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Quest's vRanger 6.0 Combines Physical and Virtual Server Backup

VRanger 6.0 delivers data protection for both virtual and physical environments, but easy and quick recovery of data will be the key differentiator moving forward.

Quest Software joined a growing number of vendors offering a single tool to back up and recover data on both physical and virtual servers with the release this week of its vRanger 6.0.

The latest version of Quest's virtual backup and recovery tool enables enterprises to back up and restore physical Windows servers in addition to its longstanding ability to back up, replicate and recover data for VMware. VRanger 6.0 supports Windows Server 2003 and 2008, and will support Windows Server 2012 upon its release. It also provides snapshot backups for a number of Microsoft applications, including Exchange, SQL Server, SharePoint and Active Directory.

John Maxwell, Quest Software's VP of product management, said that, historically, customers have used more than one tool to protect both virtual and nonvirtualized servers. He said about 90% of Quest's customers are running their nonvirtualized environments on Windows, with the remaining running Linux.

In a virtualized environment, vRanger works in conjunction with VMware's snapshot process to perform an image-level backup by reading the Virtual Machine Disk (VMDK) file without mirroring. VRanger reads out the blocks required for the backup based on whether it's a full, incremental or differential backup. End users and applications are still able to operate without interruption because VMware holds any new writes in a temporary location until the backup is complete and the VMDK file is once again available for use. Once the backup is complete, VMware releases the snapshot and resolves any changes held in the cache location by updating the affected blocks in the VMDK.

This image-level backup captures the entire image--including OS, patches, configuration settings, applications and data--in a single backup without using file-level agents on each virtual machine, which only perform backups of data or files. However, vRanger 6.0 does require agents to back up physical servers, says Maxwell, by deploying distributed agents that send data directly from the source to the repository. This eliminates bottlenecks in the backup process. These agents can be pushed to the servers from a central vRanger server to make them easier to install.

VRanger 6.0 uses some of the same features that Quest developed for backing up virtual environments and applies them to backing up physical servers. That includes its Active Block Mapping technology, which speeds up backups and reduces storage space by identifying and skipping over blocks of deleted and zeroed data. Just as it does with virtual machines, vRanger 6.0 conducts full, incremental and differential backups to reduce the amount of data backed up and can make application-consistent backup copies of transactional servers such as Microsoft Exchange and SQL Server.

VRanger 6.0 also improves the data recovery process by allowing users to find and recover files quickly with keyword and wildcard searches using native cataloging.

Next: More Enterprises Have Mix of Physical and Virtual Servers

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