The following are the key features of VMware Consolidated Backup:

·         Backup Software Integration provides fast and efficient way of backing up data in virtual machines.

·         Reducing administrative overhead by centralizing backup management on the backup proxies and eliminating the need for backup agents on each virtual machine.

·         Elimination of a backup agent in a virtual machine.

·         Ability to read virtual disk data directly from the SAN storage device using Fibre Channel or iSCSI, or a network connection to an ESX Server host to access virtual disk data.

·         The option of running the software in a virtual machine when it is used to backup virtual machines residing on a storage device accessed over a network connection.

·         Eliminating backup traffic on the network by providing support for Fibre Channel (FC) SANs.

·         Support for file-level full and incremental backups for virtual machines running Microsoft Windows Operating System (OS) and image-level backups for virtual machines running any other supported operating system.

·         The option of using the software with a single ESX server host or with a VirtualCenter Management Server.


How VMware Consolidated Backup works

Consolidated Backup consists of a set of scripts and utilities that work in conjunction with a third-party, backup software. To ensure that Consolidated Backup works with the specific backup software, either VMware or your backup software vendor provide integration modules containing any required pre-backup scripts.

The third-party software, integration module, and Consolidated Backup run on the VCB proxy, a physical or virtual Machine that has Microsoft Windows Operating system Installed.

The initial configuration includes:

  • Granting access permissions on the SAN system.
  • Installing one of the many supported third-party backup software package.
  • Installing the Consolidated backup base package as well as the specific integration module for the third party backup software which will be used.
  • Optionally, Making sure that each virtual machine to be backed has the latest version of VMware Tools installed (without this, some features of Consolidated Backup are not available).

VMware supports the following two modes of Consolidated Backup:

SAN Mode of Consolidated backup (Fibre Channel and iSCS)

This mode can be used when the ESX Server uses Fibre Channel SAN or iSCSI SAN to store its virtual machine disks.

In the SAN Mode, Consolidated Backup reads virtual disk data directly from the Shared Fibre Chanel or iSCSI storage device, completely off loading backup processes from the ESX Server system to the VCB proxy.

vmware consolidate backup in san mode

Figure 1: VMware Consolidate Backup in SAN mode

LAN Mode of Consolidated Backup

The LAN mode has to be used when the ESX Server does not have access to a SAN, but uses local storage devices or NAS to store its virtual machine disks.

In this mode, Consolidated Backup uses an over-the –network protocol to access the virtual disk. The ESX Server host reads the data from storage device and sends it across a network channel to the VCB proxy.

To be able to run Consolidated Backup in the LAN mode:

-          The VMware ESX server is either version 3.5 or VMware ESXi 3.5.

-          If VirtualCenter is in use, version 2.5 of the software has to be utilized.

-          The virtual disks cannot be larger than 1 TB each.


 vmware consolidate backup in lan mode

Figure 2: VMware Consolidated Backup in LAN mode.