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Monday, January 03, 2011
Guest post by Phil Curran
There are many reasons why CommVault® Simpana® 9 software is an unbeatable solution for protecting your virtual server environment. And now, we have some backing from DCIG in their recent 2011 Virtual Server Backup Software Buyer's Guide. Today, I want to share some thoughts and information on what I view as reason #1: SnapProtect for Virtual Servers.
SnapProtect for Virtual Servers is CommVault's innovative approach to creating rapid-fire, recovery ready copies of virtual machine and application data while minimizing the performance impact on front-end server systems. With this approach, we integrate into the storage hardware to drive persistent snapshot copies of the datastores in a virtual environment.
Today's alternative solutions (including those that rely on VADP, or VSS) require the image files to be streamed from the datastore to backup disk for protection. For small to medium sized environments with large enough backup windows, this method may suffice. For larger environments with ever shrinking backup windows, there is simply not enough time or bandwidth to move all the virtual machine data. Even if the infrastructure is available to copy all this data, it places a tremendous burden on the datastores as the data is read.
To illustrate my point, following is a comparison of the key steps taken in an initial VM protection operation between Simpana 9 and most other solutions currently available.
Comparing Virtual Machine Protection Methods
|Simpana 9 method||Legacy Backup Methods (including solutions using VADP, VCB, VSS)|
Second, the Simpana 9 SnapProtect™ feature for Virtual Servers embraces the persistent snapshot capabilities from most major storage vendors, so you can focus on making the strategic investment in the hypervisor and virtual infrastructure while continuing to leverage existing storage assets.
How it Works
The SnapProtect feature integrates with the snapshot engines built inside the storage devices to create rapid recovery copies of datastores containing virtual machines. These snapshots represent fast VM recovery copies.
Since the SnapProtect job creates a rapid snapshot, the protection operation takes only a few minutes, and the VMs themselves are quiesced for a very short time. The short duration allows the creation of multiple recovery copies per day with minimal impact on virtual systems providing better recoverability and enabling more aggressive recovery service levels. In a typical environment, one would create a snapshot based recovery copy every 4-8 hours and selectively copy contents of one of the recovery copies to a backup to disk or tape target as described below.
How it's Configured
The SnapProtect feature for Virtual Servers and the MediaAgent module are configured on a Windows system. It is recommended that this system be a virtual machine. While the VSA virtual machine can run on any ESX server, it is recommended that it be hosted on an ESXi proxy server that is designated for backup, i.e. the designated server should not have too much additional workload. This backup ESX proxy can also run on the ESXi version of the hypervisor.
Typical Configuration for Simpana 9 SnapProtect for VSA
So what are the benefits of this approach?
The main benefit is the ability to create extremely fast, reliable protection for data in virtual machines, with minimal production impact. This type of protection is a critical component in enabling business critical systems to be virtualized for more rapid ROI from the shift to the virtual platform. As a concrete example, we have set an internal benchmark of protecting 500 virtual machines in 17 minutes. That demo is posted on the Simpana 9 Launch website.
The selection of a hypervisor is a strategic choice, whereas the hardware is a tactical decision. The SnapProtect feature for VSA is storage platform independent, providing the same set of data management capabilities across a wide variety of storage systems, allowing flexibility in the choice of hardware platform, without compromising on capabilities.
Multiple recovery points per day allows users to recover from a point closer to the point of failure, allowing recovery to a more recent point in time than simply last night's backup.
SnapProtect for virtual servers is just one in a very long list of innovations the team here at CommVault is driving to help you bridge the gap from legacy backup solutions to modern data management, including bridging the gap from physical to virtual server environments. SnapProtect is reason #1 in my mind why CommVault delivers an unbeatable solution for protecting virtual servers.
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The content of this blog reflects the thoughts and opinions of the author, and does not represent the thoughts, opinions, plans or strategies of CommVault Systems, Inc. ("CommVault") and CommVault undertakes no obligation to update, correct or modify any statements made by the author of this blog. Any and all third party links provided by this blog are not affiliated with, nor endorsed by, CommVault.