Commvault at VMworld 2018 – How Data Protection has Evolved in the Hybrid Virtualization Era

Posted 08/21/2018 by Dave Orban

As VMworld 2018 – being held this year from Aug. 26 - 30 in Las Vegas – draws near, we’re taking a closer look at how data protection has evolved in the era of hybrid virtualization. This is a topic that I, along with my colleague Deepak Verma, will be covering in-depth during our VMworld Breakout Session on Monday, Aug. 27, at 12:30 p.m. PDT in Islander G, Lower Level. Some things we'll be looking at include:

  1. What defines a hybrid Virtual Machine (VM) environment? Basically, it’s what we refer to as a hyperconverged environment, with on-premises Virtual Machines, coupled with one or more public cloud instances. That’s your basic hybrid environment: a combination of public and private clouds, with a large helping of virtualization. With it, we look to achieve the level of orchestration, simplicity and cost-effectiveness of the public cloud, while at the same time maintaining the security and control of a private cloud environment.

    The private cloud delivers similar advantages to the public cloud, things such as cost-efficiency, scalability and self-service capability, but with a proprietary architecture. Unlike public clouds, which deliver services to multiple organizations, a private cloud is dedicated solely to the needs of a single organization. And virtualization is at the heart of the private cloud. Virtualization provides a high level of system utilization, which also abstracts your workloads from your underlying hardware. This means that any applications that reside in each VM are decoupled from your servers. Workloads can then be run on any suitable virtualized server, and your workloads can be easily migrated between different virtualized servers, all with minimal disruption to performance. Through virtualization, your private cloud can help to reduce your reliance on IT staff, with features like self-service capability, easy scalability, and chargeback, which basically allows you to “meter” usage for cost allocation among users or business units. Of course, this kind of convergence and hybridization is not without its own set of risks, and we'll look at them in detail during our breakout session.

  2. What kind of risks come with a hybrid VM environment? When it comes to complexity and risk, three areas that stand out are IT Fragmentation, Data Growth and Data Mobility.

  3. IT Fragmentation. With IT Fragmentation, storage space being used inefficiently, reducing capacity, performance, or both. In IT, there are three different but related forms of fragmentation: external fragmentation, internal fragmentation and data fragmentation, which can exist in isolation or in conjunction with each other. Some fragmentation may be acceptable, in exchange for improvements in speed or simplicity. But in hybrid virtualized environments, not only are you dealing with fragmentation within storage, but also the fragmentation that comes with data and applications being segregated into physical, virtual and even geographic realms. Managing across this kind of fragmentation presents a considerable challenge.

  4. Data Growth. Data is growing exponentially. The general consensus is that the size of the digital universe will at least double every two years. That’s a 50-fold growth from 2010 to 2020. Human- and machine-generated data is experiencing an even faster growth rate (10 times) than traditional business data, and machine data is increasing even more rapidly, at 50 times the growth rate. So the ability to scale both efficiently and cost-effectively is essential.

  5. Data Mobility. A couple of years ago at VMworld (2016), its CTO, Guido Appenzeller, was doing a demo as a part of CEO Pat Gelsinger’s keynote. At one point, Appenzeller was looking to demonstrate how easily VMware can migrate a workload to another cloud or to an on-premises target. But he noted that it would take several hours to move the data, so they stopped the demo, rather than allow it to complete. So, it’s natural to ask, “Why does it take so long to migrate the data?” Well, to migrate data from one location to another, you first must copy all your data to storage in your target location. The same holds true if you're migrating from one cloud to another, or from one on-premises location to another. When looking into cross-cloud architecture, it becomes obvious that you are directly responsible for:

    1. Obtaining the necessary network bandwidth
    2. Paying for storage of multiple copies of your data
    3. Moving that data continuously, in order to enable data mobility

  6. This isn't quite the flexible, hybrid cloud infrastructure that we all originally envisioned, but the challenge has been on everyone's minds for years. You need to be able to access all your data, wherever and whenever you want it, without needing to constantly replicate it. Replication might have been reasonable storage solution in the not-too-distant past, but with unfettered data growth, it’s become a storage problem for today.

  7. What to look for in a data protection product. When it comes to protecting today’s hybrid environments, yesterday’s point solutions are woefully inadequate. Today’s platform must support your multi-cloud initiatives, so you can manage and protect your data, applications and workloads, regardless of where they reside. It must have the ability to recognize, index and analyze your data across silos. And it must be designed to scale with you, as your needs evolve to meet a dynamic, fast-paced digital market. It must enable automation for cost-efficiency, and be policy-driven, so that you can easily align your data - based on its business value - to the appropriate infrastructure. It should include robust administrative controls to help drive down storage and cloud costs, along with dashboard views, reporting and SLA management tools that can increase your ability to recover and restore your data. It must be easy to use, but powerful enough to protect your data, manage your data and recover your data, so that it’s always available when you need it, where you need it and how you need it. Combine all those attributes, and you’ll be in good shape!

Make sure you check out our event webpage. You can book meetings and register for our sessions.

At the show, stop by Commvault's VMworld booth No. 1444 and speak to one of our data experts. We'll be doing demos and mini-theater presentations all day, every day. And, please join Deepak and I for our breakout session, "Simplifying Data Protection Across Hybrid Environments," on Aug. 27, at 12:30 p.m. PDT. The session number is VIN3739BUS. Hope to see you there!

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.