I know what you must be saying, this is an EUC blog and why is he doing a product review? Well, the answer is quite simple. This product is so cool that I couldn’t keep it to myself. A couple of months ago I was contacted by someone from Nakivo to check out the latest version of their Backup and Replication solution for vSphere 6. As I was already using a different solution in my homelab that was working fine, I din’t really feel like responding. Until my shared datastore that contained all my VM’s died and recovery of the other solution was quite a challenge. That’s when I decided to check out different solutions to see what fitted me best.
Complete Feature Set
The Nakivo Backup and Replication solution is a pretty straight forward solution that includes all the features that you expect. Things like compression, deduplication, encryption, changed block tracking (CBT), automatic verification and the ability to use a wide variation of backup repositories (like NFS, CIFS and Amazon EC2) give the solution a great feature set although the footprint is fairly small. Like you expect from a backup solution, Nakivo also offers the ability to start a VM from the backup repository in case of a failure of a shared storage. Next to backup features, the solution contains the ability to replicate VM’s between vCenters or ESXi hosts as well, hence the name Backup and Replication.
Nakivo offers a lot of different deployment options so whatever infrastructure you run, can find the proper option that fits your needs. The options are:
- Deploying a Virtual Appliance
- Installing on a Windows VM
- Installing on a Linux VM
- Installing on Synology NAS
- Installing on Western Digital NAS
- Deploying Amazon Machine Image in AWS EC2
As said, the footprint of the installation is fairly small (just a 500MB OVA template or 180MB NAS package or Windows installation package). I tested out the OVA template first because it of course saves you on Windows licenses and the installation is quite simple. After deploying the OVA, your open up the console of the VM configure it.
After the initial VM configuration you open up the browser to the URL and the clean web interface pops up:
After logging in, the basic configuration needs to be done. The first thing is to add an inventory like a vCenter:
You then select a datacenter, cluster or individual VM’s:
After selecting the VM’s, you need to configure a transporter. A transporter is a backup agent that handles all jobs for a certain amount of VM’s. Every Nakivo appliance contains a transporter which is able to handle a certain amount of concurrent jobs. In my case that were 6 jobs for the virtual appliance. Additional transporters can be deployed so more concurrent jobs can be run:
Next, add a repository on which your backups will be stored and your are almost finished:
Finaly, add a schedule to the job and you are good to go:
No rocket science
As the product is really easy to use, no training or certification is needed. In case of the need for assistance, the online help center contains all documentation to get started. You can find the online help center here.
One of the cool features of the solution is the support for multi tenancy. Especially for service providers, hosting companies or resellers of hosted solutions, offering a backup should be part of their services but can be a challenge to manage. Many backup solutions can create backups of multi tenant infrastructures, but lack the ability of having a multi tenant self service portal. This is where Nakivo steps up. Nakivo offers a multi tenancy mode that adds the ability to add tenants:
After a tenant is created, they are offered with the same look and feel as a normal admin portal user, but they only have permissions to manage their own environment.
As said, I used a different backup solution in my homelab before I started using Nakivo. That other solution required a Windows VM that contained the engine as well as the database. The solution backed my VM’s up on a Synology RS812+ and it worked pretty good until my other Synology (DS414), that contained the VM’s, died on me. It also contained the backup VM and so I was quite screwed as I wasn’t able to restore the machines without it. Then I found out that Nakivo offers a Synology package that contains the complete solution. The installation is pretty straight forward as you only have to upload a new package to your Synology. After the package is installed (5 minutes time), you have to do a similar base installation as with the virtual appliance. Add a vCenter, select your datacenter, cluster or individual VM’s and the transporter, configure the job details and your done. As my Synology that I use for website backup, dropbox sync and other backups isn’t really doing anything at night, it seemed like a good idea to use the appliance to back up my lab as well. Naviko offers a free NFR license for vExperts, so I encourage every vExpert to implement it in their homelab as well.
The Nakivo Backup and Replication solution is offered in 4 different pricing models:
- Pro Essentials (€169 per socket)
- Enterprise Essentials (€249 per socket)
- Pro (€329 per socket)
- Enterprise (€529 per socket)
The Enterprise editions contain the multi tenancy features which are the only difference from the non-Enterprise editions. The difference between the Essentials and non-Essentials editions is the socket count. The Essentials editions are limited to a 6 socket count only and are suitable for small environments.
I tested out version 6.2 in my lab, but version 7.0 has been announced. Next to the rich feature set of 6.2, this new version adds some more cool features which can come in hand:
- Hyper-V support for both backup and replication
- vSphere 6.5 support included new features like VM encryption
- Skip Swap Files and Partitions
- Active Directory Integration so you can have Role Based Access (RBAC) to configure administrative security.
- A new dashboard called Activity Management that contains all insights on basically everything that is happening (backups, restores, maintenance, etc).
- The ability to delete bulk backups from the inventory in just a few clicks.
Backing up my homelab VM’s (20) for the first time only took me 1,5 hours to complete. Subsequent backups took less than 15 minutes to complete. Adding more transporters would probably have made sure that backing up would even take less time. The solutions offers a great feature set with an easy-to-use interface, fast deployment at a low price comparing to other solutions. With the biggest surprise being the native support on a Synology device. I’m quite happy with what I tested and how it performed. With the 7th big version being announced, Nakivo is here to stay. And as a vExpert, I would highly suggest other vExperts (because of the NFR) to check it out.