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I have a smallish lab environment (16 x ESX4iU1 hosts and VC4U1) that I periodically want to backup.

Normally in production we snap to secondary SAN boxes then have disk-based VTL backups via NetBackup which eventually migrate to off-site removable disks but this seems like an overkill for my own kit.

I've spent a bit of time with vSphere's 'Data Recovery' appliance, it was easy enough to setup and I've not really ran into any issues with it but that doesn't mean I trust it fully.

Have you had any experiences with it, positive or negative that would help me decide whether to trust it or pay Symantec for more licences?

Thank you in advance.

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Any updates on this? I would like to go vDR as well, but I really do not know if it is safe today to make backups with it. What possibility did you choose then ? – John Jun 22 '11 at 11:57
The latest version (1.2.1 iirc) has certainly leapt ahead quickly and we use it extensively these days. That said it is limited in many ways (only two backup destinations), and needs monitoring to check it's all going well but is fine for 'free'. I'd recommend giving it more vCPUs and memory by the way, it ships a little under-resourced I think. The version with v5 is WAAY better though but that's not out just yet sorry. – Chopper3 Jun 22 '11 at 12:04
For some reason I haven't heard of this product until today. All the talk I ever hear at VMworld/VMare Forum is about SRM, and not VDR. I am currently looking around for solutions to replace vReplicator for our image/disk based DR solution. Chopper3, are you continuing to use this product extensively and if so have you moved up to VDR 2.0 with the release of vSphere 5? I am very interested in investigating this solution further and your seemingly quite successful deployment has me excited about this product. – Chadddada Nov 1 '11 at 19:29
@Chadddada - just a small note, Chopper3 hasn't been around much lately, so you might not get a reply for a little while – Mark Henderson Nov 1 '11 at 19:47
@Chadddada - yes we use if extensively to backup our non-production VMs, in fact we have about 12-14 of them all over, all on the much-improved v2.0. They're not without maintenance but they're free! oh and v2.0 runs on 4.1u1 too by the way, not just v5. Anyway, give it a go, if it's good for you then great, if not you've only lost time/effort. Oh one tip, don't backup to a CIFS share, it sucks :) – Chopper3 Nov 2 '11 at 12:17
up vote 1 down vote accepted

We are going through a lot of issues with Vsphere4, VDR and a Virtual Appliance - it has been in operation for approx 3 months and I would have to say the backups are not very reliable. Occasionally the restore points either vanish completely or go "damaged" requiring restore from tape etc. Some days it starts to miss a particular server out and this has to be "fixed". Seemingly this can be caused by integrity checks running during the day but if our experience is anything to go by, this is very flaky.

Its a shame really as the option of a Deduplicated backup store with multiple recovery points readily available on disk looked great. Hopefully it will get sorted out.

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Thanks for the update, what version of VDR are you on out of interest? – Chopper3 May 11 '10 at 13:07

We've had no end of problems even with the latest VMware DR appliance (1.2) on vSphere 4.1... we just can't get the thing to connect 90% of the time, and when it does connect, it appears to work well, but then it will magically stop connecting. We've also had several backups fail with a mysterious "sharing violation" error, even though the target store is dedicated only to VMware DR.

In short: it's not fully baked yet. We want to dump BackupExec as quickly as possible, and are looking for other solutions.

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Since asking this question last year we've been extensively using VDR - we have 24 appliances across 12 vCenters and they have successfully made over 250k backups with only 11 errors in that time so I'm very happy with it. We've not seen any of the errors you have, what I would say is that the entire vSphere suite is extremely sensitive to DNS issues, have you made sure all of your hosts and VCs can resolve your VDR forward AND reverse? – Chopper3 Mar 16 '11 at 14:15
Oh yes, we've been through all the name resolution steps documented in VMware communities. Everything resolves perfectly, it just works very intermittently. Are you using v1.2? It is the first version we've tried. – rmalayter Mar 17 '11 at 21:40

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