Virtualization Headlines
Backup in the Virtual Environment

A Contributed Article by Dan Nadir, senior director of Product Management, SMB and Symantec.Cloud, for Symantec Corp.

We see it in the news almost every day. Large businesses all over the world, unable to serve their customers because their network is down or they have lost business-critical data. Stocks plunge, their public perception takes a hit, and revenues are affected. And it's not just a problem for enterprises. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are also waking up and realizing that they can save themselves significant trouble by implementing backup technologies that allow them to keep their operations running even in the event of an outage.

Even as backup has evolved from a luxury to a necessity, other technologies in the data center are progressing, notably virtualization. Virtualization improves IT flexibility by creating a central pool of resources, allowing for rapid provisioning of services on demand. It can reduce costs by avoiding the need to purchase and maintain storage and server hardware that are only needed for times of peak demand. In short, it improves almost every aspect of IT operations - except backup.

As SMBs increasingly embrace virtualization, they are forced to manage both a physical and a virtual environment. And most policies and IT tools have been designed to deal primarily with a physical infrastructure. With more business-critical applications becoming virtualized, IT will need to deliver the same reliability users are accustomed to in a physical environment. The best way to bypass this balancing act is by centralizing the control over their physical and virtual backups.

A shift in mindset is almost as important as the technology itself in virtualization adoption. As SMBs move information into virtualized applications, it needs to be as organized and protected as well as any other data controlled by the business. A failure to adequately plan will increase the risk of data loss.

In order to make backup effective in today's increasingly complex IT environment, businesses can take the following steps:
  • Take advantage of common software platforms to streamline processes. They allow you to manage backup functions through a centralized dashboard, unifying physical and virtual resources as you perform backup and recovery tasks
  • Be sure to implement deduplication for all backup data - not just virtualized information - to maximize storage savings. This should be done at all levels.
  • Control data growth. Backup is facilitated when there is less data to manage. With 42 percent of business information being duplicate, learning where your data resides and what it contains can lead to substantial time and cost savings.
  • When selecting a vendor to help with backup, look for one that keeps management simple by supporting both physical and virtual environments. Backup should be intuitive and easy to manage. Multiple solutions are less likely to be used to their full potential.

Virtualization can make information management more complex, particularly the area of backup. But SMBs can plan intelligently to implement a backup solution that will keep things simple, minimize time and storage by eliminating duplicate data, and maintain the high availability that users expect.

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About the Author

Dan Nadir is senior director of product management for Symantec’s Cloud Managed Endpoint Solutions. Recently, Dan was senior director of product management for Symantec’s core consumer security solutions.  Prior to Symantec, Dan held product management roles at the vice president and director levels in several major security companies, including SaaS web security provider ScanSafe/Cisco, SaaS e-mail security pioneer FrontBridge/Microsoft and Tivoli/IBM. Dan has a bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Science from the University of California San Diego.  He holds a seat on the board of the San Diego Performing Arts Association and is a collector of historical photography. 

Published Thursday, November 29, 2012 6:34 AM by David Marshall
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