New – PHD Virtual Backup Version 6

PHD Virtual Backup is now at version 6 and I have my review of the new product. I have done a couple reviews on PHD Virtual Backup and Replication before and I have been impress by how easy it is to get up and running. Check these previous blogs (PHD Virtual Backup Review & Replication and Exporter for PHD Virtual Backup) which goes more into how to setup and configure the older version of the product. Not much has changed from the setup and configuration standpoint but since there wasn’t really any issues in this area why fix what’s not broken. The previous product brought with it ease of use, solid backups and restores, and also replication to top it all off. I was able to get my hands on the beta version to do some testing so I’ll provide some feedback on my findings.

So what’s changed with the new version of the product? Well PHD Virtual points out 5 key enhancements with this new version.

  • PHD Instant Recovery – This feature greatly improves RTO by giving you the capability to power on VM directly from the backup location. You can then use Storage VMotion, or their own PHD Motion, to move the VM to your production datastore.
  • Multiple Backup Modes – PHD now provides greater flexibility in how you backup and restore your virtual machines. You have the option of their deduplicated backup method (Virtual Full) and a traditional Full and Incremental method. This allows you to select the fastest performing method for your specific backup storage configuration.
  • Enhanced File Level Restore (FLR) – Need to restore files from the client VM? Well PHD Virtual has made it easier to get file level restore using CIFS shares. So iSCSI is not the only way to get your files restored like with the previous version.
  • Application Aware Backups – Application aware backups include the ability to properly quiesce the application prior to backup, as well as perform any post backup processes, such as automated truncating and shrinking of database logs. They built functionality for Microsoft Exchange and SQL Server. You can even use your own scripts for other Windows applications. You’ll have to install the PHD Guest Tools in order to leverage this feature though.
  • Encryption – So this is important for data security and PHD Virtual Backup can now be configured to encrypt backup data in flight and at rest. Different types of industry standard encryption levels are supported. I’m looking forward to checking this feature out still.
  • There are more enhancements to the product that I have not covered here but I could not get to everything in the short time frame I had. But if you want more information you can check out PHD Virtual Backup 6.

    So, my first impressions of the product was that not much looked different from the UI perspective. This was good since the previous versions UI was great to work with. Some visual additions were added for “Instant VM Recovery” but again nothing major. The backup creation and file recovery wizards changed a bit as well to accommodate new features for “Full and “Incremental Backup Mode” and “Enhanced FLR” as well.

    Everything that i tested worked as it should except for a minor issue with refreshing information on the Instant VM Recovery screen which could be done manually. I put more focus on the new features but backups, restores, and replication worked fine as they did in the previous version.

    So far there was nothing really “Bad” to mention about the latest version. The PHD Guest Tools sound like a good thing but I didn’t get much time to dive deep into the details. But right off the bat I felt that there should have been some kind of installer for these tools like you get with the VMware Tools. Manually installing this in more than 2 virtual machine quickly got more redundant and cave man like than I’m used too. This is a minor problem in my case because I can create a package and push this out with our current SCCM server. Also in the “Instant VM Recovery” area I had to manually refresh to get updated information. This maybe fixed in the GA version but if not someone should look into this and have that screen update automatically when a change is made.

    In closing, I need to do more testing of the product but so far PHD Virtual has taken an already great product and improved on it while keeping ease of us a top priority.