StorageCraft Agents

StorageCraft provides software agents in its DR solutions to maximize the stability and reliability of both the data backup and data recovery processes. The ShadowProtect agent includes a custom VSS provider that the Microsoft VSS framework uses to take snapshots (instead of using the slow and limited Microsoft VolSnap provider). The ShadowProtect snapshot provider is fully integrated with the Microsoft VSS Framework.

The ShadowProtect agent provides the following advantages:

  • Tracks sector changes between snapshots to facilitate extremely fast incremental backups.
  • Creates and manages point-in-time backup images.
  • Provides VSS-based backup that greatly increases data reliability during recovery.
  • Creates time and space efficient full, incremental, and differential backup images.

Small Footprint

Agentless vendors sometimes claim that using agents has an unacceptable impact on system performance, but these claims are often unfounded or misleading. For example, they might cite poor performance statistics based on the large and bloated agents used by some backup vendors, then generalize the claim to all agent-based solutions. Agentless vendors never compare their performance to StorageCraft’s small and focused agent. And they never mention that temporarily injected (or leveraged host) agents can also have a negative impact on system performance.

When making incremental backup images, its most common activity, the ShadowProtect agent has the following system impact:

  • Preparing for backup: 12% CPU utilization for ~10 seconds.
  • Creating a backup: 5% – 5.4% CPU utilization for ~7 seconds (including VSS).
  • Between backups: Negligible CPU utilization.
  • Memory footprint: 6MB – 30MB (based on workload).

Both Full and Differential backup images cause a spike in both CPU and memory utilization. However, full backups can be scheduled for off-hours, and differentials should be rare under normal operation (typically the result of a system crash).

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