White Paper: Overcoming Data Protection Challenges In Virtualized EnvironmentsSource: Dell Inc.
By Scott Herold
Traditional backup approaches are less than ideal in virtualized environments. Performing a complete system recovery using file agents in a disaster recovery scenario, for example, can bedifficult and extremely timeconsuming. In addition, because of the shared resource model of virtualization, scheduling backup jobs can be tedious or, in some cases, impossible. Backup administrators must identify the servers hosting each VM—which may change in real time in environments using live migration technologies—and ensure that only a certain number of backup jobs run at one time on a given server. When backup agents are individually deployed in every guest OS, the backup job is consuming underlying system resources the entire time it is running—slowing down not only the VM being protected, but also other VMs on the same server. Running simultaneous backup jobs on different VMs on the same server is generally out of the question.
Then there is the question of how backup data is moved from the virtualized server to storage. In a physical environment, a separate backup server is typically attached to each client to move that data. This approach can still work for virtualized servers—but all backup data must be sent over the LAN, which can disrupt use of that network for other users. To combat this, some organizations may use a separate backup network, which increases the cost and complexity of the infrastructure. Another option has been to use VMware® Consolidated Backup (VCB), but this feature requires a storage area network and has been superseded by the VMware vStorage application programming interfaces (APIs) introduced with the VMware vSphere™ release.
vStorage offers an enhanced way for backup software to capture VM data, by working with the VM image through a published VMware API. Image-based backup software, such as the Vizioncore® vRanger™ Pro Data Protection Platform (DPP) solution for image-based backup and recovery, can offer major advantages in virtualized environments. It can accelerate the process of capturing data, helping reduce the impact on the system and the organization as a whole. It can fill a critical gap by helping protect the full VM image as well as the individual files within that image. It can help speed recovery and increase recovery reliability for individual files as well as for the entire image. And it can help increase data transmission speed—it's generally far faster to transmit the whole image instead of the many individual files that comprise the image.