Veeam releases free virtualization backup tool for VMware, Hyper-V

The software is a scaled-down version of Veeam Backup & Replication, but still a powerful application on its own

If you've been involved in server virtualization for any length of time, you've probably already come across the "green machine" marketing group from Veeam Software. Recently Veeam kicked off on its website a countdown clock to "something awesome for virtualization lovers." In this case, they were right. When the clock finally struck zero, Veeam did indeed announce something "awesome" for virtualization administrators: a free product called Veeam Backup Free Edition.

This free backup solution was released alongside (no coincidence) Veeam Backup & Replication 6.1, the company's latest upgrade to its core VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V business continuity product. In fact, Veeam Backup Free Edition is the same base product, providing a subset of the functionality of its bigger brother. Both the free and full editions use the same download and installer, with functionality being controlled by the presence or absence of a license key.

[ Also on InfoWorld: With virtualization management becoming more important, will Dell pass on the chance to acquire Quest Software? | Read about what VMware's CTO said about the future of vSphere while at a VMUG meeting in Italy. | Keep up on virtualization by signing up for InfoWorld's Virtualization newsletter. ]

The free version has no time limit on use, but it is limited in its functionality. Unlike its big brother, Veeam Backup & Replication, the free version has no backup scheduler; no incremental backup capabilities; no application-aware processing; no vPower or Instant VM Recovery; no VM replication, failover or failback capabilities; no PowerShell or scripting capabilities; and it is limited to a single backup server and a single backup proxy server, so there is no support for a distributed architecture.

Whatever you do, don't let the "no" list above fool you. This free tool provides a powerful set of features that will surely cause it to find its way onto many virtualization administrator tool belts.

Packed within this free tool, Veeam provides a number of really interesting and powerful capabilities.

File Manager

Veeam hit the virtualization scene back in 2006 with a free file management utility called FastSCP, which according to the company has been downloaded by more than 150,000 users. At that time, VMware ESX was a much different animal than today's GUI-controlled vSphere environment. The free FastSCP tool was therefore created out of necessity as it was very difficult to manage, move and copy large files on the ESX platform. Now, this popular technology has made its way into Veeam Backup Free Edition.

"With Veeam Backup Free Edition the functionality of FastSCP is not gone, it's still there, we're just retiring the FastSCP name," says Doug Hazelman, evangelist and VP of product strategy for Veeam Software.

File Manager provides the user with the ability to browse VM and host files in a familiar Windows Explorer-like graphical interface, to copy VMs and template images between datastores, and to copy files between hosts using Veeam's FastSCP technology.

Instant File-Level Recovery

Veeam Backup Free Edition comes with a full range of restore capabilities, including Instant File-Level Recovery (IFLR). Not only can you restore the full VM or individual VM files, but you can also look inside the VM and restore individual guest files. Administrators no longer need to restore the entire VM when all they need are a few guest files.

IFLR is available for Windows VMs on VMware and Hyper-V. It also works with other file systems, including popular Linux distributions, for VMs running on VMware.

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