The Insider’s Guide to Evaluating Virtual Server Backup Software
By Charley McMaster and Jerome Wendt
With the proliferation of virtual machines (VMs), organizations are appropriately concerned about their ability to backup and restore the growing amount of data that they have residing on these VMs. As such, companies are looking for virtual server backup software solutions.
The benefits of server virtualization are already well known. Power reduction, hardware optimization, improved application availability and lower upfront capital and ongoing operational costs are just some of the benefits that organizations already enjoy. Given these benefits, it comes as no surprise that Gartner estimates that by 2016 as high as 86 percent of server workloads will be virtualized by 2016.
Since the release of the DCIG 2013 Virtual Server Backup Software Buyers’ Guide, there has been a steady stream of new software releases improving the capabilities of these products; acquisitions to strengthen existing product portfolios; and, divestitures to others interested in entering the virtual server backup software market. In just the last year, some of the changes and transactions that have taken place include:
- Computer Associates announced its intentions to divest itself of its arcserve Unified Data Protection software to Marlin Equity Partners
- Data protection company Infrascale purchased Eversync Solutions
- Unitrends acquired PHD Virtual, a virtual server backup software provider and made their two respective products available as a single product, the Unitrends Certified Recovery Suite (UCRS)
Virtual server backup software providers continue to push the boundaries by introducing new technology to set them apart from others. A telling sign of the ongoing innovation in this space is products in this Buyer’s Guide are more competitive than ever.
What lagged in a product’s ability in the prior Buyer’s Guide may now be its defining feature helping to position that product ahead of others in this Guide. Virtual-to-physical (V2P) and physical-to-virtual (P2V) recovery are now standard on many products, along with support for the VMware APIs for Data Protection (VADP), instant recovery, deduplication, vSphere integration, and vCenter Server backup and restore capabilities.
Advancements are seen in other areas as well. One is greater management capabilities using Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) for certain applications such as Microsoft SQL Server. Another is enhanced management capabilities using vCloud Director to help create and managed virtual datacenters.
Many virtual server backup software products now also offer other key features such as:
- Connectivity to cloud storage service providers to store data in the cloud
- Increased restore granularity for Exchange and SharePoint applications
- Virtual machine (VM) recovery to the other hypervisors and even the cloud
- A wider level of protection for more hypervisors and guest operating systems
These changes, coupled with ongoing virtualization of all size data centers, have end-users, resellers and vendors alike clamoring for an update to the DCIG Virtual Server Backup Software Buyer’s Guide.