10 Must-Have Features for Every Virtualization Backup and Disaster Recovery Solution
Virtualization platforms are different from physical platforms. The virtualization benefits extend to management and support for tightly integrated backup and recovery solutions. Solutions designed exclusively for virtual infrastructure backup provide a host of key benefits and should be leveraged whenever possible.
The nature of virtualization means that hosting several different guest virtual servers running everything from Windows to Linux to custom appliances is not only possible but so much easier than on bare metal. It also means that the ability to centralize backup at the host level is going to be possible.
A virtualization backup solution is ideally going to be host based. The previous article discussed the problems with cost and management of maintaining guest-based backup solutions. Licensing and support costs negatively impacted return on investment (ROI) for guest-based solutions. Host-based virtualization backups offer a tremendous benefit in being able to provide consistent images without the need to “touch” the guest servers.
Ideally, a solution designed for virtualization should have the same feature-richness associated with an image-based backup solution for physical servers, plus direct integration with the virtual platform to take highest advantage of it with the least processing and administrative overhead. There are several must-have features when looking into virtual server backups. These can mean the difference between just surviving a disaster and thriving during it.
Consider the following ten must-have features when looking for a solution to back up virtual infrastructures.
10. Cost Effectiveness
Yes, your data is the lifeblood of your business, and as much as 50% of IT budgets go towards backup and disaster recovery solutions, but that doesn’t mean that a solution should be overly expensive. IT budgets are shrinking, but the volume of data and the number of virtual servers is increasing. Reconciling this is going to require a solution that provides standard features at a lower price than competitive offerings.
Even saving a few hundred dollars per license starts to add up quickly. Cost effectiveness is also a function of the virtual backup solution’s licensing model. A virtual backup solution should be licensed on a per‐host or per‐processor model. This way, a business can get the best ROI for a highly consolidated infrastructure. This also encourages a business to invest in hardware that supports higher virtual machine density and the resulting lower support costs. It is a win‐win. Avoid any solution that licenses on a per virtual machine scheme.
9. Migration Support
Products like VMware Converter are fantastic for migrating servers into a vSphere infrastructure, assuming that all of the factors are met. In a lot of cases, a server might be too old or of the wrong platform to work correctly with this P2V scenario. A virtual server backup solution should support some means of migrating the physical servers into the virtual infrastructure. Although this isn’t a part of the backup role per se, it does factor into
If a backup vendor provides a means of migrating from physical to virtual (P2V) or virtual to virtual (V2V), that vendor certainly will not have problems supporting the migrated virtual servers. By including a migration support method into the backup solution, a backup vendor will certainly stand behind the technology used and that the stability of the system wasn’t compromised by the migration.
8. Efficient Use of Storage
Features like compression and deduplication have long been found in physical backup and recovery products. Compression has been part of solutions for longer than deduplication, but deduplication has proven to be a stable addition to backup solutions. These are only now beginning to see the light of day in virtual environments. Disk space may be cheap as a general rule, but recent upticks in hard drive pricing and the high cost per gigabyte of SAN storage means that efficient use of space is crucial. This can often be cost justification enough to buy a compression and/or deduplication solution. If it saves enough space in cost per gigabyte, then a cost model can be built to justify the expense. The savings of deduplication aren’t as easy to quantify as compression, but every little bit helps.
7. Flexible Backup Storage Options….