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Acronis vmProtect 7 Tightens vSphere Integration

Following six months on the heels of the previous version, which was launched at VMworld 2011, Acronis is releasing the latest version of its small business/branch office virtualization solution for backup and recovery, vmProtect 7. vmProtect 6 was designed to be a fast, light and easy-to-install-and-use backup and recovery product that made use of Acronis’ long-standing relationship with VMware. It was designed to be optimized for vSphere, but according to Seth Goodling, Americas virtualization practice manager at Acronis, vmProtect 7 has been more tightly integrated into VMware vSphere.

Additionally, the new version of the product provides IT administrators the ability to either perform backups and tasks through a web-based interface, or through vCenter. “They won’t have to move out of vCenter to configure and run all their backups,” he says.

More than 80% of respondents to an Enterprise Strategy Group research study indicated virtual backup was a top IT challenge. Some 60% of respondents to the study, which was conducted at the end of last year, said data protection for virtual servers was their most significant challenge or was among their top five problems. "The responses suggest that as virtual machines [VMs] proliferate, data protection will require greater business and IT alignment to achieve efficiency, minimize risk, and increase satisfaction of stakeholders and clients,'' says Hurley, who previously was a senior analyst at ESG.

Tighter integration with vSphere and vCenter is one of the key new features, but Goodling notes four others that he believes will be of interest to IT administrators.

The company has added new replication functionality to vmProtect that creates a standby cold virtual machine that has the last incremental copies on it, but can be spun up almost instantly in times of disaster. It provides the ability to turn a VM on quickly when disaster strikes.
Goodling says one big request from customers was the ability to do Exchange recovery. vmProtect 7 provides the ability to recover entire databases, individual inboxes and emails, or individual contacts in Exchange 2003 and later versions.

A bare metal recovery feature has also been added that can pre-configure the entire host so if there is ever the need to restore the entire box, IT administrators can do it to the attached hardware, as well.

The last key new feature was ported over from Acronis Backup & Recovery 11 Virtual Edition. ABR 11 – and now vmProtect 7 – contains a built-in ability to create a disaster recovery plan. Goodling describes it as a step-by-step process that helps administrators outline the disaster recovery plan so that, should disaster strike, they can quickly recover the files and access and print the disaster recovery plan. The feature is particularly aimed at small business and remote/branch offices of enterprises that may not have on-premise IT staff. With the disaster recovery plan in place and accessible, it will be easier for offices without an IT staff to get themselves back up and running again quickly, he says.

For larger enterprise facilities, vmProtect 7 simply won’t cut it. The product was designed for smaller offices, and for larger businesses, it would be necessary to use a different product like ABR.

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