- Thinking Outside the Box to Protect Your Private Cloud (Part II): Top Four “Must-Haves” for Vblock Environments
I’ve have had the opportunity lately to participate in a number of EMC Forums, and one of the things I’ve been talking with users about is how to leverage backup and recovery solutions to accelerate virtualization so they can realize the benefits of IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) sooner.
As we talked about in Part I of this series and at recent Forums, Vblock is a key component of a virtualized infrastructure. But without the right backup and recovery solutions to protect the environment, its benefits are minimized. As VM-to-ESX server ratios increase, there’s a tendency to forget to factor in the ESX server resource drain that will occur during backup. The strain of this process can cause users to scale back VM-to-ESX server densities and re-evaluate, or even delay, virtualization plans. However, with the right backup infrastructure, you can improve ratios and move forward with, or even expedite, virtualization plans.
At the Forums, we talked at length about the challenges and solutions for Vblock backup and recovery, but for those of you who haven’t made it to one of these events, I’ve put together the following list of backup and recovery solution “must haves”:
- It’s got to be fluent in VMware. Any Vblock backup solution worth its salt has to speak VMware. Being able to automatically interact with VMware’s system database structures and APIs is key. Management efficiency in orchestrating backups in a VMware context is also essential (think “single pane of glass”). This allows both VMware and backup admins to monitor and manage the environment collaboratively.
- It needs to work with and fully understand “blocks.” This will reduce overhead; it’s that simple. Beware of backup software solutions that extend file-based backup catalogs for virtualized environment backup; they can create backup performance issues particularly in larger VM environments. Having to conform to a legacy backup file system structure only introduces more overhead.
- It’s got to do deduplication. Vblock environments are designed to be the foundation for a wide array of OS/application combinations. With varying file formats and block structures, employing intelligent deduplication algorithms is the best way to keep compression ratios at a maximum across applications. “Variable-block” solutions should be at the top of the list because they provide efficient and flexible capacity optimization across the multiple applications typically running inside virtual environments.
- It needs to be work in physical and virtual environments. It is more cost-effective to use backup solutions that can protect the configuration of the physical infrastructure as well as the data within applications and VMs.
In the next post, I will take a look at the Vblock components and their specific backup and recovery requirements, and show how customers are leveraging EMC backup and recovery solutions within these environments.