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BLOG: How to win with optimised virtual server protection

Phil Curran | Sept. 6, 2012
Five guiding principles for solution providers

Application-aware data protection must include capabilities such as transaction log truncation, seamless search and individual application item recovery to ensure a point in time consistent image of the application running inside a VM. This provides the confidence to virtualise more applications realising the benefits of the virtual platform sooner. Solution providers need to understand their customers' requirements for application protection and recovery and deliver an optimised solution to match.

3. Integrate data replication to meet critical application service levels.
Data grows and changes quickly; relying on a backup that's 24 hours old is no longer sufficient. As organisations deploy more critical applications in the virtual server environment, they need to be able to recover in near-real time - not from a backup copy from the previous night.

For instance, many Exchange deployments have four-hour recovery point objectives (RPO) while many database applications have sub one-hour RPOs. Traditional backups have no hope of meeting these service level agreements (SLAs). Creating frequent recovery points without impacting production activity is a huge challenge.

Solution providers need to integrate VM snapshot and data replication technologies to enable customers to rapidly create recovery-ready copies of production data efficiently and cost-effectively. Advanced capabilities such as data encryption, compression and bandwidth throttling ensure data is protected and optimise the use of available network bandwidth. Copies of data can be immediately accessed to create multiple recovery points, to perform traditional backups without impacting server performance or to produce a second copy at another location for disaster recovery. As a result, customers can resume business as usual with minimal disruption and loss of data.

4. Restore data at granular level.
To accelerate data recovery, customers need an integrated approach to restoring data granularly at the volume, file or application object level. Traditional approaches that require remounting an entire virtual machine data store and searching through the contents to recover a single file, for example an e-mail, are simply too time-consuming and resource-intensive. Newer approaches are being introduced that enable file and object level restore. However, they may require a second pass to generate the granular catalog which adds additional processing time and risk into the data protection process. More advanced solutions allow users to recover individual files or entire VM images from the same single-pass backup operation.

5. Provide automated management tools to enhance virtual machine protection.
Administrators can today deploy new VMs in minutes. This ease of implementation can lead to virtual machine sprawl, making it time consuming to keep track of new VMs and manually apply data protection policies. Important virtual machines may be created and never backed up, creating major risk for the business.


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