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.

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During a briefing of Quest’s new data protection announcements I started to think about the future of data protection. Quest recently announced that NetVault will now work with Exagrid devices and that there is now a Capacity Edition targeting SMBs and SMEs. These changes add some more capabilities to an existing product suite. While, these announcements do not necessarily merge with virtualization backup, the combination of Quest’s tools and partnerships do form an impressive view of the future with respect to Data Protection.

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Quest Software has turned the acquisition integration process on its head by integrating vFoglight with the vKernel vOperations Suite. This is one more feather in the cap of the “easy to try and easy to buy” model of selling operations software into the virtualization market, and one more arrow through the heart of the legacy process of selling operations software to the enterprise systems management and network operations teams. VKernel (Quest) now has the ability to bring substantial depth and breadth of functionality to both existing and new customers. A new chapter in the operations management industry has begun.

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While participating in the GestaltIT Virtualization Field Day #2, I was asking Symantec about Application Aware Backups. In other words, could one backup an entire application, regardless of how the application was defined. This concept goes hand in hand with Application Aware Security measures. We can always backup VMs and their data to remote locations, but can we backup or maintain the application interactions within a multi-VM Application regardless of how it is defined.

One of the questions I get from time to time is, can I store my data in the cloud? At the NEVMUG, this came up once more. There is currently a lot of uncertainty about cloud storage, specifically when it comes to critical and highly regulated data. Where should I store my data, dovetails nicely with discussions of going to the cloud as well as data protection is a key component of such a migration.

The answer is to dramatically narrow the scope and set of enforcement actions for SOPA and PIPA so that they target just offshore sites engaged in large scale commercial piracy and so that the existing safe harbor for sites that take content from users is both maintained and formally recognized as an exception to the scope of SOPA and PIPA. This will ensure that law enforcement can go after the really bad actors, and that the many good and useful sites and are the basis of the “good Internet” are not collateral damage in these enforcement efforts.

Data Protection techniques should be implemented and tested long before they are needed. This is a necessary component of any IT organization. However, the most recent communities podcast brought to light several implementation aspects of Data Protection, specifically about Disaster Recovery: organizations still do not test their DR plans and organizations are waiting for a hardware refresh to implement a DR plan.

While the legacy enterprise management vendors might like to think of themselves as the Borg (prepare to be assimilated – there is no escape), the new technical requirements and the new buying patterns in the virtualization market do not lend themselves to a repeat of history. Legacy management vendors are unlikely to be able to acquire themselves into this market because their core platforms and business models do not work with the customers who are running virtualized environments and buying management solutions. So to my good friend Andi Mann, I respectfully disagree.

Data Protection is still an issue with many small businesses and smaller enterprises who virtualize; Specifically around the Data Protection Process and eventually where to store the data. When I speak to people they are struggling with whether or not to place the data on tape, blu-ray, into the cloud, or other disks. Medium and Large Enterprises already have such policies in place, but like everything else, when they virtualized the policies may have fallen by the road side and now need to be recovered, dusted off, and put into practice. The choice of where the data will ultimately reside when disaster strikes is an ongoing discussion in the virtualization community. Ultimately, Data Protection is just that, protecting the data from loss, destruction, and allowing for quick recovery.