As we headed down the back stretch of our full day of EMC briefings, we sat down with the Avamar folks to discuss the latest developments on that front. As our readers know, EMC’s Data Protection and Availability division has been investing heavily in the integration between the Avamar and Data Domain technologies to deliver the best of source side and target side data deduplication. Each solution may still be used independently of the other, however, there are some strong synergies when they are utilized together as a single backup and deduplication architecture.
Prior to 2013, Avamar and Data Domain protected data had to land on two different backup storage platforms. This increased backup silos in the data center for those EMC customers that were leveraging both solutions. Earlier this year, EMC announced the ability for Avamar protected data to land on Data Domain appliances. This represents a significant advancement for organizations to take advantage of all the EMC source and target side data deduplication use cases in a much more streamlined architecture.
As we discussed in our prior briefing note, VMware machine images backed up by Avamar can now be presented as bootable images off Data Domain storage. This provides an interesting fail-over option for customers that are running non-clustered applications. While the VM is mounted off the Data Domain appliance, VMware can be running a storage vMotion job in the background. Once the vMotion is finished, the VM can be migrated back over to primary storage.
Avamar version 7.0 is a reflection of the continuing enhancements to the deep integration between Avamar and VMware. Avamar VMware image-level backup can now be manged through VMware’s vSphere Web Client. This enables VM administrators to assume complete command and control of the protection of virtualized application data.
Furthermore, the addition of what are called Avamar dynamic policies for VMware backups, now automates the backup protection of VMs. For example, a backup policy can be applied to a specific folder or to an ESX server within a cluster and any VMs subsequently added to either group will automatically inherit the given backup policy. This helps to ensure that newly added VMs will immediately start being protected and reduces the administrative burden of manually assigning backup policies.
Another Avamar enhancement is the new multi-threaded capability of its VMware Proxy agents. Rather than load a backup agent within a particular Guest OS, Avamar can assign proxy VMs to manage the backup process. This eliminates any disruption to the virtualized application being backed up. Now up to 8 simultaneous backup and restore jobs can be performed per Avamar VM proxy. This helps to dramatically speed up backup and recovery operations.
For remote offices interested in leveraging a data deduplication solution which doesn’t require purchasing separate backup storage hardware, Avamar’s Virtual Edition (AVE) may be an attractive offering. AVE now provides support for up to 4TB’s of capacity; which is more than sufficient for many remote office locations. AVE can backup VMware data to the local disk in the hypervisor, to enable local restores, and can efficiently replicate deduplicated and compressed data over WAN links for centralized data protection.
Finally, Hyper-V 2012 was recently added to the Avamar support matrix. Avamar provides nearly all the same VMware backup and recovery capabilities for Hyper-V virtualized infrastructure.
Shortly after acquiring Data Domain four years ago, some industry pundits prognosticated that EMC would eventually put Avamar to sleep. After all, how could EMC successfully market two seemingly competitive deduplication offerings? Since that time EMC has delivered on the Avamar and Data Domain integration roadmap that they laid out several years ago. The result is a plethora of deduplication use cases that businesses can leverage to maximize their investments in the EMC Protection Storage Architecture.