Physical or Virtual Data Protection: Why Your Solution Needs to Safeguard Both Environments.

Server virtualization is a dominant architecture in enterprise environments. Now SMBs have followed suit. Spiceworks polled more than 1,000 IT professionals and found that 72 percent of SMBs were already using server virtualization in some capacity as of 2013. [1] A similar poll in 2012 showed 60 % of SMBs were virtualized and 66% in 2013. Virtualization has become a dominant technology in most IT environments, large and small. 

The adoption of virtualization is compelling. It allows organizations to purchase less hardware in order to run their business. In other words it is less expensive. It also provides flexibility, being that virtual machines are easily replicated for DR and failed over at practically no additional cost. Therefore improving organizations RTO times, saving them money and boosting their reputation. Yet, there are some applications that can't or shouldn't be virtualized. Some applications need extreme horsepower, rely on massive amounts of memory, CPU cycles and I/O performance. There are also applications that have license agreements that do not allow for virtualization and other circumstances that require an application to be run on a standalone physical server. 

Backup products have come on the market to exploit the flexibility of virtual environments therefore helping the customer by providing VM replication for DR purposes locally or across long distances. Virtualization can utilize cloud technologies for disaster recovery. A replicated VM or a backup image can be spun up in seconds, practically eliminating downtime. The problem is most of those solutions only provide that for virtual environments, leading many organizations to use two different backup products and processes to ensure system availability and recovery of data. This is very costly, complicated and impractical to sustain.

A recent ESG survey reported more than half (53%) of respondents use different backup applications for their virtual and physical servers. However, a multi-pronged approach leads to inefficiency, adding management overhead and complicating recovery. This is borne out by the fact than more than two-thirds (69%) of respondents indicated that they would prefer to use a single backup application to protect both virtual and physical servers. [2]


There is certainly a need for a data protection solution that take advantage of virtualization attributes, for both virtual and physical servers. Allowing IT organizations to use one data protection solution, one management console for all environments. Please note that two systems no longer support the definition of the word and benefits derived from the use or result of careful planning and organization.  

Customers need to evaluate data protection solutions: Report,  Break Free of Stacked Solutions, a tutorial and comparison of the next generation unified solution. 


[1] Source: Spiceworks Report, State of SMB IT Report, 2013

[2] Source: ESG Research Report, Trends in Data Protection ModernizationAugust 2012.