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After years of almost exponential growth, with many businesses virtualizing over 80% of their workloads, the virtualization industry has hit a tipping point. Now more than ever, organizations are questioning the value proposition of the “Big Two,” VMware and Hyper-V, and looking at alternative hypervisors. And this means looking at backup eco-system alternatives as well.
This doesn’t mean that organizations aren’t continuing to invest in virtualization. The hypervisor market continues to grow at a solid rate. What it means is that the market is seeing a shift in how organizations are virtualizing their infrastructure.
Over the last ten years, the Big Two have dominated the market. But as organizations continue to virtualize more and more of their workloads, the increased cost of the Big Two has begun to be too much to handle for a lot of companies. In the wake of this, we are beginning to see the creation and growth of alternative open-source or niche hypervisors like Red Hat Virtualization, Citrix Hypervisor, Oracle VM, etc.
The issue organizations are dealing with is the following: we cannot afford to continue to expand the VMware or Hyper-V environment, but it’s hard to trust these new, open-source hypervisors, especially when our existing backup solution is unable to protect the virtual machines.
That is where vProtect comes in. vProtect is a modern, enterprise-level backup solution designed specifically to protect these open VM environments. This includes support for Nutanix Acropolis, Citrix Hypervisor (XenServer), RedHat Virtualization, KVM, and many more. vProtect enables agentless VM-level protection and can function as a standalone solution or integrate with your existing enterprise backup software.
As you can imagine, as the open-source hypervisor market is beginning to expand, vProtect is not the only solution out in the market for these types of environments. Another such product is Bacula. Bacula, like vProtect, focuses attention on the niche market of open-sourced hypervisors. A quote straight from Bacula’s website claims to feature “the most advanced backup and recovery for RedHat Virtualization on the planet.” Now, is this really the case? How does Bacula compare to vProtect in this RHEV/oVirt (Red Hat Virtualization) space? And how does it measure up in terms of support for all the other open-sourced hypervisor options that are out there? Does it support containers? How about AWS EC2 machines? Does it support cloud offload?
According to end-users that we have been in touch with, Bacula (for the most part) is successful in protecting the VMs. It does what it says it does. However, some have complaints about backup speeds and flexibility when it comes to allowing different ways to transfer the VM data. Bacula really only offers one transport method, and that is image-based transfers.
vProtect, on the other hand, offers multiple backup methods:
- Image-based transfers
- Disk attachment method
- Changed block tracking for incremental backups
- A new transfer method that moves VM data via SSH.
These options allow end-users more flexibility when it comes to architecture and networking.
Another specific complaint that we have heard directly from a Fortune 100 organization and one of the largest technology companies in the world (a former Bacula user who has since purchased vProtect), is that for any oVirt users, integration requires an oVirt image-io Proxy which causes bottlenecks when running simultaneous backup jobs. This prevented them from being able to run more than a couple of backup jobs at the same time. With vProtect, using a disk-attachment method to transfer the VM data, this customer has cut backup and recovery times in half.
Another area where vProtect is impressing former Bacula users is its modern, easy-to-use web UI. According to several end-users, Bacula’s UI is cumbersome and far from intuitive. We like to say a user interface is like a joke – if you have to explain it, then it’s not a good one. Because of this, most Bacula admins perform their tasks using Linux command line. However, this may be daunting for someone who is not comfortable using Linux, or knowledgeable about Bacula infrastructure.
There appears to be a steep learning curve when it comes to configuration and administration, which may be difficult to overcome for new users if, for example, your Bacula admin leaves the company or is simply on vacation. The UI for vProtect is intuitive and clean. Most of our customers request a license, install, configure, and run the product with no need for assistance from us. It’s that easy.
Finally, vProtect has the advantage in its wide range of virtual environments and backup destinations that it supports. According to its website, among open VM environments Bacula has hypervisor support for RedHat, KVM, and ProxMox. vProtect, on the other hand, includes support for each of these hypervisors, but also several others. These include: Nutanix AHV, Oracle VM, Xen, Citrix Hypervisor (XenServer), OpenStack, Amazon Web Services, and also Kubernetes and OpenShift containers.
vProtect also offers multiple options for backup destinations. This includes local file system or NFS, existing NAS devices, DataDomain appliances, cloud locations, etc. But most importantly, vProtect is able to integrate directly with a customer’s existing enterprise backup solution like IBM Spectrum Protect, DellEMC NetWorker, Catalogic Software vStor, and Veritas NetBackup.
In conclusion, don’t get stuck spending incredible amounts of money on your VMware or Hyper-V environment just because you don’t know there are other viable options out there. Many organizations, including large enterprise companies, are deciding to make the switch to alternative, open-sourced virtualization platforms, and turning to products like vProtect to make sure that data is protected. Check out the Open Virtualization Pro blog for loads of information on open hypervisors.
We also have a pre-recorded demo available on our website if you would like to see the product in action.