Vizioncore Inc. (acquired by Quest Software Inc.) recently released version 4.5 of it virtualization backup product, vRanger Pro. Features in the new version include better integration with VMware’s vStorage APIs, Changed Block Tracking (CBT), a new technology called Active Block Mapping, as well as object-level recovery for Microsoft Exchange servers. This tutorial will review the new version and provide some tips and other helpful information for using vRanger Pro 4.5.
Support for the Changed Block Tracking feature in Vizioncore vRanger Pro 4.5 was critical because many other data backup applications have supported this key feature for a while. Changed Block Tracking allows for much quicker incremental backups as the VMkernel keeps track of all the changed disk blocks so the backup application doesn’t have to figure it out on its own.
The Active Block Mapping feature is unique to Vizioncore and ensures that data from deleted files inside the operating system are not backed up. All files on a Windows NTFS disk volume have entries in the Master File Table (MFT), which tracks the disk location of files. When a file is deleted, the entry for it in the MFT is given a deleted marker and the disk space that the file resides on is made available to be written on. However, the actual data for the file is still inside the operating system, and the disk block is not zeroed out. At some point, the data in those disk blocks may get overwritten by new data, but until that happens, backing up those disk blocks is a waste of time and resources. With the Active Block Mapping feature, vRanger reads the MFT from outside the virtual machine disk (VMDK) file, which tells it where deleted data, active data and white space (zeroed blocks) is located in NTFS file system. This process takes less than a second and has no overhead. Once this information is retrieved, vRanger is able to map this outside of the VMDK and create a map of only the active disk blocks so deleted and zeroed data can be skipped.
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