Are Disk Backup Appliances Ready For a Virtualized World?

Data protection in a virtualized world can be a daunting issue. Advanced backup capabilities like changed block tracking (CBT) and data in place recoveries from backup storage are creating new demands which are heavily taxing already overburdened backup appliances. Left unchecked, these pressures can steadily build up over time and seriously hinder the ability for organizations to meet their recovery time objectives (RTOs). Consequently, the disk backup architecture design becomes a key element towards ensuring both proper data protection and timely data recoveries as virtualized environments grow.

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Many organizations struggle with maintaining their backup windows and as a result, this becomes a key focus when designing a backup solution. Server virtualization backup application providers have responded to this demand by integrating CBT into their products. This changes backup workload patterns from what are normally large blocks of sequential I/O to very small, random bytes of data. This can impact the performance on data deduplication backup appliances since they are typically tuned to ingest large, sequential I/O data streams. This could become a particularly pronounced issue in those environments that are backing up both virtual and non-virtualized applications to the same appliance.

Likewise, to enhance application RTOs, some backup applications are supporting what is referred to as “recoveries in place”. This means that the backup image can now be used as a boot partition for a failed virtual machine (VM). This eliminates the need to wait for a data restore process to complete before bringing the failed application back online. Instead, the VM can be pointed to the backup image and immediately be brought back online. While this may seem like a compelling feature, it could be a non-starter if the backup appliance is constantly running deduplication processes. The overhead of data deduplication could impose significant latency on storage I/O performance and make the application essentially unusable.

For these reasons, it is important for IT decision makers to take a holistic approach when evaluating disk based backup appliance technologies. To learn how to attain rapid backup and recoveries while effectively leveraging advanced features like data in place recoveries, watch the webinar on demand.

By watching the webinar you can also receive a copy of a StorageSwiss white paper “Disk Backup Is About More Than Deduplication”.

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ExaGrid is a client of Storage Switzerland

Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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