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1 White Paper How to Accelerate IT Resiliency Through Virtualization By Jason Buffington, Senior Analyst, and Monya Keane, Research Analyst August 2015 This ESG White Paper was commissioned by Axcient and is distributed under license from ESG.

2 2 Contents Introduction... 3 How Virtualization Creates Data Protection Challenges... 4 Performance- related Challenges Associated with Legacy Approaches to Virtualization Protection... 4 Complexity- related Challenges with Legacy Approaches to Virtualization Protection... 4 How Virtualization Enables New IT Resiliency Methods... 6 One Solution to Consider: Axcient... 7 The Bigger Truth... 8 All trademark names are property of their respective companies. Information contained in this publication has been obtained by sources The Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) considers to be reliable but is not warranted by ESG. This publication may contain opinions of ESG, which are subject to change from time to time. This publication is copyrighted by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. Any reproduction or redistribution of this publication, in whole or in part, whether in hard-copy format, electronically, or otherwise to persons not authorized to receive it, without the express consent of The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc., is in violation of U.S. copyright law and will be subject to an action for civil damages and, if applicable, criminal prosecution. Should you have any questions, please contact ESG Client Relations at

3 3 Introduction According to ESG s most current IT spending intentions research, increasing the use of server virtualization and improving backup and recovery are consistently among today s most important IT priorities (see Figure 1). 1 This situation has been the case since 2012 in each annual survey, virtualization and backup have been either near or directly adjacent to each other within the top five most frequently mentioned priorities. Figure 1. Top- five IT Spending Priorities in 2015 Top five most important IT prioriaes over the next 12 months. (Percent of respondents, N=601, ten responses accepted) Informadon security inidadves Improving data backup and recovery Managing data growth Increasing use of server virtualizadon Desktop virtualizadon % 25% 34% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% Many organizations are still on their journeys toward transforming their IT infrastructures through virtualization. Early- stage initiatives might simply yield a 20% to 40% consolidation of underutilized hardware. But when the organizations move further, implementing a full- fledged, modern private cloud or software- defined data center based on infrastructure that is perhaps 60%, 80%, or even more highly virtualized (see Figure 2), they may need to reassess or at least reconsider practically all of the building blocks within the IT environment. Figure 2. The Maturation of Virtualization Infrastructure in a Modern IT Environment Examining the situation today, it is clearly no coincidence that both server virtualization and data protection are regularly cited as high- priority IT initiatives. After all, they tie into each other closely. Virtualization can: Create challenges for data protection. Enable new data protection and IT resilience opportunities. 1 Source: ESG Research Report, 2015 IT Spending Intentions Survey, February 2015.

4 4 How Virtualization Creates Data Protection Challenges Modernizing a server infrastructure through virtualization is one of the easiest ways to discover the inadequacies of a legacy approach to data protection. Those inadequacies usually come in the form of performance- related issues, complexity- related issues, or both. Performance- related Challenges Associated with Legacy Approaches to Virtualization Protection Unfortunately, using a legacy approach in other words, using an approach that does not include host- based VMware vstorage APIs for Data Protection (VADP) or Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) APIs to protect the virtual machines will often be more than just insufficient. It can actually hinder the production environment. Modernizing a server infrastructure through virtualization is one of the easiest ways to discover the inadequacies of a legacy approach to data protection. Traditional OS- based backup agent technologies (solutions traditionally used on physical servers) typically behave as if their job amounts to copying everything from source to target as quickly as possible. That method of operation is based on an assumption that the physical server is underutilized during non- peak (backup) hours, and therefore, the backup solution should be free to consume as much I/O and CPU as it needs in order to move the data. Unfortunately, virtual machines usually do not have the underutilized CPU and I/O that physical servers do. That s because each VM is sharing resources with the other VMs inside the virtualized host (see Figure 3). Figure 3. Available Compute and Storage I/O for Backups Comparing Physical Servers and Virtualization Hosts The left side of Figure 3 shows the CPU and storage patterns of a physical server, with sporadic spikes in demand but an appreciable amount of available resources. (Again, most physical servers are often significantly underutilized.) The right side shows aggregated resource demands by multiple VMs sharing a single host. This visualization is important when one thinks about the default behavior of a legacy backup agent as it tells production servers, Give me all of your data, as fast as you can, resulting in a high increase in demand for CPU and storage I/O. A physical server usually has those resources to spare; a virtualized host usually doesn t. Moreover, any additional CPU or storage I/O demand on a VM has the potential to negatively affect the underlying host platform and the storage array as well as all other VMs coexisting on the host. It s a challenge, but it represents just one reason why legacy approaches to backup should not be used in most virtualized server environments. Complexity- related Challenges with Legacy Approaches to Virtualization Protection Along with performance challenges come complexity challenges. Optimizing or troubleshooting the backups of a physical server is a relatively straightforward effort because a backup admin can interact directly with that physical

5 5 hardware, OS, storage, and network path. Running the same traditional agent within a virtualized machine is complicated for those very same reasons. In that case, one can neither interact with the VM s hardware (it s a virtual machine, after all) nor definitively isolate the virtualized storage or networking resources supporting the VM. In fact, in some legacy environments, it s difficult even to identify which virtualization host, data store, or software- defined network a newly provisioned VM resides on. To put it another way, the resource abstraction that helps virtualization enable so much agility into a production environment also impairs visibility and reliability complicating IT s efforts to protect those very same resources. (see Figure 4). 2 For these and other reasons, it is imperative that organizations with highly virtualized infrastructures approach data protection with deliberateness and a commitment to investigating modern mechanisms. Figure 4. Challenges with Protecting Highly Virtualized Environments Which of the following would you characterize as challenges for protecang your organizaaon s virtual server environment? Which would you consider to be your organizaaon s primary virtual server data protecaon challenge? (Percent of respondents, N=375) Recoverability of data Validadng backup success Validadng recovery success Idendfying inefficiencies and boklenecks in the backup process Tracking capacity trends and consumpdon Simplified views across virtual infrastructure Understanding the impact of backup operadons on the performance of applicadons sharing physical resources Gaps in protecdon Response dme for troubleshoodng backup failures, policy violadons, etc. Ensuring applicadon consistency Validadng or demonstradng SLA compliance Idendfying factors impacdng the performance of backup operadons Understanding the capacity impact of backup operadons We do not have any challenges with protecdng our virtual server environment Don t know 4% 4% 2% 2% 5% 5% 8% 7% 9% 8% 15% 27% 25% 30% 29% 29% 28% 32% 32% 31% 31% 39% 39% 45% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% Primary virtual server data protecdon challenge All virtual server data protecdon challenges 2 Source: ESG Research Report, 2015 Trends in Protecting Highly Virtualized Environments, to be published.

6 How Virtualization Enables New IT Resiliency Methods After organizations overcome the basic challenges of protecting their highly virtualized environments, they likely will discover that virtualization opens the door to new data protection and IT resiliency options. For example, instead of simply protecting data within a physical server, then having to recreate that server s configuration as part of a recovery effort, the entire configuration, OS, and dataset all can be encapsulated within the VM essentially making the whole virtual server portable. That portability of individual VMs, combined with an additional layer of access via the hypervisor host, enables better backups and new options for snapshotting and replication (see Figure 5). 3 It is imperative that organizations with highly virtualized infrastructures approach data protection with deliberateness and a commitment to investigating modern mechanisms. 6 Figure 5. Myriad Methods of Protecting Virtual Machines What percentage of your producaon virtual machines (VMs) have each of the following protecaon methods being applied to them? How will this change over the next 24 months? (Mean, N=369) Backup agents within each VM to an on- premises server Backup agents within each VM to a cloud- backup service 20% 28% 31% 30% VM/host- based backup using a general purpose backup solware applicadon VM/host- based backup using a VM- specific backup solware applicadon 20% 17% 21% 17% Expected % of producdon VMs in 24 months VM/host- based backup using a cloud- based backup service (BaaS) 1 21% Storage- based snapshots Replicadon via storage array or hypervisor to an alternate host (self- managed) 20% 18% 18% 17% % of producdon VMs today Ability to failover or resume funcdonality at a secondary corporate locadon 1 20% Ability to failover or resume funcdonality from a cloud service provider (DRaaS) 13% 18% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 3 ibid.

7 7 In fact, the flexibility of protecting whole VMs is perhaps appreciated best when the concept is combined with the use of a cloud service to deliver disaster- recovery- as- a- service (DRaaS). When ESG asked IT managers how virtualization had affected their IT environments, their most common response was the enablement of disaster recovery. One- third of the managers reported that the availability of virtual servers had simplified their process for disaster recovery testing. Nearly half of the respondents with a BC/DR plan reported that server virtualization had simplified (33%) and/or increased the frequency of (23%) their disaster recovery testing. 4 Similarly, when ESG asked about how cloud infrastructure servers were being leveraged in 2015, two of the three most- cited responses were backup/recovery and disaster recovery. 5 One Solution to Consider: Axcient As is often the case in IT, transformational shifts in how efforts such as data protection evolve are being driven by startups. They have both the luxury and the impetus to rethink long- time problems and develop new solutions without being burdened by any need to continue selling a portfolio of older, legacy solutions. One such innovator is Axcient. Headquartered in Mountain View, California, Axcient has combined the ease of deployment of an on- premises appliance (physical or virtual) with the storage and compute capabilities of a cloud service to deliver IT resiliency. As shown in Figure 6, they also provide a direct to cloud option for data protection without an appliance. Figure 6. The Axcient Solution Architecture If the convergence of agile VM protection and cloud- based recovery isn t enough, the Axcient Business Recovery Cloud Solution also protects physical servers, laptops, and desktop machines; providing granular or whole- machine recovery from the on- premises appliance or from the cloud service. Perhaps just as notable as the functionality of the solution itself is the cost model that Axcient offers through its partners: It has characteristics that are in stark contrast to the alternative of owning and maintaining a secondary physical- plus- virtual infrastructure. 4 Source: ESG Research Report, Trends for Protecting Highly Virtualized and Private Cloud Environments, June Source: ESG Research Report, 2015 IT Spending Intentions Survey, February 2015.

8 8 Axcient provides a model that is OS- agnostic: It protects physical and virtual servers, Windows, Hyper- V, VMware, XenServer, KVM, and Linux with one solution. This flexibility gives users added portability and help with migrations (i.e., P2P, P2V, V2V, V2P). The Axcient cloud enables organizations to create virtual sandboxes of their servers or portions of their environment to assist with disaster recovery testing (at no charge). Due to the virtual sandbox ability, the organizations also can use Axcient to support test/dev projects. For example, companies have been running a virtual copy of a server in the Axcient cloud, applying the latest Microsoft patch, and seeing how it behaves before deploying anything in production. Unlike some vendors that try to cram too many features into their user interfaces, Axcient follows a philosophy of user- centered design and a self- service model. Axcient s goal is to provide a UI that is so simple to use that IT admins don t have to call support to assist with recovery operations. According to Axcient, its DRaaS approach goes beyond DR as the primary use case. Companies can leverage Axcient for backup, archiving, DR, test/dev, and other efforts. Axcient describes it as a virtual copy of the IT network available in a secondary location but without the exorbitant costs organizations would need to make to build such a virtual copy themselves. These organizations can leverage the Axcient cloud (which is dynamically scalable able to allocate compute power, memory, and storage as needed without restrictions) without having to worry about the physical limitations they d encounter if they d built a redundant infrastructure themselves. This is a key capability for organizations that are trying to use virtualization to build a disaster recovery environment without having to allocate or spend the funds needed to build and maintain that infrastructure. The Bigger Truth Organizations have always sought IT resiliency, even if they previously assumed that BC/DR wasn t viable due to cost or complexity reasons. But as ESG research has shown, BC/DR is among the ten most- cited IT priorities for 2015, as is improved data backup and recovery. 6 Some of the reasons for the emphasis on these priorities are reactionary on the part of IT organizations, whose modern production platforms require more modern approaches to data protection. Other reasons include proactive attempts to leverage new options that are becoming available for protecting IT environments solutions with capabilities and benefits such as: Portability of servers through virtualization, combined with a more flexible overall approach. Economic and agility opportunities/improvements via the use of cloud services. Reduced complexity through appliance form factors. One company to watch, based on how it has embraced the convergence of those three trends, is Axcient. 6 Source: ESG Research Report, 2015 IT Spending Intentions Survey, February 2015.

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