The Most Common Types of Backup Solutions for Virtual Environments

Posted by Brad Todd

Oct 31, 2011 10:30:00 AM

The most common type of backup in a virtual environment involves installing software that creates snapshots or data copies for each virtual machine (VM). The data is compressed, encrypted, and redundant data removed (dedundancy) at the source (the VM) or at the target before it goes into storage to disk, tape or online. The data is compared to an original file, and only changes are saved (incremental archiving), before storage.

Here, you can learn about the most common types of backup and disaster recovery solutions used today. Each one has advantages and disadvantages. It is important to consider not just the software, but the support you will receive when selecting a vendor for backup.


Storage Replication

Storage Replication

Popular storage replication solutions include: 

  • VMware Site Recovery Manager:  this is suitable for small businesses and automates backup processes. Site Recovery Manager comes in two licenses: Standard (protects up to 75 VMs per site) and Enterprise (for more than 75 clients).
  • Dell EqualLogicâ„¢ Autoreplication enables asynchronous replication via an online connection.  It supports up to 16 peer storage groups which can be grouped together and linked to a central site.  The clone replica option clones the replica for independent storage, keeping the original replica intact. Bi-directional (reciprocal/replication) for branch reverse synchronization is also supported.
  • EMC Celerra Replicator allows asynchronous snapshot-based data replication over IP networks. The software synchronizes online with the original data file, and only saves incremental changes offsite. It supports local, remote, one-to-many and cascading replication.
  • EMC RecoverPoint provides bi-directional synchronous replication, for both local and remote continuous data protection. RecoverPoint works best with EMC Replication Manager, but can also work with other products. 
  • HP Replication software uses Site Recovery Manager, and integrates it with HP Storage Arrays. The various HP replication solutions are based on the type of HP storage arrays in place.


Disaster Recovery Healthcheck


 Backup Appliances

Backup Appliances

Backup appliances can be either physical or virtual, or a combination. Some of the better known vendors include:

  • Barracuda Backup is an enterprise solution. Offers both onsite and cloud storage offsite; interface is via an online console. Includes monitoring, email alerts and data management offsite. Licenses are based on number of machines, with various backup options (site to site, one to many, and site to one). Data encryption is compliant with health and financial industry regulations.  
  • Symantec NetBackup Appliances:  These appliances offer source and target deduplication, inline dedup; and both disk-to-disk replication (built in) and tape writing support. Netbackup includes monitoring and a call home feature. Scalable from small business (32 TB storage) to large enterprise use (192 TB). Works with IBM, Informix, Lotus, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Sybase and Symantec applications.
  • Zmanda Backup Appliance (ZBA): This pre-figured virtual machine for network backup runs on the VMWare ESX server and works with Zmanda backup agents. It requires Amanda Enterprise Edition software.
  • Arkeia Backup Appliance is for small business use. Comes with Arkeia Network backup software and integrated RAID, and supports cloud replication. An optional tape drive can be purchased.

Backup Software

Hardware and software can be leased, or in some cases, purchased. Below is a list of the most common types of backup solutions used today:

  • Acronis True Image Echo Enterprise Server supports Windows and Linux. Installs on client computers and allows bare metal, full system and individual file restores.
  • Barracuda Yosemite Server Backup supports Windows, Linux and agents for Microsoft. Bare metal restores to disk, CD/DVD, tape, and robotic libraries. Calendar for auto-scheduling, and alerts for backup completion and errors. 


Photo's courtesy of David Jones



Topics: Disaster Recovery, Virtualization

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