Introducing ZCB 4.5: We continue to make it better!

We’re excited to inform you that our latest release of Zmanda Cloud Backup – ZCB 4.5 – is now available. With many great new features and usability and performance improvements, below are some of the highlights for our customers:

Hello Hyper-V servers!

Now, you can use ZCB to protect your guest virtual machines running on a Hyper-V 2008 Server and Hyper-V 2012 Server. You can backup specific VMs or back all up in a single backup set.

Hyper V

Both “Saved State” and “Child VM Snapshot” backup mechanisms are supported. Since the latter method doesn’t cause any downtime for the guest VM, it is the preferred method of ZCB. Disabling “Saved State” Method can also be achieved by simply checking the “Backup a running VM only if its hot backup can be performed” checkbox.

In the event of a disaster, restoring your guest VM(s) is easy. You can restore a VM to the same Hyper-V server or a different one. All you need to do is open ZCB on the target Hyper-V server, select the backup you want to restore and click “Restore.” ZCB will take care of the rest.

To get started, login to your Zmanda account and download the latest 4.5 version from the Download tab!

Introducing Near-Continuous Data Protection (CDP) of SQL Server

With version 4.5, ZCB now supports incremental (log-based) backups of SQL Server. This helps a great deal since log backups contain a list of all the individual changes to the database, and hence, provide an ability to restore the database to any historic timestamp, regardless of the actual backup time.

Why do we call this near-CDP and not CDP? Note that the log backups are not fired automatically upon each change event and are still “schedule based.” While this minimizes the backup overhead on your CPU/memory/bandwidth resources, it also means that you can only restore to a timestamp before a log backup has successfully taken place. That said, note that you can always choose a higher frequency for log backups (for example, “every 15 minutes”) to keep this as close to a true CDP system as you want.

Here is how one can specify any point in time for restore:

point in time for restore

While we’re discussing SQL Server backups, there is some more good news:  ZCB now performs Virtual Device Interface (VDI) based differential backups that can be significantly more compact and efficient than our earlier VSS based differential backups!

To see these improvements in action, login to your Zmanda account and download the latest 4.5 version from the Download tab!

Better performance and usability

Performance and usability are always top of mind for us when it comes to development and in ZCB 4.5, you’ll see some great enhancements, including:

Better network fault tolerance: The era of dial-up connections may be over, but the some of our customers often report temporary network outages. We have been following a “learn-fix-test-learn” approach to counter such network issues users may face, and have already added several defence mechanisms in past ZCB releases. Taking that approach further, we have now added another fail-safe mechanism to auto-detect and resume tasks that may still fail despite all these mechanisms.

Proactive validation of backup sets: New ZCB users looking to backup Exchange or SQL Server will benefit from a proactive validation mechanism in ZCB 4.5. When you create this type of backup set and go to save it, ZCB will now pop up a message if it detects a problem with your backup environment. Here is an example:

Proactive validation of backup sets

ZCB Global Dashboard improvements: Our dashboard team has been busy rolling out new features at a fast pace. Two of the most recent and powerful features are:

Delete backups from cloud

For our customers backing up to Google Cloud Storage (we’ll update customers using Amazon S3 in the nearfuture on this feature), you can now delete backups from the cloud. Whether you want to make some room in the cloud or simply want to clear old or unnecessary backups from cloud, you can quickly delete the backup runs using the dashboard from anywhere (screenshot below).

Track backup retention periods

The ability to specify the exact retention duration of cloud backups is one of the most valued features of ZCB. From a compliance or backup strategy standpoint, this control is absolutely necessary.

With ZCB 4.5, you now can monitor the retention period of all cloud backups on the dashboard. If a backup is going to be removed by ZCB in next 7 days (per your retention policy for example), it is also highlighted to get your attention.

dashboard

How are we doing?

As we continue to focus on making ZCB more useful for our customers, we really need to know how you’re using our service and how we can further improve to meet your needs. Please continue to send your comments and feature requests to zcb@zmanda.com.

Also, if you are a ZCB customer and would like to be kept up-to-date on product enhancements, please consider subscribing to this blog.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

-Nik

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