Can you virtualize backup servers?

Independent backup expert Brien Posey discusses whether to virtualize backup servers and why in this Expert Answer.

Is it possible to virtualize backup servers? Doesn't seem to be a popular approach; why is that?

Technically, there is nothing stopping someone from virtualizing a backup server, but doing so might not be the best idea. Backup servers typically require a great deal of network bandwidth and fast disk I/O performance. In a virtualized environment, the backup server may not receive adequate CPU and disk I/O resources, or it could rob other virtualized servers of these resources.

If an organization does choose to virtualize backup servers, then it should use dedicated NICs for the backup servers, and it should make use of pass-through disks (or a virtual SAN) for the storage pool, instead of relying on virtual hard disks.

This was first published in March 2013

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