How does VMware vSphere Data Protection Advanced work with VMware Virtual SAN?
Because VMware's Virtual SAN (vSAN) feature is so new, most backup vendors have not yet released versions of their products that are specifically intended for vSAN backups. This will surely change over time, but for right now the primary product to back up virtual machines running on a vSAN is a VMware product called vSphere Data Protection Advanced (VDPA) 5.5.6. This particular vSphere Data Protection release is specifically designed to support vSANs.
The interesting thing about VMware VDPA is that it exists as a virtual appliance, so it could theoretically reside on the same vSAN that it's protecting. However, this isn't a best practice, as you never want to end up in a situation in which your backup resides on the same storage as the data it's protecting.
The good news is that VMware VDPA is fairly flexible and gives you a number of different options for protecting data. For example, one option allows users to create backups locally and then use the backup data replication feature to replicate the backup to a secondary vSphere Data Protection appliance, which is connected to a separate storage architecture.
Just because VDPA can make use of a vSAN, doesn't mean it has to. VDPA can write to a number of different types of backup targets. For instance, you can use a virtual disk hosted on NFS storage as a backup target. Similarly, VDPA supports tape backup.
It's worth noting that VDPA can be used as a front end to EMC Data Domain systems. EMC Data Domain software is integrated into VDPA. The only thing to remember is that the Data Domain Boost software must be licensed separately.
About the expert:
Brien Posey is a Microsoft MVP with two decades of IT experience. Before becoming a freelance technical writer, Brien worked as a CIO for a national chain of hospitals and health care facilities. He has also served as a network administrator for some of the nation's largest insurance companies and for the Department of Defense at Fort Knox.