What is Next in Backup and Recovery? – NAKIVO Briefing Note

Data protection has changed. Most data centers are heavily virtualized, and are using more than just VMware as their hypervisor. Organizations are also well down the path of moving workloads to the cloud, most notably into Amazon EC2. Expectations of users have also changed, outages now need to be resolved in minutes, and these users want regular proof their applications are recoverable. IT professionals need data protection solutions that will keep pace with the ever-changing landscape of the data center.

Increasing Backup Confidence

The number one priority for IT professionals is to improve the organization’s confidence in the recoverability of the protected applications. Nothing proves recovery ability like showing the application stakeholders a recovered instance of their application.

Backup solutions need to provide rapid recovery features where virtual instances boot directly from the backup. These instances could be isolated copies for recovery verification, or they could be live production instances used to take over operations from a fallen server. Further, the data protection solution should take a screenshot of the recovered application and automatically email it to interested parties.

Better Automation

As organizations become more data-driven, they also require IT to do more with the same or even less staff despite all the additional data. Automation is critical, especially when it comes to data protection. While backup solutions have become better at rapid recovery, they also need to automate more of the backup and recovery process.

A key capability is for the backup application to protect itself. Most applications require the backup administrator to manually configure the jobs that will protect the backup server. If the organization loses the backup configuration information, it can take hours, if not days, to reconfigure the backup system, delaying the recovery of lost information.

Next-generation data protection solutions need to automate the self-protection process. Self-protection means the backup solution needs to backup configuration information, job schedules, and backup inventory. If the server on which the backup application runs fails, then all that needs to occur is the reinstallation of the application and recovery of the configuration files from the latest backup.

Another area for automation is automated VM failover. It is not uncommon for a modern backup application to have instant recovery capabilities. However, most of those applications require that those recoveries happen manually, one at a time. By automating virtual machine failover an organization can quickly and automatically, switch workloads to replicate at the DR site, including automatically assigning new IP addresses to the replicated VMs and connecting them to the appropriate virtual networks.

Cloud Protection

When legacy data protection vendors talk about cloud protection, they are most often talking about copying backup data to the cloud. The problem is many organizations are already running applications in the cloud and consequently creating data in the cloud. Naturally, this data also requires protection.

IT can’t rely solely on the cloud to provide protection. What if the cloud provider has an outage? Modern backup applications need to not only backup cloud instances but allow that data to be stored on-premises, protecting against a cloud outage.

NAKIVO 7.4 for VMware, Hyper-V and AWS – Modernizing Modern Backup

Modern backup products typically focus on protecting virtual environments like VMware and Hyper-V. However, as virtualization becomes the primary foundation to build data centers on, these modern applications need to continue to evolve.

NAKIVO 7.4 is the new state of the art in VM Backup. It includes advances that improve restoration confidence, automation, and cloud protection. Features like Flash VM boot and screenshot verification allow organizations to quickly verify an application’s recoverability.

Automated self-backup and automated VM failover allow IT to scale to meet demand without adding staff. The 7.4 release also includes automated bandwidth throttling so that updating the secondary site can be balanced against WAN demands from production applications.

Another scaling issue is finding where a protected copy of data is located within a large data center. If an organization has dozens of jobs and hundreds of VMs, finding the exact VM to recover can be a challenging task, often filled with a lot of trial and error. Nakivo 7.4 provides global search that can find a VM or a particular job in seconds.

Enhanced AWS EC2 backup enables the organization to save up to 1,000 recovery points, and EC2 instances can be backed up to the on-premises data center. Organizations can now move applications to the cloud, but know the same backup process is protecting their data no matter where it is. Since many applications will move in and out of the cloud based on demand, having the same application protect it no matter where it is executing is very valuable.

At some point, backup administrators will run into a situation where they need support. Instead of having to stop everything, locate the support number and wait for help, NAKIVO 7.4 includes an integrated chat feature. Administrators can connect to technical support without leaving the application.

StorageSwiss Take

The bar for modern backup is ever rising. It used to be worth an upgrade to get features like off-host backup and instant recovery. Now though, the enterprise expects these features. Modern backup applications need to provide IT with tools to improve the organization’s recovery confidence, protect cloud-based applications and deliver automation to allow the organization to scale without adding additional staff.

Eight 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 and a heavily sought after public speaker. With 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 the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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