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Historically backups have been defined and referenced by the hostname of the physical system being protected. This has worked well when the relationship between the physical host and the operating system was a direct, one to one relationship. Backup processing impact was limited to each physical client and the biggest concern was saturating the network with backup traffic. This was easily managed by limiting the number of simultaneous client backups via a simple setting within the NetBackup policy.
Virtual machine technologies have changed this physical hardware dynamic. Dozens of operating systems (virtual machines) can now reside on a single physical (ESX) host connected to a single storage LUN with network access through a single NIC. When using traditional policy configurations, backup processing randomly occurs with no regard to the physical location of each virtual machine. As backups progress, a subset of ESX servers can be heavily impacted with active backups while other ESX systems sit idly waiting for their virtual machines to be protected. The effect of this is that backups tend to be slower than they need to be and backup processing impact on the ESX servers tends to be random and lopsided. Standard backup policy definitions simply do not translate well into virtual environments.
The NetBackup Virtual machine Intelligent Policy (VIP) feature is designed to solve this problem and more. With Virtual machine Intelligent Policy, backup processing can be automatically load balanced across the entire virtual machine environment. No ESX server is unfairly taxed with excessive backup processing and backups can be significantly faster. Once configured, this load balancing automatically detects changes in the virtual machine environment and automatically compensates backup processing based on these changes. Virtual machine Intelligent Policy places virtual machine backups on autopilot.