Virtualisation specialist Veeam has launched a new major version of its disaster recovery and business continuity tool, just months after its previous version, in order to include support for vSphere 4 vStorage technology.

It was only back in February this year that Veeam last upgraded its backup and recovery tool to version 3.0. Now the company has developed a major new release six months later with Veeam Backup and Replication 4.0.

"The reason (for the major upgrade in such a short time frame) is that customers have come to us and asked for the new functionality, and we worked hard to built it into the new version," said Colin Fisher, regional director northern EMEA.

"This is absolutely a major new release, and is a big leap forward in technology again," he said. "There was core functionality introduced in the last version, but we really have made very big leap again in this 4.0 release. To a point where we are the first to fully support vSphere 4 vStorage technology, taking full advantage of the VMware vStorage API."

This includes support for thin-provisioned disks, which enables faster full backups and restore of virtual machines. The ability to leverage ESX4 changed block tracking for much faster incremental backups. And support for virtual applications (vApp), for more flexibility when setting up backup jobs.

The vStorage API is a VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB) replacement that enables local area network-free backups directly from storage area network (SAN) storage, without affecting an organisation's production ESX or ESXi hosts.

"One of the biggest features of this new release is new enterprise management server, which allows multiple Veeam installations to be managed from a single console, which for large organisations is absolutely necessary," said Fisher.

"Consider it a manager of mangers," said senior systems engineer Warren Olivier. "Another feature of 4.0 is that it can do file recovery incredible quickly, thanks to our own file structure, which is called syndicated backup, which offers the best of both worlds, both incremental and differential."

Veeam Backup & Replication 4.0 is expected to be generally available in early October. Fisher confirmed that the new version will cost more than the previous version. UK pricing for the new version starts at £439 ($708) per socket, but the previous version's price of $499 (£309) per socket will be honored on orders placed by 31 December.

Follow Tom Jowitt on Twitter: http://twitter.com/TJowitt