VMware Puts VCB Out of SMB’s VMware Backup Misery

“It’s better to burn out than to fade away.” [Neil Young]

VMware announced earlier this week that VCB would no longer be supported in future versions of VMware.  The precise communication VMware made is excerpted below:

VMware Backup Product Strategy
VMware released
vStorage APIs for Data Protection (VADP) with the vSphere 4.0 release in May, 2009. VADP is the next generation of VMware’s backup framework. We have also been working with several backup partners to integrate VADP into their solutions to make backup of vSphere Virtual Machines fast, efficient and easy to deploy compared to VCB and other backup solutions. Several of our major backup partners have already released VADP integrated backup products and we expect most of the major backup partners to have VADP integrated backup software by the upcoming feature release of the vSphere platform in 2010.

Future Product Licensing
Given the strong interest and adoption of VADP by our backup eco-system and the benefits offered by VADP compared to VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB), we are announcing the End of Availability for VCB starting with next vSphere feature release in 2010. Starting with the next vSphere platform feature release, VCB will be removed from vSphere platform. VADP integrated backup products (including VMware Data Recovery) will be the recommended option for efficient backup and restoration of vSphere Virtual Machines. This will allow us to focus new value added feature development on VADP instead of two backup frameworks (VCB and VADP).”

This makes the speculation concerning whether SMBs should switch from VCB to vSphere a moot point, of course.

There have been several good blog posts and articles concerning this announcement: the two best are As VMware VCB fades, high hopes for better backups from SearchServerVirtualization and speculation concerning vDR’s role given this announcement.

I’d call out several things with respect to this announcement.  First, the architecture of VCB was horrific.  The requirement that a Windows proxy server be required always flew in the face of most customer’s desire for an integrated, simple, and elegant solution.  And while VMware will continue to support VCB on past releases, I believe this announcement puts the final nail into the coffin that VCB was always half way in.  We’ll finally begin to see a higher degree of penetration for host-based VMware backup solutions when compared to virtual machine-based approaches.  Given the relatively low acceptance of VCB by small and medium businesses, VCB will face a faster obsolescence rate than is typical for deprecated technology.

So what should small and medium businesses do who are adopting VMware and need backup for virtual environments?  The answer is to continue to use virtual machine approaches where flexibility is more important than the maximum reduced utilization of the host and continue to carefully monitor the adoption and the various implementations of the vStorage API set.


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