Companies are increasingly using virtualisation technology to run multiple virtual machines on a single physical machine. Server consolidation has been noted as having the greatest influence on the shift; a typical non-virtualised application server may just reach 5% to 10% utilisation while a virtual server which hosts multiple VMs can me optimised to reach 50% to 80% utilisation.
Virtual machines can be used to remotely run multiple systems from a single physical machine based somewhere – allowing for easy access for a mobile workforce, and simple ways to add more systems to a network, without unnecessarily increasing hardware. An organisation with increased numbers of these virtual systems can see lower costs for hardware acquisition, maintenance, energy and cooling system usage.
An infrastructure of the physical and the virtualised
Hypervisors, a specialised operating system, rest on the physical servers, enabling the hosting and control of the virtual IT environment. With VMs resting on a singular piece of physical hardware; the resulting infrastructure is paramount to the protection of organisational data, systems and processes. Downtime or hardware failure within this structure will have significant impacts across the whole of a business.
In the event of a disaster, a hypervisor and virtual machine backup and recovery strategy becomes essential; ensuring that everything from the operating systems being running to the files in use are stored securely.
The shift in strategy from backing up the physical to the virtual isn’t dramatic, with the solution being the implementation of software on each VM just as if it were a physical server.
Backing up the virtual environment
Backup software is optimised to backup as many servers/devices as it can within a short period of time. The software scans the server, backing it up at the block or file level at the next scheduled backup timeframe. While this software is typically considered to require low resource utilisation, this can result in the I/O of a server with multiple VMs becoming overwhelmed.
Combatting this, the backups of virtual machines are stored as a configuration file and a number of snapshot image files corresponding to the hard drives associated with that machine capture a specific point-in-time. In the event of a disaster or the requirement of a restoration, the backed up virtual machine can be imported into another hosted and seamlessly launched.
Not only does the data contained within the virtual environment need continuous protection but the so too does the physical infrastructure that supports it.
Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualisation platform enables organisations to use their hardware more effectively, operating multiple operating systems from a single server. Putting trust in a singular platform requires an in depth backup and disaster recovery strategy that allows for the backup of an organsiations Hyper-V platforms.
As one of the most popular platforms for virtual machines, the backup of the VMware platform is an essential consideration in order to maintain infrastructure security and minimise any potential system downtime. VMware backup solutions can provide a separate third-party backup that can’t be affected by any kind of disaster, such as hardware failure, which ensures minimal risk of data loss.
We can take backups at any specified intervals, whether that’s daily, weekly or in ‘real time’ as systems are constantly running; giving your virtual environment and the physical infrastructure it rests on total protection.
The storage of these backup images employs block level de-duplication which minimises the amount of storage space actually used.
In terms of data security, our services ensure regular backups are taken at multiple intervals while also never leaving your network. This allows you to restore your VMs to any point – giving you confidence that your virtual environment backups are always up to date, with no data lost in the interim.