Backup against the wall?

Presenting Softchoice’s Top 6 backup challenges brought on by the virtualization revolution.

Few who’ve seen virtualization implemented in their organizations would debate its benefits. Reduced costs, fewer physical servers, less IT admin time – what’s not to love? But as users rely more on virtual machines, protecting the virtual environment is becoming more critical and complex – and there increasingly lies the struggle. Because the reality is, traditional backup applications haven’t kept up and organizations are struggling to find simple and cost-effective ways to not only protect the data in VMs but protect the VMs themselves.

With that challenge in mind, we thought we’d highlight the top six backup challenges arising from virtualization:

  1. ISV backup software simply isn’t cutting it. A lot of organizations have existing independent software vendor (ISV) applications that are fine for traditional disk or tape backups but much ISV software hasn’t kept pace or been optimized for VMware. VMs are complex enough without making managing and backing them up even more difficult with solutions that aren’t up to the challenge.
  2. Change agents. When software had to be backed up on one or a handful of physical servers that was one thing. But now organizations have dozens, hundreds, even thousands of VMs. That’s a lot of licenses, a lot of CPU power, a lot of I/O power, a lot of IT people painstakingly installing agents on each machine – in other words, it can be a very resource intensive process. The trend is moving to agentless backup software, which backs up systems without needing to install agents on each machine – it can even be done remotely (see #6).
  3. Virtual sprawl and slow backups. VMs, by their very nature, tend to be fat with lots of redundancy and unused capacity, often because they were over-provisioned at the start – someone thought they’d need a 100 Gb server for an HR application but it turned out 20 would have been enough. Now you’ve got a large machine (or two or two thousand of them) that will be slower to backup than they need to in part because most backup solutions read entire big disks and move entire VMs. [Read more…]