Resilient Change Tracking comes to Backup Exec

Faster backups, more resilient backups! Something that backup administrators always want to see. With Resilient Change Tracking (RCT) backup for Hyper-V, Backup Exec 20.4 does just that.

But before diving into RCT, here is some background. Backup Exec has long been supporting incremental backups of virtual machines by leveraging its own change tracking. This enabled users to avoid taking frequent full backups. Incremental backups are achieved by traversing the contents of the whole virtual disk and checking if anything has changed since last backup. Larger the disk, more the time taken to read the disk.

Coming to Resilient Change Tracking, it is Microsoft’s proprietary change block tracking mechanism that keeps track of changes being made to a virtual disk. Using this, a backup application can easily of changes between two points in time without reading the whole disk, which makes incremental backups faster. How much faster? Backup Exec testing results show an improvement of up to 50% for RCT backups compared to backups using the Standard processing method. A significant improvement is also seen when compared to the Faster processing method.

Another point to note with RCT is that it does not use the VSS infrastructure on the Hyper-V host. So, in case you have come across any backup job failures due to transient VSS errors on the host, you will not be seeing them anymore.

There is much more than just performance improvement and resiliency for Hyper-V backups in Backup Exec 20.4. With the support for RCT, Backup Exec adds support for Hyper-V deployments over SMB too. Customers use configurations like storage spaces direct, either in the form of converged or hyper-converged deployment. This allows them to easily scale as and when required along with reduced capital and operational expenditure. All these configurations are based on SMB and so can now be fully protected using Backup Exec.

How do you work with this feature?

Just install Backup Exec 20.4 (or upgrade from existing Backup Exec installation to BE 20.4) and start backing up Hyper-V virtual machines using RCT method. You can access the setting through Backup Exec Settings > Virtual Machine > Hyper-V > Incremental or Differential Backup Settings.

For a new Backup Exec installation, the, Use Resilient Change Tracking option wherever applicable check box is selected by default. If you have upgraded to BE 20.4 from an earlier version of Backup Exec, the option is not selected by default.

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Some things to note while using the RCT method:

  • The RCT method is available only if Hyper-V host is Windows 2016 or later.
  • The configuration version of guest VM being protected should be 8.0 or later.
  • If the RCT option is selected, but a virtual machine does not support the RCT method, the VM will be protected using either the Standard or Faster processing method as per the options set in the earlier settings page.

 

So go ahead, install BE 20.4 and try out Resilient Change Tracking for Hyper-V. Backup Exec 20.4 also includes the exciting new feature of Ransomware Resilience. Click here for more details.