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Rollout: Vizioncore vRanger Professional 3.2

By easing the strain of virtual machine backups, Vizioncore's vRanger Pro saves time and processing power in ESX clusters.

Vizioncore's new vRanger Professional 3.2 is a backup and restore product for VMware environments that complements an enterprise backup system. It can speed backup and restore times and offers additional features, including scheduling; reporting; file-level restores; and a choice of storage destinations, including NTFS, Linux, or VMware's VMFS (Virtual Machine File System) formats.

THE UPSHOT
CLAIM:  Vizioncore's vRanger aims to double the speed of hot backups of VMware ESX virtual machines. In concert with VMware's Virtual Consolidated Backup (VCB), vRanger snapshots the virtual machine and then moves the backup onto a proxy server. The proxy then writes the backup into storage, leaving ESX hosts free to serve up VMs.
CONTEXT:  Vizioncore complements the likes of Tivoli and Symantec because you still need another backup product to swipe VM backups off the proxy server. EMC NetWorker, Symantec Backup Exec, Tivoli Storage Manager, Veritas NetBackup can all integrate with VCB, but vRanger is small, lightweight, and inexpensive, worth adding even if you have one of these big guns already in place.
Backing up a 10 GB single-volume Windows XP Professional virtual machine took 4.5 minutes, a speedy 67 Mbps. The product still has management kinks to work out, including the inability to adjust backup settings once a job is scheduled, and a lack of flexibility in assigning virtual machines for backup. Small and midsize businesses can work around these issues, but enterprises may want to steer clear until they're resolved.
Typically, backup and restore products require an agent for each VM. The vRanger Pro acts as a go-between for virtual machines and your backup infrastructure, eliminating the need to burden each VM with a separate agent. Vizioncore's vRanger Professional software is designed for VMware's ESX and Virtual Consolidated Backup (VCB) products. You'll continue to use your existing backup products as normal for full, incremental or differential backups to tape or disk.

Vizioncore touts this product as enterprise-ready. While it works as advertised, the management interface isn't quite up to snuff for larger organizations. It lacks flexibility in scheduling and organizing backups, for example, which may hinder IT departments working with large numbers of VMs.

Back Me Up Here

As you phase VMware into your infrastructure, usually through server consolidation, VM backups via typical agent-based mechanisms are appropriate for the short term. You can simply keep the same agent-to-server ratio as you migrate physical servers to the ESX environment, without incurring additional licensing costs.

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