NetBackup 7.6 gets tight with VMware

NetBackup Accelerator to provide vastly faster backups and restores of VMs

Symantec today announced upgrades to its enterprise-class NetBackup software to focus on tighter integration with VMware and the ability to backup and recover virtual machines (VMs) more quickly.

NetBackup 7.6 will include NetBackup Accelerator now for VMware, providing up to 100 times faster backups than NetBackup 7.5, while new NetBackup Instant Recovery for VMware will recover virtual machines 800 times faster. New features for vCloud Director and vCenter will make management and automation easier, as well, according to Danny Milrad, Symantec's director of product marketing for NetBackup.

"A 1TB or 2TB virtual machine, which many of our customers have, could take hours to restore and then restart. This upgrade gives them one-minute recovery time objectives," Milrad said.

George Winter, technical product manager for NetBackup, explained that the software now creates a virtual machine data store using the Network File System (NFS) protocol. The NFS data store resides on VMware ESXi host.

"So you can boot up the virtual machine from that ESXi [host] and then use vMotion to migrate a VM from temporary storage to a permanent data store," Winter said. "And, we're not impacting our backup image in any way. All the users see is a virtual machine online and accessible. It takes up to 60 seconds to boot that virtual machine."

NetBackup 7.6 also performs incremental VM backups, meaning after an initial full backup any data changes on a VM are automatically backed up and can be used for full restoration of the VM.

"In our testing we've been able to back up...over 600 100GB VMs an hour using the incremental technology," Winter said.

Symantec has also more tightly integrated its backup software with VMware's vCloud Director, which allows backup administrators to view and manage of their VM backups through VMware's cloud server console.

The integration affords new levels of data backup automation, according to Milrad. For example, a direct integration with VMware's vCloud Director API allows admins to set up automated backups of any newly provisioned VMs. Additionally, the integration allows backup reporting and data restores through VMware's vSphere plug-in.

"A VMware admin needs to be able to see if backups and restores are completing, so the updated vCenter plug-in helps with that," Winter said. "Also, the restore wizard allows you to chose the VMs that you want to bring back ... rather than having to use NetBackup console."

Symantec said all of its VMware integration also applies to its NetBackup appliances, meaning that with a single backup box, up to 4,800 VMs can be protected -- a substantial improvement over NetBackup 7.5. That version allowed only 3,000 VMs to be backed up through a single appliance.

Symantec also announced a beta version of its Cluster Server software, which now targets VMware servers to provide high availability and disaster recovery for applications running in virtual infrastructures.

The new software will provide automatic application failover between VMware VMs in order to provide faster application recovery without compromising VMware advanced capabilities like vMotion and Distributed Resource Scheduler. Symantec's Cluster Server can be managed directly through the vCenter console.

Finally, Symantec announced a new version of its Dynamic Multi-Pathing for VMware, which integrates directly into VMware vCenter and adds support for vSphere 5.0.

In the event of a path failure, Dynamic Multi-Pathing for VMware automatically routes data to an available path and then restores the failed paths as they become available - providing storage management and availability across disparate storage hardware.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed. His e-mail address is

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