From The Expert Feature Article
September 23, 2013

Virtual Backup Bottleneck Solved by Vendor Trio

A trio that includes a virtual storage software maker, a storage hardware vendor and an IT service provider all joined forces to help a private school for boys sort out its storage woes.

The school, which declined to be named for this article, has nearly 600 students and some 125 faculty members.

While seemingly small, the data pressures were big for the school. Part of the issue was virtualization as the school has spun many virtual machines (VM) that each need to be backed up just like their physical brethren.

While these VMs reduced physical server sprawl, it created instead VM server sprawl, and the sheer number of machines can be far more on the virtual side.

Fortunately the school was already working with Concentus, an IT service provider, which understood the school’s problem.

It was, after all, Concentus that virtualized the school’s file servers, SQL databases and other applications in the first place.

With so many VMs, backup windows and replication – both I/O intensive – became big issues and began to hurt overall system performance. And the critical backup window became so large there was a real danger of losing real data.

And recovery would be no picnic, taking an estimated 96 hours for the 5TB of information to be restored to a bare metal device.

“As [the school’s] IT partner, we are responsible for the integrity of the campus’ onsite and remote backup operations,” said Fernando Sabio, CCNA, Principal, Concentus. “And while the new VM infrastructure achieved the school’s server virtualization goals, we also wanted to ensure that their data protection strategy was equally successful. To eliminate performance degradation of the backup and replication operations we began to seek new solutions for dynamic storage scalability that would have the flexibility to support heavy I/O loads when we needed them.”

Concentus need it needed help to help its clients and turned to two partners, Gridstore and Veeam. These two already worked together with Veeam software specialized for backing up VMs (hence the company name) running on Gridstore hardware which creates a grid architecture for storage.

“With the Grid, the school eliminated the need to overprovision resources and instead can scale as needed simply by adding more storage nodes without disruption to normal operations. In addition, the school now saves money on power and cooling, while reducing its support overhead,” the vendors said. “The school now has a modern virtual machine datacenter backup infrastructure that is transparent, powerful and cost effective, and Concentus now benefits from a best-of-breed solution that has been optimized for both VMware and Hyper-V backups that mitigates risk for its valued customers.”

Edited by Alisen Downey