Data Protection Impact of Virtual Server Environments

More and more enterprises are trying to save money and improve utilization by consolidating servers using VMware virtual server environments. However, server virtualization is having sometimes unexpected consequences for data protection.

In a recent survey conducted by SEPATON, seventy-four percent of large enterprises reported that VMware virtual environments significantly increased their data storage and/or the complexity of their data protection environment.

To ensure your backup environment can protect your virtual server environment adequately, consider the following factors:

1. Do you have enough performance to deduplicate, backup consolidated virtual server backup volumes?

Virtual server consolidated backup and VMware snapshot backups require significant processing power to backup within typical backup windows. Restoring data may mean restoring entire snapshot volumes. Consider a virtual tape library with deduplication that can load balance backup and deduplication over multiple processing nodes and perform these functions concurrently.

2. Can your data protection system restore single files or entire backup volumes fast enough?

For some technologies, virtual server data can slow performance of restores for both snapshots and single files. Some disk-based technologies require data to be restored through the same port that was used to back it up.

Free nodes sit idle while data "waits" for its designated port. Some deduplication technologies can further slow restore times by needing to reconstitute deduplicated data. Use a VTL that lets you backup and restore data through any port. Ensure that your deduplication technology can restore the most recent backups instantly without needing to reconstitute it.

3. Can you scale capacity as you need to?

Virtual environments can drive up capacity needs. Buying new tape libraries or "over-provisioning" storage can quickly become cost-prohibitive in these environments. Invest in a backup technology like a VTL that lets you add capacity, as you need it.

Server consolidation can help enterprises save money, improve utilization, and streamline data center complexity. However, to realize these benefits you need a well-planned data protection strategy.