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When the vSphere infrastructure is upgraded, than also the backup part needs a check (and maybe a refresh). But, in order to avoid big issue, is better check it also before the entire upgrade, just to be sure that all remain supported. I also suggest to use this as a potential review of the the entire backup policies to find how to improve them and/or how to use different solutions (not necessary different products).

About the backup programs, most of them could still work with vSphere, because the vStorage APIs for Data Protection (VADP) are quite compatible with old versions. But on the vStorage side there are some changes like the new VMFS5 and the datastore clusters that can create some issues, especially when SAN transport is used. For this reason the backup programs needs some fixes to support the new features.

Some considerations:

  • VCB: officially with vSphere 5 the consolidated backup’s scripts are no more supported (and not that with vSphere 4.1 there was the VCB version from vSphere 4.0). But I was just curios and I’ve tried with the VCB 1.5U2 (transport NBD) and seems that it still works also with vSphere 5, both in fullvm and file level model!
  • VDR: the new VDR has some improvements (some are described in my previous post), but I’ve found some issues related with the upgrade path of this component (in some cases the destination upgrade, after a lot of hours fails and the destination was un-usable). I suggest to avoid the upgrade, and start with a new appliance and new destinations. After some backups you can choose to remove the old appliance and his destinations. Note that seems that the VDR 1.2 can work also with vSphere 5 and the new VDR plugin (I’ve only tried to make a simple backup and restore).
  • Veeam Backup: the current version (5.0.2) works with vSphere 5, but you need a patch from support team to fix some bugs (for example to support the SAN transport mode). The new version (6) will be fully vSphere 5 compliant.
  • Quest vRanger: the new version (5.2) is certified for vSphere 5.
  • PHD Virtual Backup: new version (5.3) must be compatible, as written on the web site.
  • Symantec Backup Exec: seems that both 2010 R2 and R3 work with vSphere 5 (but I’ve tested only with R3). For more info see: Backup Exec ™ 2010, 2010 R2 and 2010 R3 Software Compatibility List (SCL)