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Backup Exec 2012 vs Backup via VMware agent vs Backup via Windows agent

Created: 10 Dec 2013 | 3 comments


We have about 15 servers that are all VMs within VMware ESX 5.1   (ADS, Exchange, SQL, file server, etc..etc...)

Actually we have 15 backup jobs that backup each single servers on B2D storage, (backup files for each server go to a folder name that is the same as the  server name).

I've been told that we could use VMware agent to do all of our backups.

Can someone explain what would be difference between using vmware agent instead of how we do it actually ?

What are the pros and cons ?

Is there any benifits of doing it via VMware agent ?

Why would we use MVware agent instead of what we do now ?

Thanks for the clarification.

Operating Systems:

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lmosla's picture

The benefit of installing the remote agent on the vm's is the ablility to use GRT  see this Best Practices document:  

note: that you would need a Agent for Application and Databases license for each application on the VM

There is a good discussion on this topic here:

pkh's picture

The benefits of using the VMware agent is that you can backup the servers as VM, rather than as physical machines.  Let's say, you have Host1 hosting a couple of servers.  With the VMware agent, you just need one job to backup Host1 and all the servers on Host1 would be backed up as well.  This reduces the number of jobs

Another advantage is that when you need to recover a VM, you only need to restore its vmdk's and it is up and running.  By backing up the VM's as physical machines, the recovery is more difficult. You have to recover the OS first by restoring the C: drive and then the system state.  After the machine is up and running, you would then need to restore the data for your applications and databases, like Exchange and SQL Server.  You don't have to to all these when you restore a VM as a VM.

Although you backup a VM by backing up its vmdk's using the VMware agent, with GRT, you can still restore individual objects, like mail items, SQL databases, etc.  You don't need to have a separate backup to have GRT.

To use the VMware agent, you need to buy a VMware agent for each of the VM host.  You would still need your existing Agent for Applications and Databases licences to give you the ability to do GRT restores of your applications and databases.  If you are going to have more VM's, you do not need to buy RAWS licences for them because you can load RAWS/RALUS on any number of VM's on a licenced VM host.  However, you would still need 1 Agent for Application and Databases licence for each application/database on each machine, just like the case with physical machine.  You might also want to look into getting the V-Ray edition which gives you an unlimited number of Agent for Application and Databases licences.  See this blog for more details

Colin Weaver's picture

In addition to pkh's reply about the pros and cons and as you mentioned SQL in your original post, be aware that if the SQL databases inside yor VMs are  configured in anything but the Simple Recovery Model that whilst you might want to run complete VM Agent backups for ease of Restore/DR, you will also need to run agent backups to truncate the SQL logs. I believe we are considering better methods to handle this in a future versions of BE.