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Asigra boosts VMware backup with 6.0

Asigra announced version 6.0 of its flagship Televaulting software and according to users, Asigra's new way of backing up VMware servers is the most notable improvement.

Asigra announced version 6.0 of its flagship Televaulting software, including upgrades, such as Oracle 10g and SQL 8.0 support, centralized mass deployment and cross platform protection for UNIX, Linux, Windows and Mac environments. But according to users, the improvement in the way Asigra backs up virtual servers through VMware is the most notable improvement.

VMware creates virtual machines on a physical host, referred to as VMs. VMs are commonly managed using ESX server, which sees each virtual machine as a file. Backup applications, including previous versions of Televaulting, backed up the entire file. The new Televaulting will back up changes to the files down to a 4KB block level.

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"You could always back up VMs but the big change now is that you can back up at the ESX level," said Tom Dugan, director of technical services for Recovery Networks, a backup outsourcing firm that uses Televaulting to manage customer data.

Dugan said some of his customers are using VMware and the improved ability to back up changes to virtual machines will make restores easier.

As a member of the Philadelphia area VMware users' group, Dugan said he had taken the VMware backup issue to Asigra nine months ago.

"This had been my biggest complaint about Televaulting if you'd asked me nine or even six months ago," Dugan said.

In order to get customer data at his business back to his data center, Dugan sets up a dedicated server for Asigra in the customer's environment, which then sends data via a T1 connection to Recover Networks' data center where the data is replicated to a remote site in Phoenix using NSI Software Inc.'s DoubleTake software and stored in a Hewlett-Packard Co. Fibre Channel SAN.

Asigra's claim to fame is its "agentless" system, which logs in to application servers via a backup manager's machine, removes data and pulls them back to its own server where it sorts the information, keeping only changed blocks.

According to Dugan, the only quibble he still has with Asigra is that in some cases, he would like an agent to be available.

"In a case where you have a 1 terabyte server and you're backing up quite a few changes, it would be easier to have an agent on that server sort through the data before it's sent over the wire," Dugan said, "rather than pulling a huge amount of data over the network and sorting through it on the Asigra server."

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