PHD Virtual Technologies is transforming data protection and enterprise monitoring in virtual IT environments. They pioneered ”virtual backup appliances" (VBAs) in 2006, using virtual machines to backup virtual machines and have since become an award-winning product of choice for data protection in virtual environments. More than 4,000 enterprise customers worldwide trust PHD Virtual for VMware, to protect their business-critical data. At PHD Virtual Technologies we’re committed to helping their customers achieve high data availability via sophisticated products that simplify difficult problems.
PHD Virtual Backup makes virtual machine backup and recovery incredibly easy. Unlike other solutions that often require additional servers, software and hardware for their backup applications, PHD Virtual Backup is delivered as an all in one software based virtual backup appliance solution with integrated management through VMware vCenter.
PHD contacted me to look in to their new Backup product which reached version 6.0. I am reasonably familiar with their backup solution. I was one of the first people online to release a product comparison document comparing PHD Virtual’s groundbreaking backup solution esXpress 3.5 to other solutions.
These links go back to 2009 and are still there:
In the meantime a lot has happened since we already arrived at version 6.0.
So, What's new
PHD Virtual Backup version 6.0 contains 5 Major Enhancements to set a New Standard for Value, Performance, and Ease of Use in protecting your virtual environment.
- PHD Instant Recovery
- Application Aware Backups
- Full and incremental backup mode
- Enhanced FLR
I do not walk you through all the options, but what is interesting is following:
Instant VM Recovery allows a user to make an application available as quickly as possible in the event of a failure, without the need for additional infrastructure or having to wait for a more time consuming restore process. PHD offers this functionality for vSphere environments by leveraging the backup of a VM. In the event of a failure, PHD can quickly turn on a VM using the data that resides directly on the backup target, before ever having to perform a full VM restore.
Another Major Enhancement is providing the ability to take application aware backups for any application. Application aware backups include the ability to properly quiesce the application prior to backup, as well as perform any post backup processes, such as automated log management (truncate, shrink, etc). This is done by leveraging a very small guest application called the PHD Guest Tools. The PHD Guest Tools can offer this functionality for users via script procedures that either PHD or the user supplies. What this means is that PHD has taken the added steps to ensure that they provide all necessary functionality to backup and restore certain applications like Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft SQL Server.
Full and incremental backup mode. Prior to version 6.0, PHD Virtual Backup provides a single backup mode called the virtual full. Virtual Full backups include source-side deduplication across all backups within a backup target. They are very efficient for storage utilization and backup and restore speeds.
Backup data has to be secure, no contradictions there. Security can now choose to enable one of many types of industry standard encryption levels for PHD Virtual Backups. When enabled, data will be encrypted at the file system level of the VBA to ensure that it is secure in transit to the backup target and at rest when it reaches the backup target.
Currently, PHD Virtual Backup leverages the ability to present backups out as an iSCSI target from the VBA. This is very flexible for FLR and Application Item Recovery. Now you will be able to select an option to use CIFS for FLR, whereby the backup will be mounted to the VBA and presented out as a CIFS share. The share will automatically be mapped to the machine triggering the file recovery and a Windows Explorer view of the backup data is presented. This allows for easy access to backup data from almost any OS – Linux or Windows – for file and application level recovery. As always, security can be enabled on the CIFS share so the admin can restrict access to the backup data only to those that need it.
PHD Virtual Backup Exporter
The PHD Virtual Backup Exporter lets you export backup files from any existing backup storage location for long term or offsite storage. The PHD Exporter must be installed to a Windows Server machine using the included installation file. You only need to install the PHD Exporter if you plan to export backups to another location – the PHD Exporter is not required to run Backups, Restores, or Replication.
PHD Guest Tools
PHD Guest Tools enable application aware processing for individual virtual machines including quiesce, log truncation, and the ability to run custom scripts. To install the tools, you will use the ISO file that is included with the PHD Virtual Backup installation package.
The PHD Virtual Backup Appliance is a small virtual machine that performs the backup and restore processing for the VMs in your environment. First you install the PHD Virtual Backup Console and Plug-In. Make sure your vSphere Client is not running. When the installation wizard completes, deploy the PHD Virtual Backup VBA by using the .OVF file included in de download. Supported is VMware vSphere 4.x, 5.0. When you are done with your deployment, make sure the VBA has an IP address (Default is DHCP) then connect to the PHD Virtual Backup Console by right-clicking the VBA VM. Configure your PHD Virtual Backup and you are all set to go.
You can store backups on attached virtual disks, an NFS share, or a CIFS share. If using attached disks, they can be created on either local or shared hypervisor storage. As mentioned you have the option to attach a virtual disk used to store backups which is very useful in smaller environments or test environments.
Something else I noticed was the simplicity now that everything was installed. Installing is easy, using is more easy. Their is almost no need for knowledge required, it's very intuitive (I guess, you've already busy enough).
PHD Virtual Backup allows you to easily deploy multiple Virtual Backup Appliances and thus creating an unprecedented scalability, without the cost and complexity that other solutions entail. Need more information? Product documentation, help, and videos are available that describe all of the available configuration options, features and functionality of PHD Virtual Backup and its components on the PHD Virtual Web site www.phdvirtual.com
Got you interested? You can download a free trial of PHD Virtual Backup.