When you need to protect your business data, the choice for the right VMware backup tool might be challenging and the requirements must be carefully assessed.
Before starting the software selection procedure, it's crucial to analyze the business requirements to identify the most suitable solution to protect the corporate data.
It is important that the VMware backup tool to be evaluated is produced by reliable vendors who can guarantee a certain level of security in terms of support and development. If you opt for a small vendor where the risk of failure is high but chosen only because the cost is low, it would certainly be a risky choice.
If the vendor fails and the software is no longer developed, the company's VMware infrastructure could not be updated because the backup software would not be able to support it. Is it worth risking your business with a solution chosen just to save money?
How to choose the right VMware backup tool
Several aspects should be taken into consideration while selecting the solution to implement in your organization.
To define the features set required to meet the business requirements, a deep analysis of the environment to protect must be done. The number of machines to protect, the expected RPO and RTO values, if application-aware are in use, and so forth heavily affects the software selection.
Number of virtual machines
The number of virtual machines to be protected and therefore also the number of hosts installed must be considered to evaluate if the chosen VMware backup tool is capable to handle the environment size.
Perhaps the most important points to consider to select the right VMware backup tool for your organization are the RPO and RTO values.
- RPO - how much data a company is willing to lose due to a system failure determines how close one backup can be to another to limit data loss. If a realtime backup is required for your mission-critical database but the solution can provide 15 minutes as lowest RPO, perhaps the choice is not the right solution.
- RTO - time required to restore a VM or a service determines how much time the VM or the service is offline and not available. Again, if you need a low RTO the backup software must provide options to make the restore process as quick as possible.
Backup and Restore
Based on the requirements, the VMware backup tool must be able to provide all the features to make your backup and restore processes quick and effective.
- Backup types - since the backup types being supported (full, differential, incremental) affect the design of your backup strategy, it's crucial to be aware of any limitations, and pro/cons.
- Application-aware processing - if applications such as Exchange, SQL, Active Directory or SharePoint are running in your infrastructure, it is important that data are backed up consistently to avoid data loss or corruption.
- Databases support - check the list of supported databases and make sure the backup solution supports the databases in use at your organization.
- FLR - if recovering single files or folders is a requirement for your business, double check if the solution provides FLR support (File Level Recovery).
- Storage optimization - if the amount of processed data is large, the capability to compress and deduplicate data backup helps to reduce and optimize the space consumed in the backup repository.
- Security - to obtain the highest level of security, the backup software should provide features such as backup encryption (AES 256-bit encryption), MFA, immutability or air-gap options (tapes, RDS, VTL, etc.).
- Instant recovery - if RTO is a concern, the Instant Recovery capability (the VM can be booted directly from the repository) should be available to speed up the recovery process.
These are some of the must-have capabilities the VMware backup tool should include in its features set.
Licensing is another key point to be considered during the selection process because it determines the investment required to protect your environment. Some solutions offer per-VM license while others per-Socket.
Depending on the number of workloads to prottect and the number of hosts installed, the choice of the right VMware backup tool license must fall on the most suitable option providing the necessary scalability to cover any additional workloads. If an increase in the number of workloads to be protected is expected, the socket license could probably be the most suitable.
Since an issue can arise at any time and could be critical (for example a problem during the restore of a mission-critical VM, a not working backup, etc.) it is important that the vendor of the VMware backup tool provides a technical support service suited to your needs. The 24/7 support is the option that should be preferred to get help to fix issues regardless of the time.
While evaluating the service support, we should consider the following:
- Support hours - problems can occur at any time and you need a support service that can cover 24/7.
- Contact options - how the support should be contacted (phone, emails, chat) is very important to quickly open a support case.
- Severity - the time the vendor takes to respond to the support request (called also SLA) based on the severity level is crucial to get your problem fixed as soon as possible. For example, if your database crashes and you need to restore it quickly, you can't wait eight hours before receiving support.
From the various solutions the market offers, Vembu BDRSuite is a cost-effective VMware backup tool that provides all the features required by modern software to implement an effective backup strategy.