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Veeam v11 adds continuous data protection and cloud archive

Backup specialist’s annual upgrade brings continuous data protection to offer better RPOs and RTOs than existing snapshot functionality and without impact on running processes

Backup specialist Veeam’s upgrade to version 11 of its Backup & Replication product will add continuous data protection (CDP), which the company claims will offer RPOs and RTOs down to seconds and is targeted at the most critical – typically database – enterprise applications.

Also announced are the ability to archive directly to cloud archive targets with data chunks optimised for ingress and egress and instant recovery of databases to production environments as well as NAS shares.

Veeam already has snapshots support, but CDP aims to provide much more rapid and less disruptive protection to key systems than that can provide.

The new CDP functionality has been cooking since 2017. It makes use of the VMware VAIO (vSphere APIs for I/O filtering) to split I/O without any kind of “stun” or delay to traffic and to take what is needed to replicate to a secondary vSphere environment.

Additionally, there is no physical distance limit to where data can be replicated, said Veeam senior global technologist Michael Cade.

Veeam snapshots work differently, by taking a point-in-time copy or building one using deltas. CDP collects all I/O as it is written, and using only what is new, replicates that to the secondary site.

CDP is intended to run constantly, so giving ready access to any point in time. In theory, you could run snapshots at much higher frequency to provide much the same thing, but there would be an effect on performance as they have not been optimised to not impact I/O.

“We’re aiming CDP at the top 5% of workloads, the mission-critical workloads, such as database servers. Everything else can use vSphere replication or storage replication,” said Cade.

Meanwhile, Veeam has added a few more notable enhancements in v11 (out of around 150 in total).

It has added ransomware protection that puts backup files into an immutable state on-premise, in any customer hardware. This adds to similar capability in the cloud. Retention periods can be set for any period, during which time the files are locked to any attempt to delete or edit them.

Another key set of functionality added is to be able to archive to Amazon (S3 Glacier) and Azure Archive. It is already possible to use cloud performance and capacity tiers as targets, but this allows for policy-driven movement of backups to cloud archive services.

“The key thing is that we don’t just take the backup file and put it in object storage. We turn it into an object-oriented chunk so that it’s possible to understand what data is contained,” said Cade.  “That means we can send much bigger chunks into the cloud archive but still recover at the level of an individual file, virtual machine, and so on. That allows data to be optimised for cost-effective ingress and egress.”

Veeam has also added instant recovery of Veeam backups to Microsoft Hyper-V and SQL and Oracle databases to a production environment. It has also added recovery of NAS shares, but these are via SMB connections and read-only for now. Read/write capability for NAS recovery is currently being researched, said Cade.

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