Storage Q&A: Is Virtualization Breaking Disk Backup?

Charlie: I recently sat down with Storage Switzerland Lead Analyst and Founder George Crump and Senior Analyst Colm Keegan to talk about one of our recent webinars; “How Server Virtualization is Breaking Disk Backup”. We had a large attendance for the live webinar, and continue to have on-demand visitors to the webinar ON-Demand. I started our discussion by asking Colm why this webinar has been so popular:

Watch our On Demand Webinar "How Server Virtualization is Breaking Disk Backup" and get an exclusive white paper.

Colm: Well Charlie, because we talk about ways to remediate issues with backing up virtual environments.

As you know, virtual server technology isn’t anything new. But there are a lot of issues with reliably backing them up and recovering the data protected in those environments. We really drill down into that.

Charlie: Anything you want to add to that, George?

George: Yes. I think the other big challenge is there are technologies being introduced to the virtual server environment that are challenging backups. So, the ability to do change blog tracking and the ability to do recovery in place of VM recoveries really negatively impacts the backup window, the recovery window, and the backup device itself that most people are just not aware of.

Charlie: George, what do you think the key take aways from this webinar are?

George:  First of all, we give listeners some ways to design an environment that allows them to protect this massively growing virtual server environment.

Many end users I talk to start off with 12 or so virtual machines and then, almost overnight, have 100 virtual machines – literally. That can dramatically change how you backup, so you need something that can scale and meet those demands.

And then also, we – with virtual servers and even virtual desktops – live in a world where almost all the data is on corporate storage, and needs to be backed up. That’s impacting backup windows.

So we’ll also give them some ideas on how to reduce, or continue to meet, their current backup windows.

Charlie: Colm, any other take aways?

Colm: Just to follow along with George. Obviously backup windows are important and keeping it maintained is critical, but equally critical is being able to recover the data in a timely fashion.

So, people don’t want to architect everything purely for the backup window at the sacrifice of being able to do timely data recoveries. We also cover how you can get the best of both worlds and have the ability to protect that virtual data and recover it on the fly by using things like data in place recoveries, as well as just doing standard recoveries.

That is critical because as data grows you’re going to need to have the capability to keep your backup window short but also, equally important, able to make your recovery time objectives.

George: And I think a key component there is that the recovery in place requirement changes how we architect the disk backup system. So that is another key take away: How the disk backup system has to evolve to meet all of these different challenges and things that they’re going to learn about.

Charlie: One of the key parts of any Storage Switzerland webinar is the question and answer period. In fact, a good bit of the webinar is the Question and Answers. What are you guys expecting to hear from the people who’ve signed up for this webinar? Colm, why don’t you go first?

Colm: I think some of the questions will be that deduplication is something that they want to take advantage of, what are some of the down sides to that, and what do I need to do to make sure that my architect fits my environment, so that I’m able to have the speeds and feeds that I’m used to having today with standard backup technology. So I would imagine there’s going to be questions around that.

Charlie: George?

George: I think to tie in, partly to the deduplication question, here’s technology that’s been around for over ten years now. But the adoption rate of that, while widespread, is not 100 percent. So there’s clearly some reservations on how to implement it.

Then again like we said, how it impacts the backup windows and recovery windows, change in the virtualized server environment. And then specifically, I think we’re going to have a lot of questions around optimizing the backup to get virtual machines back into production as quickly as possible. I think we’re going to be able to answer those for them.

Charlie: Now, the webinar was live on February 11, but you don’t have to be at the webinar live to really get anything out of this, right George?

George: Right. We make sure it’s available ON-Demand, so if you’re overseas or somewhere, you can get the on-demand version and listen to it whenever it’s convenient for you.

There’s even an app for both the iPad and iPhone where you can download and stream the webinar. So if you’re working out in the gym and want to watch one of our webinars, we’d be honored to keep you company.

Charlie: Remember, that by registering for the Storage Switzerland webinar, you gain access to over 60 on demand webinars, featuring top CEOs and Storage Switzerland experts like George and Colm. We discuss all kinds of topics like: all flash arrays, dedupe, SSDs, data protection, object storage, you name it; we have it with our Storage Switzerland webinars.

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