How We Delivered Free Backup for Free VMware vSphere

Earlier today Unitrends announced that it’s Free Edition of Unitrends Enterprise Backup™ now supported the free (also called unlicensed) version of VMware’s vSphere hypervisor (also called ESXi.) How did we do that when VMware doesn’t allow the use of VADP (VMware API for Data Protection) in the Free vSphere hypervisor?

We didn’t break any laws of physics – nor any other laws of man or nature – we simply extended our licensing such that a limited set of VMs would be supported at the GOS (Guest Operating System) level. Because Unitrends supports data protection at both the HOS (Host Operating System) level as well as the GOS level, it was straightforward to make this happen. It’s actually no different than many of our customers who use our products to protect 100% virtual environments with granular combinations of HOS- and GOS-level protection or those that have mixed physical and virtual environments who of course use HOS- and GOS-level protection (obvious because in the physical world there is only GOS-level protection.)

The biggest deal here was convincing the business folks that this was worth doing since it means were’ giving away something for free that most of our competitors are charging a good bit of money for – GOS-level protection. Our fundamental strategy tended to overcome the tactical objections – and our fundamental strategy is to offer our users in smaller environments the ability to use our products for free. Of course, we’re not altruists – we’re offering automated, fully functioning versions of our product (limited by a few restrictions) in the hopes that these users will turn into customers by buying our product as their environments grow.

Here’s what I found to be the most interesting things about the process. In the marketing e-mail that was initially sent out, there were a list of attributes concerning the “highlights” of Unitrends Enterprise Backup. Instant recovery (failover virtualization) was noted. This is strictly true – we do support instant recovery for Unitrends Enterprise Backup – but today we don’t do so for the Free vSphere version.

I honestly think that our marketing folks finally got back at me for all the times I’ve gone on Spiceworks and other social media and teased something that was coming. Our Windows Instant Recovery, which works at the GOS level for both physical and virtual machines for our physical appliances, is actually coming for our Unitrends Enterprise Backup software-only product in the next few releases – our software developers are eagerly working on enabling that functionality as we speak.


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