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Recovery slows for storage shops

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Managing storage for virtual servers

Virtualized server backup

Server virtualization might’ve made life

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easier for systems jockeys, but storage teams haven’t been so lucky. As server virtualization continues to rise, storage managers are learning how to adapt to and cope with the new environment. FC (34%) is still the storage of choice for virtual machines (VMs), but the number is much lower than those of the last four years, when it hovered around 50%. iSCSI (21%) and NAS (14%) have picked up some of the slack as companies found those protocols provided adequate performance for most VMs.

Backup has been a particular headache for storage managers coping with virtual machines. Twenty-nine percent still use traditional backup methods, with a backup client installed in each VM. That number has dropped from 43% a couple of years ago as backup administrators employ alternatives such as using specialized VM options in their backup software (11%), backing up the physical server (11%) and VM-specific products (7%). Twenty percent are holding out and still using VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB) despite its being effectively shelved by VMware.

Key statistic

63% say their companies are using more storage with VMs than they did before.

By the numbers

  • Eighteen percent say that with VMs they find they’re backing up too much data.
  • For 14%, VM backup is still too complicated.
  • Eleven percent say they’ve had to deploy more disk to accommodate their VMs.
  • More than a third (36%) say “no problem” when it comes to VM backup.

Shops trying new backup approaches

End-user device backup

For most shops, backup is still Job No. 1 and Headache No. 1 for a lot of them. Apparently, cutting tape is one method companies are using to streamline backup operations. Thirty-four percent say they’ll reduce their use of tape in 2012, about the same as we’ve seen the last two years. But only 15% say they’ll increase tape usage, which is the lowest number we’ve ever seen. Still, tape hasn’t left the arena just yet, as 64% say they spin off some or all backup data to tape.

On the flip side, a healthy 44% of those surveyed will increase their spending for disk-to-disk (D2D) products, with another 40% planning to spend at 2011 levels. Currently, using disk as a file system target for backups is the most popular D2D method (44%), and 27% are using data deduplication in their backup schemes. Cloud backup is also starting to play a bigger role, with 31% backing up at least some data to the cloud. Those still loathe to use cloud backup cite reluctance to send data into a public cloud (30%) and an effective current backup setup as the top reasons for eschewing cloud backup.

Key statistic

BYOD Alert! 21% back up tablets, 18% back up smartphones

By the numbers

  • CDP may be on the rise, with 32% saying they’ll increase CDP spending in 2012.
  • Forty-six percent -- the highest we’ve ever seen -- plan to increase backup dedupe spending.
  • With an average of 90 slots, tape libraries are getting smaller, but 35% plan to purchase at least one library in 2012.
  • Cloud backup users have an average of 12 TB of backup data in the cloud; 93% plan to increase or maintain spending levels this year.

This was first published in May 2012

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