In a followup to my post Monday about VMware and VSS integration issues as pointed out by W. Curtis Preston, Symantec emailed over the following statement from Peter Elliman, senior manager, product marketing for the Information Management Group.
Yes, we agree, that VMware should update their [sic] VSS writer code and we believe this is the best place for this issue to be resolved. We’re probably not the only one who believes this which is why only two vendors have created a work around here. VMware tools is constantly updated [sic], so when updates are provided by VMware, it lowers administration effort which is not trivial when you have 100s of VMs. With third party VSS writer code in a VM you run the risk that an upgrade from VMware tools will cause a conflict with the VSS writer there and you have separate code that has to be updated. This is why we focus on integration with VMware, rather than work-around efforts. We believe that VMware will address this issue in the future. Finally, we recommend agents when protecting mission-critical applications within VMs because not only does it assure consistency and proper log management, it also offers many more recovery options tailored to that application, e.g. Oracle tablespace recovery, or SQL Server filegroup recovery.
So there you have it. Until VMware’s VSS integration changes, we will probably still see users deploying backup software agents on guest machines, as recommended by Symantec.