Virtual vs. physical for backup

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Virtualization is one of the more important trends to hit businesses in the past several years, but for companies to really take advantage of it, there are certain uses that should be considered. While setting up virtual machines and desktops for employees, and utilizing virtual servers for storage and access, is useful, virtualization can also increase a business’s disaster recovery prospects significantly when implemented properly.

Virtual server backups aren’t too different than physical server backups in theory, but in practice there are specific differences that can trip up even experienced IT professionals if they aren’t prepared. Additionally, there are tricks that virtualization allows for that can not only speed up the backup process, but make recovery easier as well.

Image backup
The main difference between traditional data backup software and virtualization is that virtual servers allow for images to be taken, speeding up the process. With a snapshot, a business can easily store and reload a virtual machine state exactly as it was when the image was recorded, rather than trying to reinstall apps and download data to the machine again. This not only speeds up the process but makes it much more organized and efficient, reducing overall downtime for a business and simplifying recovery.

Image backups make disaster recovery more efficient, but they provide benefits outside of crisis scenarios as well. They help a business keep its backups organized, improve retention and integration, and reduce the storage space that backups require. Streamlining data recovery is one thing, but improving every aspect of the backup and recovery process allows a business to accomplish it more quickly and with more confidence that continuity is assured.

While traditional data backup solutions are worth the investment, for a business considering virtualization, the advantages are clear. While it isn’t the right answer for everything, any company should look into the potential improvements that virtualization offers to determine whether it can benefit from them. Some companies may want to consider combination physical and virtual server solutions as well, which can provide the benefits of both while minimizing the downsides. According to TechTarget, the future of the data center may lie in this hybrid option, and businesses today should examine all of their options to ease later transition if it happens.

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