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Stop Taking a Fragmented Approach to Backup and Recovery

March 15, 2012

Summary

The days of running many different backup solutions are numbered. IT execs are frustrated with missed backup windows and non-integrated solutions for physical and virtual backups. Stop taking a fragmented approach—and, in the process, reduce costs across CapEx and OpEx while still meeting SLAs.
Today it’s all about the information.
Enterprises may be producing more of it every year, but they’re also struggling to effectively store and organize it. Given the threat of downtime to affect the ability to do business, backing up and recovering data is more important than ever before.
At the same time, virtualization continues to be widely adopted, greatly adding to backup complexity. A recent enterprise poll conducted by Symantec found that confidence is notably lacking when it comes to virtualized backup.¹ As many as 42% of the respondents said that their virtualization backups are not working adequately. Further, these organizations reported using an average of seven different backup solutions to protect their physical and virtual environments.
Small wonder, then, that so many respondents characterized traditional approaches to backup as "broken."
This article looks at how enterprises can stop taking a fragmented approach to backup and recovery while eliminating the cost and complexity associated with managing multiple products for their physical and virtual infrastructures.

Remember: It’s the recovery that’s important

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the purpose of backup is to have worry-free data recovery in case of disaster. That’s not likely to be the case if IT has to shuttle constantly among seven different consoles. Multiple backup solutions just mean more complexity and greater risk of being unable to recover. Does it really make sense to bring in one vendor for virtual backups, another vendor for physical backups, a different vendor for deduplication, another for remote office backups, and still another for snapshots?
Of course not. Again, it’s important to keep backup capabilities in perspective. Rapid backup is worthless if you have to go through hours of recovery to get one file back. Fast raw image backup is beside the point if you can’t restore a single application or a specific email mailbox.
Instead of trying to integrate a number of disparate point solutions, organizations should consider centralizing backup and recovery of their physical and virtual environments. A common software platform would enable them to centrally schedule backup jobs, manage recoveries, monitor the success and failure of backup jobs, and provide a common console that backup administrators could use to administer all backup jobs. This single, unified management console should offer multisite monitoring, analytics, and reporting, allowing organizations to standardize operations and risk management and deploy a best-practice tiered recovery strategy.
The Symantec NetBackup platform with V-Ray technology represents a new approach to data protection. It provides patented visibility into virtual machines and applications across physical and virtual servers, and optimizes deduplication data streams for efficient backup and recovery.
For example, V-Ray enables you to see deep into virtual machine backup images to discover and recover a single file. Instead of having to conduct two backup operations to achieve a single file and disaster recovery image, you should only have to do one backup pass. That means all the files within the VMDK must be indexed and cataloged so that individual files can be located quickly. You should also have the flexibility to recover single files from any storage medium—disk or tape—without having to recover the backup image to disk.
Why is that important? Because today you need to recover files in minutes, not in the hours or days that a manual VM restore, mount, and search shuffle can entail. That's a key OpEx consideration.
According to a recent IDC Insight report, "Symantec’s ability to understand what resides within the VM today provides advantages in backup and recovery but in the future can be extended to offer content and context-aware policy-driven IT controls such as data placement, provisioning, load balancing, and security."²
Other key features in the latest release of NetBackup include:
  • NetBackup Accelerator, which speeds backups by up to 100 times while delivering an “Instant Full Recovery” capability.
  • NetBackup Replication Director, which enables organizations to reduce costs and complexity by recovering and managing backup and replicated snapshots from a single management console.
  • NetBackup Auto Image Replication (AIR), which allows customers to stop "off-siting" tapes for disaster recovery and instead replicate data between sites so information can be instantly available for faster disaster recovery.
  • NetBackup VM Intelligent Policy, which automatically detects and protects new, moved, or cloned virtual machines and load balances backups for optimum performance.
  • NetBackup 5000 and 5200 series appliances, which integrate hardware, software, and support and provide storage-optimized data protection for physical and virtual data centers.

Two case studies: Accelerating backups while lowering costs

Recently, integrated marketing management provider Aprimo virtualized its entire data center with VMware vSphere, reducing its data center footprint and capital and operational expenditure costs. Aprimo relies on NetBackup and its integrated support for VMware to protect business-critical information that is archived and stored across its IT infrastructure, including those that deliver cloud-based services.
Aprimo’s decision to standardize on NetBackup helped lower costs and complexity while providing its IT staff with a seamless view across physical and virtual platforms, according to Daren Del Duco, Vice President of Could Services for Aprimo.
“Even though we’ve had 40% to 50% data growth year over year, with the NetBackup solution . . . we have not had to ramp up our personnel for our backup strategies,” Del Duco added.
For its part, High Point Regional Health Systems recently moved from EMC Data Domain to NetBackup 5200 appliances. The move has significantly reduced the hospital’s costs for data protection.
“We’ve reduced our maintenance costs by two-thirds by moving from EMC Data Domain to Symantec NetBackup appliances,” said Richard Nosal, server administrator at High Point. “If you factor in the media server refresh we would have had to do, we’ve saved well into six figures.”
High Point is also achieving as high as a 90% deduplication rate for certain data with the NetBackup appliances, reducing its data stores from 21 to 2 terabytes, Nosal observed.

Conclusion

The days of running many different backup solutions are numbered. IT executives are frustrated with missed backup windows and non-integrated solutions for physical and virtual backups. Symantec NetBackup enables organizations to speed backups by up to 100 times, unify snapshots and backups, and unite physical and virtual protection. It's a smart approach to reducing costs across CapEx and OpEx while still meeting SLAs.
  • ¹ 2012 Backup and Recovery Flash Poll, Symantec Corp., October 2011
  • ² “V-Ray Gives Symantec NetBackup a Competitive Advantage Today and into the Future,” IDC, October 2011

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