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Comment : Protecting Virtual Infrastructures with Data Replication

Many organisations are adopting virtualisation technologies in their data centre to secure the benefits of increased hardware utilisation, reduced power consumption and simplified management.

The reliability of this new infrastructure is likely to be of critical importance but what is the best way to protect virtual servers and keep them highly available?

A virtual infrastructure has a single point of failure: shared disk space. An organisation that relies on tape to protect this environment will struggle to provide the infrastructure with the protection and availability it requires as it can take days to restore virtual systems from tape, if it’s possible at all.

Some virtual products come ready equipped with a snapshot-based technology that sends data in periodic chunks. However, the flexibility of this technology is limited and as a result they do not provide the protection, availability and disaster recovery that a business critical virtual infrastructure warrants.

No matter which virtualisation vendor’s solutions are deployed, independent data replication products provide availability of virtual infrastructures far more effectively than tape, greatly increase native protection and provide data centre managers with a very useful management tool.

If an organisation is already using an independent data replication solution within its business continuity plan, it may be flexible enough to be used within virtual infrastructures.

Data centre managers are likely to maintain a variety of hardware on which they host virtual servers so the high availability solutions needs to have the flexibility to work in any hardware environment.

Host-based replication is an asynchronous technology that replicates at the server level and streams replicating changes in real time, as they occur and compiles them on target servers in the order that the operations occurred.

Host-based replication is hardware agnostic and therefore ideal for heterogeneous environments so has the flexibility required to protect typical virtual infrastructures.

Host-based replication has the additional benefit of providing data centre managers with a simple to use virtual infrastructure migration and management tool.

Many organisations already have a disaster recovery facility or satellite office where they send backup copies of data for disaster recovery.

Having a live duplicate of the virtual infrastructure within those locations provides the ultimate level of protection and recovery in the event of substantial site disaster. H

ost-based replication technologies are able to replicate over any distance so provide organisations managing virtual infrastructures with the best possible protection for business-critical physical and virtual environments.

Virtualising servers is only the first step in modernising a data centre to take advantage of the benefits on offer. Virtual infrastructures are business-critical so organisations need to make sure they are highly available.

Deploying an appropriate data replication technology is the only strategy that will provide the protection required. Host based data replication products not only provide high availability but can also help data centre managers better maintain virtual systems by having the ability to provision, convert and migrate the systems both near and far.