I came into contact with NAKIVO recently. NAKIVO develops a fast, reliable, and affordable data protection solution for VMware, Hyper-V, and cloud environments. I currently only have access to a VMware based lab environment so this coverage will only focus their NAKIV Backup & Replication solution for VMware. They target the entire market: from SMB to Enterprise.
NAKIVO is a relatively young company. They were founded in 2012 but already have an impressive presence in over a hundred countries They provide a complete Data Protection solution for both on-premises and cloud based workloads.
NAKIVO Backup & Replication
NAKIVO provides the following core features:
- Deploy in minutes as a Virtual Appliance, or install on Windows or Linux
- Create a backup appliance by installing on QNAP, Synology, or WD NAS
- Save time with a simple and intuitive Web interface
- Protect entire VMs including applications and databases
- Speed up VMware backups with LAN-free mode and Network Acceleration
- Copy VMware backups offsite and to Amazon cloud
- Test VMware backups instantly and automatically Instantly recover entire VMs, files, Microsoft Exchange and Active Directory objects
- Save storage space with global data deduplication and compression of VMware backups
- Image-based Backup: NAKIVO Backup & Replication performs image-based backup of VMware VMs. This means that an entire VM is captured during backup, including all its disks and configuration files, so everything is available for recovery.
- Forever-incremental Backup: All VMware backup jobs use VMware Changed Block Tracking to quickly identify changed data and transfer only those changes (increments) to the backup repository, which results in fast backups.
- Application-aware Backup: By default, VMware backup is performed using the application-aware mode, which makes sure data in applications and databases, such as Exchange, Active Directory, MS SQL, and SharePoint, is consistent and can be recovered.
- Container Backup: You can protect entire VMware containers – such as VM folders, resource pools, hosts, and clusters. This way, all new VMs that are added in a protected container are automatically added to your VMware backup jobs.
Increase VMware Backup Speed
NAKIVO Backup & Replication has been designed to deliver the fastest performance possible, and can fully utilize use the bandwidth available in your environment. By default, NAKIVO Backup & Replication uses the LAN-free backup mode, which can leverage your fiber-channel and iSCSI SANs or the Hot Add mode to offload management and production networks while significantly increasing data transfer speeds. You can also enable the Network Acceleration feature, which uses compression and traffic reduction techniques to speed up data transfer. On average, this results in a network load reduction of 50% and a data transfer acceleration of 2X.
Save Storage Space
NAKIVO Backup & Replication automatically skips swap files and partitions in VMware VMs, which speeds up data transfer and saves storage space in a backup repository. To further reduce VMware backup size, NAKIVO Backup & Replication automatically deduplicates all VM backups across an the entire backup repository. Data deduplication works at the block level and ensures that only unique data blocks are saved. On top of that, deduplicated blocks are compressed to ensure that the least amount of space is used.
Test Your VMware Backups
The fact that you have VMware backups doesn’t mean that you can recover from them. Even if a VMware backup has completed successfully, recovery can fail because if backup consistency was damaged by a virus, third-party software, disk error, change in file permissions, and so on. Or because your VM was already damaged during backup and won’t even boot
The only reliable way to ensure that you can recover from your VMware backups is to perform test recoveries. After each backup job run, NAKIVO Backup & Replication can automatically and near-instantly verify all created VMware backups and send you a report with OS screenshots of test-recovered VMs.
Copy VMware Backups Offsite and to Cloud
If you keep VMware backups in the same location as production VMs, any disaster can wipe both your VMs and your backups. Even without any major disasters, a backup can be damaged, accidentally deleted, or become unavailable if your storage goes down, leaving you with no data and a ton of headache. With NAKIVO Backup & Replication, your VMware backups can be easily sent offsite and to Amazon cloud by Backup Copy jobs. The data is copied directly from your backup repository, so the VMware VMs are not affected. Backup Copy jobs can be set up in a few minutes and you can choose to simply maintain a mirrored copy of your backup repository, or fine tune what, when, where, and how VMs should be copied. Learn more about Backup Copy Job
Instantly Recover VMs, Files, and Application Objects
You can instantly recover VMware VMs, files, Microsoft Exchange objects (such as emails), and Microsoft Active Directory objects (such as users) directly from compressed and deduplicated VM backups. Recovery is performed directly from the backup repository, and does not require running a full restore from VMware backup.
Use VMware Replication for Instant Disaster Recovery
VM replication creates and maintains identical copies of your VMs on target ESXi hosts. These copies, called VM replicas, are regular VMs that are available in VMware vSphere. This means that recovering from a disaster is as simple as powering on the replicated VMs. On top of that, you can save up to 30 recovery points for each replica so if a source VM has been damaged and then replicated, you can roll it back to a previous recovery point.
Scale Out Backup with Your Environment
As your environment grows, so can NAKIVO Backup & Replication to support higher workloads. Our customers range from small shops with few VMs to large ISPs, who protect 3,000+ VMs across multiple datacenters.
You can scale out NAKIVO Backup & Replication both vertically, by providing more resources to the product, and horizontally by distributing product components within the same location or across multiple locations.
Automate VMware Backup
NAKIVO Backup & Replication provides HTTP APIs that enable you to automate and orchestrate VMware backup, replication, and recovery. With the APIs, you can integrate NAKIVO Backup & Replication with monitoring, automation, and orchestration solutions to reduce time spent on data protection management and decrease data protection costs.
Provide BaaS and DRaaS
NAKIVO Backup & Replication enables creating multiple isolated tenants within a single product deployment and managing them from a single pane of glass. This way, you can introduce backup-as-a-service to your clients more easily and cost-effectively. In the Multi-Tenant mode, tenants can access the self-service portal to offload backup, replication, and recovery tasks from the service provider.
- Deploy as a VMware VA. Simply download a pre-configured VMware Virtual Appliance and import it in your VMware vSphere.
- Install on NAS. Create your own, high-performance VM backup appliance by installing NAKIVO Backup & Replication directly onto a NAS!
- Deploy as AWS AMI. Instantly deploy NAKIVO Backup & Replication in Amazon cloud from a pre-configured Amazon Machine Image.
- Install on Linux. Install NAKIVO Backup & Replication on a Linux OS by running a single command.
- Install on Windows. Run the installer for Windows and deploy NAKIVO Backup & Replication in a single click.
Installation and configuration
I choose the Virtual Appliance deployment for my vSphere 6.5 lab. I downloaded the OVA at https://www.nakivo.com/resources/download/trial-download/ and deployed it using the vSphere Web Client, just like any other OVA:
|1. You can choose between a broad range of deployment types. The installer for NAS is a very cool feature, especially for SMBs. Again, I went with the Virtual Appliance.|
|2.The OVA deploys just like you would expect. Nothing special here…|
|3. The console provides some easy access configuration and setup options for the IP stack.|
|4. After the initial deployment, the next step is to connect with vCenter Server. This process is also very user friendly and easy.|
|5. The vCenter inventory is refreshed automatically every 60 minutes by default|
|6. A Transporter is NAKIVO’s version of a backup proxy. The OVA has an embedded Transporter by default but you can deploy additional transporters in your data center.|
|7. The OVA also installs a default Onboard Repository. There is a 1:1 relationship between a Transporter and a Repository. You can create additional repositories using:
You can also enable advanced data features such as compression, dedup and encryption on a Repository. Very cool!
|8. I created my first backup job using one of my test VMs in my lab.|
|9. The scheduler and retention options provide all options you would expect from a data protection solution.|
|10. The final step is to set specific options for the backup job. NAKIVO supports application aware backups for applications such as Active Directory and SQL Server.
They also support VMware’s Change Block Tracking.
The screenshot validation option is pretty nice: after a backup of a VM is completed, the VM will be recovered from the backup using Flash VM Boot (and will be disconnected from networks), a screenshot of the recovered VM will be made once the VM OS has booted, after which the VM will be discarded. VM screenshots will be included in email notifications (if they’re configured), and in job reports. The Transport mode setting allows the following options:
|11. The backup process is displayed in a clear and detailed dashboard. You can see VMware based snapshots being created in vCenter.||
|12. Let’s try a recovery…|
|13. First test is to try a file-level recovery. I deleted the prepare_ubuntu_template.sh file.||
|14. The file-level restore option allows you to download the file(s) in a downloadable ZIP file. Somehow NAKIVO does not support a restore to the original location but I will check this with NAKIVO. Maybe I am missing something obvious here…|
|15. Next test is a full VM image recovery.|
|16.You simply choose the VM(s) you want to recover and specify targets for Compute, Storage and Network.|
|17. The final screen allows recovery options such as specifying VM names, generation of new MAC addresses and so on.|
|18. The recovery went succesfull.|
|19. The final test would be Flash VM Boot but unfortunately, NFS is not supported. Flash VM Boot basically exposes the Transporters storage as an iSCSI target to the ESXi hosts and allow VMs to directly boot from compressed and deduplicated VM backups, without recovering the entire VMs first. When you boot a VM from backup, NAKIVO Backup & Replication creates a new VM without disks on the target ESXi server, then exposes VM disks from the Backup Repository as ISCSI targets, and then mounts the exposed disks to the created VM as RDM disks in virtual compatibility mode.
I will try to hook up some additional storage to my lab to create a iSCSI based Backup Repository and do some extensive testing. This is a very cool feature that brings an enterprise grade recovery mechanism to the SMB market.
Besides backup and restore services, NAKIVO also provides a comprehensive replication solution for VMware and Hyper-V Virtual Machines and AWS EC2 instances. Replication acreates and maintains an identical copy of a source VM on a target host:
The primary use cases for Replication are:
- Disaster Recovery
- RPO and RTO Improvement
- Failover and Failback
For more information about NAKIVO replication, please refer to https://www.nakivo.com/vmware-replication/
Licencing & Pricing
NAKIVO Backup for VMware and Hyper-V is is available in a number of different editions:
- Pro Essentials
- Enterprise Essentials
The license model is perpetual per socket. Additional details and pricing specifics can be found at https://www.nakivo.com/how-to-buy/vmware-hyper-v-pricing/.