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Netting Out NetBackup

VMware announces "End of Availability for VMware Consolidated Backup"

Created: 25 Feb 2010 • Updated: 22 Jan 2013 • 4 comments
Brian_Smith's picture
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As you may have heard from VMware, the end is near for their VMware Consolidated Backup product, or VCB.  It has been superseded by a new technology called vStorage APIs for Data Protection, or VADP.  See their posting at

In NetBackup 6.5.1, we introduced "NetBackup for VMware" which requires VCB from VMware.  The VCB requirement remains in all later NetBackup 6.5.x releases.  There are no plans to support VADP in NetBackup 6.5.

In NetBackup 7, which is now available, we support both VCB and VADP.  In fact, we support mixed environments of both, which recognizes that customers do not likely upgrade all ESX servers at once.

There is even more good news: you do not need to upgrade to "vSphere 4" to leverage VADP (but vSphere is loaded with other advantages).  Once you deploy NetBackup 7 for VMware, these are the minimum requirements for using VADP:
- You use vCenter 2.5 or later.  In that case, NetBackup 7 can protect VMs on ESX server 3.0.2 or later.
- You use ESX server 3.5 U2 or later.

If that does not apply, NetBackup 7 will attempt to use VCB.  We will continue to support VCB deployments through NetBackup 7. It's uncertain at this time, but I don't anticipate continued VCB support after NetBackup 7.

Lastly, if you are using VCB today, the transition to VADP is relatively simple.  What is known as the "VCB proxy server," or the NetBackup Client for VMware, continues to be the off-host backup server.  The significant improvement in VADP is the backup host no longer needs a large disk staging area to hold a copy of the VM snapshot.  With VADP, NetBackup now reads the snapshot directly from the ESX server, eliminating the inefficient VCB copy and the associated staging area.  This improvement alone should reduce the VM backup time in half!

NetBackup 7 also supports other VADP enhancements, like block-level incremental backup of VMs.  (Note, BLIB is one of those VADP capabilities that does require an upgrade to vSphere 4.)

For more information, please attend a webcast for "NetBackup 7 for VMware" at  Or for the serious enthusiast, you can download the latest user guide at

Happy Virtualizing!
Brian Smith
NetBackup Product Manager

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Brian_Smith's picture

Here is additional information regarding VCB backward compatibility when upgrading to NetBackup 7.

Three things to realize during an upgrade from NetBackup 6.5.x to 7 where your VMware VCB environment is unchanged:
1) If your VMware environment meets a few minimum requirements (see original post), NBU7 will use the new vStorage APIs for Data Protection (VADP) even if VCB is currently installed and even if you are not running "vSphere 4".
2) Your existing NBU policies will be used, and your existing "VCB proxy server" will still perform VM backups but in a more efficient manner.
3) Some VADP capabilities are not available until your VMware environment is upgraded to vSphere 4, e.g. block-level incremental backup.

Item #1 is a bit of a surprise.  VCB is deployed, but will no longer be used.  What was called the "VCB Proxy Server" is now a traditional "NetBackup off-host backup server".  The backup host does not use the older, less efficient VCB.  Instead, it uses the new VADP to directly read the snapshot from the ESX server.  (VCB first copied the entire snapshot from ESX to a staging area on the backup host, and then NetBackup would backup the copy.  After the upgrade, you can safely retire the VCB disk-staging area from the backup host!)

Once your VMware environment is upgraded to vSphere, you can optionally modify your NetBackup policy to leverage block-level incremental backups of the VMs.  This requires vSphere's ESX 4 or later, because the ESX server must perform block tracking on the VMs.  The tracking is very low overhead, and the use of BLIB will further reduce backup windows and storage needs.  This is also automated: once BLIB is enabled on the policy, the next FULL backup will automatically enable changed-block-tracking.

Finally, for those who want to use NetBackup 6.5.x and VCB to protect vSphere deployments: it's possible and supported by NetBackup and VMware (see the compatibility listings for details).  But NetBackup 7 and VADP are much better suited for protecting vSphere, not to mention NBU7's integrated deduplication capability.

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Alexandre Teixeira's picture

I have netbackup installed on a costomer. Can I have to Upgrade do 7? Which Licenses may I have to be?


Alexandre Teixeira
Cimcorp - Brazil

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mmeeggaann's picture

Great article!  You've answered my doubts.
Thank you

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BSemi's picture


Great article!

Is it possible to do VMWare backup using BackpExec 2010 R2?

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