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How virtual machine replication to the cloud is changing data protection

Brien Posey discusses how the ability to replicate and run virtual machines in the cloud is changing data protection and DR for SMBs.

How is server virtualization changing data protection today -- more specifically, how is virtual machine replication to the cloud changing data protection?

Having the ability to run virtual machines in the cloud is having a rather dramatic impact on data protection. This is especially true for smaller organizations.

One of the most fundamental and long-lasting concepts of data protection is that the only way to achieve adequate protection is to have a copy of your data stored securely off-site. Even so, the way in which this off-site protection is achieved varies widely, depending on the size of the company.

For instance, large companies often have remote data centers. Line-of-business applications may be protected by stretching failover clusters to include remote nodes. Similarly, virtual machines (VMs) might be configured in a way that allows them to fail over to a remote facility. Conversely, smaller organizations are often limited to shipping tapes off-site or perhaps performing cloud backups. In other words, large organizations tend to use remote facilities as part of their continuity of business solution, while smaller organizations usually lack the budget for such protection.

Virtual machine replication gives companies the ability to run VMs in the cloud. This is beginning to level the playing field, so to speak. Now, an organization might not need to invest in a remote data center. For the first time, smaller organizations can have continuity-of-business solutions that rival those of larger organizations. If something were to happen to an organization's primary data center, virtual machine replication allows the VM replicas to be brought online and used to keep the business running.

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