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Backup Exec

Ten Backup Mistakes in a Virtual Environment - Part 3

Created: 06 Sep 2010 • Updated: 28 May 2014
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As I recounted in the first two blog posts in our series this week, we’re counting down a list of pitfalls IT often makes when attempting to back up data in virtual environments. We’ve already covered the first three – failing to back up virtual machines, installing a backup agent on every guest, and running two backup infrastructures
So, on to the next two. 
Mistake #4: Failing to Protect Your Applications
Failing to protect key applications is the most straightforward mistake and the easiest to solve, and yet is oddly still a common issue.  Backup is not just for files, but also key applications.  Let’s use the example of ‘Sean’ the hypothetical Sys Admin.  Sean’s customers are employees who use applications such as Microsoft Exchange, SQL or SharePoint.  They care about access to those applications and to the data that resides in those applications.  If a disaster happens, Sean needs to be able to quickly restore the data in the application state so his customers can quickly get back to work. Sean’s customers, end users, need applications and databases.  So when you move to virtualize these applications, you should also ensure they are backed up and recoverable.   
Mistake #5: Backing Up Applications Twice
Many IT shops are also backing up the same data two times in virtual environments: they backup the first time for full image recovery, then backup a second time for more granular file, object recovery.  The reasoning behind this is when you need to recover a single email or a single calendar item from Exchange, if only the virtual machine has been backed up, you will have to first restore the entire server, then recover the granular data.  So the ‘work around’ is simply to do two backups.  The problem is the whole operation takes twice as long, puts twice the load on the network, and takes twice the storage capacity for the same data.
Today, thanks to new capabilities from virtualization vendors and backup application vendors, there are solutions that allow IT to do a single backup and still recover granular object items. 
In my next post, we will cover two mistakes that lead incredible inefficiencies and risks: backing up redundant data in virtualized environments and failing to balance disk and tape strategies.