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Enterprises Ask Hard Questions Before Adopting Virtual Storage Environments

What do Virtualization and Cloud executives think about 2010?  Find out in this VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed article by Jay Kramer, vice president of worldwide marketing, SEPATON, Inc.

Enterprises Ask Hard Questions Before Adopting Virtual Storage Environments

In 2010, enterprise companies will increase their use of virtual storage technology such as virtual tape libraries (VTLs) to protect their virtual server environments. Like virtual servers, VTLs provide compelling business benefits by enabling companies to consolidate backup onto a smaller number of highly utilized systems. In a VTL environment, resources such as processing and storage capacity are allocated by need, not by physical limitations. VTLs also offer the added benefit of capacity optimization through data deduplication. However, the backup scheme in which VTLs are used will vary widely to accommodate the volume of data and the complexity of backup policies in an enterprise data center. As a result, we see the following trends emerging in enterprise virtual storage environments:

Virtual Server Proliferation will add Backup Complexity

Because virtual servers are easy and cost-effective to create, many virtualized data centers experience server proliferation. Creating more virtual servers creates a more complex backup environment. While imposing strict business policies to control virtual server creation will help, they will also need to replace their physical tape libraries with VTLs that can deliver the performance, flexibility, and management control needed in a virtual server environment.

Continued use of Client-based Backup Schemes

Many enterprises will continue to use their existing backup methodology. That is, each virtual server is a separate backup client that they manage using their existing standard backup software (i.e., NetBackup, Tivoli Storage Manager). The data deduplication capabilities of enterprise-class VTLs will enable them to achieve the backup and restore performance they need while storing more data in a single system at a cost comparable to physical tape.

Increased use of "Custom" Backup Schemes

In 2010, enterprise backup schemes will continue to be "customized" to accommodate the specific needs of the enterprise data center. As more enterprises adopt virtual server environments, they will discover that the backup schemes that work well in medium-sized organizations, will not deliver the backup performance simplicity and flexibility needed in an enterprise. Instead, enterprise data managers will be forced to make tradeoffs and to customize their backup environment to meet their needs.

For example, if they choose to use VMware Consolidated Backup, they will simplify one process but add complexity to another. This scheme consolidates virtual server machines (VMs) onto a proxy server before being backed up to a VTL or tape system. It simplifies the complexity of managing individual backups for each VM, but adds considerable complexity in managing the snapshot and mounting processes. It also only supports Windows and can be difficult to implement in other environments. Other backup schemes have similar tradeoffs. Therefore, enterprises will need to weigh the factors that are most important to them and choose a backup strategy that best meets those requirements.

Conclusion

Continued adoption of virtual server environments in the enterprise will drive demand for faster, more flexible backup technologies such as VTLs with data deduplication to protect them. However, the methodologies that these enterprises use will vary widely to accommodate the specific business needs and technical requirements of each enterprise.

A SEPATON VTL solution can add value to the process of protecting virtualized environments.  The S2100-ES2 provides the unique ability to scale capacity and performance independently while presenting multiple virtual tape drives and libraries to the backup environment. These features make the SEPATON solution an ideal target for VMware backups because it accelerates backup and restore performance.  Additionally, in environments with a large number of VMs, SEPATON provides deduplication for cost effective data retention and WAN optimized replication for sending data offsite for disaster recovery.

About the Author

Jay Kramer, vice president of worldwide marketing, SEPATON, Inc. 

Jay Kramer oversees all aspects of SEPATON's marketing efforts including strategic planning, brand development, product marketing, promotions, marketing communications, and public relations. He has more than 20 years of senior marketing and sales leadership experience at leading storage technology companies. This experience includes serving as vice president of marketing for iStor Networks, for Creative Design Solutions, Inc., and for Maxtor/Seagate Corporation. He has also served as a marketing consultant for numerous leading storage industry companies and has held several executive management positions with Unisys Corporation. He has served in leadership roles on the Board of Directors for the storage network industry associations and as chief architect creating the SNIA Certification Program for storage professionals.

Published Wednesday, December 09, 2009 5:54 AM by David Marshall
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