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Barracuda MSP Partner Toolkit

VMware Standard vs QuickSpin

When it comes to VMware backups, it may not be clear, at first, which kind to choose and how to configure them for your clients.  This article attempts to give a useful summary of each VMware backup set type, the differences between them, and how you can use each to meet your recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO).

 

VMware Backups Summary


Both VMware Standard and VMware QuickSpin backup sets provide you with image-style backups of VMware virtual machines.  This means all the data stored within those virtual machines will be included in the backup and will be available to restore from.  As you may be able to deduce, the sizes of the VMware backups are going to be at least the size of the virtual machine itself plus some amount of overhead for revisions.  You will want to make sure you have plenty of space allocated for the place you end up storing VMware backups.

VMware backups are designed to work while the virtual machines they back up are running.  Since they utilize VMware quiesced snapshots to create application-consistent backups, you will also want to make sure your ESX/ESXi host has the resources to accommodate the presence of these snapshots during backup operation.

Both types of VMware backups require the Backup Agent be installed on a machine that can connect to and authenticate with the ESX/ESXi host or the vCenter server (if one is managing the hosts containing the virtual machines you want to back up).

 

VMware Standard vs. VMware QuickSpin


The following table summarizes the differences between the two VMware backup set types.

  VMware Standard VMware QuickSpin
Possible backup destination(s) Online and/or Local Local
Storage location Local Vault

Base: ESX/ESXi host datastore

Incrementals: Local Storage

Encrypted Yes No
Compressed Yes No
Revision type Forward Incremental Reverse Incremental
Restore time (order of magnitude) Hours Minutes
Requires license No Yes (QuickSpin VM Host License)

As you can see above, the main advantages to VMware Standard are off-siting of backups and data encryption for greater security.  The advantages to VMware QuickSpin are faster backup times since there is no encryption or compression performed and quicker restores due to the reverse incremental style.  VMware QuickSpin also has the added benefit of using a Local Storage folder; each backup set will use its own unique Local Storage folder, allowing greater flexibility when choosing where to store those backups.

Another consideration to remember is that you aren't limited to using only VMware Standard or VMware QuickSpin.  You can use both backup sets to attain the advantages aforementioned.  For example, you can run VMware QuickSpin backups 2-5 times a day, Monday through Friday, for more granular RPOs, then have the VMware Standard backups run on the weekends, off-siting a separate copy of the virtual machines for disaster-recovery purposes.  If VMware Standard and VMware QuickSpin backup jobs overlap, one backup will be given priority since an individual virtual machine cannot be worked on by both backup jobs simultaneously.

The following criteria may help you decide which backup set is needed for your specific goals.

  VMware Standard VMware QuickSpin
I want to be able to back up my virtual machines multiple times a day.  
I want the protection of having off-site copies of my backups.  
If I lose any of these machines, I need them up and running in minutes.  
I need my backup data to be encrypted.  
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