FAQ: Backing up virtual servers today
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There are strengths that VM-specific apps bring to table. Traditional backup apps have done a pretty good job of integrating virtual server backups into their offerings, but these are essentially add-on modules that have been integrated on top of what is now in some cases, a 20- or 30-year-old architecture.
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That being said, we've seen some companies, like EMC, modularize the virtualization backup technology from Avamar and make it available in their NetWorker product for virtual server backups.
In short, it all depends on the environment. If it is a brand-new data center and everything is virtualized, it may make sense to just use a VM-specific backup app.
Last I checked, on average, data centers are about 50% to 60% virtualized today. But there are still a lot of physical servers out there. If you have an ongoing need to back up physical hosts, you may want to make sure your VM-specific backup app provides support for physical servers as well as virtual servers. But it may make more sense to continue using a traditional backup application to protect physical servers and a VM backup app for virtual server backups.
Feature-functionality is always going to be important. For example, some backup apps are integrating with the snapshot management framework of third-party network-attached-storage systems. This can give organizations the ability to search through a large inventory of snapshots and quickly recover the data immediately into a VM without going through a laundry list of configuration steps. There's a lot of value to that. You want to drive as much complexity out of the environment as possible. All of these factors should play a role in the decision-making process.
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