No series of blog posts, regardless of wittiness, insight and general brilliance, can provide a prescriptive answer about how to protect your VMs. (Of course, if you do find some blog posts with wittiness, insight, and brilliance, please send them; I’d love to see how it’s done. Except for Chad’s posts. Don’t send those.)
The three customer stories in this series demonstrate the disparity I see in our customer base. People are choosing different approaches based on their organization’s current challenges – technical, business or organizational. While everybody’s road will be different, I do believe the ultimate destination will be a versioned replication solution. Thus, as you plan your approach, I encourage you to explore the trends driving backup and recovery to chart your own course:
- Deduplicated disk remains the first step. It enables you to optimize traditional backups, adopt tools like Avamar, build brute-force versioned replication and evolve to versioned replication solutions, without changing your storage infrastructure.
- Backup and recovery windows will continue to put pressure on data protection solutions. The best way to scale will be versioned replication. You need to decide the layer on which to build the data movement intelligence: backup client, storage, application, or hypervisor. Each layer offers unique characteristics in granularity of management (per-VM, per-app or per-storage container?), flexibility (do I want to lock in on one storage array for both primary and protection storage?) and functionality (how important are traditional backup features?). If you have not considered versioned replication, now is the time. If you have already drawn some conclusions, the optimizations in the VMware and application segment make this an ideal time to explore this area again.
- More administrators – not just backup – will play an active role in protection. Users demand better service and more visibility into their protection schemes, and the only way to meet expectations will be to embrace technical changes like versioned replication. Also, as one company discovered, technical change will depend on organizational change. Backup teams will need to partner with other IT teams (e.g. VM, application, or storage teams) or these teams will find other ways to meet their protection needs. Monolithic backup solutions and teams will not succeed.
Change isn’t easy, but it is necessary. When you combine your insight of new technology trends with your users’ critical needs – you can lead your organization and deliver value. Or, you can be trampled by the wave of new technology. Server virtualization is leading a new wave of technology for backup and recovery. The choices you make today will define your future. They matter.
As for my daughter (for those of you who have been following this series since the start), she eventually put on a pink dress with black polka dots and reveled in the adoration of the masses: “Oh aren’t you just the cutest thing ever?” Clearly, the right choice.