Veeam Backup & Replication Review

The installation is wizard-driven and will install any dependencies you may need that aren’t already installed.

Valuable Features

Veeam is a solid performer for backing up VMware. By leveraging VMware’s changed block tracking (CBT) the incremental backups are very efficient and small. Veeam also has a rather intuitive interface that is easy to understand and is easy to get up and running in short order. It has several other solid features, such as storage snapshot integration (new feature), Exchange/SQL/file granularity, and some very useful recovery options as well.

Improvements to My Organization

Reliable backups are so critical and my Veeam backups (disk-to-disk) have never failed to be restorable. I can’t say that about other products I’ve used.

Room for Improvement

I have asked Veeam to consider backing up physical devices for years and each time the response was “that’s not what we do”. As a result, they missed many opportunities to sell their products to customers who have a mixture of virtual and physical devices but don’t want to support multiple backup products. Veeam finally started down that path but they are taking their time to get the Endpoint Protection fully developed and rolled into the main product. They need to ramp this up and then I believe they would see even better adoption.

Use of Solution

I've been using it for six to seven years.

Deployment Issues

Deploying Veeam is as easy as you get. The installation is wizard-driven and will install any dependencies you may need that aren’t already installed. On the other hand, I have had some issues with scalability. Specifically, backing up large virtual file servers for me goes very slowly. Veeam has a concept of a backup proxy, which moves the resource load to whatever is designated as the proxy. This can be the local Veeam server or another physical or virtual server.

Stability Issues

For me, I have trouble with large VMDK files (multi TB) regardless of where I place the proxy and while there are several others who have similar results, Veeam hasn’t seemed to find a solution for this yet. Note that this is only on the initial full backup and subsequent incrementals are fine. Also note that I have not opened a case myself on this but have tracked the cases of others reporting the same issue.

Scalability Issues

It's been able to scale for our needs.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Veeam support is pretty good but has degraded somewhat as they have grown. Not surprising as this happens to every company as they ramp up but overall support is as it should be. What is solid though is that their technical people comb through the forums so many of the posts have expert feedback and advice right there, which is very nice. I find it nice to know that they at least care enough to do that and actually listen to the issues.

Previous Solutions

I’ve used several other products and pound-for-pound in a virtual environment Veeam seems to work the best.

Initial Setup

Veeam is very easy to setup. The installation is wizard-driven and will install any dependencies you might be missing.

Implementation Team

I work for a Veeam partner so we implement all Veeam deployments ourselves. My best advice for Veeam goes for all other products that support it: use a dedicated backup target such as Data Domain, StoreOnce, FalconStor, etc. Not only are these devices designed for this type of workload (improves performance) but you will get a secondary benefit of the hardware deduplication that makes your backup jobs incredibly small and efficient. You can run Veeam and a server and backup to the local storage to save money but the long-term solution is not as good and problem-free.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

Licensing is based on CPU socket of the host servers and if you get the enterprise versions you also get support for file, SQL and Exchange granularity so there is nothing else left to buy. Most other products either require individual licenses for these advanced features or are licensed for the amount of data you have so in either of those cases your costs will rise as your data grows. With Veeam, provided you don’t add more servers, the license cost remains flat.

Other Advice

If you have a VMware or Hyper-V environment, then Veeam is the most mature and solid product in its class today. If you have a mixed environment, well then you may have some thinking to do. Personally I would still consider Veeam knowing they are working on their physical backup solution, which you can use today (although it’s very basic right now) or go with something else on the physical side for the time being.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: I have been a partner for the duration of my relationship with Veeam. Note that I have also been a partner with several other backup companies as well.
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