vRanger offers two types of backups: virtual and physical. Each type is described in the following topics. Where information relates to only one type of backup, that restriction is noted in the topic title or as a note in the text.
vRanger protects two varieties of VMs:
For more information on the different types of virtual backups, see the following topics:
When protecting a VMware® virtual environment, vRanger uses VMware snapshot technology to store incoming write requests temporarily while the source VMs are being backed up. After a VMware backup completes, the snapshot is deleted, which commits those pending writes to disk. vRanger can back up a VMware VM that already has an open snapshot and can back up the open snapshot, but any secondary consolidated helper snapshots are closed prior to running the backup.
With Inventory Node Selection, you can browse the VMware® vCenter™ or VMware® vCloud Director® inventory and select which VMs, groups, or VMware vSphere® vApp(s)™ you want to protect. You can select a VM, folder, resource pool, vApps, VMware® ESXi™ host, data center, or vCenter, and back up all the VMs located under that node in the tree.
When you protect a VMware environment, vRanger records data regarding the setup. This data includes whether the VM resides on a DRS-enabled cluster, if there are storage policies involved, and the datastore configuration — network-attached storage (NAS), storage-area network (SAN), VMware Virtual Machine File System (VMFS), or Virtual Volumes (VVols). When you perform a restore or replication, vRanger uses the default settings from the original configuration but provides the option of changing these settings. For example, you can restore a backup from a non-VVol datastore to a VVol datastore, or you can restore a backup from a datastore that is governed by one storage policy to a datastore that is governed by a different policy, or no policy.
VMware vSphere® vApp(s)™ are containers — similar to a resource pool — that help you manage and control resources for the VMs contained within. vApps are used to group the individual components of a multi-tier application properly, allowing for application-level resource control and portability. When protecting vApps, vRanger backs up both the VMs and the vApp metadata to maintain the vApp settings and structure upon restore.
VMware vSphere version 6.5 introduced the ability to encrypt virtual machines, including disks and most VM files. Starting with vRanger 7.8, backup, replication, and restore of encrypted virtual machines is supported. In order to properly protect encrypted virtual machines, the following conditions must be met:
When protecting a Hyper-V® host, the vRanger Hyper-V Agent is installed on the host. The vRanger Hyper-V Agent works with the VSS writer present on all Hyper-V hosts to back up every VM on the host and send the backups directly to the repository. If the host is on the same network as the repository location, such as a SAN, the client can perform LAN-free backups.
Hyper-V 2016 introduces Resilient Change Tracking (RCT), a native utility that provides change tracking for Hyper-V virtual machines. RCT maintains a record of block changes over time, enabling vRanger to quickly identify blocks changed since the last backup (for differentials, since the last full backup) and eliminating the need to scan the disk to identify changes.
For backing up physical machines, vRanger uses a physical backup client, similar to the one used for protecting Hyper-V® VMs, to perform backup and communication operations. The client can be installed when the source server is added to the vRanger inventory, or installed manually to comply with change control requirements.
After it is installed, the physical client does the following:
vRanger physical backups are performed using the direct-to-target architecture. Depending on how the source server is connected to the repository, this process can result in network backups or LAN-free backups. For backups to be LAN-free, the source server and repository must exist on the same SAN.