Agents and Virtualization in the backup world.

Jun 2010

Agents and Virtualization in the backup world.

Posted by Ashar Baig in Cloud Backup

Agents are usually presented by the vendors as very light consumers of hardware resources (typically 2% over a 24 hour period). This resource utilization is accurate when the agents are sleeping but at peak times the resource utilization of agents can increase to 20-25% of the total system hardware resources. Additionally, a single agent adds as much as 16% server overhead to each application.

Agentless Backup

In physical server environments, there are typically 1-2 agents per physical machine. The same number of agents are required per virtual machine in a virtualized environment. Since a single physical server can be transformed into tens of virtual servers, the result is that there are lots of agents per virtual server host, taking up most, if not all, of the system resources. Moreover, at peak times the system hardware resources are oversubscribed, killing the I/O, rendering the server useless for backing up your critical data seriously impacting your RTO and RPO.

Consequently, backups will need to be scheduled serially extending the backup time windows. The bottom line is agents make data backup and restores difficult.

A virtual environment is the perfect use case for the need of agentless backup and restore – it supports a multitude of applications and platforms without the need of an agent.

Users trying to do backup and recovery should be able to install a backup and recovery solution on physical or virtual machines and have the flexibility to define a physical or virtual machine as a backup target. MSPs should be able to pre-install the client backup software on a virtual machine or a physical machine and ship it to their customers.

Additionally, users should have the flexibility to backup data at the disk level (backing up the entire virtual machine image) or at the application or file level. The ability to backup data at the application or file level enables granularity and is extremely useful when restoring data, saving wide-area bandwidth and storage costs. 


Image Source: Flickr User: jimmyroq

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