Storage Vendors Take Aim at VMware

With VMworld fast approaching, storage vendors are busy trotting out their products for backing up virtual machines.

FalconStor, Onaro, HDS, DataCore, EqualLogic, Agami and, of course, EMC are just some of the vendors trotting out VMware-related storage announcements this week and next, and Network Appliance hit the road in recent weeks to make its case for being the best VMware storage option.

Part of the reason for all the attention storage vendors are lavishing on VMware is that it’s just plain hot, with a near-triple digit growth rate and a blockbuster IPO.

So does VMware require a specialized backup tool? The answer is: it depends.

One issue, said Greg Schulz, founder and senior analyst at StorageIO, is whether your current backup solution supports VMware.

Another issue when moving to a virtualized environment is that users also want to consolidate management functions, such as data protection and backup, said Schulz.

“Instead of running separate backups on each of the different guest operating systems, why not leverage a backup that’s more integrated with the VMs and offload guest operating systems from some or all of their burden of supporting backups?” he said. “That’s where VMware Virtual Infrastructure 3 (VI3) VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB) comes into play in conjunction with third-party backup solution providers who can use the VCB APIs combined with application agents to provide transparent and transactional or application-aware backups in a LAN and server-free manner.

“The key is that VCB, like other VMware tools such as VMotion, require third-party data movers and backup managers to implement a total solution, thus, you have the race of third-party vendors to catch and ride the big VMware wave from a backup, data protection and data protection management standpoint.”

The latest such products include:

  • EMC Avamar Virtual Edition for VMware Infrastructure and EMC Avamar Data Store, which EMC bills as the first data de-duplication product for VMware environments, available as an appliance or software-only tool, with pricing starting at $17,000-$30,000.
  • FalconStor Continuous Data Protection (CDP) Virtual Appliance for VMware, which FalconStor dubs “a complete data protection solution for both physical and virtual VMware machines,” with pricing starting at $8,000.
  • Onaro VM Insight 1.0, one of several product announcements this week from the storage service management vendor, is “designed to maximize the benefits while minimizing the risks for virtual machine implementations.”

With VMworld next week in San Francisco, expect more such announcements in the coming days.

“Backup is hard to virtualize,” said Jim O’Dorisio, vice president and general manager of EMC Avamar. “It must evolve to keep up with virtualization.”

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Paul Shread
Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for Time.com, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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