Virtualization

Any-to-Any Hypervisor Image Recovery

Hypervisor server diversification is becoming a key initiative for many businesses. In an effort to lower licensing costs by introducing competition for their hypervisor footprint, many organizations may be unwittingly taking on the potential burden of added infrastructure management, higher costs and increased backup complexity of their virtualized environment. On the other hand, if data centers had the ability to transparently migrate data from one hypervisor to another, many of these issues would be eliminated. As a result, any-to-any hypervisor recovery is becoming a critical requirement for data centers looking to drive down costs and increase flexibility.

In order to achieve optimal flexibility and cost, and respond quickly to changing business demands, large data centers – particularly CSPs/MSPs – need advanced backup and recovery capabilities to increase utilization of their hypervisor infrastructure.

In this modern computing world with multitudes of various trends and innovations, we sometimes find ourselves lost in between new technologies, terminologies and words. Why do we tend to make things more difficult than they have to be? That was my thought when I started a set of blog posts describing the new computing trends in a simple way. Here is another trend that I would like to simplify – virtualization.

Virtualized environments continue to grow in popularity with real implications when it comes to data protection and disaster recovery, but many IT organizations still think that only physical data is important to protect.  

Let’s start with the quick analogy to simplify the virtualization concept:

Virtualization: It comes with enormous opportunities for organizations of all sizes. On the other hand, it serves up a number of intense challenges. Among these challenges is the increased risk of data loss and massive outage.

Don’t fret. You can manage these challenges, head on. You just need to find the right solution – ideally, one that includes these seven elements:

1. Cross-vendor choice and flexibility. When you choose a backup and recovery solution, you may not want to be locked into a single vendor. Maybe you would prefer affordable cross-hypervisor data migration, backup and disaster recovery – executed across disparate systems, different sites and multiple vendors. Single and multiple vendor solutions can both work – the key is picking a solution that gives you a choice.

Backups and Business Continuity: Cavemen Were on to Something

The idea of a “backup” has been in place since man first started cherishing things that they valued. A smart caveman that loved a certain spear probably made an attempt to reproduce that in case it was to break. Since then we have changed a little, and there have been carbon copies, punch card backups, tape backups, etc. And for as long as electronic backups have been around, there have been relatively few major revolutions. Okay, sure, you can argue tapes, replication, virtualization, cloud and Big Data have all made people think about how they will back up the hybrid technologies. And every time a Sandy-like storm or major incident occurs, there’s always a sense of heightened awareness around backups and business continuity. But awareness doesn’t restore the data. I always love to hear about the people (and subsequent companies) that know that if they suffer a major data loss, they would be dead in the water, but still don’t change their habits after close calls.

What Backup Vendors Don’t Tell You: Virtual Machine Backup is Not Complete

Solutions are developed to address problems. The bigger people think something is a problem, the more demand there is for a solution. That is why the majority of marketing materials out there are built around educating their target audience about a pain point, and offering a solution. This is how we learned that we need to freshen our mouths with chewing gums, protect computers from malware with antiviruses or backup data to ensure recovery after a server crash. However, no company will talk about problems they don’t have solutions for, and, in the backup world, it means that there may be risks you’re not aware of, and consequently, not protected from.

The Year of Software-Defined Storage

2013 is, according to many, the year of software-defined storage.  Let’s discuss what is new and different about it this year.

The words “software defined” are used in many ways: They are applied to networks, storage and data centers. Hardware-defined objects are just as the word implies: Hard. Once wired and set up, they stay that way. But today’s environments crave the flexibility of a less static environment. Software definition allows reconfiguration with software rather than actually moving of cables and boxes. Actually, we are using software to define an abstraction layer.

Is There Ever a “Right” Time for an Outage?

Like many of you, I regularly read the tech press. And one thing that always interests me is outages. Being a Fellow here at Acronis, I am especially interested in outages that could have either easily been avoided or remediated rapidly. Most people in the tech industry were aware of the recent Amazon outage. But I was much more interested in the 18-minute Google Mail outage that happened two weeks before Christmas. To make a long story short, Google rolled out a routine load balancer update. There are fail safes and monitors, but stuff happens and the sequence was: 0845PT apply the patch, 0906 see the problem, 0913 revert the update, 0916 all back to normal. 

Five Changes in Backup and Recovery You'll See Happen this Year

Thanks to all the beautiful minds, a revolution in IT happens about once in every decade, leading to a major shift in nearly every area, including backup and recovery. Old and once mighty kings go away and dinosaurs die as they can no longer adapt to new conditions. We’re lucky to live in a time when so many breakthrough changes are happening at once: from explosive growth of Internet bandwidth and storage capacities, to global adoption of mobile devices, virtualization and cloud. In 2013 we will finally start to see huge effects of this mix. 

Here are five changes in backup and recovery you’ll see happen this year:

The Hidden Hazards of SAN-to-SAN Replication

It might be tempting to create a “do-it-yourself” disaster recovery solution by purchasing additional hardware and installing it in a branch office or colocation facility. But creating an effective disaster recovery solution is a complex project and there are several unplanned costs and other hidden hazards associated with it. I’ll identify some of these hidden hazards over the next few weeks.

I’ll begin with SAN to SAN replication. Any SAN manufacturer with a clear understanding of storage space has some kind of SAN to SAN replication offer, but not all SAN to SAN replication is alike. When creating an effective DR solution, you have to make several architectural considerations for replicating data between production and DR, including virtualization, application specific agents and snapshot storage requirements.