With the release of vSphere 7 Update 1, a number of improvements have come to backing up virtual machines. VMware’s powerful APIs allow for fast, efficient backup and restore operations of virtual machines.

Network QoS for Backup Traffic

A new dedicated resource pool is been introduced for backup network traffic.  System administrators can set this up in the vSphere Client with System Traffic > Configure > Edit, then optionally change resource settings NIOC may be used together with the dedicated NFC network option, new in VDDK 7.0. This setting will allow administrators to prevent backup traffic from impacting production traffic.

Improved backup job resilience

A new error code is introduced to flag Host Entering Maintenance Mode (EMM) during backup, While in maintenance mode, ESXi hosts cannot perform backup operations With this flag, backup operations can switch to a different ESXi host where the NFC backup session can continue while the EMM host is unavailable. This automatic switching is not transparent to the backup job and will require your backup software to explicitly support detecting this flag and initiating the job fail-over.

Improvements in scalability for concurrent backup jobs

for environments doing large amounts of parallel backups, per vCenter limitations could become a problem. Using VPXA did not allow for customization of the memory buffer for jobs initiated by connecting through vCenter.  vCenter Server 7.0 U1 now uses hostd service on ESXi Host and allows for tunable memory configurations to enabling scaling of the number of backup streams. For 50 concurrent backups, 96MB would be the recommended setting.

vSphere APIs for I/O Filtering (VAIO) improvements

VAIO is a Framework that enables third parties (Partners) to develop filters that run in ESXi and can intercept any IO requests from a guest operating system to a virtual disk. An IO will not be issued or committed to disk without being processed by IO Filters created by 3rd parties.

New to vSphere 7 are a number of improvements to VAIO.

  • CIM provider is switching from 32-bit to 64-bit.
  • Delivery of VAIO filters will be done as components rather than as VIBs

vSphere 7 has a new concept called Component instead of individual vibs. In vSphere 7, components which are a set of vibs can use vSphere Lifecycle Manager to apply patches.  vSphere 7.0 and beyond components rather than VIBs will be the delivery format. A Component is a collection of VIB packages. It is comparable to an enhanced offline bundle. Components can be applied at the CLI using the esxcli software component apply command.

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