Robert H. Hollar, Jr.


Veeam Backup and Replication Analysis Brief
March 8, 2016
Robert H. Hollar, Jr.

Veeam Backup and Replication is an enterprise level application that specializes in virtual machine and application backups. Veeam has been a pioneer in the virtual machine backup community combining backup, replication, and recovery into a single software package. Veeam Backup and Replication’s purpose is to provide a seamless one system solution for backing up at the file level, virtual machine level, and replication of data to data warehouses.

In 2001 VMware introduced a new technology to the market that allowed for the virtualization of x86 servers called GSX (2001, July 23). Up until this point the backup industry only had a need to take backups at the file and bare metal level. With the introduction of GSX and virtual technology the ability to run multiple servers on a single piece of hardware became available. This meant that bare metal backups were now unable to capture the individual servers if they were running a virtual environment and had no way of restoring a single server if it crashed. This leap in technology created a void in the backup community’s ability to restore servers in their entirety and provided a need that Veeam was eager to satisfy.

Veeam Backup 1.0 was initially released in 2008 with the ability to perform incremental backups, replication, and deduplication for VMware 3.5 virtual machines, allowing for file-level backup restores (2008, March 3). In 2009 support for ESXi free edition was added with the ability to backup VM templates and Veeam Backup was renamed to Veeam Backup & Replication (2009, October). Veeam Backup & Replication version 5.0 was released in 2010 creating the ability to restore a VM directly from a backup file, dubbed ‘Instant VM Recovery’ (2010, August 31). This was a significant feature for the backup community as it drastically cut down on backup recovery time, eliminating the need to first fully restore the virtual machine. Version 6.0 released in 2011 allowed Veeam Backup & Replication to integrate with Microsoft Hyper-V, a rival to VMware in the virtualization field (2011, December 1). Veeam Backup & Replication’s current version is 9.0 which was released in 2016 and added support for virtual machine replication to the cloud (2016, January 13).

Veeam Backup & Replication was created as part of the Veeam Availability Suite and developed by Veeam Software which is a privately held company specializing in backup, disaster recovery, and virtualization management headquartered in Baar, Switzerland (2014, January 7).

Veeam Backup & Replication went through many progressions to get to where it is today. The basic components of Veeam Backup & Replication started out as a free virtual machine backup product known as FastSCP that was first released in 2007. Veeam took the roots of FastSCP and created a for sale product the next year called Veeam Backup (2007, September 5). Today the product is known as Veeam Backup & Replication taking over 8 years and 9 production versions to get to what it is today.

Since Veeam Backup & Replication was initially released, Veeam has experienced a 34 percent year over year revenue growth in enterprise orders and in 2015 had revenues over $470 million. Veeam was also one of the top five data protection software vendors in 2015 and has had a 22 percent growth rate with over 183,000 customers (2016, January 26). This is largely attributed the Veeam’s ability to quickly recover entire virtual machines or files in an enterprise level environment with a simplistic, easy to use console.

Veeam Backup Essentials which includes Veeam Backup & Replication and Veeam One is licensed per socket and per host. For a 2 CPU Socket License it costs $860.06 (n.d.). There is an initial organizational cost to deploying Veeam Backup & Replication as it will take staff resources to install and configuring the software. There will be technical costs to the implementation as Veeam Backup & Replication will use network bandwidth and virtual machine host resources to run the backups and move them to the desired location. These taxed resources can be mitigated by running the backups in non-peak hours, implementing a separate backup network, and staggering backup job times.

The benefits associated with adopting Veeam Backup & Replication are due in part to a centralized backup application that manages backups at the file, system, and replication level. Additionally built in deduplication and file change management techniques allow for faster and smaller backups to take place, resulting in lowered storage costs. Reports and alerts can be configured for job completion, errors, or warnings which helps with the administration of backups for your virtual environment. The advances in notification and reporting results in the ability to identify problems before they become critical, helping to maintain uptime and avoid data loss.

As with any new or up and coming software there are always unforeseen challenges when initially releasing your product. In order to help customers mitigate issues, Veeam has provided a public knowledge base to help users find problems that other customer have experienced. Usually these issues end up being environmental and not something that spans all customer environments. For example knowledge base article 1188 describes an issue where a file level restore was causing the windows server to have a blue screen of death and crash. This was ultimately caused by the anti-virus that the customer was using which was erroring out when a virtual disk was being restored. The suggested fix was to exclude VMDK files in the anti-virus software (2011, August 25).

Veeam Backup & Replication is sold by over 15 different retailers, the biggest of which is CDWG. When it comes to adopting Virtual technology, VMware and Hyper-V are the two main leaders in the field. VMware accounts for nearly 56% of the virtualization market, Microsoft Hyper-V accounts for 28% of the market, while Citrix XenServer accounts for nearly 4% (2014, January 08).

There is no specific industry standard, certification, or regulation that Veeam Backup and Replication must satisfy in order to bring their product to market. As of Veeam Backup & Replication Version 8, Veeam has added AES 256-bit data encryption support which is a standard established by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology in 2001 (2014, October 10).

With the adoption of virtual servers at the enterprise level there became a need for a backup solution that was capable of backing up these servers in their entirety. Veeam answered the call and continues to provide a solution to addressing backups at the VM level. As long as virtual machines exists there will be a need to back them up.

The development of virtual technology and its widespread adoption in the enterprise environment created an initial void in the backup software sector that allowed Veeam to successfully get a foot hold. Being that Veeam Backup & Replication is tied almost exclusively to the virtual world any changes that happen with virtual technology will directly impact how Veeam is able to handle backups. Any disruptions to either VMware or Microsoft’s Hyper-V would have a ripple effect on Veeam as these are the two platforms that Veeam supports.

Because Veeam Backup & Replication is almost exclusively for virtual environments, if an organization has both physical and virtual servers they may look for an alternative for their backup solution. Currently Veeam requires a third party backup solution to backup physical servers. The ability to backup to tape is another feature not supported by Veeam without a third party solution. If an organization prefers to use tapes for their backup media they may look for another solution (n.d.).

When it comes to backing up virtual machines in their entirety and being able to restore at the file level Veeam Backup & Replication is top notch. Veeam was the first company to allow for file-level restores of a VM without having to first restore the entire machine, cutting down on restore and down time. Though some of Veeam’s backup competitors like Symantec and CommVault have since developed the ability to restore files without restore the entire machine, Veeam continues to innovation and maintain a competitive edge in the virtualized environment. Veeam’s recent integration with EMC’s DataDomain and HP’s storage systems help Veeam to stay ahead in the replication market, taking advantage of Veeam’s deduplication and compression algorithms.

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Keywords

Veeam Backup & Replication, Virtual Server, Backup, Software