Author: Tyler Jewell, VP, Products, Virtualization, Vizioncore and Quest
At the recent VMworld show in San Francisco, we had the honor to win the Gold award for vRanger 4.0 in the Data Protection and Business Continuity category. This is recognition that is loved by the business, but carried with a badge of honor by the entire cast of people that work on a product. Everyone puts a little piece of themselves in every product they work on.
It’s for these reasons that we celebrate our award and those of the finalists and winners in all categories. It’s in Vizioncore’s interests to have a strong, growing virtualization industry with a robust ecosystem – it’s reflective of the overall opportunity and business value that we can create in the market.
In the data protection and business continuity category, we won after a comparison was made by a set of judges. At the show, they compared products against a long list of criteria and also did hands-on walkthroughs. The judges commented that the winner, “provides a cleaner interface and all-around faster tool, speed being crucial in this category.” This category was filled with a long list of entrants – so the competition was tough.
We are now focusing our efforts on what it will take to win next year’s award in this category.
Gartner states that there are 50 million x86 server sockets in the world. We believe that a large majority will be virtualized in the coming years. Today – with generous estimates – there is somewhere between 5-8M x86 sockets virtualized across Windows and Linux. And the bulk of the remaining sockets will be virtualized over the next three years. With an average of 7.5 VMs on each socket, each with about 100 GB of allocated space, all running workloads spanning applications, databases and desktops, the size of the data protection problem is only going to increase.
We saw an opportunity to innovate in the market space by deploying a strategy based upon these tenets:
- Simple, affordable for the SMB
- Scalable (data, num VMs, num sockets) with an easy to articulate ROI for the enterprise
- A solution that provides a complete – and integrated - lifecycle management approach to virtualization from analysis through automation.
- A solution that merges the application, database and virtualization worlds by leveraging the core assets of Quest and Vizioncore. Examples of this opportunity include moving beyond object-recovery of images into application, farm, and environmental recovery. Another aspect is our ability to drill into the VM to monitor application internals – not just processes - such as Oracle, SQL Server, and Java.
- A solution that combines the VDI with server virtualization management enabling companies to deploy, manage and control their VDI environments with the same processes they are using to manage their data center infrastructure.
To execute on this strategy, we saw a need to re-invent the vRanger platform to prepare for a world where legacy approaches would be stretched thin. The requirements for the platform included:
- It must have a direct-to-target architecture between sources and targets. This would make backup proxies optional and introduce massive parallelism that can be configured in a central management console. This would reduce overall backup windows.
- It would be a platform that would enable the consolidation of conversions, backup, replication, eDiscovery, and archiving functions in a unified, common way. It would acknowledge that all of these functions can be handled through a common image management approach, in an integrated way.
- It would provide management flexibility – not just in the jobs that could be scheduled – but in its entire control. It would need to provide PowerShell and Web Services APIs to make the system integrate with administer and corporate automation tools such as RBA. (See http://www.thevesi.org/ as one example.)
- It would enable multiple source options to deal with heterogeneous virtualization environments – so enabling backups through proxies, consoles, or virtual appliances.
We began engineering this new platform two years ago and delivered the first version of this technology with vRanger 4.0. The introduction of vRanger 4 also enables us to be more agile in the market with faster releases that are extensions of the core engine that has been built. Our near term 2009 releases include releasing a new form of global deduplication that is patent pending, Amazon S3 / FTP targets, gateway appliances, change block tracking to eliminate scan times, vStorage support, ESXi, replication integration and reading from vRanger 3 repositories.
As of Monday 9/14/09, we’ve hit RTM of vRanger 4.1 that includes new features around interoperability with vRanger 3 backups. This release is being distributed to customers now and to the general public shortly. For those customers that require ESXi and VCB support today – we are continuing to provide Full Support to vRanger 3.x giving you a technology and support option.
The longer term releases of this platform include a focus on Sharepoint, SQL Server, and Exchange object, application, and farm recoveries; multi-repository search and indexing; integrated backups with VDI; and multi-hypervisor support starting with HyperV.
An important part of any data protection product is its ability to be reliable. And there was some blog chatter about a potential issue where vCenter could crash if it accepts API calls too early: http://laez.nl/vizioncore-vranger-4-0-pro-crashes-vcenter-2-5-update-4-update-5/. While most software issues are contained within support and KB articles – this one was discussed in the community – and should be addressed in the community as well. This issue was reported toward the end of August. Since that time, we’ve created a resolution that is part of vRanger 4.1 now being delivered to customers. Like all software products, we encounter bugs – and it’s the professionalism and dedication of our dev teams that enable us to resolve these issues quickly.
We look forward to servicing the virtualization market in the coming years with the new platform. And we look forward to competing for next year’s Gold award by showing how we will be bringing together the worlds of applications, VDI, and virtualization.
VP, Products, Virtualization
Vizioncore and Quest