Sunday, 5th July 2020

VM backup too slow?

Here is what your business should do to maximise speed. By Veniamin Simonov, Director of Product Management at NAKIVO.

  • 31 May 2020 Posted in

Technology might be helping organisations run ‘business as usual’ in light of current events, but as they are forced to work remotely – even legislative bodies like the European Parliament – businesses are currently producing a dramatic increase in data. This data, in turn, needs to be processed, stored and protected.

The demand for businesses to maintain their usual activities using technology software is growing with each new announcement from governments around the world, and with this, data protection concerns are also growing. Therefore, one of the best actions for companies to take in order to secure themselves against any type of data loss is to implement a comprehensive backup of their virtual machines (VMs), significantly boosting backup reliability.

However, if hundreds or thousands of VMs are running 24/7, backup speed becomes a serious issue. Yet, if your business wishes to scale out, boosting VM backup should be a top priority. While there might be several elements that are slowing down your daily activities, it is important to identify them and consider adopting new approaches. But how can businesses do this?

Identify potential risk factors

It’s important to identify whether your VM backup speed is slower than expected due to insufficient network bandwidth. Or, alternatively, is the write speed of your target storage limited? If so, this means issues like these relate mostly to resource availability versus cost, and simply cannot be improved without financial and infrastructure investment.

However, one of the major factors of why your VM speed is reduced may be a lack of agility in your current backup software. This means that your business is still wasting server resources on outdated legacy backup solutions which are lagging far behind the ever-growing demands of virtualized environments. In this case, organisations must consider adopting alternative solutions that would allow them to reach the maximum possible VM backup speed and simultaneously maintain the resilience of their virtual infrastructure.

Embrace synthetic backup solutions

Since most modern backup solutions are designed to deliver the fastest performance possible, replacing legacy solutions for such offerings would be a logical choice if you wish to increase the speed of your VM backup and operate your infrastructure effectively and efficiently. For organisations looking to speed up their VM backup performance, the recently emerged synthetic backup solution might be the perfect fit. As backups via this system are created in the repository, the load on the source server is reduced significantly.

Furthermore, since full periodic backups are not needed, businesses would only be required to create a full backup of their VMs once, meaning all jobs are then forever-incremental. As synthetic backups heavily rely on Changed Block Tracking (CBT) and Resilient Change Tracking (RCT) technologies, changed data blocks made to the VM are tracked and transferred to the backup repository. Ultimately, using synthetic solutions drastically reduces the size of the backup, therefore allowing businesses to maximise their backup speed. Each recovery point “memorises” data blocks that should be used for an entire machine restoration, and therefore there is no need to run the backup continuously.

Organise your backup jobs

If you find yourself struggling with an overloaded system, chances are your business is running too many backup jobs on the same host and at the same time. The more intensive the workload, the more your network resources are stretched and infrastructure performance becomes critically slow. To avoid this, businesses should take steps to carefully organise their backup activities.

Make sure to schedule backup jobs at times when there is least activity and ensure the shortest backup windows possible. Since some applications are operating 24/7, monitoring the traffic will help speed up your backup performance. Additionally, selecting and grouping your backups jobs can also help maximise the speed. However, if your business is running data protection in a large virtual environment, some backup jobs might overlap. Luckily, modern solutions offer Calendar Dashboards which take away the burden of having to manually monitor each backup activity and give you a bird’s-eye view of all your jobs.

Integrate a NAS appliance

Installing Network Attached Storage (NAS) based appliance solutions – a combination of high-performance backup software, hardware, and storage in a single device – can help businesses double their backup speed. Such an appliance does not require much in resources and the installation is as easy as setting up any other preconfigured VM backup solution on any NAS device available in your infrastructure.

By using a NAS-based solution, businesses can significantly offload their infrastructure backup workloads and separate data protection from the virtualized environment to generate a VM backup performance boost twice the size of what is usually achieved by legacy backup solutions. Using a NAS-based solution can also help organisations benefit from up to five times lower costs and reduced backup size. By separating VM backups, businesses can rest assured that their VMs can be restored even if their primary infrastructure is down.

It is now more important than ever to replace outdated legacy systems that don’t align with your organisation’s needs. Instead, modern VM backup solutions can help overcome issues that could appear when businesses operate their VMs 24/7. Adopting modern software is a good alternative to speeding up the backing up of your VM data.

By W. Curtis Preston, Chief Technical Evangelist, Druva.
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