Achieving the right RPO for your Virtualized Environment

Recovery Point Objective (RPO) is potentially the most important requirement to understand when protecting any application or environment. RPO is essentially the amount of data that will be lost when an application is recovered. The less frequent the protection the more data that is lost, the more frequent the protection the less data that is lost, but the more expensive the solution is to deliver that protection. This is especially true in legacy bare metal systems, but virtualization can bring the cost to provide small RPO windows down significantly.

Click to register for the demand webinar "Selecting the Right Tools To Meet Your Virtual RTO/RPO Objectives"

The Legacy Challenge

While snapshots can help, providing  a safe and rapid RPO in legacy environments requires replication to a secondary array in the same data center. This protects the application from array failure (which snapshots do not) and allows changes to data to be captured frequently, in near real time. But the expense is significant. Cost includes not only the cost of two arrays, but the software to do the replication and potentially secondary servers to attach to the array.

The Virtualization Advantage

Virtualization can have a distinct advantage here. With leveraging software defined storage, available from companies like StarWind Software, the expense of a dedicated storage array can be eliminated. The storage software runs on the hosts within the virtual infrastructure. The software can also leverage flash and hard disk storage within those servers, instead of shared storage. This reduces storage capacity costs and network costs.

Data protection can be achieved through a variety of schemes, including replication and mirroring. Snapshots can be taken along the way so that the secondary copies can be protected against corruption.

Backups Still Required

Despite the advances in software defined storage a core backup process that moves data off of the server infrastructure is still a requirement. First, it provides the extra layer of protection that data centers need. Second, it allows you to segregate which servers need a low RPO and which ones do not. This is important because while software defined storage can drive down the cost of lowering RPOs, it is not free. You only want to provide low RPO for systems that truly need it.


Virtualization can drive down the cost of data protection while improving an organization’s ability to recover from a variety of disasters. But as is typically the case, to meet all the organization’s demands in a cost effective fashion requires multiple solutions. To learn more about lowering your virtual environment’s recovery point objective join us for our live webinar “Selecting the Right Tools To Meet Your Virtual RTO/RPO Objectives“.

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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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