One of the things that virtual backup purports to do is to make data protection easier for the user. HOS (Host Operating System)-level backup is inherently simpler (not always better in all cases, but almost always simpler.)
VMware’s VADP (vStorage APIs for Data Protection) are technically superior to Microsoft’s Hyper-V VSS (Volume Copy Shadow Service) for backup. VADP inherently includes CBT (Changed Block Tracking) and other features; while backup vendors have to implement CBT and other technologies when protecting Hyper-V.
The technologists at VMware are doing a great job. However, the folks in charge of product definition and pricing are setting themselves up to get killed by Microsoft. Why? Price.
If you want HOS-level protection for VMware free (unlicensed) ESXi, you’re out of luck. VADP only works with the licensed versions of VMware ESXi or ESX. What does that mean? It means you’re going to have to buy at least VMware Essentials – which has an MSRP of $495 plus support.
In the meantime, the technically inferior (at least for now) Hyper-V has no such constraints on its VSS interface. If you want HOS-level protection for Hyper-V, it’s not going to cost you a dime more from your free version of Hyper-V Server.
The technologists I know absolutely HATE this kind of thing. Good technology undone by poor product, and marketing decisions.
I hope Microsoft’s Hyper-V V3 (also called Hyper-V 2012 or Windows 8 Server and Client Hyper-V) forces VMware to come to its senses. I’m a fan of the VMware technology every bit as much as I’m a fan of the Windows 8 Hyper-V technology – but to me, when I take into account price, for the small business and even the lower midrange business Windows 8 Hyper-V is going to deliver higher value.