Data Protection Set to Steal Some of the Spotlight at VMworld 2010

If past VMworld conferences are any indication, more than 10,000 individuals will head to San Francisco the last week of this month looking for the latest advancements and news regarding VMware at VMworld 2010. But with so many organizations confronted with new backup challenges that are part and parcel of any VMware implementation, as well as looking to take advantage of the new recovery options that it creates, do not be surprised if data protection steals some of the spotlight at this year’s event.

The hoopla around VMworld communicates just how critical server virtualization in general and VMware specifically has become. After all, where else can organizations get 2X, 5X or even greater returns for every dollar they spend while making themselves leaner, meaner and more efficient in the process? The answer is almost nowhere.

So while VMware will clearly have center stage throughout the conference, data protection stands to play a starring role as well. Organizations strongly suspect (and with good reason) that data protection can and should be much better in a virtualized environment than it is in their physical world. As their level of understanding and sophistication concerning server virtualization grows, they see no reason why the protection of their virtualized environment or its recovery should not also be better than what they are experiencing in the physical world.

But achieving these new levels of “optimized data protection” and realizing “new possibilities for recovery” will depend somewhat on where an organization is at in the process of virtualizing their infrastructure.

Organizations that are still in the early adopter stage of server virtualization and have virtualized less than 30% of their applications need to keep their expectations in check. If anything, those in this category are best served to make sure that all of their newly virtualized applications are protected. Odds are these newly virtualized servers have been inadequately protected in the past or even unprotected so organizations need to take the first steps of bringing them under the fold of a backup solution.

However the audience that the VMworld business continuity track and many of the data protection vendors at VMworld are primarily targeting is those organizations that are arriving or have already arrived at the saturation stage. These organizations have virtualized most if not all of their applications (up to 70%) and are finding that traditional approaches to data protection no longer meet their needs.

Organizations in this stage are becoming both time and resource constrained in their backups and recoveries. Further their IT departments are recognizing that a change is needed in order to provide the higher levels of service that the users they support are coming to expect and demand. They realize that traditional approaches to data protection may now have the exact opposite effect that organizations want as it may actually inhibit their organization’s ability to continue to virtualize its infrastructure.

So what should organizations be looking for both in the tracks and vendor displays at VMworld if they find themselves saturated by their VMware deployment? Here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Take a few courses in the VMware Business Continuity track while at VMworld. I counted more than 15 different courses that are being offered in this track from Monday – Wednesday at VMworld. Two specific courses you may want to check out in this track are Introduction to Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery for VMware as well as Shrinking Backing Up VMware – Benchmarked and Best Practices as these sessions are likely to provide the background for those organizations looking to convert their VMware data protection from a technical inhibitor to a business enabler.
  • Check out the latest advances in disk based backup and deduplication. If there were ever three technologies made for one another, deduplication, disk-based backup, and server virtualization are it.  EMC  is a prime example of a data protection provider that recognized this trend early on and can provide deduplicating, disk-based backup solutions starting from the entry level all the way up to the enterprise.

Anytime 10,000 people descend on a conference it is certain to generate a certain amount of excitement but one type of excitement that most VMworld attendees would like to put firmly in their organizations’ past is the excitement and anxiety that comes about when their backups fail. It is for this reason that data protection technologies are shaping up to steal some of the spotlight at VMworld this year because even though every organization finds server virtualization to be a great thing, just as many see having a virtualized environment that is reliably protected and easily recovered an even more desirable option.

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