Today marks the release of PHD Virtual’s Backup and Replication version 5.3. With the growth of the virtualization market there has been an explosion of 3rd party applications ranging from infrastructure monitoring to back up and replication. With each release of a new product there are times when it may seem like not much has changed from one version to the next, this is not the case with PHD Virtual Backup and Replication 5.3. Usually each release also makes the “new and updated” or “new and improved” tag line, and PHD Virtual did not disappoint with their tagline, “Easier, faster, more scalable disaster recovery.” At times these taglines miss the mark and are simply marketing fodder, but this is not the case with version 5.3. PHD has really stepped up their game with their newest 5.3 release.

What’s New?
There are a handful of really nice additions to this 5.3 release it’s hard to know where to start. Let’s start with an overview of what’s new from PHD Virtual, here is a great video illustrating what’s new with version 5.3 of their Back up and Replication product.

PHD Virtual Backup and Replication will raise the bar for virtual machine backup and restore performance with a new optimized job processing engine and twice the number of data streams per VBA™ (Virtual Backup Appliance). The ability to easily deploy multiple VBA’s enables unparalleled enterprise scalability without the costs and complexity inherent in other solutions. It’s important to note that the feature of having 8 data streams per VBA is only included in the Enterprise licensing package. Some of the other highlighted features are:

    * Backup and Restore Faster Than Ever Before
    * Replicate Virtual Machines offsite for Disaster Recovery
    * Replicate Without Additional Snapshots or System Impact
    * Verify Replicated Virtual Machines with Test Mode
    * Restore Multiple Virtual Machines in a Single Job
    * Export Backups to Standard Compressed OVF files
    * Optimized Support for Tape Backup Solutions
    * Supports VMware ESX/ESXi and Citrix XenServer Environments

My Favorite Feature
The new feature that jumped out to me the most was the ability to convert your backed up and deduped data into an OVF format which can then be transferred to tape for a thicker security blanket for your infrastructure, you can’t be too safe. This feature is titled PHD Virtual Open Export. Open Exporter converts backups to compressed OVF files and stores those files on temporary storage or removable media. As an added option, your tape backup software can copy the OVF files to tape storage. While this may not be a case for everyone, it’s a great idea if you have very sensitive data such as PII or PHI stored in your datacenter. Virtual machines can then be directly recovered from your tape backups, giving you another option in the event of a disaster.

Is This For You?
If you are a company that wants to ensure that their disaster recovery plan is in place, it would be a mistake to pass up version 5.3 of PHD Virtual’s Backup and Replication product. There are other options on the market, it’s only fair to mention that. I would be the first person to advocate the testing out of all products before making your selection. That being said, this is very viable option and one that would absolutely strengthen your disaster recovery plan or put one in place, yes you need one! The nice thing about PHD is that they normally allow you to download a free trial of their product as is the case with Backup and Replication 5.3.

Greg W Stuart
Greg is the owner and editor of He's been a VMware vExpert every year since 2011. Greg enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 kids. He works as a Sr. Consultant at VMware and resides in Northern Virginia, 15 minutes west of Washington DC.

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