Sometimes, it's good to let the guest do the hard work, rather than the host – especially when it comes to backup and recovery.
In today’s fast paced virtual environments, forget backup, it is all about recovery.
Unquestionably, guest-based backup solutions are the most reliable; an agent is installed on the guest OS and it takes responsibility for ensuring reliable backups, which in turn results in reliable recoveries.
This is often referred to as an agent-based backup solution. The challenge is that traditional (file-based) backup products put too much load on the guest system and require careful management to keep systems and backups operational and reliable.
Enter the next generation of virtual recovery solutions. When you start to leverage sector-based imaging, which operates at the guest level, you are able to support multiple hypervisors.
Such solutions are integrated seamlessly with Microsoft VSS, which delivers the legendary recoverability that has made these solutions so reliable for critical servers in a physical world.
StorageCraft ShadowProtect is the No. 1 disaster recovery solution for physical and virtual servers and utilises the latest in sector-based, real-time recovery technologies and imaging technology.
The most recent refinements deliver an even more compelling value proposition for virtual servers than it did for physical servers all from a unified console.
After all, why do you backup data? There is only one reason and that is to recover. The challenge is that in the virtual arena, as in the physical world, backup vendors only talk about backup, backup and backup.
StorageCraft has always focused on the recoverability of your data, provided access to your systems and your databases within 15 minutes, a mere fraction of the time of traditional products.
Using our advanced next-generation, sector-based imaging technology, most customers will experience the following common advantages:
• Backup windows reduce to minutes rather than hours
• Fast, granular file recoveries
• Real-time protection with recovery points every 15 minutes, even for databases
• Minimal impact on the server, network or users
• Truly ‘Set & Forget’ recovery technology, after all, who wants to spend hours managing and massaging a backup product to get it to work.
• Unified solution for both your virtual and physical servers
StorageCraft, in Australia and New Zealand alone, has more than 50,000 customers and 4,900-plus resellers supporting the solution as it delivers rock-solid recoverability and local, Sydney-based technical support.
So, what is all the fuss about HOST based backups?
Marketing, plain and simple - Marketing.
Consider the following common challenges in any HOST-based backup product:
• Busy Host = Busy Guest = delayed or failed backups = failed recoveries.
• Frequency of backups: Forget marketing, try to backup that stressed Exchange or SQL server every five minutes and see what happens to performance, reliability and eventually recoverability.
How much data are you prepared to lose?
• Is the HOST product a backup product or simply a wrapper around the hypervisor’s own backup technology?
• When a new version of the hypervisor ships, how long does a HOST-based backup product take to support it? What is at business risk due to the typical three to nine month delay?
• How many hours per day, or per week, will you spend massaging backups to be confident that they are recoverable?
Why are there HOST-based backup challenges?
Quite simply, it is because many HOST-based backup products install and de-install a temporary service (agent) each time a backup is required to run – if you are backing up every five minutes, that means it is doing that 12 times an hour!
Logic says, leave that service (agent) installed and let it do the work it was designed to do – reduce backup problems and deliver reliable recovery of your most important asset – your data.
You have to wonder when HOST-based backup products will get smart and install a permanent service (or agent) on each guest to improve reliability and recoverability. No doubt it is not too far away because, as we said at the beginning, it is ALL about RECOVERY – forget backups, focus on recoverability.
Two final thoughts
Recovery Point Objectives: After a failure or problem, how much data do you want your users to re-key and how much data are you prepared to lose?
• Most companies agree – less data loss and less re-keying is best – this is your RPO (Recovery Point Objective)
• If you are backing up every four hours, twice a day or even only once a day – that is a lot of data to re-key and lots of lost data. StorageCraft can back up every 15 minutes to deliver exceptional recoverability.
• Does your backup product backup at the frequency that you require from a recovery perspective?
Test Recovery Objective: Your next recovery is only as good as your last tested recovery point. Does the solution enable you to test the recoverability of every server every night without manual involvement?
• If it too hard to test recoveries, imagine the pain you will experience when you actually have a major problem, and you need to restore, in a hurry …
Take the challenge and find why StorageCraft consistently deliver on the recoverability promise for your virtual (and physical) servers today, tomorrow and in the future.
By Jack Alsop, Technical Services – Asia Pacific, StorageCraft
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