How Virtualization Helps You Meet Your Backup and Recovery Goals

Posted 04/16/2018 by David Orban

As part of an ongoing series that focuses on backup-related issues, our Commvault experts weigh in. Read other similar blogs.

Let’s be clear: Virtualization doesn’t have to break your backup strategy.

In his blog “Why Virtualization STILL Breaks Backup,” George Crump of StorageSwiss.com points out that many IT teams still remark that protecting the virtual infrastructure is a top pain point in their data protection strategies. These environments need more than traditional, basic protection. They need a modern, intelligent approach to protection that can be as flexible as the virtual environment itself.

Incorporating virtualization into your backup strategy can be straightforward – if you choose the right approach. Learn how virtualization can actually help you, not break you.

Traditional approaches are no longer sufficient

Crump is absolutely correct when he points out that modern backup applications need to go well beyond just backing up known VMs. Trouble is, many organizations are reliant on point solutions that may do one thing well but are limited in scope. And when you try to combine different point solutions that each focus on one specific task, the results seldom meet expectations. More to the point, having to understand - and manage - multiple point solutions taxes your resources. If you're like most enterprises today, your resources are already stretched thin. And when it comes to virtualized environments, not having real-time insight into your environment typically results in rogue virtual machines (VMs) and, ultimately, VM sprawl. And that puts your entire operation at risk, both financially and operationally.

VM sprawl is real

VM sprawl is time sprawl, it’s budget sprawl and it’s wasted resources. With VMs continuing to proliferate across multiple environments, the sprawl will only get worse, unless your IT and virtualization teams can take the necessary steps to finally rein it in.

Managing your virtual machines is not a set-it-and-forget-it type of exercise. In order to uncover rogue VMs, you need to have better control over your virtual assets; you need to be able to easily identify and optimize your VMs; and you need to be vigilant during the entire lifecycle of each VM – from initial provisioning to ongoing protection all the way to decommissioning.

A good first step toward managing, and preventing, sprawl is to consolidate management of your VMs. But with stand-alone point solutions, that can be a real challenge. In order to have clear visibility across your entire environment, you need a mechanism that can see across platforms and devices, and provide a "single pane" view of your entire environment. With that in place, you need to be able to automate workflows to minimize labor-intensive processes that can be fraught with human error. By automating processes such as VM creation/deletion, registration, or storage policy changes, you save time and money and enable efficient scalability. Something that is virtually (see what I did there?) impossible using standalone point solutions.

Automation is essential

You also need to be able to operationalize the archiving of your VMs. Most organizations have VMs that are no longer in active use - maybe for Dev/Test - but are still consuming both storage capacity and compute power. When you've got the ability to automatically archive your VMs based on retention policies that you establish, and have them indexed and searchable, it's much easier to recover files at a granular level. And even do so as a self-service task. Operationalizing these processes frees-up your IT resources and compute power, while greatly improving the overall management of your virtualized environment.

So while virtualization does indeed add some unique challenges to backup, having a better mechanism for managing your entire virtualized environment is definitely the key to improving backup and recovery. Wouldn't it be great if someone would make a single, powerful unified solution that enables all of that, and even throws an intuitive user interface on top of it to make it easy to manage, protect and recover your virtualized environment? Sure it would! And Commvault software has been developed with just such a goal in mind. Our integrated, automated data protection approach gives you a single, comprehensive view of all your stored data, including your VMs, regardless of where it is — on-site or in the cloud. With it, you can back up your databases, files, applications, endpoints and VMs efficiently, and according to data type and your desired recovery profile. Commvault's purpose-built software eliminates the separate data silos associated with traditional backup, archive and reporting products — in a vendor-neutral solution that frees you from lock-in while reducing your infrastructure requirements.

Want to learn more?

Check out a live webinar to learn about the top 10 reasons why backup breaks, and how to avoid them:
Live Webinar: 10 Reasons Why Backup Breaks and How to Fix It
When: 1 p.m. EDT / 10 a.m. PDT, Wednesday, April 25
Presented By: Storage Switzerland and Commvault

Joining Commvault in 2015, Dave Orban is Senior Manager, Solutions Marketing and Business Development, Virtualization. An entrepreneurial 20-year veteran technology marketer, he helped take several tech startups to successful liquidity events.