2011 Year in Review – Data Protection

2011 saw an increase in virtualized and cloud data protection solution partnerships and advancements. One of the biggest advancements is the growing support for Microsoft Hyper-V from long-time VMware specific backup solutions. Included in the new partnerships are team ups between performance management and data protection solutions, as well as an increase in the methods for replication and other forms of data protection. 2011 was a very big year in the Data Protection arena of cloud and virtualization. This is the 2011 Year in Review for data protection.

The lead story this year in data protection was the increased support for Microsoft Hyper-V from startups and long-time VMware centric backup and data protection software vendors. Veeam announced and shipped their Hyper-V integration, while new startup Altaro added a Hyper-V specific solutions. Other companies say they support Hyper-V as well, but many of them use non-hypervisor centric in-VM mechanisms so while they support Hyper-V, the support is limited. This support however is changing to be hypervisor specific.

The other lead story is that VMware announced their own replication product, SRM Replication, which competes with ZeRTO, Data Gardens, Veeam Replication, Quest vReplicator, and others. SRM Replication and ZeRTO make use of VMware’s vSCSI Filter API which provides a high performance storage access channel for only running VMs. For stopped VMs, the tools must fall back onto the vStorage and more traditional APIs. While the vSCSI filter technology was designed for security tools as a fast transport to offload anti-virus and anti-malware checks, it has advantages when used by data-protection tools.

In addition to these advancements, the use of cloud storage devices has also increased with the likes of Twinstrata presenting cloud storage to any hypervisor as a iSCSI device. This now brings cloud based storage into the datacenter in an easy to use but not incredibly fast data storage device for virtual machines and other operating systems that can mount iSCSI devices.

Orchestration of backup testing within the virtual environment is also growing with Veeam’s Sure Backup tool as well a tool from VirtualSharp. But more so, such tools are integrated into cloud offerings as per VM backup tools or providing tools usable in a multi-tenant environment. In either case, backup vendors not just those that provide backup testing are now playing in the cloud space. Either installed by the vendor, or clouds are receiving replication and backup data from the backup tools that now abound.

Data Protection has seen quite a bit of enhancement within 2011, and I predict such enhancements will continue with improved disaster recovery testing, improved replication, and better over all backup performance. In either case, these aspects of data protection have increased in scope, capability, and vendors.  Even the big boys such as Symantec have entered the fray wholeheartedly, offering enhancements to their own products.

2012 should see consolidation in the data protection space as well as increased cloud based backup solutions geared towards the enterprise. It was the year of data!

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