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Q. What's VMware Data Recovery (VDR)?

A. VDR is an image-level backup solution that's available in the Essentials Plus bundle and vSphere Advanced editions of vSphere 4.1. VDR is intended to be the replacement for the now-deprecated VMware Consolidated Backup tool that was available in previous versions.

VDR creates full and incremental backups of VM images (their VMDK files) as well as file-level backups for Windows virtual machines (VMs). It integrates with the onboard Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) that's natively available in Windows to properly quiesce VMs and their installed applications to ensure consistent backups. VMs are backed up to disk-based storage using either local storage in a vSphere datastore or CIFS-based networked storage. Off-site storage isn't supported.

VDR includes data deduplication to reduce overall storage consumption across backed up VMs, but it isn't equipped with application-specific restore tools, such as those needed to restore individual Exchange emails or SQL items. This limitation means that restoring application objects will require a restore of the entire VM first.

VDR arrives as a virtual appliance that can be installed using an OVF template file. You use the Deploy OVF Template option inside the vSphere client to begin its deployment.

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