In case you missed the memo, virtualization is more than a buzzword. It's now being deployed as a way to consolidate servers and lower data center costs.
Of course, when you have several virtual machines operating on one physical server, you better have a plan in place should a disaster strike that takes down virtual machines and the host with one shot.
STORServer, a maker of business continuity appliances, claims it has a unique answer with its new all-in-one STORServer VCB Appliance. Announced today at Storage Networking World, its new STORServer VCB Appliance is designed specifically to protect VMware environments by eliminating the need to have backup agents on each virtual machine and the host machine.
According to Laura Buckley, STORServer's vice president of product development, the company "has seen interest in virtualization growing in the past 12 months." To address that demand, she said, the appliance is preconfigured to incorporate the hardware and software needed to provide centralized backup, disaster recovery and archiving capabilities in one box aimed at mid-sized companies.
While VMware is popular with many businesses because it allows them to better utilize server resources by running multiple virtual machines on a single physical server, this type of consolidation cause challenges for traditional backup solutions, Buckley said, including scheduling and management, long backup windows and high CPU and network usage. According to STORServer, some companies perform backups only after business hours because they need to shut down the virtual machines before doing backups.
To address those issues, the STORServer VCB Appliance integrates VMware Consolidated Backup on its appliance. Consolidated Backup is designed to improve manageability of backups and reduces costs, by centralizing the backup of ESX servers on the STORServer.
Here's how it works, according to the company: Using Consolidated Backup, STORServer creates a backup schedule for each virtual machine. The schedule creates a virtual machine snapshot, mounts the snapshot to the STORServer appliance in the SAN and then uses the STORServer backup client to either back up the full virtual machine or to perform file-level incremental backups, which allows the virtual machine to continue to operate while the backups are taking place. When the backup is complete, the schedule dismounts and releases the snapshot of the virtual machine.
The appliance, according to STORServer, also includes features such as progressive incremental backups, policy-based retention, and disk-to-disk backup. Buckley said another benefit of thee STORServer VCB Appliance is that customers have only one vendor to call for support.
Pricing for the STORServer VCB Appliance starts at $20,000. The company says that existing companies will have several options and configurations for VMware backups on any of their appliances.