VM backup is the new standard fare

Now more than ever, IT departments are under pressure to implement high availability while reducing costs. Tried and tested concepts, innovatively implemented, are required to reduce strain on both personnel and financial budgets.

ITatOnce’s disaster and data recovery solutions for VMware and Hyper-V environments have a huge savings potential, particularly for large companies with more than 500 virtual servers – just take into account the specific scalability and network security concepts considered with regard to best performance and maximum automation issues. What’s more, we offer advanced Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery as well as VMware Cloud Hosting solutions aimed to provide infrastructure on demand so that you can consume virtual resources with maximum agility.

Starting situation

We assume the following starting situation with regards to your infrastructure:

  • One main data center containing the majority of the server systems
  • One backup data center with emergency systems. This data center may be set up as a cold-standby cloud, or may itself contain productive systems which are mirrored in the main data center
  • Several external sites with substantial numbers of servers and data volume
  • WAN IP connections between sites
  • A mixture of hardware systems and virtualization with VMware
  • Existing backup using an agent-based backup process (e.g. IBM TSM)
  • Requirement: Strict separation of productive networks and backup/administrative networks to increase security

Basic backup and replication technologies

Figure 1: Backup process overview

  • Agentless application- and operating system-consistent backup of every virtual machine, regardless of what file or operating system is installed on a virtual server
  1. No resource load from agents
  2. Next generation data recovery for large companies
  3. No workload during updates
  4. Budget savings as application backups require no additional licenses
  5. Use of Microsoft VSS technology, established on the market for 10 years, or pre-/post-scripts in Linux
  6. Appropriate handling of database log files
  • Data export using change block tracking (in Version 6, change block tracking is possible not only with VMware but also Microsoft Hyper-V)
  1. Only data blocks changed on the storage system (vmdk-datastores/vRDM RAW LUNs) are backed up after the first initial full
  2. Synthetic full and reverse incremental technology removes the need to export further full backups. This substantially reduces strain on VMware Host Disk and system resources.
  3. Data can be backed up directly from the SAN (comparable with LAN-free backup). This is recommended for SAN disk systems and is also the fastest method of backing up virtual servers. For backups from local disks or via NFS-based datastores, VM snapshots are mapped directly to the backup server (similarly to VMware HotAdd) and so can be directly backed up. A further backup method is backup via the VMware LAN. This function is also used as a fallback function for the other two methods.

Figure 2: Backup methods

  • Reduction of backup memory requirements through integrated deduplication and compression.
  • For 20 years, backup software manufacturers have required their customers to regularly perform recovery checks. Veeam automates this process with SureBackup technology, and checks every backup in a sandbox environment (virtual lab). Check jobs can be carried out centrally or distributed across several VMware ESX(i) systems. Dedicated VMware ESX(i) systems and VMware ESX(i) systems with productive servers can be used for checks. This allows savings in budgets for quarterly or half-yearly manual recovery tests, including the necessary hardware and reserved disk storage space.

Figure 3: SureBackup – automatic recovery check after every backup

  • During replication, several recovery points are retained so that in the event of an error, you are not limited to starting at the time of the last replication. This ensures you have a greater recovery period if there is a delay in discovering an error on a system and the error has already been transferred to the other replication site.

Figure 4: Replication options

  • Application consistencies are also taken into account
  • Replication supports both ESX and ESXi systems and replication between them.
  • Thick disks can be replicated onto thin disks to save space.
  • Storage systems from different manufacturers can be used.
  • We use IP connections for replication. This offers high potential for savings, usually in six figures, as there is no need for dedicated SAN or dark fiber cables, SAN/IP routers or disk storage replication and mirror licenses. It is also possible to replicate between different VMware cluster/vcenters, each with different disk storage vendors.
  • The initial replication can be carried out via a removable storage medium in order to keep the initial volume of data to be transferred as small as possible.
  • With both backup and replication, the data is deduplicated and compressed and transferred over the network or the WAN connection.

The benefits of virtualization are being realized every day. While it can be very positive for business value, the adoption of virtualization still causes disruption in the industry and requires new ways to solve problems. Virtual machine data protection is a key component of IT environments that epitomizes this disruption. To handle the challenges virtualization poses your VM data protection solution must be architected properly so you can realize the value of virtualization without comprising the Data Protection and Recovery levels your business needs.

With data recovery solutions based upon VMware and Hyper-V technologies, we leverage a Virtual Backup Appliance architecture that runs directly in a VMware environment, scales seamlessly as your environment grows, and is managed within the VMware Clients. This approach provides the foundation for our VMware Datacenter Solutions that allow you to run your IT infrastructure with the benefits of

  • Improved Performance
  • Improved Scalability
  • Ease of Use
  • Flexible Recovery Options
  • Better Cost Effectiveness.

About ITatOnce

ITatOnce is a privately held IT Service Provider and Consulting firm headquartered in San Diego, California. Founded in 2008, ITatOnce is committed to provide its clients with forward thinking products and IT solutions. The company’s featured services include IT Consulting Services, IT Managed Services and Cloud Hosting Solutions.

For more information, including company news and customer related information, visit the company’s website.

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