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.

While we may well be on the road towards VMware becoming the layer of software that talks to the hardware in the data center – removing Microsoft from that role, this is not the end of Windows. If Windows were just an OS, it would be severely threatened VMware insertion into the data center stack. But Windows is not just an OS. Windows is also a market leading applications platform with .NET have a far greater market share and base of developers than vFabric. Windows is also in the process of becoming a PaaS cloud – one that will be living at Microsoft, at thousands of hosting providers, and at probably every enterprise that is a significant Microsoft customer. This incarnation of Windows is at the beginning of its life, not the end.

On the second Virtualization Security Podcast of 2011, we had Doug Hazelman of Veeam as our guest panelist to discuss backup security. Since most of backup security relies on the underlying storage security, we did not discuss this aspect very much other than to state that the state of the art is still to encrypt data at rest and in motion. What we did discuss is how to determine where your data has been within the virtual or cloud environment. This all important fact is important if you need to know what disks or devices touched your data. An auditing requirement for high security locations. So we can take from this podcast several GRC and Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability elements

Given the VNXe’s expandability to include fibre channel cards in the future. This storage looks very attractive to those SMBs who have made the investment previously to move towards fibre. Making use of your existing infrastructure whether fabric or Ethernet would lower the cost of adoption for the low-end EMC product. The VNXe’s expandability is one of those items that makes it an attractive tool for other uses. What are those other uses with respect to security, DR, BC, and disaster avoidance?

Chad Sakac mentions on his blog that VNXe “uses a completely homegrown EMC innovation (C4LX and CSX) to virtualize, encapsulate whole kernels and other multiple high performance storage services into a tight, integrated package.” Well this has gotten me to thinking about other uses of VNXe. If EMC could manage to “refactor” or encapsulate a few more technologies, I think we have the makings of a killer virtualization security appliance. Why would a storage appliance spur on thinking about virtualization security?

Mainstream virtual desktop solutions have focused their efforts on providing the best platform for hosting virtual desktop environments. Hypervisors, image management, and connection brokers are the top feature sets that companies have looked at during their comparisons. Moving up the stack, these vendors are now focusing on user personalization management, but do not have what is considered to be a full desktop management solution. So are our end-to-end virtual desktop solutions really complete?

The Virtualization Disaster Avoidance & Backup space has change fairly significantly within the last year. These changes are cumulative but have a great impact on the virtualization ecosystem. I include Disaster Avoidance in this review as there have been some great strides made in this arena that could impact the entire environment. Disaster Avoidance technologies were demonstrated at EMC World 2010 as well as at other conferences throughout the year. The impact was quite huge, but there are technological hurdles involved with its deployment within any organization.

Virtualization Backup vendors have pushed the envelope once more targeting fast backup and fast recovery of data as well as ensuring that the backups actually work. Here is a list of this years improvements in this space.

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.

The Freemium sales model is a business model innovation best suited to inexpensive products that are very easily understood (and therefore not very new or very different) and that solve an obvious problem in a manner that is more convenient for the customer to acquire and implement. There are not many new virtualization and cloud technology companies who set out to produce undifferentiated products which suggests that a general application of the Freemium model to startups in our ecosystem is ill advised. Enterprise customers should pay great attention to products that are being marketing in this manner to ensure that they do not end up growing the use of something that was purchased in a tactical manner into a strategic use case.