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Middle East CIOs Need to Ask 3 Questions about Virtual Server Data Protection for Successful Virtualization Deployment

Allen Mitchell, Senior Technical Account Manager, MENA at CommVault Systems

As virtualization becomes the norm in Middle East enterprises, CIOs need to focus on data management to protect their IT

April 4, 2013 11:03 by

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, 4th April, 2013: IT has reached an inflection point in the adoption of virtual server technologies and companies in the Middle East are now rightfully asking “Why not Virtualize?” instead of “Why virtualize?”. Beyond the obvious cost savings due to consolidation and reduced operational overheads, businesses are now realizing that they can improve the availability, reliability and even performance of their mission critical applications by running them in a virtual context.

Gartner recently forecast an expectation for x86 server virtualization to double from 40% in 2011 to 80% by 2016. While the uptake of virtualization is encouraging, data protection and management in the virtual environment continues to be a challenge for most organizations. Most existing tools for backup and data protection of virtual machines are limited either in terms of scale, recovery capabilities, scope and support or application integration.

Allen Mitchell, Senior Technical Account Manager, MENA at CommVault Systems says that simply force fitting legacy solutions which are not optimized for the new virtual environments only adds to cost and increases the potential risks to overall business.

What CIOs Should Know About Virtual Server Data Protection

One of the biggest misconceptions in IT is the equation between “Best of Breed” and “Point Solution”. Many vendors now offer data protection solutions which they claim are “purpose built” or “optimized” for the virtual world. Typically point solutions offer data protection for only a subset of the overall data center- in this case the virtual environment- which means these solutions lack support for what are potentially key elements of a comprehensive data protection strategy.

Consequently, multiple solutions are required to ensure adequate data protection for the entire data center. The drive to virtual infrastructure is about reducing cost by consolidating resources, maximizing utilization and centralizing management. It is thus counter-productive to completely contradict this strategy by adding multiple, complex solutions for data protection and management.

CIOs should be aware that many purpose-built solutions run into real trouble when users attempt to scale beyond fifty or a hundred virtual machines, significantly impacting performance of production hosts and applications. Choosing a solution that doesn’t understand the scale and performance requirements of the converged virtual infrastructure can result in unnecessarily expensive, over-designed solutions or in critical application and virtual machine data that are left unprotected.

Finally, given that by the end of 2012 an estimated 58% of all x86 server workloads were virtualized, it can be deduced that many organizations have already virtualized the basic areas of their infrastructures. Therefore, for most organizations, achieving the goal of a fully or 100% virtualized environment means targeting Tier 1 applications. This puts data management squarely in the critical path of the virtualization initiative.

IT leaders should be asking tough questions designed to ensure they have a data management strategy that comprehends the drive to a fully scaled out virtual infrastructure in order to avoid the need for a costly, time-consuming data management redesign. Here are the top three:

Does the solution align to the long term goals of the business?

The virtual platform and initiative is strategic. The supporting cast of infrastructure components and tools- including data protection- needs to align with this strategic direction. If the goal is to become 100% virtualized the data protection solution must be ready to handle the scale, application integration, recovery, and access requirements to make this happen.

Does the solution help reduce cost?

Let’s face it, the primary objective of virtual platforms is to do more with less and ultimately reduce costs across the board. The data protection solution for the organization should align with that compelling vision. A data protection solution that spans the entire data center – physical as well as virtual environments – should help ease the transition from physical to virtual. Additionally, a data protection solution that is fully integrated from the ground up to deliver all the requirements of the virtual platform and does not require additional bolt-on components, 3rd party add-ons, or costly and complex scripting integration projects will help dramatically reduce the overall costs for protecting and managing data across the organization. CIOs should be looking to choose a solution that not only helps facilitate, but actually accelerates that transition by also delivering scale, scope and recovery in the virtual platform.

Does the solution help reduce business risk?

Beyond reducing costs, we’re now seeing that business can actually improve performance and flexibility and reduce business risk by virtualizing more workloads and centralizing management and operations. The same is true for data protection and data management. A centralized solution that spans the data center and encompasses all data protection and management requirements will eliminate the need for multiple point solutions that must be synchronized with complex scripts and manual intervention- ultimately resulting in more reliable data management processes that ensure information is where you need it, when you need it, and in this way, reduce risk to the business.

A poorly designed data protection solution can stop a virtualization deployment dead in its tracks. IT leadership should be looking to storage and data management teams to ensure they are ahead of the challenges created by the tidal wave of consolidation and infrastructure convergence that is upon them in the form of server virtualization. As organizations look to build out large private and hybrid cloud environments, the data protection and data management strategy must be ready for that level of scale and efficiency in order to avoid the costly re-architecture which many IT leaders are now realizing is needed.

About CommVault

A singular vision – a belief in a better way to address current and future data management needs – guides CommVault in the development of Singular Information Management® solutions for high-performance data protection, universal availability and simplified management of data on complex storage networks. CommVault’s exclusive single-platform architecture gives companies unprecedented control over data growth, costs and risk. CommVault’s Simpana® software suite of products was designed to work together seamlessly from the ground up, sharing a single code and common function set, to deliver superlative Data Protection, Archive, Replication, Search and Resource Management capabilities. More companies every day join those who have discovered the unparalleled efficiency, performance, reliability, and control only CommVault can offer. Information about CommVault is available at CommVault’s corporate headquarters is located in Oceanport, New Jersey in the United States.


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1Gartner Inc., “Virtualization Key Initiative Overview”, Philip Dawson, Chris Wolf

2Gartner, Sept 2012

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