"Put on the glasses, Joe!" V-Ray may sound like something out of a Gerry Anderson TV special. In Joe 90's case, he was just an ordinary boy until he put on his knowledge-enhancing glasses and became a global super-spy.
While the V-Ray technology update we reported at VMworld last month might not be quite so far-fetched, it performs a remarkably similar purpose - providing the knowledge systems administrators need about their VMware virtual machines, so they can better control both backup and restoration at a much more detailed level of granularity. It doesn't turn admins into super-spies, but it does enable a far better balance to be struck between the agility virtualisation can bring, and the continued need for data protection and system resilience.
We've all heard about the challenges of VM sprawl, the problems of knowing what VMs contain what data, and the issues around knowing whether a VM is recoverable, given the number of dependencies it may have. To top them all, administrators have had to deal with virtual machine backups separately from physical backups. V-Ray was conceived to tackle these issues head-on, keeping things as simple as possible and, therefore, making it more likely that the virtual/physical environment will be kept available and accessible.
Feedback so far has been good - "Neat additional Technology," says CMSwire, and "Anything that enables better management of virtual machines is a win in my book," writes Stephen Foskett (we take on board the opaque point, Stephen!). "It offers visibility onto physical and virtual environments to deliver a single, unique enterprise backup," writes Olivier Bouzereau.
Continuing the keep-it-simple theme, we also announced integration of V-Ray into a new range of backup appliances. The key here is deployability - you can be up and running with a backup appliance in half an hour. With deduplication built in.
Whatever your preferred approach, one thing's for sure - that infrastructure is only going to get more complex. However it is delivered, our philosophy is that backup technology needs to keep up with the inevitable, if not overtaking it and working with virtualisation to offer even higher levels of resilience than in the past. Special glasses are not going to help.