An increasing number of businesses are opting to base their IT infrastructures on virtual servers. Some estimates show that four-fifths of businesses are already implementing such virtualization to a greater or lesser extent.
Evidence indicates that this trend is increasing, but it is also moving in favor of companies operating a greater number of virtual machines with a smaller number of physical “host” computers.
Why Virtual IT Infrastructures have become so Popular?
It is easy to understand why businesses have become so enthusiastic about virtual IT networks. By freeing themselves of the trouble and expenses of maintaining an on-premises server they are able to achieve significant cost savings.
Another important factor is the protection virtual servers give to data that is critical to the company’s functioning.
Data stored on an in-house server could be damaged by hardware failures, power supply disruptions or even malicious acts. While it is true that these are not such common occurrences, the potential damage is so great that no company can afford to ignore the issue.
Virtual Servers Require Regular Backup
Although virtualizing application servers clearly offers many business advantages, the virtual machines also have their own particular information backup and recovery needs. In general companies are less aware of the maintenance needs of virtual application servers.
A key element in a virtual data protection approach must be the deployment of special software to perform automatic backup and other routine maintenance tasks.
Until such measures are taken businesses will continue to find that the move to working with virtual servers generates some complex management and security issues.
Backup Software Needs to be Attuned to the Needs of Virtual Systems
A tendency to depend on backup software installed on the physical, host server can be a significant contributory factor to the difficulties companies experience with their virtual application servers.
At the most busy times of the day the pressures on the physical host system resources become excessive. This can easily slow down the system, and in the worst case scenario it can play a role in host server failures.
Furthermore, the task of configuring a backup agent on virtual machines has now become more complex.
It is not unknown for the host server to fail to recognize a newly connected virtual work station. This could result in a situation where a newly added network element is left unprotected.
Another aspect of today’s business world pushing the case for automatic software backup is the difficulties finding and financing a large IT staff.
Competitive pressures drive businesses to try and handle increasing numbers of tasks with a smaller number of people. IT services are not exception. Now that system administrators may be responsible for thousands of virtual machines the need for automatic software tools has risen dramatically.
The need for an effective automatic virtual IT infrastructure backup method is therefore quite obvious. Even the most conservative businesses are obliged to investigate automatic software backup options.
Achieving Effective Date Protection for Virtual Systems
One of the most important capabilities of virtual machine backup software is the ease with which it can be installed. Given the increasing number of virtual stations linked with a physical server, long and complex backup software installations are to be avoided.
In addition to the speed and ease of installation it is vitally important that the selected backup software quickly recognize newly added virtual network elements. To achieve this objective this backup software must integrate effectively with VMware APIs. VMware certification is required to ensure that the backup software is kept up-to-date.
As security threats are continually changing data protection must be regularly updated to make sure a company stays one step ahead.
Ease of Integration
Full integration with Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy (VSS) is also important for quickly recognizing new network elements. Software backups can thus be taken as soon as a new virtual machine is indentified in the system.
The most sophisticated backup applications can even make consistent backups of virtual machines connected with several physical host computers. Such steps are vital if corporate virtual system security is not to be seriously compromised.
Scalability of backup software is another important issue that should not be taken into consideration. Hopefully the company’s business is going to grow.
A backup system that cannot easily expand to include new virtual machines is not worth a great deal. IT administrators require a high level of flexibility from their automatic backup software.
It needs to be very economical in the use of system resources. It also should be readily adaptable so that any of the IT staff can take over administrative responsibilities. Ideally the backup software needs be manageable from a centralized location to which all authorized IT staff have access.
It is also very desirable that the automatic backup software selected offers a unified solution to protecting both physical and virtual server elements.
It is certain to affect the efficiency of IT staff if they are expected to learn and operate several different automatic backup tools, as opposed to working with a single system and interface. The time saved in learning how to operate the system and quickly handle issues is worth a great deal.
Good Value for Money
Last but not least, the cost of an automatic software backup system is a key issue for most companies.
After all, one of the main motives for moving to virtual IT structures is cost savings. This important issue places a premium on checking out different software backup options to compare the features they deliver and their licensing expenses.