Sponsored content: Vembu BDR Suite product walkthrough

Introduction

Vembu recently reached out to me and asked me if I could write about their data protection and replication solution “BDR Suite v3.7.0”. They were also kind enough to offer me a sponsorship for my blog. So, obviously this blogpost is sponsored content but the content is mine and mine alone and was written without censorship from Vembu.

About Vembu

Vembu has been in business since 2002 and targets the SMB and Mid Enterprise markets. 70% of their business comes from Asia Pacific but they are clearly moving their business to Europe and the US. Their vision is to make software and cloud services very affordable for the hundreds of thousands of small and medium businesses worldwide.

Vembu BDR Suite

Vembu BDR Suite is a feature rich data protection and data replication solution. Vembu promises a comprehensive solution for customers seeking lean and mean data protection.

BDR Suite is a collection of different products:

Vembu VMBackup

Vembu VMBackup is a backup and disaster recovery solution for the virtualized data centres. It supports both the VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V environments.

  • Agentless VMware Image Backup and Replication
  • Host Level Hyper-V Image Backup
  • Application aware image processing

Vembu ImageBackup

Vembu ImageBackup is a disk image based backup and bare-metal recovery software for the Windows Physical Servers, Desktops and Laptops.

  • Image based Physical Server Backup
  • Free Image based backup for Desktops and Laptops
  • Changed Block Tracking

Vembu NetworkBackup

Vembu NetworkBackup is a backup software for the SMBs who would like a Hybrid backup solution (On-Premise with optional cloud storage) for their desktops/laptops, file servers, applications like Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server, Sharepoint, Active Directory and Outlook etc.

  • Endpoint backup for Windows, Mac & Linux
  • Offsite Backup deployment support for Remote Office & Branch Offices
  • Centralized Monitoring and Management

Vembu OnlineBackup

Vembu OnlineBackup is a Cloud Backup Solution for the SMBs who would like to backup their Files and Applications directly to Vembu Cloud.

  • Restore data Anytime and Anywhere
  • AES 256 bit Encryption
  • Where It Left Off

Vembu SaaSBackup

Vembu SaaSBackup is a backup and recovery software for SaaS Applications like Microsoft Office365 and Google Apps (now G Suite).

  • Backup user’s e-mails, calendar, contacts and documents.
  • Search the user data or e-mail from Vembu Customer Portal.
  • Restore the user data or e-mail to same user or different user account.

Vembu OffsiteDR

Vembu OffsiteDR is an add-on service to Vembu BDR Backup Server. OffsiteDR enables you to keep additional copy of backup data on-site or off-site.

  • Keep additional backup copy for DR
  • Setup DR server On-premise or Off-Site
  • WAN optimized data transfer

Vembu CloudDR

Vembu CloudDR provides ability to set up hybrid cloud environment where you can replicate additional backup copy to Vembu Cloud. So you can keep one copy of your backup data in the Vembu BDR backup server in your data center and another copy in the Vembu Cloud.

  • Upload additional backup copy to Vembu Cloud
  • Data will be uploaded to nearest Vembu Cloud Servers
  • Backup data will be encrypted on-the-fly and at rest

Vembu BDR360

Vembu BDR360 helps you with 24/7 availability by providing the flexibility to monitor and manage all your Vembu BDR backup environments from a centralized portal.

  • Group Management
  • Calendar based Backup Reports
  • Backup verification reports with screenshots

Vembu Universal Explorer

Vembu Universal Recovery tool is an agent-less software which helps you to restore individual items from Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server, SharePoint and Active Directory instantly. This tool can be used for Instant Granular Recovery from Vembu BDR managed backups.

  • Mail or User level recovery from Exchange database
  • Table or Database level recovery from SQL Server
  • Documents or Site level recovery from SharePoint
  • Active Directory Object level recovery

This article focuses on Vembu VMBackup exclusively. I installed VMBackup in my dual site vSphere 6.5 testlab and took it for a spin.

Vembu VMBackup Architecture

VMBackup is a straight forward 64-bit application that can be installed on Windows or Ubuntu OS. Vembu also offers Virtual Appliances for both vSphere and Hyper-B. VMBackup supports VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V virtual environments. The overall architecture looks like this:

System requirements and additional background information about all components of VMBackup can be found on the Vembu website. I found the 80 slides in the presentation https://www.vembu.com/pdf/presentation/vembu-vmbackup-presentation.pdf most useful in getting familiar with the product.

OffsiteDR and CloudDR are add-on components. They allow you to either store your backups on a OffsiteDR server or in a Vembu Cloud solution. Key features are Instant Virtual Machine recovery, Instant File-Level Recovery, Failover and Failback and an Explorer for Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, SQL and Active Directory. Vembu promises Automated Backup & Replication scheduling with backup intervals of 15 mins or higher, delivering RPOs of 15 mins.

Another key point to mention is Vembu’s proprietary file system called VembuHIVE. It is an efficient cloud file system designed for large-scale backup and disaster recovery application with support for advanced use-cases:

  • Automatically scale up/out the storage devices
  • In-built version control and error correction
  • In-built Compression & Encryption

Installation and configuration

I deployed a Windows 2012 VM in my testlab and installed the VMbackup application. You can download the entire BDR Suite at https://www.vembu.com/vembu-bdr-suite-download/. The installation procedure is very straightforward:

Task Description Screenshot
1.    Make sure your VM meets the system requirements as stated in the Vembu documentation.

Start the installation procedure by clicking Next.

 

 

2.    Accept the EULA and click Next
3.    I choose to customize the configuration in order to modify the Storage Repository Location. In my testlab I simply added a NFS backed VMDK.

In a production deployment you would obviously use a dedicated storage target. Vembu supports SAN, NAS and DAS devices.

4.    The product uses an embedded PostGreSQL database.
5.    Here I used a dedicated VMDK and formatted it as drive E:\
6.    Some final configuration options and you’re all set to install the application.
7.    VC++ 2008 is required and it is automatically installed.
8.    After pointing the web browser to the Vembu server over port 6061, you can login and make the final configuration settings.
9.    I followed Vembu’s advice and provided the FQDN as the unique BDR ID.
10. Next step is to hook up the vCenter Server Appliances
11. Installation finished

I deployed two Ubuntu 16.04 test VMs called Web-01a and Web-02a in the Web Tier of my three node ESXi 6.5 payload cluster. I backed up both VMs which went as expected. This is the main dashboard:

The recovery tab allows you to easily restore your backups. I also configured a replication interval for my App-01a Application Tier server:

Use cases

Backup

Backup multiple VMs in single backup job or option to create multiple backup jobs with group of VMs

  • Supports VMware ESXi hosts and vCenter Servers
  • Supports ESXi v4.0 and above
  • Supports vCenter Server v4.1 and above
  • IP and Network remapping support for replicated VMs

Replication

Vembu VMBackup agent will communicate with VMware ESXi production storage and replicate the VM data to another ESXi host

  • Vembu VMBackup works as a proxy between both the ESXi hosts
  • Replicated VM will be in power-off mode
  • Supports VM Failover and Failback

Vembu VMBackup Client agent transfers the VM data through different modes. Based on the agent installation and VMware environment, Vembu VMBackup Client automatically chooses any one of following transport mode.

  • Direct SAN Mode
  • Hot-Add Mode
  • Network Mode

Instant Virtual Machine Recovery on VMware

You can instantly recover a VM by mounting it directly in a Virtual Drive. This Virtual Drive can be shared via NFS so ESXi hosts can mount it just like any normal datastore.

Direct VM Recovery to VMware

Direct VM Recovery is just that. You simply restore a full VM directly to vCenter:

Instant File Level Restore

File Level restore leverages the Vembu Virtual Drive and allows you to easily restore individual files without having to restore a full VM:

Failover and Failback

These are replication scenarios. Vembu Replication allows you to initiate a failover and a failback:

Licencing & Pricing

Vembu charges for VMware and Hyper-V backups based on no. of CPU-Sockets

  • If an ESXi host is deployed on a machine which has two CPU-Sockets, you need to buy two

“VMware or Hyper-V Image Backup” licenses and backup unlimited VMs

  • For Windows Physical Servers, you need to buy licenses per physical server machine
  • Windows Desktops & Laptops licenses are FREE !
  • For application backups, you need to buy license for each application
  • The licenses need to be renewed every year
  • License cost includes unlimited product upgrade, access to technical resources and 24/7 email & telephone support

Subscription based yearly(one, two and three year) licensing model for each applications. So you can just pay for what you use.

  • License includes free updates and major product upgrades
  • 24/7 Email & Telephone support
  • Access to Vembu Community Forum, KnowledgeBase and other resources
  • Access to centralized management portal to manage purchased licenses, download invoices and buy new licenses
  • Check pricing here, https://www.vembu.com/vembu-bdr-suite-pricing/

Conclusion

I have to admit I did not know Vembu before they approached me. I did not come across their products at any of the customers I worked for but I have to say the product looks very promising. Obviously I was not able to test the performance and scalability of the solution but it is very feature rich, installs very easily and the dashboard and overall UI experience is very smooth. If you are in the SMB or Mid enterprise markets and looking for a cost effective BCDR solution, Vembu might be very interesting to put on your shortlist for closer examination.


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