is still growing and innovation is still leading the way. Now we are seeing tighter integration for role based access controls as well as new players for the Hyper-V market such as Altaro. However, companies like TwinStrata also figure into the picture as nearly all virtualization backup tools can also be used to replicate data, and replicating to the cloud will become more important for offsite backup and data recovery.

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Edward Haletky (381 Posts)

Edward L. Haletky, aka Texiwill, is the author of VMware vSphere(TM) and Virtual Infrastructure Security: Securing the Virtual Environment as well as VMware ESX and ESXi in the Enterprise: Planning Deployment of Virtualization Servers, 2nd Edition. Edward owns AstroArch Consulting, Inc., providing virtualization, security, network consulting and development and The Virtualization Practice where he is also an Analyst. Edward is the Moderator and Host of the Virtualization Security Podcast as well as a guru and moderator for the VMware Communities Forums, providing answers to security and configuration questions. Edward is working on new books on Virtualization.

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