I cannot believe the month of December is almost upon us. Every year around this time I like to reflect upon the year and give my review and remarks. This is a special year for me because it was around this time a decade ago that I was introduced to a cool new technology called virtualization from this neat new product called VMware Workstation. It was a magical moment when I first discovered the ability to run multiple operating systems, at the same time, on a single computer. I remember this moment well because it was true love at first install. Within a year I was playing with VMware ESX Server 1.5 and was given my first virtualization proof of concept that was followed by my first production design and deployment. The rest, as they say, is history as well as an amazing ride.
Many times we virtualization experts push for backups without the agents as these backups tend to be in our opinion, cleaner and faster. But what if you could get the benefits of your existing backup tools (such as Tivoli) but gain the power and advantages of using all the possibilities within the virtual environment. For VMware vSphere this is possible using the Pancetera backup tools.
With VMworld around the corner, it is interesting to note the new an old players within the Virtualization Backup space. The virtualization backup space often includes:
* VM Backup
* VM Replication
* Continuous Data Protection (CDP)
* Storage Hardware Replication
Pretty much anything that will maintain your VMs while allowing your data to be placed elsewhere for later retrieval; such a place could be the cloud. In this article we will avoid Storage Hardware Replication and discuss only backup software.
Cloud Computing ...
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The combination of Quest, Vizioncore and Surgient creates a company that for the first time has all of the management pieces required for an enterprise to be able to virtualize tier one applications and to automate the process of assuring service levels for these applications. This puts Quest in position to be a clear leader in the virtualization management market.
During the Virtualization Security Podcast on 7/8, Vizioncore’s Thomas Bryant joined us to discuss the state of virtualization backup security and forensic use of such backups. In the world of virtualization, backups are performed mostly by 4 distinct vendors: VMware Data Recovery (VDR) and VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB), Vizioncore vRanger, Veeam, and PHD Virtual Backup for vSphere. Each of these provide the most basic of security capabilities:
* Encrypted tunnels for data movement (SSL)
* Encryption of the backup
But in the increasing global nature of businesses and the difference in privacy laws between townships, states, and the need for Secure Multi-Tenancy, backup companies fall short with their products while making it increasing harder to use backups as a source of forensically sound data.
So what has this got to do with virtualization I hear you say, simple, Companies change their name all the time. they rebrand their products to make it “shiney and new” or to reflect a change in corporate direction.
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VMware intends to in an 18 to 24 month period come out with a true management stack that addresses capacity management, infrastructure performance, applications performance (and service assurance), configuration management, lifecycle management, extended provisioning and wrap all of that into a service catalog that lets IT provide a menu of services that can then be automatically provisioning on a dynamic (or even a cloud based) virtual infrastructure.
I had an interesting conversation with Vizioncore yesterday about how backup is not as much a decision about what software to use but what process to use. In addition, this process needs to be considered from the very beginning of your virtualization architecture. With the quantity of virtual machines being used today by the SMB and Enterprise customers, the backup window has grown to nearly an all day event. What you say? An all day event? My backups happen with the window I set.
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Capacity Planning and Capacity Management are essential activities for any production virtualization deployment, and should be supported with appropriate tools that support the target hypervisor(s). However, the emerging need in this area is for true Infrastructure Performance Management – as these solutions give the IT Operations staff the information that they need to be able to confidently support Tier 1 applications in production – while being able to demonstrate the performance of the virtualized system to the applications owners and business constituencies.