A Google search of the term “virtualization” returns more than 11 million results. Pretty amazing for a relatively new technology that began as a way for IT departments to streamline and reduce costs for test and development servers. Nowadays, virtual machines (VMs) are commonly deployed to support any number of core applications, even mission critical ones. In 2011, approximately 40% of existing server workloads were virtualized, with Gartner predicting the number will grow to 80% by 2015. What’s more, 60% of all new servers are virtualized.
As many IT admins are learning, virtualization presents different challenges, especially when it comes to backup, disaster recovery and long-term retention of VMs. For one, VM data protection applications need to be able to backup and easily restore both data files (on a full and an incremental level) and the virtual machine operating system itself. A VM backup system also needs to be able to locate VM instances, whether or not they are active, and discover new ones automatically – both of which can be challenging given the pace with which VMs are often implemented and/or reassigned.
Traditional backup systems often fail to address these and other unique challenges of virtualization. For example, many applications use an image-level backup technique that ends up saving expired data and empty space, lengthening backup and restore times and creating larger file sizes than necessary.
There is also the issue of backup format. In addition to writing the backup copy in the proprietary format used by the backup system, VMs offer the option to write backed up data to disk. This can make the data more accessible and speed up recovery – but only if the backup data is written in a native file system format, which most traditional backup systems can’t do.
As a result of these and many more nuances presented by virtualized environments, Quantum has risen to the challenge with our vmPRO technology solutions. vmPRO addresses each of the issues above, including the ability to write data in a native file system format and proven reduction of backup file sizes (by as much as 75% in some cases). In addition, vmPRO integrates with vCenter through the vSphere API, enabling auto-discovery of VMs.
vmPRO also reduces the complexity and cost associated with backing up both physical and virtual environments through its ability to export a view of VM data to legacy backup systems. This approach gives admins the technical benefits of advanced VM-specific tools, while allowing them to use a familiar backup system interface and follow established policies for backed up data.
For those interested in trying out vmPRO, Quantum offers vmPRO Standard Edition For Free. It is a fully featured version of vmPRO that protects up to 1TB of VM Data. No trial period, use it for as long as you like. The software is available at www.quantum.com/vmworld.