Protecting VMs in a Multi-Hypervisor World
In most organizations, day-to-day applications run in a virtual machine on a hypervisor. VMware tends to be the most common hypervisor in use with Hyper-V quickly gaining ground. However, a new hypervisor from Nutanix, Acropolis, is also catching the attention of organizations looking to reduce hypervisor licensing costs. While competition is good, it does lead to multiple hypervisors being used at the same time in the same data center, making management and especially data protection more complex.
In addition to supporting multiple hypervisors, IT planners are under pressure to reduce data protection infrastructure costs while at the same time improving recovery times. Data protection software licensing costs are a large part of the overall cost of implementing a data protection infrastructure. Therefore, they are an obvious target for cost reduction, as long as they don’t jeopardize efforts to improve recovery time.
Who is NAKIVO?
NAKIVO is a data protection software company focused primarily on virtual machine data protection on a variety of hypervisors including VMware and Hyper-V. Their product, NAKIVO Backup & Replication, has reached near feature parity with market leaders yet costs substantially less. All the core features an organization expects in a virtual machine focused backup solution are present including VM boot from backup, ability to back up multiple hypervisors to a single backup server as well as advanced features like policy-based data protection and universal object recovery.
What’s New in 8.5?
NAKIVO is one of the most aggressively developed solutions in the market, with new releases coming out almost every quarter. These quarterly releases are not just for bug fixes but almost everyone has a significant new feature or two. Instead of being bombarded with 50 new features contained in an annual release schedule, a quarterly schedule makes it easier for IT to digest the new capabilities and determine how to best leverage those features.
This quarter NAKIVO is launching its 8.5 release which as expected contains several important new capabilities. First, the new release supports Nutanix Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV). While the number of organizations that have implemented AHV is relatively low, the adoption rate is growing and AHV customers need a way to protect the new environment. Most AHV environments are mixed with either VMware, or Hyper-V, or both NAKIVO’s ability to not only back up virtual machines to a single backup server, but also restore VMs from one hypervisor to another is a highly sought-after capability that many organizations will find attractive.
The second new feature in release 8.5 is NAKIVO’s Replication from Backup capability. Instead of replicating from primary storage, these replication jobs leverage the backup as the data source and replicate a native instance of the VM to another storage system. This feature essentially creates a stand-by VM that simply needs to be turned on in order to work. While not true high-availability, the replication from backup provides impressive recovery time objectives (RTO) and impressive return on investment (ROI).
The third new feature is not technology related but is more of a business model update. Customers can now subscribe to the software on a per machine basis. Prices range from $18 per VM for the Pro Essentials version of NAKIVO to $50 per VM for the Enterprise version.
In addition to these features, NAKIVO also added support for a Mini Backup Appliance version based on Raspberry Pi, support for running NAKIVO on a FreeNAS based backup appliance and it also added an auto-update capability.
NAKIVO has an impressive record of delivering new features and capabilities every quarter. Since the initial release in Q4 of 2012, they’ve only had three quarters without a release. Support for Acropolis is increasingly important as the Nutanix hypervisor is making impressive gains in the entrenched hypervisor market. Additionally, the new replication from backup capability enables organizations to provide fast recovery to a wider range of applications thanks to reduced implementation complexity and lower costs. NAKIVO remains a company to keep an eye on; especially for IT managers under pressure to reduce backup infrastructure costs but unwilling to give up features.