The Virtualization Practice

Virtualization Backup

Virtualization Backup focuses upon data backup, recovery and protection in virtualized and cloud environments. Data protection is no longer the realm of just backup but is about recovery while maintaining business continuity. The recovery of data is important. ...
Backup, Data Protection, Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery, and Continuous Data Protection are all covered as they pertain to virtualized and cloud environments; the passing of data between environment; and the increasing scale of data to be protected in shorter periods of time. Virtualization Backup looks at how applications and data interact to allow for speedier recovers with less data loss while making use of onsite and cloud based technologies.

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.

PhD Virtual has gained its second round of funding with investment from Citrix amongst others as discussed within our post News: esXpress is no more but what does this mean for XenServer? Up until this point it looked like Citrix was out of the server hypervisor wars and backing Microsoft’s Hyper-V play. Yet this looks on the surface like a basic shift to that direction. Yes, XenServer was placed into the OpenSource community and the latest improvements, such as the Open VSwitch integration and a new releases emphatically say that XenServer is alive and well and that its ecosystem is growing for that matter so is Hyper-V’s.

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.

As of the end of last year, there are a new breed of virtualization backup tools (Veeam, vRangerPro, esXpress) now available, end-to-end backup tools (Acronis, Symantec). These tools will backup a virtual machine to tape using built in mechanisms instead of requiring scripting, or multiple backup tools. The question is: is this necessary? Should virtual machine backups be dropped to tape at all? Something to watch through out the year.