Configuring Televaulting Agentless Backups for VMware Virtual Machines

Installing real backup agents on physical servers already has its share of challenges. Identifying the servers that need the agents, scheduling a time to install them, installing them, possibly doing a server reboot, verifying the agents work and then upgrading them as required. But as companies introduce VMware and their associated VMs into their computing environment, how do administrators easily verify that all of the data on each VM is backed up or even has a backup agent installed on it? It is these sorts of issues that Asigra’s Televaulting can help companies address.

While it is almost redundant to say, Asigra Televaulting’s key value proposition is that it does not require administrators to install an agent on each VM. This is especially important in the new virtual world. Using Asigra Televaulting, its DS-Client (a single piece of software installed at remote or branch office) automatically discovers all of the VMs on a VMware server. Once detected, the DS-Client displays the complete VMware installation tree (the physical server, the virtual machine/templates and each VM’s directories and files) to the administrator.

The administrator can then select from the DS-Client’s management console what he wants to backup and how he wants to back it up (including daily incremental backup or continuous data protection). If the administrator selects to protect the entire VMware server, any new VMs created on it are automatically backed up.

Of course one of the hidden drawbacks of backing up multiple VMs on any VMware server is to avoid overloading the physical processing and network resources of the underlying server. This can occur if an administrator schedules backups on multiple VMs on a VMware server at or about the same time.

In these circumstances, the DS-Client does not throttle the reading of data from each VM before sending it across the network. On these VMs, the backup traffic will behave the same as an application downloading large files across the network. So even through the backup job will not get higher priority than any other network traffic, it still generates server overhead and network traffic.

However there are at least three factors working in Televaulting’s favor that minimize its impact of backups on the VMware server’s network resources:

  • Only the first backup that the Televaulting DS-Client performs on each VM is a full backup. That means the DS-Client only needs to do a full backup of that VM one time – the first time.
  • Future backups are done using either incremental backups of changed blocks of data or continuous data protection (CDP) at the administrator’s discretion. As long as there are not extraordinary amount of changes on the servers, and the typical daily data change rate on Windows servers is under 5%, the amount of data that the DS-Client needs to transmit during an incremental backup is minimal.
  • If CDP is used, network traffic and server overhead on the VMware physical server is further minimized since data is transmitted throughout the day rather than at a scheduled time.

Backing up VMware VMs can create new levels of complexity that companies are often unprepared to address from both a management and technical perspective. Asigra Televaulting’s architecture gives companies a simple method to detect what VMs are on each VMware server and offers administrators the options and flexibility they need to make sure the data on each VM is protected without creating other server and network performance problems in the process.

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