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Protecting Physical and Virtual Data with Ease

30 September 2008

Summary

Small and mid-sized businesses today are generating more data than ever before, but are faced with limited budgets and staff. As a result, many are turning to virtualized solutions.
Simple and efficient data protection is critical for any growing business. No small or mid-sized business can afford a faulty backup and recovery strategy – otherwise, you run the risk of losing mission-critical data forever, which costs time, money and can damage your reputation. While businesses today are generating more data than ever before, they are also faced with limited budgets and staff. As a result, many businesses are turning to virtualized solutions.

Today’s reality

When it comes to managing data, businesses have their work cut out for them. Given the influx of data, many businesses are now dealing with heterogeneous and distributed IT environments. Protecting data in distributed environments that include servers, remote offices, and mobile devices with limited IT resources is a challenge, as is managing multiple backup solutions and backup jobs. Businesses often use a variety of disk and tape storage devices, which require ongoing management time and resources.
Most small and mid-sized business IT administrators must wear many hats and don’t have extra time to spend managing backup and recovery efforts, a reality that is revealed in IDC’s Data Protection Technologies Used by U.S. SMBs — 2008 Update report. According to IDC, SMBs are facing the challenge of data recovery failure 60-80% of the time. Often, the cause of these failures is never determined because of the time and complexity required to investigate. Today the average SMB manages four or more different data protection methods to meet backup and recovery requirements. SMB customers are looking for a simplified data protection approach that reduces the management of their backup infrastructure, increases reliability, and provides the educational resources to help them maximize their investment.

Virtualization for the SMBs

To lessen the strain on existing servers, many small and mid-sized businesses are turning to virtualization. By consolidating their space and energy-consuming physical servers and taking them “virtual,” a business can experience better utilization of hardware and resources, more flexible application services, and lower costs. Until recently, virtualization solutions were created, marketed (and priced) to attract large enterprises with thousands of employees. Now, however, at least two major software companies are targeting virtualization products to SMBs’ need for reliable, yet lower cost, solutions.
In June 2008, Microsoft released its Hyper-V hyper visor server virtualization product for the SMB market. Likewise, VMware has released a similar product, ESXi 3.5. To jumpstart the competition, both Hyper-V and ESXi are being marketed as free downloads. A couple of major differentiators: Microsoft is new to the virtualization scene, and its Hyper-V requires businesses to run Windows Server 2008. VMware is the virtualization leader and veteran, with a proven track record in the arena.

Protecting virtualized environments

While a virtualized IT environment is proving to be just the ticket for many businesses, without proper backup and recovery in place, it can quickly fall apart. Earlier this month, Symantec introduced the extended virtualization capabilities that are now part of the Symantec Backup Exec Family. The releases of Symantec Backup Exec 12.5 and Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery 8.5 offer the following benefits:
  • Comprehensive data protection for VMware Virtual Infrastructure and Microsoft Hyper-V Virtual Servers – single-agent support for unlimited guest machines, with granular file or folder recovery and backup to either tape or disk
  • Enhanced system conversion and recovery across physical or virtual environments, including VMware ESX and Microsoft Hyper-V, now with the capability to schedule virtual conversions
  • License and software discovery, inventory, and upgrade management options using a new console – to help customers optimize their backup infrastructures
  • Restore virtual server files and folders from a single pass backup – eliminating a redundant file level backup. It’s as easy as one agent (backs up unlimited virtual guest machines) doing one backup (eliminating a second file-level backup) from one console (protecting both physical and virtual systems)
  • Symantec’s Restore Anyware™ technology eliminates the need to maintain duplicate hardware environments for recovery purposes by restoring to completely dissimilar hardware or virtual environments, saving IT costs and time. The technology can also consolidate multiple physical systems into a single virtual environment for server consolidation efforts.

Conclusion

Virtualization technology is hot – especially among SMBs. The reason so many businesses are going virtual is no surprise: the promise of dramatic server consolidation, better utilization, and easy migration – all at reduced cost – is very appealing. At the same time, businesses recognize the need to improve system, application, and data recovery – as well as the need to invest in disaster recovery technologies – without breaking the bank. Businesses no longer have to settle for backup and recovery solutions that are “just good enough” to meet most of their needs while still fitting within their budget. The virtualization capabilities of the Symantec Backup Exec Family offer data protection and recovery that are easy to use, and flexible enough to handle distributed physical and virtual environments.

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