Is your VMware vSphere 5.1 third party backup reliable or not?

Symantec posted an interesting blog on their corporate website. The blog is titled Quality Wins Every Time: vSphere 5.1 Support Update and explains why Symantec Backup Exec 2012 does not yet  officially support VMware vSphere 5.1 . Quite a few posting on Symantec forums can be found in which customers are asking when Symantec starts supporting vSphere 5.1. Here is another thread named  Backup Exec 2012 support for VMWare ESXi 5.1 and vCenter 5.1 in which Symantec customers are considering to use another product.

Veeam responded with a blogposting titled Modern Architecture Wins Every Time: Veeam Customers Unaffected
Veeam explains their Backup & Replication software is not affected.

The Symantec posting states:

Symantec and VMware are unwaveringly dedicated to quality in our jointly developed solutions. During our testing with the VMware vStorage 5.1 API Symantec encountered issues* that introduce risk performing consistent backups and ensuring reliable restores. We raised these concerns with our friends at VMware, who documented them in their knowledge base and in the VMware vSphere 5.1 release notes. VMware expects a vStorage API update, and at that time we expect to retest and once again support joint solutions.

During these weeks of close examination VMware also confirmed that any 3rd party vendor depending on the current API may be impacted by these issues. We can only conclude that compatibility and support claims from other vendors are either poorly informed or possibly represent a more cavalier “ship-and-fix” data protection approach than Symantec is willing to accept. We welcome your questions and comments.

The VMware knowledge base article states :

Third-party backup software using VDDK 5.1 may see these symptoms:

  • Backup jobs may fail or hang
  • Restore Jobs may fail or hang

Also currently there is no workaround or fix available for this issue.

Viktor van den Berg has written a blog on this issue as well. He reports that some vendors might use the VDDK 5.0 instead of 5.1 verion.

Abdul Rasheed has an interesting post on VDDK titled What’s up with VADP backups and VDDK on vSphere 5.1?


Update November 26:
Veeam has posted a blogposting explaining Veeam has recognized issues with VDDK.  The development team made the decision to design VDDK interaction architecture in a way that allows  to easily handle unexpected VDDK issues. The team wasn’t able to fix these issues but they did realize that separating the VDDK calls into a separate process monitored by a watchdog process will help to dramatically increase overall reliability. In case this process hangs, Veeam Backup & Replication  simply kills the process without affecting the job. With an alternative architecture not featuring such isolation, VDDK code hang will cause they whole backup and restore “job” to hang just as the VMware KB article explains.

Read the Veeam blogposting titled Modern Architecture Wins Every Time: Veeam Customers Unaffected

Please let me know in the comments if you had issues with your backup tool on vSphere 5.1

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