in the test: PHD Virtual Backup version 6.0

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download-a-free-trial-imgPHD is releasing it’s version 6.0 of their flagship PHD Virtual Backup early September 2012. Version 6.0 contains 5 Major enhancements to set a New Standard for Value, Performance, and Ease of Use in protecting your virtual environment. Those major changes are worth to take a closer look:

What’s New in v6.0

Instant VM Recovery

Instant VM Recovery allows a user to make an application available as quickly as possible in the event of a failure, without the need for additional infrastructure or having to wait for a more time consuming restore process.

If your environment is not licensed for Storage vMotion or that process simply takes too long to get data back to the production storage, users can leverage PHD Motion. PHD Motion does not require any special vSphere licensing. It leverages all the great things about the PHD full VM restore. When the user is ready to switch the running VM to the production storage, they simply perform a very small, planned downtime window to commit the changes from the temporary location to production storage and switch the VM over to the production data.

Application Aware Backups

PHDVB v6.0 provides the ability to take application aware backups for any application. Application aware backups include the ability to properly quiesce the application prior to backup, as well as perform any post backup processes, such as automated log management (truncate, shrink, etc). This is done by leveraging a very small guest application called the PHD Guest Tools.

  • Microsoft Exchange: Quiesce, Log Truncation, VSS Restore processes are all covered.
  • Microsoft SQL Server: Quiesce
    Note: Log shrinking (truncation) for SQL Server is NOT included in v6.0 at this time.
  • With this functionality, PHD now has a very good message around backup and recovery for Exchange, especially when combined with the Digiscope solution for Exchange object recovery.

Full and Incremental Backup Mode

Prior to v6.0, PHD VBA provides a single backup mode called Virtual Full backups include source-side deduplication across all backups within a backup target.

While the Virtual Full is a high performing backup mode, there are certain configurations that are not optimized to handle the many files that the virtual full leverages. Therefore, PHD is implementing a traditional full / incremental backup mode for those configurations.

Email Enhancements

PHD Virtual Backup v6.0 will include several enhancements to email reporting for which users have a high demand.

File Level Restore Usability Enhancements

Users will now be able to select an option to use CIFS for File Level Restore, whereby the backup will be mounted to the VBA and presented out as a CIFS share. The share will automatically be mapped to the machine triggering the file recovery and a Windows Explorer view of the backup data is presented to the user. This allows for easy access to backup data from almost any OS – Linux or Windows – for file and application level recovery. As always, security can be enabled on the CIFS share so the admin can restrict access to the backup data only to those that need it.


Those requiring strict requirements for backup data security can now choose to enable one of many types of industry standard encryption levels for PHD Virtual Backups. When enabled, data will be encrypted at the file system level of the VBA to ensure that it is secure in transit to the backup target and at rest when it reaches the backup target.

Enhanced File and Application Item Recovery

Different users have different types of requirements for recovering files and making data available from backups to existing applications and application recovery tools. In v6.0, PHD Virtual provides an additional option for accessing files from backups that makes it easier to recover Linux files, as well as access data that requires permissions to be removed.

Let’s Test!

The installation package contains:

  1. PHD Virtual Backup installation executable
  2. PHD Vitual Backup Appliance OVF
  3. PHD Virtual Backup Exporter installation executable
  4. PHD Guest Tools installation executables and ISO files
  5. Documentation
    To install PHD Virtual Backup
  6. Install the PHD Virtual Backup Console and Plug-In by double-clicking the installation executable.
  7. When the installation wizard completes, deploy the PHD Virtual Backup VBA by deploying the appliance OVF.
  8. When deployment completes, make sure the VBA has an IP address then connect to the PHD Virtual Backup Console by right-clicking the VBA VM and selecting  PHD Virtual Backup > Console.
  9. In the Configuration area, General tab, enter the Hypervisor credentials.
  10. Next, click the Storage tab and define the backup storage location.
  11. Click Save and restart the appliance.
  12. Open the Backup Console:image

I configured the Appliance in my environment. Set the Time-zone, apply the license and added a 100Gb thin disk to save the backups to and started a new backup. I selected some of my important VM’s I want to have backed up.SNAGHTML3fe9f2Submit the job and started my firsts backup on local disks attached to the appliance. My lab runs ESX5i connected with Fiber Channel to my hardware Nexenta CE box.The above process took me simply 10 minutes from scratch to setup my first backup!!!
No deploying Windows templates, no SQL installation at all! saves time and licenses!

What’s Next?

Now that you’ve installed and configured PHD Virtual Backup, you can:

  1. Create scheduled backup jobs to protect some or all of your virtual machines.
  2. Backup VMs right now using the integrated menus within vSphere Client.
  3. Configure additional appliance options, including email alerts and custom retention policies.
  4. Deploy additional PHD Virtual Backup Appliances to protect your entire environment.
  5. Use VM Replication to replicate production VMs.
  6. Install the PHD Exporter for exporting backup files for long term storage.
  7. Install PHD Guest Tools to individual virtual machines that require application aware processing.
PHD Virtual Backup Exporter

The PHD Virtual Backup Exporter lets you export backup files from any existing backup storage location for long term or offsite storage. The PHD Exporter must be installed to a Windows Server machine using the included installation file. You only need to install the PHD Exporter if you plan to export backups to another location – the PHD Exporter is not required to run Backups, Restores, or Replication.

PHD Guest Tools

PHD Guest Tools enable application aware processing for individual virtual machines including quiesce, log truncation, and the ability to run custom scripts. To install the tools, you will use the ISO file that is included with the PHD Virtual Backup installation package.

Full Backup

The speed of my backups is very good, I selected 5 VM’s to be backed up:

We just backed up 217Gb of Data on 31.4 Gb of disk space, deduplication ratio of 1:6!
Job completed in 1h 52 minutes

The Appliance is configured with 1vCPU and 1024Mb of memory. With compression and deduplication enabled I can imagine this would be a bottleneck.Vimage

Next I configured the VBA with 4vCPU’s and 4096Gb of memory to handle the load and started a new test with the same VM’s:
The Appliance now used 2-3 CPU’s at 100% and all 4Gb’s of memory, setting 4 CPU’s doesn’t have that much impact.. I think 2 would do it.

Incremental Backups

I selected three VM’s to my incremental Backup list and just run it a few hours after the full backup:SNAGHTMLf6ac3a

You can see the deduplication kicks in, the data being written to the backup disk is minimal.

I received The Backup Report  of my incremental daily backup in my e-mail after it finished:


The ability to restore files is now possible thru a windows share:
It creates the share on the appliance to be accessed to restore single files

Of course full VMDK backups can be restored on any data store you want:

Wrap Up

PHD Virtual Backup v6.0 has matured and is improved with a nice new set of features. Feels very stable and is fast. But the best part again… It is an appliance. No single Windows or MSSQL license required.

PHD Virtual Backup allows you to easily deploy multiple Virtual Backup Appliances and thus creating an unprecedented scalability, without the cost and complexity that other solutions entail. Need more information? Product documentation, help, and videos are available that describe all of the available configuration options, features and functionality of PHD Virtual Backup and its components on the PHD Virtual Web site