Virtual machine (VM) backup is hardly a hot new technology trend, but despite its usefulness in the data center, many SharePoint customers have never been able to fully take advantage its benefits for data protection. Between Microsoft’s explicit warnings against using VM snapshots on SharePoint farms, and most customers’ hesitancy to virtualize SQL Servers because of performance concerns, the recommendation has consistently been to avoid VM backups for SharePoint.
Considering the proliferation of virtualized servers, and with administrators growing more comfortable running SharePoint on VMs (due in part to Microsoft’s own efforts around Hyper-V and Azure), DocAve Backup and Restore is introducing a hybrid approach that combines our best-of-breed SharePoint platform backup solution with new VM backup features in DocAve 6 Service Pack (SP) 5.
Since many of our customer deployments feature a mix of virtualized (WFE, Central Admin, Apps server) and non-virtualized (SQL) servers, we realized that we needed a tool that could support both. Now, when users select which farm to protect, virtualized SharePoint components can be added to the backup plan. We then utilize VM snapshots for everything, except for the SQL Servers.
At a time when businesses are focused on speed of recovery and business continuity, this functionality will save our customers time when it matters most: during the disaster recovery process. By using VM backup to protect the WFEs, Central Admin, and other SharePoint servers, this saves administrators from the time consuming process of having to stage a vanilla SharePoint environment to rebuild a farm. They will be able to restore the entire farm from the backup plan.
Support is available for vSphere and ESX/ESXi for VMWare customers, and Hyper-V for Microsoft customers. If you already have a VM backup tool in place, you can use that tool instead and still benefit from our platform backup. Our backup and recovery software is a now a comprehensive toolbox covering everything from granular, item-level failures to large-scale, multi-farm backups.
Because a VM backup includes the entire operating system, it can be much larger than a traditional database backup, so we are compensating by adding a new concurrent storage device type to our existing storage policy options. This new logical device shortens the path to the storage device, which means less movement across the network and less performance impact. Also, instead of writing data to storage in sequential order, the storage devices with the fastest performance will be used first. This should provide a quicker and more intelligent backup process.
We’re excited about this new functionality and hope you will experience the benefits. To learn more about DocAve Backup and Restore please visit our product page, request a demo, or download a free trial today.
Have a specific question about this new feature? Leave a comment on this blog post or join us in our product discussion forums.