In an effort to ease virtual machine management, Quest Software has folded its VMware replication software into its VMware backup software program, and now offers both in a single package, vRanger Pro.
"As virtualization becomes more ubiquitous, you have file servers and database servers being virtualized, so we have to build out [VM backup software] to what people expect from a full backup and recovery solution," said John Maxwell, Quest Software vice president for data protection products.
The new version of Quest Software vRanger Pro backup software, version 5.0, now includes all of the capabilities of Quest Software vReplicator replication software, which will be retired over the next few years.
With replication, the software periodically makes a copy of the VM that can be quickly pressed into production use if access to the original is lost by, say, a failed server. Backup, in contrast, is typically done to make copies of a VM for archival and record-keeping purposes. Managing both from a single console could streamline operations for administrators and allow them to get more use from their backup VMs, Maxwell said.
With this release, vRanger, offers the ability to extract single files from within a stored VM, directly from the management console, Maxwell said. Previously, administrators had to keep track of the contents of each VM if they wanted to use the VMs for data storage. Now the software builds a catalog of all the files within VMs being stored. Users can search by files and can copy the resulting matches directly from the management console.
The software has a number of other new features as well. Version 5.0 will be the first that can restore a copy of a VM directly from a SAN (Storage Area Network). In previous versions, an administrator would have to split the task into two steps, one to move the VM off the SAN, and a second step to execute the actual recovery process.
This is also the first version that can work with NFS (Network File System), allowing the use of NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices as a backup medium.
VReplicator will continue to be sold as a stand-alone product though this year, though it will be phased out thereafter. VRanger Pro edition, which sells for $699 per socket, includes all of vReplicator capability. VRanger Standard, priced at US$399, does not offer replication.
According to Quest, over 20,000 copies of vRanger are now being used. The Macy's chain of department stores and Research In Motion are two large customers of the product.
Beyond this release, Quest plans to further enhance vRanger in such a way to resemble traditional backup and recovery products. Future editions will accommodate the use of tape drives, for instance. The software will also feature deduplication capabilities, borrowing from a technology developed by BakBone Software, a company that Quest purchased last month.