Response to: "Will dedicated VMware protection go the way of CDP?"

A recent blog asked the question “Will dedicated VMware protection go the way of CDP?” which caused somewhat of a buzz because it opened up a topic that we have discussed at length here within Quest. The discussion made an argument that even though the growth in virtual backup has been dominated by solutions such as Quest vRanger, everyone is jumping on the bandwagon now which will change the competitive landscape.

Historically it has been easier to move up market than down, and it is also easier to adapt to new technologies when you have a clean slate than when you are tethered to 25 year old technology. That said, Quest’s vRanger was the first product in the market to offer an enterprise strength backup and recovery solution that met the needs of the VM administrator vs. the traditional storage administrator. Being first allowed us to grow with our customers who were amongst the early adopters of virtual environments and we learned early on that they didn’t want to backup their virtual machines the same way they did with their physical servers.

From this we were the first to come out with image backups that consisted of point-in-time, encapsulated images of a virtual machine and to offer the ability to “backup once, restore many” from an image backup. Being able to restore a file, object or entire VM from one backup is not only compelling but highly efficient. We also made the backup process more efficient by building upon API level features in the hyper-visor such as VMware’s Change Block Tracking (CBT) by developing our own patent pending Active Block Mapping (ABM) feature to further reduce the amount of data backed up.

As vRanger grew to become the market leading solution (as measured by revenue – source IDC and Gartner) we realized that even though legacy backup vendors were just entering the market for backing up virtual environments, we needed to move forward with features that legacy backup products have had for years like the ability to dynamically optimize backups based on environment. We also added data compression, encryption and white space deletion while making the process of defining the backup process easier by allowing backup by groups and automatic detection of new VMs.

As the explosive growth in virtual infrastructure has continued, so has the size and complexity of the virtual environments that are being designed. Where once 100 VM’s was considered large, we now see thousands of VMs with 100’s of terabytes of data. With this in mind, we took a page from the legacy backup vendors and added multi-tasking and concurrency to vRanger so that we could backup multiple VMs at one time, even if restore processes were also occurring -- features still not available in some of the Virtual only backup products that quite frankly, legacy vendors look at as toys.

Recent surveys show that growth in virtual environments is going beyond test and development environments. VMware themselves state that 150,000 out of their 190,000 customers are SMBs, many of whom rely upon virtual environments for their production environments. In addition, Quest’s own surveys have shown that customers of all sizes are looking to implement production applications such as Microsoft SQL Server on virtual platforms.

At Quest, we believe data protection will converge for virtual and physical environments and we have committed considerable resources to both enhancing our core data protection products to address the requirements of production service levels in virtual environments and to be able to compete with physical backup vendors on their own turf in the near future. May the best product win.

John Maxwell

VP Data Protection
Quest Software