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Cloud computing and DR - making business sense of the cloud for disaster recovery

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Virtualisation promised more affordable business continuity, but there are still issues to consider around availability, …

Virtualisation promised more affordable business continuity, but there are still issues to consider around availability,
continuity and backup for virtual machines, particularly as companies begin using more than one virtualisation or
storage platform. Ian will cover the challenges that still exist around business continuity and virtualisation.

Published in: Technology

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  • Because it is easier to manipulate a virtual machine than a real one, it is more straightforward to keep it availableVirtualisation makes it easy to create VMs – and judging by the lack of forethought that can go into system design, it’s not hard to imagine places where it looks like a sorcerer’s apprentice has taken over
  • Elimination of cold (physical) spares by maintaining snapshots of stable virtual machines. Fast failover to warm spare virtual images. Clustering with both virtual and physical machines or with virtual clusters spread across physical machines. Isolation, monitoring and fast restart of unreliable applications and systems.
  • workloads in a VMware environment can be dynamically moved to different physical servers or to different underlying storage without service interruption. Administrators can perform faster and completely transparent maintenance operations, without being forcedto schedule inconvenient maintenance windows.VMware HA leverages multiple ESX/ESXi hosts configured as a cluster to provide rapid recovery from outages and cost-effective high availability for applications running in virtual machines.It protects against a server failure by automatically restarting the virtual machines on other hosts within the cluster.It protects against OS failure by continuously monitoring a virtual machine and resetting it in the event that a failure is detected.However reliant on shared storage, SAN or iSCSI, creates a single point of failure, exactly the same problem we see with traditional physical MSFT ClustersFault Tolerance uses the VMware vLockstep technology on the ESX/ESXi host platform to provide continuous availability. This is done by ensuring that the states of the Primary and Secondary VMs are identical at any point in the instruction execution of the virtual machine.After a transparent failover occurs, a new Secondary VM is automatically respawned and redundancy is re-established.However reliant on shared storage, SAN or iSCSI, creates a single point of failure, exactly the same problem we see with traditional physical MSFT Clusters
  • Does thiswithout any disruption of service or perceived downtime, therefore useful to reduce planned downtime, but doesn’t not help with unplanned
  • Elimination of all single points of failure without redundant hardwareApplication check pointing and state synchronization without additional software. Comprehensive application and node health-monitoring and heart-beating without addition software. Fault tolerant and multi-path storage without dedicated hardware.
  • You must consider the different types of backups you can make, the state of the virtual machine, and the type of storage being used by the virtual machines as well as the differentvirtualisation platforms in use.And understand that virtual machines won’t necessarily be running when backups are scheduled.
  • running a backup agent inside the virtual machine. Potential challenges revolve mainly around bottlenecksthe main issue here is one of preserving state. If a virtual disk file is (say) 40Gb, in the time between the backup starting and finishing, the content of the file could well have changed.
  • The running VM creates a delta of changes since the snapshot but nobody is yet providing cast-iron guarantees about the consistency of the backup. Put bluntly, the restored image might boot, but information might also get lost, which is clearly not ideal. but this also means plenty of complexity. The advice here is often to shut down virtual machines before backing them up.
  • with in-guest the process is similar to backup on physical servers and is easy and familiar for administrators to deploy and manage. Another benefit of this approach is retention of all backup solution features and functionality. This approach is also costly in server performance; the overhead in processing during a backup operation is high. When multiple virtual machines are performing resource intensive operations such as backups at the same time on the same server processing can grind to a halt.snapshot technology makes a complete copy of a virtualized server or virtual machine (VM) at a specific point in time, it is not compressed or optimized in any way for storage. The benefit of this approach is that it’s a complete image for fast restoration, disadvantage is that although a snapshot process may be relatively short, it does render the source inaccessible. Snapshots are an ‘all or nothing’ approach to data protection. Snapshots are limited on single file capabilities. It is impractical for the backup tasks that may be required on a small or day to day basis.VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB) is a management tool specific to VMware technology. It attempts to address the challenges seen with the common approach of deploying backup agents in virtual environments. VCB offloads the backup processing onto a separate server. VCB uses the centralized backup proxy server that houses third party backup software.while these solutions may solve some the specific issues with VCB, they don’t provide the complete data protection coverage and often add in additional management complexity.
  • Replication can provide a unique approach to migration, availability and recoveryWorking from within the guest it should support all virtualisation platforms, and provide the ability to move data and recover between themIt should support all storage platforms and vendors and replicate and recover between themIt should work in physical, virtual and mixed environments seamlessly.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Virtualisation & Business Continuity
      Ian Masters, UK sales director
    • 2. Introduction
      With solutions for Windows®, Linux®, AIX® and IBM®i, Vision leads the way in keeping systems and applications resilient and available
      Personally working in the high availability and disaster recovery for Windows® space since 1996
    • 3. Virtualisation advantage?
      virtualisation brings its own availability tools
      but virtualisation could be its own worst enemy when it comes to availability
    • 4. Virtualisation advantage?
      With minimal, incremental investments, IT managers can use virtualisation as an HA platform
    • 5. VMware tools
      the VMotion® and Storage VMotion functionality in vSphere makes it possible for organisations to dramatically reduce planned downtime
      VMware HA provides rapid recovery from outages
      shared storage is a single point of failure
      local availability only
      VMware fault tolerance provides continuous availability
      shared storage is a single point of failure
      local availability only
    • 6. Hyper-V tools
      Hyper-V™ live migration allows you to move running VMs from one Hyper-V™ physical host to another
    • 7. Hyper-V tools
      failover clustering at the Hyper-V host level
      shared storage is a single point of failure
      local availability only
      clustering at the Hyper-V guest level
      shared storage is a single point of failure
      local availability only
      clustering at the Hyper-V guest level on a single physical server
      Physical server is a single point of failure
      shared storage is a single point of failure
      local availability only
    • 8. Virtualisation disadvantage?
      some HA techniques and technologies, however, outstrip the capabilities of virtualisation platforms
      what do you do if you run more than one hypervisor?
      what do you do for DR?
      what happens if you use more than one storage platform or vendor?
    • 9. Virtual backups
      there are some very simple, yet far-reaching challenges to deal with when it comes to virtualisation backup
      when you plan a backup and recovery strategy for a virtualized server environment, there are several factors to consider
    • 10. Virtual backups
      if a virtual machine is expected to be up-and-running for example, there is nothing to preclude treating it as a traditional physical machine and backing it up accordingly
      a backup can be run on the host physical machine and backup the VHD or VMDK for example
    • 11. Virtual backups
      tools such as snapshots and cloning can help
      plenty of options, online vs. offline, streamed vs. snapshot, guest vs. host
    • 12. Virtual backups
      in-guest
      Snapshots
      VCB
      Third party tools
    • 13. Is there a solution?
      replication could provide the answer...
      works across all virtualisation platforms
      works across storage platforms & vendors
      works with physical & virtual servers
    • 14. Is there a solution?
      migrate P2P, P2V, V2P and V2V all with zero user downtime
      failover between any combination of physical and virtual servers, between mixed hypervisors, across any distance
      recover individual files, emails, data and system states from latest copy or previous point-in-time
    • 15. Q&A