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Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Guest post by Phil Curran
Every once in a while, the subject of Virtual Machine Sprawl comes up in articles or blog posts like this one from Steve Bigelow at TechTarget or this one from Jon Brodkin at Network World. It's an interesting discussion and it reminds me of a one I had just a few days ago about CommVault's approach to protecting and managing data in virtual environments. (The names of course have been removed to protect the guilty!)
I was talking with a backup administrator about his current approach to protecting a VMware environment, which had grown from an initial deployment of about a dozen virtual machines to several hundred in a matter of just a few months. Of course, this situation introduced challenges of server utilization with which most server-focused folks may be familiar.
However, this guy was focused on backing up all those VMs. His point was – VMs are now so easy to create. They pop up overnight with no warning and little communication. Even worse, the backup tool he was using required manual intervention for every VM to configure a backup schedule and policy for each newly created virtual machine. This process had already consumed many hours not only in terms of manual configuration, but also the sleuthing required simply to identify where each VM had come from and then determine the most appropriate backup schedules to apply to each virtual machine.
What a nightmare!
However, this guy is not alone and that's what is so surprising to me. How could competitive solutions subject anyone to this nightmare? Fortunately with Simpana 9 software, this admin gains some relief with a pretty compelling solution that practically eliminates the problem that VM Sprawl creates for backup administrators – that of having to play "VM detective" and then manually configure backup schedules and policies.
Simpana 9 for Virtual Servers includes two key capabilities that alleviate this problem. First, Simpana software integrates with the virtual environment (for example, in VMware environments we integrate into vCenter through the available APIs) to gather configuration information about the virtual environment. The screenshot below shows one view of VMs as they are discovered by Simpana 9.
The second key lies in Simpana software's unique auto-protection capability. Simpana 9 can automatically discover new virtual machines based on pre-defined criteria and transparently add them to data protection policies. This ensures virtual machines are protected automatically without any manual intervention at all. A wide variety of auto-discovery rules are available that allow administrators to fine tune discovery policies that best meet their needs – as shown below.
And most importantly, there is even a catch-all policy to ensure any VMs that do not meet any of the pre-defined criteria are still protected.
Thus, with Simpana 9 software for virtual servers, backup administrators can set the discovery rules once and never have to bother spending a minute looking for new virtual machines to protect. They are free to spend their time on more constructive and strategic endeavors – like how to get past the next level in Angry Birds...
To see the auto-discovery described here in action, please visit here.
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