Protecting Data in Hybrid Virtual and Physical Environments

Virtualization is rapidly becoming the norm in small to medium-size IT environments, with solutions like VMware vSphere®, Microsoft® Hyper-V®, Citrix® XenServer®, Red Hat® Enterprise Virtualization, Linux KVM, and Oracle® VM Server. According to the Acronis / IDC Disaster Recovery Survey released in May of 2014, 61 percent of SMBs use virtual technologies, 79 percent use physical servers and 48 percent of the respondents have a new generation environment consisting of both virtual and physical servers. We call this a hybrid environment.

In any environment, your data needs protection from loss and disasters, no matter what. However, data protection is different for physical and virtual environments. Because of the differences in infrastructure, operation and management between virtual and physical environments, each require a different technology and approach to protect data. SMB organizations, in particular, have many challenges when trying to protect data in their hybrid environment as most of the data protection products on the market are not comprehensive, easy to use, or affordable. 

There are several kinds of data protection products on the market today. Some vendors offer a one-size-fits-all traditional platform, which provides a smart backup server, cell, or core that performs and manages full unified data protection for the entire environment, whether physical, virtual, or both. Other vendors offer separate products for backup and recovery; that is, their customers must purchase a backup tool for each of their different data types, operating system platforms and applications. The final option is New Generation Data Protection – an integrated suite of products that provides unified control, management and reporting for their entire environment, regardless of the size of the organization, the number of data types, and the number and types of operating system platforms and applications.

In many cases, mid-sized organizations implement enterprise-level traditional data protection platforms. While traditional platform vendors claim to protect hybrid environments with one solution, there are several problems with this approach, particularly for SMB organizations.

First, a traditional platform can become a single point of failure because you have one central server that backs up multiple types of operating systems, hypervisors, applications and files. When this server fails, all backup operations are down. In a disaster recovery situation, you must also install and configure the backup server first before restoring the production workloads. This increases the time it takes to recover from a disaster. In addition, a traditional platform is not the best of breed for backing up any individual component or workload because it tries to be all things to all people.

A traditional data protection platform is typically too expensive for most SMB organizations. For example, there are significant upfront costs to procure a traditional platform including the license, dedicated hardware, and the networking components to support the central core. Maintenance costs can also be high, but the hidden costs can be the most significant:
•    The time a system administrator spends managing a complex centralized core, including the hardware and network
•    The training and time to study and certify
•    The increased costs of qualified trained IT staff to manage the backup
•    The costs of lost production due to prolonged downtimes caused by the complexity of a traditional platform, especially in a disaster recovery scenario

The new generation solution can offer total protection for these companies. The system administrator would use only one interface, see all the machines, and have the ability to apply global, group, or individual policies. In addition, the system administrator can:
•    Install the management components on any available system
•    Manage all physical and virtual machines locally or remotely
•    Assign backup policies to one or multiple machines
•    Review status updates, generate reports and receive alerts – all from a single console
•    Back up the physical ERP servers at the disk level to get a complete copy of everything
•    Back up the virtual production infrastructure without the need for an agent in the VMs
•    Protect Hyper-V VMs and hosts, offering complete protection for the test environment

As organizations scale their environment and operations, their solution should scale with them.
Today, your IT infrastructure is more complex with the mixture of physical and virtual machines. Yet your organization must minimize costs and improve both IT and user productivity. Therefore, the question remains. How do you safely back up your entire environment without affecting your business operations, and cost-effectively protect 100 percent of your data?

Developed for SMB organizations that have hybrid IT environments, Acronis’ new generation technology simplifies backup, disaster recovery and secure access of your critical data – reducing data loss, IT management time and total cost of ownership. Leveraging the power of the Acronis AnyData Engine, the Acronis Backup Advanced suite of products protects hybrid environments with a unified interface, unified policies, and centralized management, monitoring and reporting; eliminating single point of failure and the need for multiple, disjointed, separate products.

This is the perfect solution to protect any data in new generation data centers, running a mixture of physical and virtual machines – ensuring business continuity of IT operations.