There has been a fair amount of unsubstantiated speculation and noise around the new VMware virtual machine backup and recovery solution called vSphere Data Protection (VDP). Some of the most inaccurate statements I have read about were along the lines of – and I am paraphrasing – “EMC embeds its storage technology in vSphere” or “VDP is EMC Avamar Virtual Edition”.  I thought it might be good to take a few moments and set the record straight by providing more context as to why VMware introduced VDP, what it is and what use cases it serves.

Let’s first talk about why VMware is replacing VMware Data Recovery (VDR) with VDP. VDR was a first generation solution for the rapidly growing backup market that was first bundled with vSphere 4, and experienced rapid adoption by VMware customers. However, in the constant effort to deliver more value to customers, VMware has been actively working on improving data protection and disaster recovery with enhanced backup and replication solutions. This led VMware to introduce a new, more robust product in the form of VDP.  To maximize customer value, VMware decided to collaborate with the EMC Avamar team who has world-class industry leading expertise in backup and recovery technology to build the underlying foundation for VDP.

Just like VDR, VDP is ideally suited to protect small environments with enterprise-class backup and de-duplication technology. VDP scales to up to 2TB of de-duplicated storage or 100 VMs and leverages a variable-length de-duplication algorithm to deliver de-duplication rates of as much as 99%. VDP is easy to use and is managed directly from the vSphere Web Client, allowing administrators to quickly setup their backup policies and manage backups from a single pane of glass along with their entire virtual infrastructure.

Now on to the hot question at hand: Is VDP a “re-packaged” version of Avamar Virtual Edition (AVE)?  The answer is no.  VDP is an entirely new VMware product co-developed by VMware and EMC. It was designed specifically to be integrated with vSphere and packaged with vSphere 5.1 (Essentials Plus and above).  VDP does leverage Avamar technology “under the hood” to provide a robust and mature solution, but it is an entirely different product from AVE. VDP is only sold as a VMware product, available in the vSphere platform, and is not sold by EMC.

It is important to highlight that VMware continues to foster innovation in the backup space for the virtual environments market, supporting a broad partner ecosystem. VMware is fully committed to continuing investment in the vSphere Storage APIs for Data Protection (VADP) to enable seamless integration of third-party backup and recovery with VMware vSphere.

So there you have it.  VDP replaces functionality of VDR with new robust features and is geared toward protecting small environments. It may not have some of the elements found in other backup and recovery solutions in the enterprise market today, but keep in mind it is bundled with most editions of vSphere 5.1 – i.e. you did not have to pay extra for it.  Please give VDP a try and let us know what you think.