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Choosing physical appliances for a virtual world

Derek Schauland, writing for Unitrends, offers five steps to choose the right physical appliance for the virtual world.

The increased presence of virtualisation in organisations hasn’t lessened the need for physical backup appliances which are still a necessary part of any IT department’s infrastructure. The key is to find physical appliances that work in the new framework of virtualisation everywhere.

Let’s look at five reasons why a physical appliance for backup might just be the best bet for a virtual world.

Management software simplification With physical appliances, there is still a software component but it is built into the unit. This simplifies the management process.

Generally management of an appliance is done through a web application running on the unit or a management console installed on the admin workstations that connect to the device. The storage and partitioning of resources are handled right from this interface and managed by the appliance.

Deduplication Using a physical and dedicated backup appliance may help reduce overhead suffered by the process of deduplication because it is the final destination for backup data and the dedupe process can be handled by the appliance.

This method will allow for faster replications to other appliances because data can be sent to remote locations while keeping the original information on the local appliance.

Plays both sides of the tech environment A physical appliance for backup makes even more sense if an environment still has some physical machine around that needs to be backed up.

In many cases, using virtual solutions or software-only solutions would require a good bit of configuration for the backup to succeed. Using a physical appliance can alleviate this by being aware of both physical machines and VMs in an environment.

Dedicated process for near-CDP performance Continuous Data Protection is in many cases the ultimate goal for backup and recovery projects. The problem with these solutions is resources on either the backup server or the storage target(s) access during the process.

If a backup server has to hit a production file server every three minutes for Near-CDP, there will likely be a performance degradation on the production servers. Using a dedicated appliance can help alleviate some of this stress in
an environment.

Run from backups quick and easy Sometimes there may be problems with a server that is being backed up, or an organisation may be experiencing a failure with a server and need to get the box back online and accessible as soon as possible.

An appliance that supports both instant recovery for Windows and VMware can help get a machine back online in a very short time period.

Using the application and appliance together can help ensure the reuse of existing storage hardware to avoid a rip and replace situation. Because backup and recovery are so important to business and business continuity these days, spending the time and effort to try out a solution might make the purchasing decision easier.

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