Virtualization strengthens Backup and Disaster Recovery

Backups are essential and that is now a fact, as it helps in keeping business continuity live in any enterprise. This is due to the fact that in case, an enterprise looses access to the primary version of data, a secondary version is available in order to keep the data access alive to users.

Theoretically speaking, Backups and Disaster Recovery (DR) are not directly interchangeable terms, but the latter is not possible without the former in the first place. Infact, Disaster Recovery is having the tested wherewithal to get systems restored and running as quickly as possible, including the associated data.

Adding to this true notion, the increasing usage of virtualization is also slowly changing the way DR is being carried out. In virtual world, a system can be recovered by duplicating images of virtual machines and recreating them elsewhere. So, VM replication, disaster recovery and the way the market has adapted to virtualization are also becoming critical topics to consider.

To explain it better, let’s go through steps of explanation:

  • In olden days, if a server crashed then the enterprise IT team would go for a new server. Depending on the budget the IT team would go for a spare to hand appliance-probably an out of date model, if it was to serve the purpose for a brief period.
  • Then, either-install all the systems and application software, attempting to get all the settings as they were before, unless of course you had done that in advance. This would not have been possible if you had only invested in one or two redundant servers on standby for many more live ones, not knowing when they would fail.
  • Or, for a really critical app, you may have had a “hot” server in a standby mode, which is always ready to go on demand. However, that would have doubled the costs of application ownership, with all the hardware and software costs paid twice.
  • Then restore the most recent data backup, for a database that might be almost up to date, but for a file server, an overnight backup may be all that is available, so only as far back as the end of the last working day. Anything that was in memory at the time of the failure is likely to have been lost. How far back you aim to go is defined in a backup plan as the recovery point objective.

In today’s world, the backup and disaster recovery procedures have completely changed and all the credit goes to virtualization. This technology has made everything simple, as first and foremost data can be easily backed-up as part of an image of a given virtual machine, including application software, local data, settings and memory. Second, there is no need of a physical server rebuild; as the VM can be recreated in any other compatible virtualized environment. This may be spare in-house capacity or acquired from a third party cloud service provider. This means the costs of redundancy diminish to gradually disappear.

As a result Disaster Recovery is getting cheaper, quicker, simpler and fuller in a virtual world. So, backup is being backed up by faster recovery time objectives which are easier to achieve.

Following this trend, few traditional backup storage suppliers have adapted their products to this virtualization drift.

For example, in the year 2014 StoneFly, Inc. released its DR365, which it believes matches the capability and performance of the new arrivals. StoneFly DR365 is an ideal purpose built hyper converged infrastructure solution that can consolidate all server, storage and backup needs into one easy to manage appliance.

StoneFly DR365 Backup & Disaster Recovery appliance will automatically create backup images of physical servers based on flexible user-defined policy. These images can be restored (bare metal recovery) to the same hardware, to dissimilar hardware to build a new server, or can be mounted as a drive to retrieve an earlier copy of a specific file or folder.

Therefore every backup is automatically converted into a virtual machine. These virtual machines can be quickly spun up and hosted on a DR365 appliance. That means, the user of DR365 appliance can manage all their backup operations for datacenter or office with a single central management console.

The StoneFly DR365 appliance includes a virtual SAN appliance, a virtual enterprise backup engine and the ability to create additional virtual storage or servers as needed. So, DR365 flexibility replaces the “fixed hardware model” of the past with software-defined on-demand resource allocation (such as CPU, memory, storage etc) based on your application needs.

Therefore, as Virtualization technology is evolving and industry adoption is increasing, organizations are recognizing the benefits reaching far beyond the most popular virtualization justification- reduced infrastructure costs and increased IT agility. Therefore data storage vendors offering backup solutions are using virtualization as next frontier in order to enable and enhance disaster recovery strategies.

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