Virtual Geek

Tales from real IT system administrators world and non-production environment

Vembu Free Edition

Vembu is a leading software product development that has been focusing on Backup and Disaster Recovery software for data centers over a decade. It’s flagship offering- the BDR Suite of products consists of VM Backup for VMware vSphere and Hyper-V, Disk Image backups for Physical machines, Workstations. Backing up individual files and folders to physical servers and cloud can be performed with Vembu Network Backup and Online Backup respectively.

Moreover, it has multiple flexible deployment like on-site, off-site and to the cloud through single user interface. Another offering of the Vembu BDR Suite is to be able to configure item level backups like Microsoft Exchange Servers, SharePoint, SQL, My SQL, Office 365, G Suite etc., This latest version of Vembu BDR Suite v3.8.0 has come out with the few notable features in two major offerings- one unlimited features for three virtual machines and the second thing being able to backup unlimited virtual machines with restricted features.

This latest free edition of Vembu BDR Suite was designed understanding the setbacks by any common IT Administrator. Hence making Vembu an important name in the market for backup vendor for its enterprise level product for SMBs. This free edition is free forever and IT administrators can continue managing their backups with the trial version without any feature restriction. Let's take a plunge into the detailed features of this free edition.

Unlimited features for Limited environment (3 VMs):

Using the Vembu BDR Suite in its trial version does not require purchasing a license. This category of the Free edition offers unlimited features and few of them are listed below:

  1. Agentless VMware backups for multiple VMs: Configuring backups for protecting multiple VMs without physically installing any agent.
  2. Disk Image Backups from BDR Server: Disk Image Backups can now be configured and managed via Vembu BDR Server. Relying on proxy agents is no longer required, unless it’s a distributed deployment which require individual proxy agent installation.
  3. Full VM Backup: Will back up the entire VM including OS, applications and the data.
  4. Storage Pooling: Storage Pools are used to aggregate the space available from different volumes and utilise them as a storage for specific backups. The hybrid volume manager of Vembu BDR Server supports scalable and extendable backup storage for different storage media such as Local drives, NAS (NFS and CIFS) and SAN (iSCSI and FC). Vembu BDR provides storage pooling option for both backup level and group level.
  5. LAN free data transfer using SAN and Hot- Add modes: Vembu VM backup support Direct SAN, Hot-Add and network transport mode to back up the VM data.
  6. Auto Authorization: Enabling Auto authorization in Vembu BDR allows proxy agents to get registered to backup server using unique registration key generated by respective BDR server.
  7. Automatic Backup Scheduling: Backups can be automatically scheduled as per the user's flexibility
  8. Encryption Settings: Users can now provide additional security to their disk based backup jobs by assigning custom-password to backup server, such that all their backup data will be encrypted and can be restored/accessed only by providing the custom-password.
  9. FLR from GUI (Backup & Replication): File Level Recovery (FLR) is now available for both backup and replication jobs where user can choose specific files and folders from VMware/Hyper-V/Disk Image backups and VMware replication, to be restored in a quick fashion.

All the above major features are included in this free edition for 3 virtual machines. Let’s get to know those restricted features for unlimited virtual machines.

Restricted Features for unlimited virtual machines:

All the features mentioned above for limited business environment will be applicable for this categories with few restrictions in the features. They are:

  1. Application aware processing: Configuring them for a Hyper-V environment is restricted but that does not hold good with VMware vSphere Esxi(s).
  2. Changed Block Tracking: Only the incremental blocks which are changed since the previous backup will been tracked and  backed up in the successive backup schedule thereby reducing disk space and time
  3. Retention Policies: User can retain any number of recovery points of his own choice. They come to great use when it comes to store the backup data.
  4. Near CDP: Incremental backup can be scheduled every 15 Mins to ensure the RPO < than 15 Mins
  5. Quick VM recovery to ESXi: Incremental backup can be scheduled every 15 mins to ensure the RPO < than 15 Mins.
  6. Automated Backup verification: Verify the recoverability of the backed up images and screenshot of the booted Image backup will be mailed

Backup and recovery holds good for both physical and virtual environments and makes granular recovery possible with great ease.You will able to scale out your storage, secure your individual backup jobs with in-built deduplication, encryption and compression that makes its own file system called, the VembuHIVE.

This latest free edition thus becomes one of the most business-friendly and a complete backup solution. That being said,  It can be suitable for both testing and production environments! Their out-of-the box policy- backup for all was hailed even at the recent VMworld event, Las Vegas.

Well, there is nothing left to ponder now. It’s time to make the right decision. It could be done right away with getting started with their free edition of Vembu BDR Suite on a 30 days free trial. Click here.

I will just start from earlier blog VEMBU. Setup a backup job Go to Backup → Microsoft Hyper-V, Add Hyper-V server: If it's a fresh installation, click on 'Add Hyper-V Server' option. You can either choose the 'Standalone Hyper-V Host' or 'SMB Host' as server type. Choosing Standalone Hyper-V Host will ask user to provide login Hyper-V credentials, it also asks user to confirm if they are using SMB server as storage for VMs. 
     o If 'No' - Server addition will be completed with Saving the credentials.
     o If 'Yes' - Users will be redirected to the next page to provide SMB credentials. vembu screenshot 01.png

Choosing SMB Host will direct user to Apply SMB credentials page, where they will be required to provide SMB Host credential. Once done providing it, hit save to add Hyper-V server. Create Hyper-V Backup: Once done adding, go to Backup → Microsoft Hyper-V. The list of Hyper-V servers, added will be shown. 

From the list of servers added, Click Backup Now option in the Hyper-V server to be backed up. Choose Virtual Machine(s): Choose list of VMs you wish to get backed up and proceed. You can configure either host level backup job or can select any specific set of VMs to be backed up. · You can choose specific VMs/Host/Cluster easily using search feature. vembu screenshot 02

VM(s)/Disk(s) Exclusion: On selecting Host level backup, you might wish to exclude some specific set of VMs from getting backed up. Such VMs can be excluded using VM(s)/Disk(s) exclusion option. VM Exclusion Click 'VM(s)/Disk(s) Exclusion' option, you will get a popup as shown below. Choose 'Exclude VM(s)' tab. To exclude a virtual machine from a configured host level backup, click 'select VM' and choose the VMs to be excluded and click 'Exclude'. Once added, save the exclusion settings.You can also add/delete a VM to/from exclusion list, whenever required by editing the backup job. Note: Changes made in VM exclusion settings will be taken into effect immediately with next schedule.

Application-Aware Hyper-V Backups: Hyper-V backups utilize Microsoft VSS writers to take application-consistent backups(MS SQL, MS Exchange) and truncate exchange log files to free up the space.
Enabling application aware process - Truncate logs immediately: Enabling this option lets Vembu BDR truncate the exchange server logs before initiating
backup process. It purges and commits log files along with the .edb files and reduce storage space consumed.
Application Aware Image Process Prerequisites: · To perform application-aware image processing, the Guest Machine (running MS
Exchange server, MS SQL Server, MS SharePoint Server, MS Active Directory) should be installed with latest Hyper-V integration services.

Configure Scheduling: Users can configure their backup schedules flexibly based on their requirement. They can choose from Hourly/Daily/Weekly options for backup schedules. Advanced (GFS Retention): The Multilevel GFS retention reduces the time taken to restore backed up machines and most importantly reduce the size of image files in storage location. It also help avoid long chains of incrementals, ensuring safety of backup data and allow you to meet the requirements of your retention policy.

GFS retention merge incrementals on a daily, weekly and monthly basis: 
o Daily - Daily merge will merge hourly incrementals on the third day's first successful incremental backup.
o Weekly - Weekly merge will commence based on user scheduled day's first successful incremental backup. It will merge all daily merged incrementals into a single weekly merged file.
o Monthly - Monthly merge is much similar as weekly merge where user need to schedule particular day in a month(For example: Third Wednesday) and the merge will get initiated at first successful incremental of the day. It merges all weekly merged files as a single monthly file.

Progress Details: Thus, backup progress is witnessed and can be verified once it completes successfully.
Disaster Recovery
Go to Recovery tab. Backups configured from various client machines to the server, will be listed for recovery, along with below listed options:
o Restore
o Virtual mount
o Proceed to Persistent Instant Boot version delete
o Delete
o Replication actions
o Status
o Reports

Users can either take a copy of this mounted data or boot respective files if needed on KVM(IMG file in Linux), VMware vSphere(VMDK) or Hyper-V(VHD, VHDX).

Vembu Virtual Drive is an exclusive feature of VembuBDR server, that allows user to instant access backup data. With the help of Vembu HIVE file system, Vembu Virtual Drive virtual mount backup data and allow instant access for users. Vembu Virtual Drive will make following file format types available for any image based backups mounted in it:
· VMDK-Flat
· RAW image files
These files can be used based on user requirements. For example, a VHD file can be mounted in Hyper-V or a VMDK file can be mounted in a ESXi server or a RAW image file can be mounted in KVM to create a virtual machine. VHD file can also be mounted in disk management to access file level backup data.

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