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Acronis Tries To Ease Virtual Machine Backup Pain

At VMworld 2011, rolls out simplified disaster recovery tools for virtual machines running on VMware vSphere.

Disaster recovery and data protection vendor Acronis introduced at VMworld 2011 Monday a new data backup solution for virtual machines running on VMware’s vSphere system. (See our related coverage of VMworld 2011 for a look at VMware's latest plans.)

Acronis vmProtect 6 can be installed as a virtual appliance on a physical server and can support an unlimited number of virtual servers on that physical machine. The software license costs $499 per CPU. Through a Web-based interface, the appliance can be managed through any device with a Web browser, including a smartphone or tablet computer.

While Acronis vmProtect can be used in small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) and large enterprises, it’s particularly needed in the SMB environment, where companies may lack the IT expertise to handle the complexity of virtual backups, said Izzy Azeri, senior VP and general manager, Americas, for Acronis.

“Even though there are a lot of customers virtualizing and even though more virtual servers were deployed in 2011 than in 2001 to 2010 combined, we still see a lot of customers not protecting those virtual servers the same way they were protecting their physical ones,” Azeri said.

Based on a recent Acronis customer survey, the Acronis Disaster Recovery Index showed that 31% of 800 customers surveyed use the VMware vSphere virtualization platform, while another 29% use the free VMware ESXi hypervisor. Microsoft Hyper-V is used by 22%, Citrix Xen Server by 9% and Red Hat KVM by 2%. (A Gartner research report released in July showed Microsoft and Citrix gaining on VMware.)

More than 40 percent of Acronis customers say that they don’t back up their virtual servers as often as they do their physical ones, and 35 percent said they use multiple hypervisors, which further complicates backup.

Acronis vmProtect 6 can be installed in as few as three minutes and can complete an initial backup in fewer than 10 minutes, Azeri said. The software also simplifies physical-to-physical and physical-to-virtual VM migration. Because vmProtect 6 runs as a virtual appliance on the host ESX hypervisor, it saves the customer the expense of running a separate Microsoft Windows server to do backups.

Acronis introduced Backup & Recovery 11, for hybrid cloud environments, in May.

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