Today's businesses have the opportunity to witness one of the most rapid evolutions of IT, which is largely being driven by ongoing economic turmoil. Decision-makers are becoming increasingly frugal, only investing in solutions and services that guarantee productivity improvements at a lower cost than traditional IT systems. These demands are pushing companies to adopt next-generation technologies like cloud computing and virtualization, both of which are often less expensive than conventional methods and can enhance employee and operational efficiency.
As more organizations adopt virtual environments, however, decision-makers and IT departments need to ensure they leverage appropriate tools and processes to ensure data protection and recovery capabilities remain on par. Next-generation virtual machine (VM) architectures require different strategies than traditional IT, according to a report by Arkeia Software. Yet these initiatives do not need to be complicated, as following a simple set of best practices can ensure mission-critical information remains safe.
1. Ease of use and deployment is important when choosing a vendor
In many cases, organizations will deploy complicated VM structures in an attempt to leverage the most advanced offerings. Unfortunately, this often spreads IT employees and resources thin, reducing the ability to ensure efficient virtualization security tools are used. Decision-makers should look for services that are easy to deploy and can be used quickly, minimizing downtime without sacrificing the availability of necessary resources, the report said.
By deploying a backup server, organizations can get a good start on their VM initiatives. Installing the leading VM backup solutions, however, requires a large amount of work by the IT department, which will need to duplicate operating system templates and do a number of other operations, Deep Storage chief scientist Howard Marks said. Pre-integrated virtual appliances eliminate some of these processes, letting decision-makers focus on other important projects.
2. Use applications capable of protecting multiple environments
In the current tech-savvy workplace, decision-makers are embracing hybrid IT strategies, leveraging physical and virtual machine environments simultaneously. This allows organizations to develop robust strategies capable of boosting performance for the lowest possible cost without jeopardizing data security.
A report by Gartner confirmed this finding, noting that the advent of cloud computing and virtualization is causing organizations to create unique initiatives in an attempt to gain a competitive edge in today's increasingly cutthroat business world.
"Hybrid IT is the new IT and it is here to stay," Gartner managing vice president Chris Howard said.
Arkeia Software noted that in these environments, IT departments were traditionally forced to launch separate data protection tools for physical and virtual structures. This is not the case anymore, however, as companies can now deploy a single appliance capable of safeguarding mission-critical applications and data in a variety of architectures.
Decision-makers should speak with vendors and insist they drive the pace of their IT evolution, Arkeia Software noted. Companies should not be held back from innovation because of their inability to protect sensitive solutions.
3. Deduplication is a must for backup tools
Backing up and restoring VMs means continually acquiring the bits and pieces of the same information. Arkeia Software noted that leveraging virtualization tools integrated with deduplication software can reduce data volumes by more than 90 percent by eliminating repetition throughout the VM. Decision-makers should look for security and recovery appliances that have these capabilities incorporated within them instead of utilizing additional components and increasing expenses.
Deduplication is especially important with the advent of big data. An ongoing study by IDC forecasts the volume of data stored by companies will exceed 7,900 exabytes by 2015, up from only 1,200 exabytes in 2010. The study also predicts that 20 percent of this information will be running through virtual systems by 2015, compared to the 10 percent that is currently doing so, suggesting organizations will need tools that can cut through redundancy.
4. Recovery time needs to be low
VM backups are an important part of an organization's continuity plan, as it allows decision-makers to ensure they always have important information on hand. An equally important aspect of these initiatives is the ability to recover sensitive applications and data in the case of an emergency, Arkeia Software noted. All organizations are susceptible to natural and man-made disasters, even when using virtual systems, and recovery is an important part of risk management.
When decision-makers are testing out different virtualization security and recovery tools, they should practice how each solution restores and launches VMs. In doing so, organizations will be able to minimize downtime in the event of a real emergency, allowing individuals to get back to work faster and reducing the possibility of data loss.
Businesses need to prioritize security and backup solutions as they continue to launch virtualization and cloud-based environments.
Virtualization Security News from SimplySecurity.com by Trend Micro