Had a great meeting last night with everyone at Unitrends introducing them to our worst-kept secret – Unitrends Enterprise Backup – a software-only VMware- and Hyper-V-based virtual appliance that handles virtual, physical, and cloud backup, archiving, instant recovery, and replication (which we also call vaulting.)

One of our rising stars in sales, Dan Marconi, asked a great question. He asked whether cross-vaulting would be offered on our software-only Unitrends Enterprise Backup product. Cross-vaulting is a way in our Recovery-series physical appliances to have a single appliance act as both a local backup system and a replication target (which we call a vault.) I told him that it wouldn’t be – that it wasn’t needed – that cross-vaulting was important only for our physical backup systems but not for virtual backup systems.

Here’s a recap of why it is that we will offer cross-vaulting only in a physical system but not in a virtual system.

On a physical system, we have three different personalities for our Recovery-series appliances: local backup, replication target (vault), or cross-vault. If the user during setup picks cross-vault, then they can both backup using the system locally and also be the target for another system at another location for replication (used for disaster recovery.)

However, with our Unitrends Enterprise Backup, we offer only local backup and replication target (vault.) Why? Because you can take a VMware ESX or ESXi system, or a Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 or an upcoming Windows Server 2012 and use the Hyper-V role (or use the free Hyper-V server) and you can set up two virtual appliances on the same system – one for local backup and the other as a target for a vault. If you do the same thing at your remote location, you have a cross-vault.

The obvious question would be – “Isn’t this more difficult to manage?” The answer is “no” – because long ago Unitrends began offering a single pane-of-glass management and monitoring user interface that handles this. And going further, the way navigation works is that the systems are functionally equivalent within that user interface.

The diagram below shows this functional equivalence at the logical architecture level:

 

Comments

  1. Mark
    In a cross vault (physical hardware) would I see all content deduplicated.
    Ie would content from the local backup be deduped with incoming replicated content from another site.
    A common situation, where files, documents between offices is often duplicate.

    If the physical can do this, then hopefully the virtual appliance could also do the same?

    Regards
    Carl

  2. The virtual can do the same as the physical, it’s just partitioned differently. On a physical appliance, you define a personality (or role) as a cross-vault. If you have that done at two geographic locations, you can do precisely as you note above.

    With virtual, all you’d do is to to create for each host server (the physical server running VMware or Hyper-V) a local backup appliance and a local vault appliance. So take this situation:

    Columbia: Hyper-V Server: Local Backup Appliance C1
    Columbia: Hyper-V Server: Local Vault Appliance C2
    Boston: VMware Server: Local Backup Appliance B1
    Boston: VMware Server: Local Vault Appliance B2

    In this situation, C1 can vault to B2 and B1 can vault to C2. This is logically the same as having a physical appliance in Columbia and another in Boston set up to cross-vault and then doing that cross-vaulting as described above.

    Does that make sense?

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