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Interview: Veeam on virtualisation woes

T.C. Seow | Feb. 10, 2014
In an exclusive email interview, Charles Clarke, technical director, APAC, Veeam Software, talks about how virtualisation is helping companies reduce costs and gain benefits not seen before.

Gaining visibility of one's backup and virtual infrastructure can be an elusive goal. How are you helping your customers to realise that?

The goal is not just elusive, for many organisations it seems to be an impossible task. Without doubt, having visibility into the virtual infrastructure is critical. At Veeam, we have long realised the dynamic nature of virtual environments, creating and de-provisioning services makes management, monitoring and capacity planning difficult with traditional tools. From the outset, our tools have been built for virtualisation. We understand the key metrics and dependencies in the virtual environment and present that data in a clear and concise manner so that all levels, from technical to management, can make informed decisions to enable the virtual stack as a strategic asset.

The backup infrastructure is a key asset that needs to be monitored as well. Many IT administrators see backup as a chore, something that has to be done but never really delivers value unless a recovery is required. Veeam is dedicated to ensuring that organisations can get the most out of their backup investment. The company provides extensive monitoring and optimisation to ensure rapid, reliable backups but also provides the ability to use the backup archives for more than just recoveries. For example, virtual machines can be started directly from a backup archive to provide an instant test or development environment without the requirement for any additional storage, resources, or time-to-build.

What are the chief pain-points with regards to storage backup?

There are three key points to prioritise when performing backups:

  • Backup is not critical. Recovery is critical. We talk to many organisations who presently struggle to guarantee recoverability, perform recoveries fast enough to meet the business needs or recover critical virtual workloads successfully. 
  • Where will the data be stored and does that location support the recovery policy? Veeam customers tend to implement a multi-tiered approach: three copies of data (including production), stored on two different locations, one of which should be offsite. For example, keep local backups on disk with regular archive to tape for offsite storage. The cloud and Storage-as-a-Service have an increasing role to play in offsite archiving, but one should pay attention to recovery times which will make it unsuitable for near-term backups in many cases. 
  • Storage capacity can be a pain-point depending on compliance and long-term requirements. Veeam solutions offer built-in compression and deduplication which helps storage become less of an issue.  Our customers often implement hardware-based deduplication solutions. They get the double benefit of Veeam dedupe and hardware dedupe meaning they can store backups locally for longer and have more recovery points. It is imperative to forecast for this requirement using the right tools.

Typically, where is the weakest link in the entire data storage and retrieval chain:  internal IT, external service providers, or both?


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