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Veeam Backup - Linux file-level recovery, a neat hack!

I attended the March meeting of the Greater Cincinnati VMware User Group on Thursday, and saw a presentation on the Veeam Backup product. I enjoyed the presentation, learned quite a bit about the product, and got quite a bit of amusement out of a bit of a 'hack' that the product uses to perform file-level restores from Linux VMs.

When performing a file-level restore from a Linux VM, the Veeam Backup client boots a VMware Player-based VM. That VM boots a tweaked Linux kernel and uses a combination of Veeam-proprietary and Linux built-in kernel drivers to read files out of the Veeam backup image. I find this endlessly amusing. It's a great way to leverage the functionality already present in the Linux kernel, and gives their product a leg-up on the competition. As somebody who has used Linux to read "oddball" filesystems in the past (mounting a hard disk drive from a Commodore Amiga on a PC comes to mind... *snicker*), I really appreciate the ingenuity in this approach.

It's not really fair to say that it does file-level restores from "Linux VMs". It can do file-level restores from a variety of filesystems, some of which aren't even used by operating systems that can be virtualized under VMware (MacOS, as one example). The presenter indicated that they had support for over 40 filesystems as he launched into the topic (and rather stole my thunder, since I was primed to ask the question "You say 'Linux VMs', but what filesystems do you actually support?").

The Veeam Backup product looks like a winner. I'm hopeful that I can find some application in my Customer-base for this product to improve backup / restore efficiency.

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