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Veeam, Liquidware, Offer VMware Add-Ons

Third parties offer products to enhance the VMware virtual machine operating environments.

Third party software suppliers made the most of VMworld in San Francisco Sept. 1-3, by introducing their own enhancements to the VMware environment.

Veeam Software of Columbus, Ohio, introduced the fourth version of Backup & Replication, which is widely used virtual machine backup and recovery software. It now includes full support for VMware's vStorage API and VMware's vSphere 4, VMware's infrastructure for virtual machines running in ESX Server environments.

That means 4.0 will support thin provisioning of disks, allowing a more efficient use of shared disk space by assigning and using blocks in real time instead of through a heavy provisioning of space in advance. Thin provisioning also allows faster backups and restorations of virtual machines, according to Ratmir Timashev, Veeam president, in an interview.

Version 4.0 also will also work through the vStorage API to replace the functionality formerly supplied through VMware's Consolidated Backup. After a full backup has been executed, the ESX hypervisor can use changed block tracking to log changes that occur to files until the next scheduled backup. "Now we don't have to calculate everything that's changed. VMware will tell us (Backup & Replication)," said Timashev. By updating only the files that have changed since the previous backup, use of system resources is streamlined, he added.

In addition, 4.0 includes support for virtual applications that are meant to function together. The 4.0 version will back them up together, guaranteeing that compatible copies are kept packaged together.

The new version includes an Enterprise Management Server to run multiple instances of Backup & Replication through a single Web console. The feature allows administrators to central backup processes, while still allowing decentralized restore processes, Timashev said. Administrators of Microsoft Exchange e-mail servers may want to know backups occur at regular intervals through centralized administration, but they may want to restore the contents of a mail box on their own, Timashev said. Version 4.0 will become available in early October at an increased price. A license will be $599 per socket, up from $499 in the previous release. Timashev said most backup and recovery vendors offer two products, one for backup and one for replication, while those functions are combined in the Veeam product, he said.

Veeam has further announced that in mid-September Backup & Replication will support Microsoft's Hyper-V virtual machine environments as well as ESX Server, when Hyper-V 2.0 becomes available in late October.

"We think Hyper-V 2.0 will be a good, reliable release. We think it will take market share," he said.

Another third party making a splash at VMworld was Liquidware Labs. It said its Stratusphere Assessment and Diagnostics software will help VMware customers build out their virtual desktop infrastructures.

Stratusphere can diagnose existing physical desktops, capture user settings and data files, and migrate them to virtual machines that are managed by Windows. The physical-to-virtual migrations can take place between different versions of Windows, according to Carl Eschenbach, executive VP, in an announcement at the show.

Stratusphere can provide detailed configuration information on the user and his applications and offer visibility of the virtual desktop from running applications to the storage area network. Application response times or network response times to the user can be determined through the the software's diagnostics. Its pricing starts at $3,900. Stratusphere is meant to be a complementary product to VMware's View.


InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on server virtualization. Download the report here (registration required).

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