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EMC's Avamar v5 Extends To Desktops, Laptops And Virtualization

EMC updated their Avamar software backup software with desktop support, integration with VMware vSphere and enhanced backup with Avamar Transport, making it simpler to back up data and deduplicated data stored on a SAN. Avamar v5 is still licensed by capacity rather than per node, which is instrumental to offering these new features without increased cost.

Avamar's server and desktop software provides deduplicated backup. Once the initial backup process begins, the Avamar client begins block level deduplication. Each subsequent backup is a full backup, but since since the data is already de-duplicated, far less data is actually moved. This is different than a differential backup where only changed files are backed up. Since there are no differential backups, restorations are single step allowing end users to perform their own restorations rather than relying on a desktop support.

Avamar also offers API level integration with VMware's vSphere hypervisor and supports VMware's backup options. Version 5 claims to increase the storage capability 65 percent over previous versions. The increased capacity is due to EMC's move from RAID 1 to RAID 5 in the new version.

Perhaps the most interesting new feature is Avamar's Data Transport, a method to backup deduplicated data on a SAN to de-duplicated tape. The problem with deduplicated data is that to back it up, the dictionary that is used to restore the de-duplicated data needs to backed up as well. The Avamar Data Transport gets around this problem by using a VMware Avamar server virtual machine with a 2 TB capacity to restore the data from the SAN.

As the data is restored to the Avamar virtual server, it is de-duplicated again, then the virtual machine can be written to tape. As long as the Avamar virtual server can be booted in the future, the data can be restored because the server software and dictionary reside with the data. This option works well where there is existing data that needs to be backed up to tape. Both Quantum and Falcon store re-hydrate their deduplicated data before backing up to
tape. Avamar's Data Transport strategy isn't unique and is likely to
become more common. Commvault's Simpana backup software, for example,
writes de-duplicated to tape