Here at Microsoft TechEd, I spoke with EMC’s Alexander Almeida about his company’s purpose-built Avamar 6.1 backup and deduplication appliance, which provides fast, daily backups for physical, virtual, and cloud environments. Optimized for midrange to high-end environments, the Avamar 6.1 appliance boasts strong support for SQL Server 2012 and Hyper-V.

The support for Hyper-V is particularly enticing, extending Avamar’s reach into the virtualization sphere. EMC has added image-level Hyper-V backup and granular-level recovery, as well as support for federated clustered shared volumes (CSVs). With granular-level recover, users can quickly mount a virtual machine (VM) to a Windows server or client, then browse its directories and files in recovery operations.

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EMC representatives discuss the company’s purpose-built Avamar 6.1 backup and deduplication appliance

Overall, EMC Avamar provides fast, efficient backup and recovery by reducing the size of the backup data at the client—before it is transferred across the network and stored. The system gives you the benefits of efficient long-term retention of backup data on disk while lowering capital and operating expenses including floor space, power, and cooling. Avamar backups can be quickly recovered in just one step, eliminating the hassle of restoring full and subsequent incremental backups to reach a desired recover point.

I was impressed by Avamar’s centralized web-based management UI and at-a-glance dashboard view, which brings simplicity to an otherwise onerous task and strikes a nice balance between simplicity and advanced functionality. And it doesn’t hurt that this purpose-built appliance takes a lot of the complexity out of the entire backup process.