Author: Brandon Lee
In the world of backup and replication software for virtualization environments, it is a crowded one to say the least! There are many products on the market that provide backup and replication capabilities in this space. However, Nakivo Backup & Replication 6.1 is a unique take on getting your VMware or Amazon EC2 VMs backed up quickly, efficiently, and stably with agility and simplicity that I dare say can’t be found in the market elsewhere. In fact, with Nakivo’s Backup & Replication 6.1 product, you will be up and running in minutes and then shortly after performing your first backup job. However, don’t let the efficient and streamlined HTML5 UI or the ease of deployment and other features deceive you. This is a true enterprise backup application that scales across multi-tenant configurations for MSPs as well as deployments across diverse geographic locations.
With version 6.1 enterprise administrators get the added functionality of Instant Object Recovery for Microsoft Exchange 2016/2013, log truncation for Microsoft Exchange 2016/2013, Hot Add, and Job chaining. In this review we will take a close look at deploying the product, performing backups, performing restores, job chaining, and cloud features of the application.
The appliance couldn’t be easier to deploy. In fact, the enterprise administrators have several options available to get up and running quickly. Options available include – Windows and Linux installers as well as an Open Virtualization Archive or OVA appliance available to download for VMware. You can even load Nakivo Backup and Replication directly onto your Synology NAS! For cloud – the ability to add a connection to your AWS account as well as native Nakivo AWS AMI instances are available and ready to provision quickly as well.
For most, the VMware OVA appliance is a turnkey solution that provides a simple deployment mechanism. After powering on the resulting VM and some basic configuration you are up and running.
After deploying the OVA appliance, simply set a hostname and adjust network configuration to suit your environment. This is done via an intuitive console menu.
Once the basic network configuration is complete, simply login to the IP address/DNS name you have provisioned. This can be done either with an HTTP or HTTPS link.
At first login, you are prompted to set a password or this can be skipped until later.
One of the many strengths of Nakivo Backup and Replication 6.1 is the efficient and streamlined interface which makes setting up and performing your first backup extremely easy. Simply add your VMware vSphere server or AWS Account and you are ready to go. The wizard like interface makes this process painless.
Next, we configure the transporter which is the heart of the backup operation in Nakivo. The transporter performs the actual backup, replication, and recovery tasks. In large environments, where multiple VMs should be processed simultaneously, multiple Transporters can be deployed to distribute the workload. In large and geographically distributed environments multiple Transporters can be deployed to distribute the data protection workload, optimize network traffic, and improve data transfer speeds. To get up and running quickly, to start with, you can simply use the onboard transporter included with the appliance.
Finally, the repository is the final bit of configuration before actually creating a backup job. Again, we can simply use the builtin repository included with the virtual appliance to get up and running quickly. However, the Nakivo backup solution scales so effectively that backup repositories can be spread across different AWS regions!
After the quick setup wizard, we can now create backup jobs. Again, the process from deploying the OVA to the point of creating the backup job is minutes. The jobs we have available to us to create depend on the type of Inventory Connections you have made. However as you can see below we can create:
· VMware vSphere backup job
· Amazon EC2 backup job
· VMware vSphere replication job
· Amazon EC2 replication job
· Backup Copy
· Group – job groups
When creating the backup job, the straightforward and intuitive interface that Nakivo provides continues to shine here. It is an efficient wizard type interface to select the VM and options.
Step 1 – Select VM for backup
Step 2 – Select storage
Specify Job Schedule
Step 4 – Specify job options
If you drill into the Data transfer >> Transport mode options, you will see a new feature included with Nakivo Backup & Replication 6.1 – Hot Add.
What is the Hot Add feature?
· Hot Add: NAKIVO Backup & Replication can write data directly to the datastore, bypassing the network, which can significantly increase the job performance. This is achieved with the help of VMware’s Hot Add technology. In order for the Hot Add feature to work, the target Transporter (the one that will be writing data ) should run on a host that has access to the target datastore(s).
It is nice to see that along with other improvements and features, Nakivo has also improved performance with this release.
Performance, usability, and features! The powerful, yet simple interface leaves no doubt about which step or what configuration needs to be done for successful backup. Unlike other backup products that may have options buried in various menus and pages, Nakivo provides intuitive control of your backups even for first time users.
When running a backup job, you have a dashboard of sorts that displays all the pertinent data you want to see with a backup job.
Restoring VM backups with Nakivo Backup & Replication 6.1 is as easy as the backup job creation and backup itself. You have the same wizard like interface to choose a VM backup and options. Again, this is a simple and intuitive approach eliminating any guess work relating to the restore process.
As you can see, you have two sets of restore options with the VMware configuration – Granular Recovery and VMware Full Recovery. The Granular recovery includes individual files, Active Directory objects, and Exchange objects. The VMware full Recovery includes Flash VM boot and VMs from backup.
Step 1 – Select VMs to recover
Simply select the VMs from your restore jobs you want to recover.
Step 2 – Specify recovery location
Here we have the ability to select the container, datastore, and network target for the restore.
Step 3 – Specify job options
In step 3, we have a wide range of options from naming the job, power on options, MAC addresses and whether or not to use a “synthetic” or “production” backup. With synthetic, the environment dependencies are removed whereas these are retained in production restores. You have options to configure the restored VM name. There are also pre and post actions that allow actions to be performed after the restore process completes.
As in the backup job, we have the Hot Add feature available as well with the restore process. It is automatically used if the requirements are met. However, you can manually select this as well. As mentioned earlier, it bypasses the network layer if the Transporter has direct access to the target datastore.
Select Finish to simply save the restore job or Finish and Run to save and run the job at the end of the configuration. As you can see, the VM is restored with the “-recovered” suffix as was selected in the job options.
Another new feature that is exciting with 6.1 release is the Job Chaining option. With this feature, a job can finish its tasks and then trigger another job in a chain. This makes for an easy way to set up set of jobs where a VM backup job saves data locally, and then triggers a Backup Copy job that sends backup copies to Amazon cloud.
Setting up job chaining is easy to do. In the job creation wizard, Step 3 is specifying a job schedule. On the job schedule, there is a new option called Run after another job. After selecting this option, you can then select the Job that you want to run it after.
Nakivo Backup & Replication 6.1 is built for Amazon’s AWS cloud infrastructure. Access to Amazon EC2 is available for backup and replication jobs. There are also prebuilt AMI instances for Nakivo Backup and Replication available in the Amazon AWS Marketplace. Adding your Amazon AWS EC2 account is as simple as creating your Amazon AWS Access Key ID and Secret Access Key.
The Nakivo AMI appliance can be installed in any AWS region and the web interface can be accessed from anywhere. Also, extremely powerful is the ability to locate your backups anywhere. The backup repository can be located in the same Amazon EC2 region, in a different region, or even at your office or home.
Amazon AWS EC2 instance replication creates and mainteancs identical copies of your Amazon instances. Also, entire Amazon accounts may be protected with Nakivo meaning that any new AWS EC2 instances that are created in or moved to the region or account are automatically added to your backup and replication jobs and stay protected.
Also, with Nakivo and AWS, you have access to Instant file recovery as well as application objects recovery including recovering your entire AWS instance with just a few clicks. These are just a few of the cloud integration features with AWS!
Nakivo Backup & Replication 6.1 is a powerful, efficient and extremely versatile backup platform for both VMware as well as Amazon EC2. The quick and nimble UI combined with the ease of use, stability, and many configurable backup choices and options make Nakivo a valuable tool in any enterprise environment. With the latest 6.1 release, Nakivo has upped their game expanding compatibility with current enterprise applications as well as powerful new features such as the Hot Add feature and Job Chaining.
While standing in a crowded space, Nakivo shines among the field of competitors. You simply won’t find a better enterprise backup product with the mix of performance and configurable backup options. From being up and running in minutes to protecting multiple AWS instances located among many geographic locations as well as providing enterprise backup protection for multitenant environments, Nakivo Backup and Replication 6.1 has you covered.
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