In this business age of round the clock support for service requests and issue tickets raised by the customers, organizations providing these services often overlook disaster recovery and the backup plan that needs to be in place. Some organizations who have disaster recovery plans in place often resort to tape systems for taking backup of the crucial software systems and data associated with it. Tape backup procedures are slow in nature and often takes two to three days for the tape backup process to get over.
Server Virtualization is an excellent alternative to tape backups as it completes full restoration within four to six hours. As server Virtualization doesn’t require the user to involve in separate tasks related to server rebuilding or application and operating system rebuilding users save a lot of time by opting for this process. Virtualization also enables the user to perform testing on the newly created virtualized environment, without disturbing the production environment.
The main objective of Virtualization it is to reduce the resources and amount spent on taking backups and also to bring down the power requirements. One of the main issues that need to be considered for effective server Virtualization is the number of servers that are required to take a back-up and whether a full or a partial image of the data and information available needs to be taken. This gives rise to the concept of server consolidation ratio, which is nothing but the number of virtual machines, a particular server can host. In addition to coming out with the optimum number of images required in a single server , one needs to also consider the number of servers required for disaster recovery operations. The data center should have a correct combination of the hardware servers and images available in a particular server.
Operating Systems and Applications that are extremely critical to the day today operation of the business have to be given first priority when it comes to choosing the systems that need server Virtualization. Office applications and Email applications usually top the list of applications that require Virtualization. Depending on the nature of the business, there could be other applications that can be added to the list that require Virtualization. Business owners need to perform a thorough analysis of the existing systems and identify those systems that should be given top preference, when it comes to Virtualization. In addition to the office applications and Email applications, applications that have been built in-house are also good candidates for Virtualization.
Among the various server Virtualization solutions available, VMware server from VMware has been the preferred solution for performing server Virtualization. There are also other solutions available in the Virtualization marketplace in the form of Microsoft Virtual Server and ESX server. For organizations looking at cost effective open source solutions, Xen Hypervisor provides Virtualization capabilities across different platforms including Windows, Solaris and Linux.
Failover is the process of switching over to a standby server or a network or an operating system when the existing operating system or network fails abruptly. This process usually happens in an automated manner without the need of a human intervention. In a virtualized environment, users can failover to a standby system in the case of an emergency and then fail back to the original mode using an image available in the virtualized environment.
As part of DR planning, major focus would be on the identification of critical applications and data that are extremely crucial for running the business operations. The identified applications and operating systems would be given high priority during backup operations. Additionally, the ease of accessing the virtual environment is another factor that is considered during DR planning phase.
Author Bio: Deney Dentel is the CEO at Nordisk Systems, Inc., a managed server Virtualization and cloud computing service provider company in Portland, OR. Deney is the only localised and authorised IBM ProtecTIER business partner in Pacific Northwest. You can also follow him on LinkedIn.