Ensuring continuity for critical applications
It is no secret that applications and, by extension the platforms and systems they run on, have become extremely critical to all businesses. The requirement to ensure continuity of Tier One workloads while minimizing any potential data loss has become a high priority for organizations. The potential brand damage to organizations when applications become unavailable, as well as the cost to the business can be significant.
It is also the case that different applications carry different levels of criticality and not all workloads need to be protected in the same way. When it comes to applications running on VMware vSphere virtual machines, understanding what workloads run on what virtual machine allows businesses to categorize workloads that best match their level of criticality. From there, policies can be put in place to protect those virtual machines based on desired restore point objectives and restore time objectives.
Leveraging VMware’s vSphere APIs for I/O (VAIO)
VMware vSphere is the dominant on-premises and service provider platform to host virtual machine workloads, and Veeam has been protecting these workloads from the first release of Veeam Backup & Replication. Traditionally, these backups have been snapshot-based, which allows for backup granularity and RPO of between five to 15 minutes, depending on the backend storage.
The desire to drive lower sub-minute RPOs led VMware to develop the vSphere APIs for I/O, which allows deeper access into the hypervisor to intercept Input/Output data directly and as they occur. This validated method allows RPOs to be set to seconds instead of minutes, dramatically changing the way in which workloads can be protected.
Delivering Continuous Data Protection in V11
With the launch of Veeam Backup & Replication v11, and together working with VMware, we have ensured reliability, scalability and performance as we deliver Continuous Data Protection (CDP) to help better protect those Tier One workloads running on VMware vSphere.
By leveraging the vSphere APIs for I/O for CDP Replication, Veeam is offering a new level of protection against the loss of critical data while ensuring business continuity by allowing almost immediate failover of virtual machine workloads to a point in time with the ability to granularly slide back in time at per-second intervals.
In the event of disaster, CDP replicas can be failed over at specific points in time as dictated by the configured RPO. The granularity that can be seen above is key to ensuring minimal data loss and extremely low RTOs. Once a virtual machine has been failed over, it can be failed back under a controlled set of options built into the failback process.
An end-to-end policy-based approach
With CDP now part of Veeam Backup & Replication v11, there is a renewed focus on a policy-based approach to the backup and replication of workloads. By categorizing applications and workloads, organizations can create end-to-end policies against virtual machines that now span per-second to minutes to point-in-time to longer-term archiving.
Used in conjunction with vSphere Tags, there is minimal need to interact with a CDP policy once it has been configured. Assigning vSphere Tags to virtual machines will automatically add them to existing CDP policies and have them protected based on the replication period set. This results in less management and ensures new workloads are protected as they are created.
With CDP, we have the concept of a short-term retention window. Within this window, backup admins can set the tolerated level of data loss via recovery point objectives starting from as low as two seconds. Within this short-term retention window, data is replicated based on the configured RPO, and recovery is as simple as sliding back to a point in time within this retention window.
For longer-term retention of CDP-protected workloads, backup admins can create additional restore points more aligned to traditional points in time, based on an hour value and then stored at the target site for a set number of days. These can also be configured for application-aware processing and will always have a crash consistent point to fail over to.
Simplicity with scalability and performance
One of the key aspects of CDP in V11 is the ease of use and flexibility of deployment. With Veeam CDP, we have ensured that once deployed and configured against a source and target vSphere Cluster, policies can be created and managed by the backup admin in the same easy-to-use console without the need for additional training.
Configuring the CDP I/O filter on a new or existing vSphere Cluster is done via a checkbox option under Veeam CDP filter management. This controls the installation across all hosts on the corresponding vSphere Cluster, and any host brought in or out of the cluster will have the filter driver configured accordingly.
Scalability-wise, with Veeam CDP, you can start small and grow as CDP requirements change over time. Depending on the number of virtual machines, the RPO policy and the amount of data being created on the virtual machines, our new VMware CDP proxies can be deployed in alignment with these requirements without the need to deploy one per host across the cluster.
Unlike other solutions where a blanket approach to hardware deployments takes place, this significantly reduces and optimizes the resources required and allows targeted configurations against vSphere clusters where only the Tier One workloads are being protected.
To help with right-sizing, the policy wizard has a built-in CDP Infrastructure Assessment tool that looks at what resources are required at a CPU, RAM and network bandwidth-level, as well as shows the required bandwidth of virtual machines configured in the policy.
We have entered an era where critical business applications require a higher, more reliable level of protection. With Veeam CDP in Veeam Backup & Replication v11, organizations can use a policy-driven approach to protect Tier One applications with per-second RPOs stretching across a defined replication window. From there, those workloads can be recovered quickly and with minimal loss of data, ensuring business continuity is met and potential loss of reputation is avoided.
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