This type of backup is considered to be the future of backup. Like the host based backup, it integrates with VADP and VSS for efficient online and offline backups for VMware, vSphere and Microsoft Hyper V.

Agent Assisted Backups are not agents, but agent-like in their function. They are designed to pair up an “agent-like executable” with the VSS or the VADP to gather Metadata for recovery purposes without any kind of performance degradation. As a result, multiple avenues of recovery open up allowing users to backup applications, databases, folders, files, granular objects or even full virtual machines.

The advantages of using Agent assisted backups can be listed as under:

  1. The image of the virtual machine can be backed up and recovered with absolute ease.
  2. The backup is image based and paired with VSS or VADP and hence it is consistent.
  3. The implication is that any level of backup (files, folders or granular objects) can be recovered directly to the virtual machine.
  4. Both virtual machines and hypervisors can be backed up.
  5. It is flexible and the virtual machine can be backed up into an existing backup server in the Cloud or locally without imposing any kind of burden on the hypervisor.
  6. The gathering of Metadata as part of the process facilitates discovery.
  7. A dedicated virtual machine or a virtual appliance can be deployed when a physical server is not an option or is not available.
  8. The self-service feature facilitates recovery of data by the application or data owner as in the case of agent based backup, without the intervention of the IT Administrator.
  9. “Operating System credentials” do not have to be shared by the data owner with the IT Administrator or anyone.
  10. The agent assisted backup results in a very small footprint on the backup process and therefore uses up very little CPU or I/O. Data She

However, users considering Cloud services that deploy agent assisted backup should be warned that backups that pair with VSS are not the same as those that pair with VADP. The functionalities will vary and the benefits derived will be different with each type of deployment.  While validating the software, it is important to understand the type of integration that is done and whether the type of performance impact that happens during the process.