1) VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB)
VCB gives you the ability to use a Windows proxy host to backup Windows virtual machines.
Almost entirely eliminates load on virtual machines and ESX server during backup
Enables hot virtual machine backup
Lack of non-Windows platform support
Some recovery limitations
VCB license cost
2) Storage server snapshots
This approach is quite simple to manage once it is implemented if you have storage that provides the functionality. You can connect another host to the storage to manage the snapshots for backup and recovery.
Low application server and ESX server overhead
Cost of snapshot enabled storage
Complexity of initial deployment (varies widely depending on implementation)
What does implementing the right protection solution in a virtual environment do for you?
With virtualization you can do things like physical machine to virtual machine conversion and, in some cases, you can take advantage of your existing backup images to migrate to a virtual infrastructure.
If you plan your data protection, you will never have to do a bare metal disaster recovery again since virtual storage file systems are simple, single files. Recovering an entire system can be as simple as recovering a single file.
Site disaster recovery can be greatly simplified since you can bring a site up quickly on lower end physical systems and add capabilities as needed without interrupting operations. You will still need to develop a site disaster recovery plan, but there are many available resources to help you to do so. Clustering virtual machines with VMware Virtual Infrastructure is much easier and less expensive than with physical clusters.
Virtual appliances can make purchasing, installing, configuring and updating applications much simpler. In some cases they can also help simplify site disaster recovery.
Brian Gardner serves as vice president of Product & Technology Management at Yosemite Technologies. He joined Yosemite from EMC, where he served in the CTO office for Information Management. Gardner graduated from Memorex's Advanced Development Center of Excellence program in partnership with Lehigh University with an equivalent to a post graduate Chem E., specializing in magnetic coatings.