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Dell EMC Avamar OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Dell EMC Avamar is #2 ranked solution in top Deduplication Software and #10 ranked solution in best Backup and Recovery Software. IT Central Station users give Dell EMC Avamar an average rating of 8 out of 10. Dell EMC Avamar is most commonly compared to Dell EMC NetWorker:Dell EMC Avamar vs Dell EMC NetWorker. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 29% of all views.
What is Dell EMC Avamar?

Avamar is fast, efficient backup and recovery through a complete software and hardware solution. Equipped with integrated variable-length deduplication technology, Avamar facilitates fast, daily full backups for virtual environments, remote offices, enterprise applications, network-attached storage (NAS) servers, and desktops/laptops.

Dell EMC Avamar was previously known as Avamar.

Dell EMC Avamar Buyer's Guide

Download the Dell EMC Avamar Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021

Dell EMC Avamar Customers

Comanche County Memorial Hospital, Cap Atlantique, Getronics, Lewisville Independent School District, EnvisionRxOptions, Cincinnati Bell Technology Solutions

Dell EMC Avamar Video

Archived Dell EMC Avamar Reviews (more than two years old)

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MA
System Operation Engineer at Stayfit
Real User
A very reliable back up with good technical support and excellent stability

Pros and Cons

  • "The backup is the solution's most valuable feature. It's very reliable."
  • "The configuration and expansion aspects of the solution need improvement. They're complicated and don't really integrate well."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution as a backup.

What is most valuable?

The backup is the solution's most valuable feature. It's very reliable.

What needs improvement?

The configuration and expansion aspects of the solution need improvement. They're complicated and don't really integrate well.

The solution requires a remote site application in a future release. I believe they are currently working on this. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for six months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable. It's really reliable.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is very good.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very complex.

What about the implementation team?

We handled the implementation ourselves.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We were lucky to receive the solution as part of a bundle. It was actually a relatively good price, but there are better solutions, like Veem. However, they can be expensive.

What other advice do I have?

We are using the on-premises deployment model of the solution.

I'd rate the solution eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
SD
Solutions Architect at a tech services company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Has high compression ratios but their cloud options should be expanded

Pros and Cons

  • "We sell Avamar with Data Domain. Data Domain and Avamar work really well together and their compression ratios are very high compared to Veeam, Commvault, and all the other backup software on the market."
  • "I think they could also move more towards cloud solutions. It already has some cloud tiering, but I think that could be more extensive. They should work with all cloud providers and I think in the future they will be on all cloud platforms."

What is most valuable?

We sell Avamar with Data Domain. Data Domain and Avamar work really well together and their compression ratios are very high compared to Veeam, Commvault, and all the other backup software on the market.

What needs improvement?

The price is the main thing I'd like to see them change. If they can come down in price, that would be a good thing. It's very cost-competitive in the entry-level range because Veeam pricing is much cheaper than Avamar.

I think they could also move more towards cloud solutions. It already has some cloud tiering, but I think that could be more extensive. They should work with all cloud providers and I think in the future they will be on all cloud platforms.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using this solution for three or four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is really good. We have no complaints. Everybody who has Data Domain with Avamar sticks with it. We have not seen anybody leave once they go in.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is good. Data is getting expanded rapidly, so it really needs scalability and it was scalable. Of course, it did not support the data explosions that we had because of unstructured stuff and other complications. Now, there's a new product called Data Protector for that, which is scalable as well. It can scale out as well. The only thing with this solution is 60 terabytes is the starting point, which is a good high-end solution. I hope they will come back with an entry-level version for that as well.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support was announced a few months ago and we are still on the learning curve.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very straightforward.

What other advice do I have?

You need to work with a specialist and EMC is a very huge company now. If, however, you go and talk to the right person who knows Avamar and data protection stuff, they can help you price the solution perfectly. That's not something that you should take for granted. There are so many tools available to do a proper sizing.

I would rate Avamar as six out of ten. I would like to give it a seven or eight, but the price is too high. It depends on who wants this solution. For enterprise companies, I can rate it as eight or nine. For entry-level companies, I would say it's a six, or perhaps even lower, like a four, because the price point is very high compared to other companies.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller.
Learn what your peers think about Dell EMC Avamar. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2021.
554,382 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Maciej-Kieliszek
Owner at EXnIT Sp. z o.o.
Real User
Backup for end users, computers, servers, and storage paths

Pros and Cons

  • "I think the brand is very good. Support is also very nice for end users and integration with EMC products for businesses."
  • "The interface could be more helpful for people."

What is our primary use case?

We use the on site version.

How has it helped my organization?

I think the brand is very good. Support is also very nice for end-users and integration with EMC products for businesses. Customers choose this EMC product because they also have this brand in their infrastructure.

What is most valuable?

I think the biggest advantage it offers is backup, for end-users as well as computers, not only servers and storage paths. The solution can also backup end users. One of the most important things is also deduplication.

What needs improvement?

The interface could be more helpful for people.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using this solution for about seven years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It works smoothly.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's easy to scale.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would give the technical support nine out of ten.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is complex.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I'm not sure, but perhaps the pricing could be done better at the moment.

What other advice do I have?

I can definitely recommend this product, but I don't have any other advice.

I would rate this product around eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
SS
System Admin at a energy/utilities company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Easy to deploy and has good capabilities but the technical support needs to improve

Pros and Cons

  • "It was very simple to deploy the solution to the client that you wanted to backup."
  • "It was challenging to back up our Exchange database, which is one of the reasons we did not continue using this solution."

What is our primary use case?

We recently stopped using this solution but it was being used to back up our servers and client machines.

We were using an on-premises deployment.

What is most valuable?

It was very simple to deploy the solution to the client that wanted to backup.

What needs improvement?

It was challenging to back up our Exchange database, which is one of the reasons we did not continue using this solution. It was very tough, and a case of having to contact the Microsoft Partner Network.

Technical support needs to be improved.

We could not integrate this solution with our tape backup.

For how long have I used the solution?

We had been using this solution for between one and two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This is a stable product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We had about one hundred users on the platform.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would not rate technical support high for this solution. We had a problem and nobody could be specific about the issue, or what it is that we needed to do in order to resolve it.

Technical support could not resolve the issue that we had in terms of integrating with tape.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were not able to back up the Exchange database with this solution. In the end, we had to discontinue using it. We switched to EMC Data Domain, and the cost was one of the factors that influenced our decision.

What about the implementation team?

Our in-house team implemented this solution, although I was not part of the process so I do not know the details.

What other advice do I have?

This is a solution that I recommend. It is a good product. It's stable, it is easy to deploy, and the visibility of the backup and restore is good.

If I had my way then we would be using this solution for other applications and we would be running them side-by-side as a comparison. 

I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
RC
Responsable des Systèmes Départementaux at CIH BANK
Real User
A powerful solution for protecting virtual machines that's very stable and easy to implement

Pros and Cons

  • "We love the instant recovery functionality. It's very useful."
  • "The licensing model is not very flexible. Every time we upgrade our storage size, we need to upgrade the Avamar license."

What is our primary use case?

We use the solution to protect our virtual machine.

What is most valuable?

We love the instant recovery functionality. It's very useful. 

What needs improvement?

We found some difficulty around co-locating with restructuring. I think the co-location between Avamar and vCenter, in my opinion, is not the best.

We like the easy integration with VMware and vCenter, but we'd like to click a button for any kind of virtual machine and then click on backup and restore. It would make things easier if this could be done in a few clicks. Right now, it's a bit more in-depth.  

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for about three years.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support does a very good job. They are very reactive when we come to them with issues.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. It was very easy to deploy the solution.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The licensing model is not very flexible. Every time we upgrade our storage size, we need to upgrade the Avamar license.

What other advice do I have?

We use the on-premises deployment model.

I think it is a powerful tool. We use it on both our production and disaster sites.

I would rate the solution nine out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Stanislaw Jagielski
Trainer, storage consultant at Oxon
Real User
Good for backups and is easy to troubleshoot

Pros and Cons

  • "The product is good for backups."
  • "The client caches and deduplication system have a few problems."

What is our primary use case?

Data backup is our primary usage of the solution. 

What is most valuable?

I am impressed by the ease of troubleshooting due to the internal database. You can get a lot of information from the backup jobs and that is very useful. For example, the program has a very nice importer called Clientele Activity.

Sometimes when you run backups for products, you will get the information about the backups - some successful some unsuccessful. You also often get information about some clients who don't run any data backups. So from a troubleshooting point of view, it offers valuable information that you can work on. 

What needs improvement?

There are some limitations on the backups and the databases so I think that needs a little improvement. The client caches and deduplication system have a few problems.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using EMC Avamar for 18 years now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is stable as long as you are very careful when you shut down and start up. If you will do everything according to the rules, everything will be okay. But if you make a mistake or shut down the wrong way, or install something the wrong way, you will have some problems. The system is a little sensitive about things that are not done correctly. If you follow the rules, the system will pay you very well. If you do not follow the rules, you will have some troubles.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The program has something called RAIN, and RAIN is the head of the systems, that hosts computers that work together. This RAIN has some limitations on the number of nodes you can put it together to make something like the cloud computer for which something can be seen as a great computer. The second thing is that Avamar has many internal things checking the consistency of the data.

And from this point of view, you sometimes get some mutations on the performance miles and the composite. You can overcome this by using Data Domain. If you add the Data Domain to the system, then you'll see stuff that can be seen as a kind of management system by Avamar, stored back in the Data Domain. It's a beautiful component.

How are customer service and technical support?

Because I am the inspector at our company I simply call my global instructor or another linked instructor if I need something checked. So I've never used the technical team.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used Omniverge for some time, but at that time the cost became too high so we switched to Avamar. If you look at the backup and database of Avamar, it stands out above the rest. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was complex and it was very hard to implement that in Avamar itself because there were about 500 pages you had to go through. It was a nightmare. It was 18 years ago so it will probably be easier now. I did the deployment myself but I can't remember how long that took.

What other advice do I have?

Before you start using this program, you must know that you can't do everything with Avamar. There are some limitations like the size of the database. 

One lesson I've learned from working with Avamar is that you must follow the rules. Often people do not follow the rules for different products. Some products are very forgiving and you don't need to strictly follow the rules, but with Avamar, you have to follow the rules. You have to read the manual, you have to really know what you are doing, especially when you do the first implementation.

The product is good for backups but if you look at the analytics, I would like to say that there is a possibility to improve the caches or to do something with the application process on the clients' side, and back-ups for the bigger objects like the databases of the processing systems. 

I rate this product 8.5. It could be nine, but it has a few limitations. 

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
MuathAlhwetat
SAN and UNIX Administrator at a comms service provider with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Great integration with VMware and support for Data Domain

Pros and Cons

  • "We have a lot of backups, and this tool helps us with the RMAN Backup."
  • "There are limitations when trying to use this solution with Hyper-V."

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution for tape backup and data domain. It is an on-premises deployment.

How has it helped my organization?

We have a lot of backups, and this tool helps us with the RMAN Backup.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is D2 and conversion with the Data Domain because other solutions are not able to use the Data Domain.

Integration with VMware is great.

What needs improvement?

There are limitations when trying to use this solution with Hyper-V. The limitations exist when trying to restore a backup from Hyper-V.

This solution needs to have full integration with Hyper-V, like the way Veeam has. In the hub, the DBA cannot restore the backup directory directly on the host. They have to restore the data disks and then deploy to the VM after this is done.

I would like to see an open-source learning platform for this solution.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution for about three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This is a very stable solution. We use this product on a daily basis.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I like the scalability this solution has. We have more than fifty severs and more than four hundred VMs. We do not plan to increase usage at this time.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support for this solution was great. They are very quick to respond.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Prior to this solution, we worked with Commvault, Veritas, and Veeam. We still work with multiple vendors for our backup and recovery solution.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of this solution is simple. The deployment took a couple of days for the components. There are some steps to perform on the network before everything can be installed.

There are three members that make up our administrative team.

What about the implementation team?

During the implementation, we worked with a partner and it was a good experience.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

This solution is less expensive than Veeam for us, although it depends on the customer because we get a great discount.

What other advice do I have?

This is a solution that I recommend, although if you have Hyper-V then I would suggest you use Veeam. Veeam is fully integrated with Hyper-V, and there are more features in Veeam.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
AA
Manager of Production Systems at COMERCIAL CITY FRESKO
Real User
The backup speed is impressive

What is our primary use case?

Backup of virtual machines.

How has it helped my organization?

Very reliable tool.

What is most valuable?

The speed of backups.

What needs improvement?

Reports generation.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What is our primary use case?

Backup of virtual machines.

How has it helped my organization?

Very reliable tool.

What is most valuable?

The speed of backups.

What needs improvement?

Reports generation.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
RK
Backup Systems Engineer at Nordstrom, Inc.
Real User
Access to logs for each backup enables easy troubleshooting

What is our primary use case?

This product is very easy to use. The interface is easier to use than other backup solutions. The product is mature and can handle all of our data protection.

How has it helped my organization?

The simplicity of use and the ease of updating physical client software is one of the best features.

What is most valuable?

  • Image level backups
  • Replication for DR
  • Almost instant access restores
  • The access to the logs for each backup allows for easy troubleshooting.

What needs improvement?

It would be nice to have a truly native SQL backup solution. All of our DBAs are looking for a truly native solution. They are satisfied with the current solution but would really like a truly native solution like the Oracle RMAN solution. What we mean by true Native solution, is that no Data Protection product has a true MS Native solution to protecting data. What we have been doing for years is have the DBA script in the Native MS to do a dump of the DB to a file. Then the backup solution would come behind and pick up those dumps. Then the DBA would have to request a restore of the dump files, and then use a script to pull that information. Where with RMAN, the DBA can write a script to backup and restore directly to the Avamar. It is a much cleaner and less costly solution. With the SQL dump and scape, we need so much MORE storage space to help them keep all of their data protected.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This product is very stable. We have never had any outages and the support for this product is very good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This product can grow with your company. We selected this solution as it allows us to keep the existing data domains that we used for our previous solution. We have the ability to add more storage to the existing DDs or to add another as needed.

How are customer service and technical support?

Like any other company, many of the support calls go to places on the other side of the world. It is sometimes difficult to understand them. I found that the support that was given was very good. I usually choose to receive support via Webex and email due to the communication challenges you get with offshore support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used to have Veeam and NetBackup. We moved to Avamar as it had more features; it helped reduce the number of environments we had to support. It also reduced the amount of time we spend on upgrades. It simplified our total data protection and reduced the number of clients that were required to be installed.

How was the initial setup?

The initial set up was very straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

We used a combination as we have some people who are new to the Avamar product.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The set up is really easy. They have a virtual edition for smaller environments, and the documentation for doing the install is really good. For larger environments, the PS group works directly with you on the install and setup for new customers. The cost was actually cheaper than any of the other solutions we looked at.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at a variety of other products. One of the main reasons we selected Avamar was the fact that they have support for physical servers running Solaris, Linux, HP-UX, and AIX. We have a large enough physical environment that we needed the ability to protect them.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PaulLemmons
Lead Systems Software Engineer at Tucson Medical Center
Real User
Stability has improved since we first started using it, but it still has a ways to go and could also benefit from a web-based UI

What is our primary use case?

File level, backup and recovery of data stored on AIX, Linux, and Windows server to Data Domain storage.

How has it helped my organization?

The product works. It does, however, require a significant amount of handholding from support. The support is good, but we should not have to reach out to them so often. 

What is most valuable?

File level, SQL Server and NDMP (NetApp) backups. Both backup and recovery work well for all three types of data.

What needs improvement?

  • Stability has improved since we first started using it, but it still has a ways to go. The systems also collect metadata that builds over time. It will build until it cannot build anymore and fills up your nodes. I have plenty of space on my Data Domain, but I'm running out of space on the nodes due to metadata creep.
  • It could also benefit from a web-based UI. The Java UI is clunky at best.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Lead - Data Protection at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Helped Reduced Backup Times And To Eschew Backup Hardware Management

What is most valuable?

Client deduplication.

How has it helped my organization?

Reduced backup times.

What needs improvement?

Restores should be faster. Backup image browse times should be faster. User interface is very dated. No accurate backup size utilization of clients.

For how long have I used the solution?

Six years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Yes.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service: Very good. Technical Support: Fair.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

NetBackup. We needed faster backup times for NAS and server clients.

How was the initial setup?

St…

What is most valuable?

Client deduplication.

How has it helped my organization?

Reduced backup times.

What needs improvement?

  • Restores should be faster.
  • Backup image browse times should be faster.
  • User interface is very dated.
  • No accurate backup size utilization of clients.

For how long have I used the solution?

Six years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Yes.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Very good.

Technical Support:

Fair.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

NetBackup. We needed faster backup times for NAS and server clients.

How was the initial setup?

Straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

Vendor team. They did a good job.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Veeam, Commvault. We wanted to get away from managing backup hardware in traditional backup infrastructure/design.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user10509
Business Manager at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Consultant
​Source based deduplication is the most attractive feature as it drastically reduces the backup window​.

Pros and Cons

  • "Source based deduplication is the most attractive feature as it drastically reduces the backup window."
  • "Desktop-laptop backups and backup over the WAN needs lot of improvisation. For DTLT there must be a provision to push agents from the management console."

What is most valuable?

Source based deduplication is the most attractive feature as it drastically reduces the backup window.

How has it helped my organization?

I've helped several organizations reduce the backup window and they could spend time on optimizing other bits of IT infra.

What needs improvement?

Desktop-laptop backups and backup over the WAN needs lot of improvisation. For DTLT there must be a provision to push agents from the management console. Users must be able to browse data set of what to backup behind a WAN IP / firewall.

For how long have I used the solution?

3 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

With older OS versions like Microsoft 2003, there were a few issues. However, they have clearly mentioned that it is not supported.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Adding new nodes is an extremely difficult task. Took me nearly 28 hours for node addition and data rebalance.

How are customer service and technical support?

Eight out of 10, when I used to work. However, after Dell acquisition, I have no clue.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Ability to manage both DTLT and server backup using the same console, and reduced backup window and data footprint, were the major reasons for my customers to change.

How was the initial setup?

Initialization and management is very simple. Its a GUI based installation with clearly defined steps.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It is very expensive. It's a trust based licensing. So that's an ethical challenge.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No.

What other advice do I have?

Have your inventory ready and priorities set. Make sure initial backup is taken during off-production hours as the solution works only on LAN.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user159876
Sr. Tech Lead with 5,001-10,000 employees
Vendor
​Client side deduplication is a plus but troubleshoot feature could be improved.

Valuable Features

Client side deduplication.

Improvements to My Organization

My Organisation provides Backup as services. DD Avamar used full for shared platform for customers.

Room for Improvement

From a technical point of view, all EMC products have to improve the troubleshoot feature like, log should be in human readable format.

Use of Solution

Past 5 to 6 years.

Deployment Issues

Avamar deployment is not admin friendly and its required to use help from professiona; services.

Stability Issues

Wrong integration always

Scalability Issues

Not yet.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Service: 3.5/5 Technical Support: 3/5

Initial Setup

Avamar is bit complex.

Implementation Team

Through vendor team and try to just know how to fix the…

Valuable Features

Client side deduplication.

Improvements to My Organization

My Organisation provides Backup as services. DD Avamar used full for shared platform for customers.

Room for Improvement

From a technical point of view, all EMC products have to improve the troubleshoot feature like, log should be in human readable format.

Use of Solution

Past 5 to 6 years.

Deployment Issues

Avamar deployment is not admin friendly and its required to use help from professiona; services.

Stability Issues

Wrong integration always

Scalability Issues

Not yet.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Service:

3.5/5

Technical Support:

3/5

Initial Setup

Avamar is bit complex.

Implementation Team

Through vendor team and try to just know how to fix the hardware and plug the networker cable. Rest of the things we have to do remotely .

Other Solutions Considered

For enterprise level backup solution – No .

Other Advice

I recommend EMC products due to their stability .

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user93819
Manager of Engineering at a healthcare company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
Since deduplication is performed at the source, backup times and network bandwidth are significantly reduced
“Are you backing up C:\myfiles? We just accidentally deleted the folder.” “I know it’s not in our original saveset, but any chance you have a backup of xyx?” Sound familiar? If you are a backup administrator, I know you have heard variations of the requests above. Traditionally, new systems get deployed and the owners give a specific saveset to the backup administrators. Then when a restore is requested, it never fails that the request will be outside of the original saveset. I have experienced these scenarios numerous times with traditional full/incremental backup products. The more you backup, the more storage you consume and that means longer backup windows. When I first started in my current position, we were backing up 100 servers with specific savesets. At that time,…

“Are you backing up C:\myfiles? We just accidentally deleted the folder.”
“I know it’s not in our original saveset, but any chance you have a backup of xyx?”

Sound familiar? If you are a backup administrator, I know you have heard variations of the requests above. Traditionally, new systems get deployed and the owners give a specific saveset to the backup administrators. Then when a restore is requested, it never fails that the request will be outside of the original saveset.

I have experienced these scenarios numerous times with traditional full/incremental backup products. The more you backup, the more storage you consume and that means longer backup windows. When I first started in my current position, we were backing up 100 servers with specific savesets. At that time, we had over 500 production servers. As you can imagine, this was a nightmare scenario waiting to happen. We were only able to fulfill about 75% of our restore requests. Not because the savesets where corrupt, but because we weren’t backing up what was requested for restore.

Fortunately, we were able to invest in a new purpose-built deduplicated backup appliance. (EMC Avamar, but there are other products on the market). Avamar is a disk based global deduplication backup appliance. Deduplication is performed at the source and target. Since deduplication is performed at the source, backup times and network bandwidth are significantly reduced using the Avamar solution. Migrating from BackupExec to Avamar was an easy process, but understanding the benefits of deduplicated backup took some time. When we first migrated, we were using the same traditional philosophy: Specific savesets for specific servers. As time went on, we realized that each time we added a new saveset the increase in storage utilization on the deduplication appliance was less than minimal. We decided to start adding more servers, and increasing the scope of our saveset. Within 6 months, we were backing up full file system savesets on 1200 servers.

When we started this migration, we were convinced our environment was different. We were convinced our change rate was too high. We were convinced that backing up everything, every day was too much data. We were wrong, and I’m glad we were.

Typical deduplication rates stated by EMC Avamar Team:

  • File Systems: Initial = 70%, Ongoing = 99.7%
  • Databases: Initial = 30%, Ongoing = 90-95%

Deduplication rates that we experienced (average):

  • File Systems: Initial = 75%, Ongoing = 99.9%
  • Databases: Initial = 20%, Ongoing = 85%

We are currently backing up 1300 servers nightly with savesets totaling 350 terabytes, and our daily change rate is approximately 1 terabyte. Since moving to this new policy we have experienced the following benefits:

  • Restore fulfillment is 100%
  • No discussion on what to backup. Everything is backed up.

Deduplicated backup is a backup administrators dream. Less storage consumption, shorter backup windows, higher restore fulfillment rates, and the ability to sleep at night.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
System Architect at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
EMC Avamar has lots of Ying but not so much Yang
First off let me say that Avamar is a great product and hopefully this won’t sound like a rant. I started working with Avamar last year and quickly saw the value in this product which provides enterprise class data protection (backups) to disk. The architecture I went with consisted of large centralized grids, multiple datastore nodes with a utility node, which would be hosted in regional datacenters with remote locations having smaller configurations of either a single datastore node or small grid setup. So at a high level remote sites would backup locally then replicate to a grid in one of the regional datacenters. The local backups in the datacenter would replicate to another datacenter as well. This way there is redundancy for site and datacenter backups while providing a way to do…

First off let me say that Avamar is a great product and hopefully this won’t sound like a rant. I started working with Avamar last year and quickly saw the value in this product which provides enterprise class data protection (backups) to disk. The architecture I went with consisted of large centralized grids, multiple datastore nodes with a utility node, which would be hosted in regional datacenters with remote locations having smaller configurations of either a single datastore node or small grid setup. So at a high level remote sites would backup locally then replicate to a grid in one of the regional datacenters. The local backups in the datacenter would replicate to another datacenter as well. This way there is redundancy for site and datacenter backups while providing a way to do local restores.

Avamar easily showed it’s power in reducing backup windows and reducing the amount of data put on LAN/WAN with source side deduplication for backups and replication. Even the first system backed up benefited from the deduplication and transferred roughly 80% of it’s data across the wire. Avamar backs up the data once so the first time pass will have a greater hit but all subsequent backups are incremental or blocks that are not already on the datastore. The more data in Avamar, the better the deduplication. This also helps reduce the amount of storage needed to store backups which could effectively yield a higher amount of data being protected than whats actually being stored on disk. Avamar also has a image proxy appliance for backing up virtual machines in vSphere which were easy to setup to start backing virtual machines agent-less. Not only is there an appliance that can be used to backup virtual machines there is also the Avamar Virtual Edition. This is an appliance that gets you all the features and functionality in an easy to deploy virtual machine where you have to supply the storage. It only supports a limited storage capacity and there is no supported grid setup but it works really well for those smaller locations.

Now, I talked about some of the goodness of Avamar but there is a flip side. When I say “Avamar has lots of Ying but not so much Yang” I’m simply stating that Avamar has a lot going for it with a solid set of core features and functionality but it’s lacking in some key areas. One of those areas is in the ease of configuration. EMC support actually has to do a lot of the setup and configuration. This can be a good thing but something as simple as the Active Directory integration setup could be a long drown out setup with EMC logged in at the command line. Replication setup is also something that needs improvement because you can only setup a single replication cron job from either the Enterprise Manager or the Avamar Administrator java application. That brings up another area of improvement and in my opinion the most important thing which is the management of Avamar.

There are two separate management consoles that can be used to do certain things Avamar like managing clients or checking backups. This can leave the consumer confused as to which tool should be used for what. The enterprise manager is web based and the avamar administrator is a java application and they both seem to be a bit disjointed and unfinished. The avamar administrator is not too bad and once you get where everything is you can be productive but you can lose yourself in all the windows which can be opened at one time that all look somewhat the same. I can go on with some of the small things like having to click the “show sub-domain groups”, why not make this a default' I use a Mac and the java application looks different. Not so much that I can’t find my way around but some of the elements don’t work the same. So a user interface change is needed in my opinion to add more functionality for configuring things without needing EMC support or going to the command line. And this change should also bring a more clean look and feel with a single pane with easy transitions from one area to the next. Plain and simple just make the management as powerful as the core features and functionality so that Avamar can have balance.

Well, maybe I did rant just a little but there more good to say than bad with Avamar when it comes to protecting data, reducing LAN/WAN traffic, reducing backup windows, etc.

EMC Avamar has lots of Ying but not so much Yang originally appeared on theHyperadvisor by Antone Heyward

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Avamar VMware Virtual Machine Protection Pt.1

I wanted to give some insight into how Avamar protects VMware virtual machines. I have been using Avamar 6.0.x and most of the management and configuration from a Mac. Since the operating systems running on the Avamar servers and proxies are linux, having a terminal comes in handy. Plus the management using Avamar Administrator uses Java so it can be used on Windows, Mac or Linux. If your on a Windows system the Avamar Administrator console is a bit more attractive but offers the same functionality. The management of Avamar needs a bit of work and from the grape vine I hear the next release, which is coming soon, will fix a lot of the issues I’ve complained about in my previous post. Either way data protection and recovery with Avamar is pretty solid once you have all the pieces setup and ready but if your looking for easy, look elsewhere. PHD Virtual Backup fits the bill for easy but it only covers VM backups where Avamar can do both physical and virtual.

First, let me give a short tour of the components we’ll need to protect a VMware vSphere environment with Avamar. This only includes the components for data protect or recovery and assumes you already have the VMware vSphere environment configured with vCenter, ESX hosts, with shared storage.

As far as the Avamar Servers and Avamar Virtual Edition (AVE) are concerned you only need one or the other for a single location. They are the backend that stores all the backup data. The Avamar VM Proxy is used to do image level backups and the Windows File-Level VM Proxy is used to do file-level restores from the image backups. This removes the need for backup agents in the virtual machines. This is how the environment layout would look.

I found the documentation very good and easy to follow but here are the basic step you’ll have to do in order to backup and restore VMware virtual machines.

  • Setup the Avamar Server with AvFS
  • Deploy and configure Avamar Image Proxy appliance
  • Setup vCenter Server in Avamar
  • Setup Avamar Image Proxy in Avamar
  • Deploy and configure a Windows File-Level Proxy

Notes:

  • The Avamar Image Proxy in it’s current 6.0.x version has to be configured to protect either Windows or Linux.
  • I have seen the resolve.conf not be configured properly a couple times so you may want to check them if you have issues.
  • When adding the Avamar Image Proxy to Avamar don’t forget to select the VMFS datastores it should protect.
  • The Avamar Image Proxy can do only one VM at a time so you will have to deploy and configure multiple proxies for parallel processing of VM backups.
  • Make sure change block tracking is used which means virtual machine hardware needs to at version 7 or higher.
  • Image level backups leverages vStorage APIs for Data Protection which uses snapshots so it’s important to make sure datastores have plenty of free space.
  • By default, only a single vCenter Server can be added to the Avamar Server. You can override this if required but I think the max is 10.

Once all the setup is done you can start protecting the VMs for that vCenter Server which you’ll see in the Avamar Administrator as a domain with a Virtual Machines sub domain. Restores are pretty easy from the Avamar Administrator whether it’s for a single file or a full virtual machine. The documentation shows the process for both very well so I will not try to recreate it here. Image based backups with Avamar have been unmatched compared to agent backups. I see more successful backups without the open file errors from agent backups.

Avamar VMware Virtual Machine Protection Pt.1 originally appeared on theHyperadvisor by Antone Heyward

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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