Data protection professionals have long advocated the “3-2-1” approach to backup — make three separate copies of your data, store two of them on different types of media, with one located at an offsite location. It’s considered a best practice because it’s a simple formula for ensuring that you can access your data under almost any circumstance.
But not simple enough, evidently.
Year in and year out, studies find that about a third of all companies never back up their business data. About the same number say they conduct intermittent backups, but keep only one copy of their data and never test the solution to make sure it is working properly.
Part of the problem is that backup is more frustrating and problematic than many people imagine. With data growth often outpacing advancements in backup technologies and processes, it can be nearly impossible to complete backups within the available window.
Virtual machines (VMs) also present special challenges. In addition to backing up the contents of a VM, you may have to back up the configuration as well. VM backup requires synchronization of the storage layer, hypervisor, operating system and application because data is often active in each. Resource consumption is also an issue during backup with multiple VMs running on a single physical server.
These challenges call for increased levels of automation to help organizations maintain a reliable, systematic backup routine with minimal manual operations. Veeam is addressing these issues with the latest version of its Veeam Availability Suite (VAS), which includes the firm’s flagship Backup & Replication software.
First released in 2008, Backup & Replication was one of the first backup applications tailored for VMs. With this week’s release of VAS 9.5 Update 3, Veeam makes it possible to centrally manage all workloads — virtual, physical and cloud — from a single console. With the combination of centralized management, automated cloud replication and simple storage integration, VAS removes much of the complexity that has plagued legacy backup solutions.
VAS streamlines the 3-2-1 backup model by making it easy to create offsite backups in the cloud. Copying of local backups to the cloud occurs automatically on a scheduled basis, and backups to the cloud are automatically compressed, de-duplicated and encrypted. This is an affordable alternative to traditional offsite storage, eliminating the cost and complexity of building or maintaining a separate physical facility.
Additionally, VAS has automated testing features to ensure that every file, application or virtual server can be recovered in the event of a disaster or some other disrupting event. Automated agent-based backups ensure that no Windows or Linux computers are left unprotected. Veeam agents for Windows and Linux are centrally deployed with automated host discovery via dynamic protection groups based on Active Directory containers, or CSV files exported from your existing configuration management database.
Veeam has also added agent monitoring and reporting, as well as data sovereignty compliance reporting to VAS. With this new capability, administrators can get access to additional guidance and tools designed to assist them through stringent compliance requirements.
Data backup is a critical operation — you could argue that it is the single most important function of an IT operation when you consider the consequences of data loss. However, increasing complexity is making it a pain for most organizations. By driving more automation into the process, Veeam is eliminating much of that pain.