Successful upgrade a vSphere Environment – Part 2: Backup Solutions

In Part 1 of this series I described 3 factors which will put a successful vSphere upgrade at risk. In the second part I will describe the impact of backup solutions.
When I get into a project or customer offer where a vSphere upgrade is provided the first and from my point of view the most important question is:
“Which backup software does the customer use?”
In most cases the Sales representative only knows about the used product but not the exact version, because they are not aware of the importance of that piece of information.
There are 2 different cases, which should be considered when it comes to a vSphere upgrade:
The Customer wants to upgrade to the newest vSphere version which

  • was released quite recently
  • was released some time ago.

In both cases backup is an essential deal breaker.
Let’s take a look on case 1. Usually when a new vSphere version is released, only 1-2 backup solutions have support for it at release date. This is typically VMware own backup solutions (vSphere Data Protection VDP/vSphere Data Protection Advanced VDPA). 1-4 weeks later, depends on what was changed in the vStorage API for Data Protection (VADP) other backup vendors update their products. When upgrading vSphere at release time your backup software is not supported. This can cause the software not to work with the new version or create corrupted backup files which can’t be restored. In the case of data loss a non-working backup is a total mess.
Case 2 takes place when a customer is running supported backup software for its current vSphere environment but has no intention to upgrade both (Backup and vSphere) every time a new version is released. In the case of a vSphere upgrade the customer must upgrade the backup software first to a release which is supported with the vSphere release he plans to upgrade to.
I have created a small Backup Interoperability Matrix of backup solutions for vSphere and Hyper-V. There you can find which backup release is supported with which vSphere/Hyper-V release starting with vSphere 4.0 and Hyper-V R2.
Big thanks go to Andreas Lesslhumer and his article, who brought me to this idea of making this matrix.
If I have missed some solutions please write me a comment at the Backup Interoperability Matrix page and I will add it to my list.

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