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Overcoming the Agent Conundrum in VMware Environments

When server and storage managers out there hear the “A-Word” (Agents) come up in a conversation with a software vendor, they typically cringe, and think to themselves, “Oh great, another set of agents that I have to not only deploy but that I have to manage and track.” In the server world, some agents are unavoidable, like performance/security monitoring, virus and worm detection and prevention etc. However, most IT groups attempt to keep the number of agents that need to be installed on servers – physical or virtual – to a minimum, because for every new agent running on a server, that is yet another aspect of the server’s configuration that must be validated and tested whenever any upgrades are performed. 

I had an interesting conversation with a server manager at a Fortune 100 company last week and she brought up an interesting point about adding agents into her environment. Not only was she concerned with the items listed above, but also that the valuable server resources (CPU, Memory, Network, and Storage) were going to be hi-jacked away from the application when the server was put in service.

Now bring VMware into the picture when you are talking about having to manage those massive numbers of agents across 100’s and possibly 1000’s of virtual machines (VMs). The task can become a daunting one for any server manager to deal with even with the latest and greatest software management tools. 

Backup and recovery services in most organizations requires an agent to be installed across all the servers in the environment that one needs to backup to tape, disk, or VTL. But just for a moment imagine if all those agents could be removed, not only from the VM’s, but from the ESX servers themselves. 

Asigra Televaulting’s unique capacity licensing model means you no longer have to pre-pay for backup agents that you think you might need. For example, companies continually have to fight the “My standard server growth was X last year, so I need to budget for X more licenses this year” battle. Since Televaulting is licensed based on total capacity, you no longer need to forecast how many agents you will need which is only going to get more difficult in the future since with the advent of VMware you will no longer be able to see new VMs as they are created.

You also no longer need to install any backup and recovery software on VMs. Asigra Televaulting has always used an agentless backup and recovery process so still it does not require companies agents to install agents of physical machines to obtain full and complete backups. However it does need to take a different route to discover VMs as they are created on ESX servers. This is done as part of Asigra Televaulting 8.0’s new integration with VMware’s VirtualCenter. Using VirtualCenter, it can now discover and backup new VMs as IT administrators create them on specific ESX servers. This feature is also core to the Asigra Televaulting 8.0 software so companies do not need to pay extra to obtain it. Its capacity based licensing also stays in force so whether you have 100 or 1000 VMs, all that matters is how much capacity you are using to store the backup data from those VMs.

Data protection still remains at the top of many company’s list of their biggest pain points and the need to install and maintain backup agents is one reason many companies remain hesitant to tackle this problem. Asigra’s legacy of only offering an agentless backup solution coupled with its new integration with VMware give companies a near seamless way to implement data protection across their environment (whether physical or virtual) without the typical administrative pain associated with this type of change. In so doing, Asigra helps companies avoid the typical agent conundrum associated with new backup software deployments while solving a longstanding problem in their environment.


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