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Potentially silly questions

Level 2

I've been tasked with trying to determine why backups have been failing on two of our servers. Both of them use CentOS 5.4 and both of them are VM's. They are the only VM's being backed up with Backup Exec in our environment and the RALUS agent is used. Both of them used to work fine and both have been failing (for months) and giving out errors that are appearing to be red herrings. They are hosted on an ESXi 4.0 cluster.

After doing a lot of investigating and coming up dry I found this:

In this FAQ it mentions this "With the introduction of Backup Exec 12.5’s Agent for VMware Virtual Infrastructure, it is no longer recommended to use the Backup Exec RALUS Agent to protect online Guest virtual server(s) on the ESX servers since they must be shut down manually to ensure backup consistency and avoid backup failure or additional scripting must be done as pre\post process as part of the backup job to snapshot the running guest virtual servers." as well it specifically says not to use it on ESXi 3.x.

My questions are:

Is this refering to backuping up VM's themselves (ie .vmdk files) or is this refering to backing up the information on the VM's (ie /home/someuser/)?

There's no mention of ESXi 4.0, is it safe to assume the RALUS agent is no longer recommoneded at all?

Is this AVVI the only way to backup VM data?

I'm still learning this whole thing so any help is appreciated.

Level 6
CentOS while a RedHat derivative, is not officially supported by Symantec..  Basically you're on your own if you tried to call them and told them you are using CentOS.

ESXi can be backed up with AVVI is you have upgraded to include the new vStorage API's.  If you are using the entirely free version, than no AVVI is NOT supported, as BE12/5+ doesnt have the API's it needs to leverage to do snapshot based backups of the VMDK's.

You can still use traditional agents where you want in a virtual environment.  It's just that AVVI has some operational benefits of being able to perform snapshot based backups with less impact than a traditional agent based backup.