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Agent vs. Agentless
To effectively evaluate agent-based and agentless backup solutions, one must understand the similarities and differences between the two paradigms. Interestingly, both agent-based and agentless backup and recovery solutions claim similar strengths and weakness. Perhaps because of these similarities, considerable confusion exists when attempting to evaluate agentless vs. agent-based backup and recovery solutions.
For example, both agent-based and agentless backup and recovery solutions claim to do the following:
- Remotely monitor and manage data to be backed up
- Create full backup images and subsequent incremental images (deltas)
- Backup file/folder and volume/disk/block information
- Create hot backups for Exchange/SQL/SharePoint
- Provide automated backup image file verification
That said, there are significant differences between agent-based and agentless backup solutions.
Note: The information in the agentless column assumes a continuous incremental backup strategy.
|Permanently installs executable modules (agents) on each source system that you want to back up.||Temporarily injects executable modules into each source system that you want to back up.|
|The agent on the source creates the backup image and sends it to a predefined storage destination.||The central control station actively connects to the agentless sources and collects the backup data.|
|Uses Microsoft-approved kernel installation processes. The agent becomes part of the storage driver stack while it is being built (at system boot).||Uses either the built-in Microsoft volume snapshot driver for taking snapshots, or installs a proprietary snapshot driver using IRP Dispatch Table Hooking (injecting a driver into Windows without rebooting).|