Virtualisation has been largely responsible for cracking open the market for back-up and business continuity, argues Jake van der Vyver, enterprise business development manager for Lexel (formerly Computer Brokers).
Virtualisation, and that’s mostly VMware, is the main driver of SAN storage uptake, he says. And the two combined have unleashed new possibilities for back-up and DR.
“What was a difficult process is now much easier thanks to the virtualisation of both the server and storage layers. At the click of a mouse, you are able to take an image of an entire environment and ship it to another location, creating an instant back-up copy of production data,” says van der Vyver.
“The traditional approach involves taking a snapshot of your entire server infrastructure — every night. But, even that doesn’t mean you can recover your servers. What VMware means is that you can still manage your back-ups in the same fashion, but you can do it offline and recover it on any other server in the VMware environment. It is totally hardware independent.”
“Virtualisation also overcomes the struggle to recover data on heterogeneous infrastructure. The VMware image is recoverable on anything in the VMware environment.”
Lexel, an Auckland-based systems integrator, says virtualisation promises instant recovery, whereas systems recovery can take several days.
“It is here the relationship between server virtualisation and consolidated storage is made clear,” van der Vyver continues.
“By consolidating storage, you create a pool of disks that can be sliced and diced at the VMware layer, rather than the operating system’s layer. Previously, you either had to have virtualised SANs — very expensive — or directly connect servers to storage and manage individual relationships. So, management is vastly simplified, to a one-to-one relationship between storage capacity and what servers demand.”
However, when it comes to back-up, end users need to think about recovery too. Technology allows just about anything, but organisations need to define their needs, their recovery point and recovery-time objectives, which will help determine what solution they need.
Lexel says that they should consider the skills available to run the solution — be this inside or outside the organisation — including that of service providers.