Preparing for the Worst: Backup Your Data in Hybrid, Physical, and Virtual Environments

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On the night of January 7, 2014, the temperature in the Washington, D.C. metro area plunged into the single digits, causing a pipe in the headquarters of a nonprofit organization to freeze and burst, flooding the fourth floor. The company’s server room was just below.

As one of the company’s senior IT managers described the scene later, the company’s entire IT infrastructure—including more than 360 virtual machines—was wiped out before his team could respond. Server cabinets and UPS systems were spouting water like decorative fountains when managers arrived early the next morning. As far as data loss scenarios go, it doesn’t get much worse than that.

While the scope of the Washington nonprofit’s IT disaster is an extreme case, many small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) are similarly vulnerable to data loss. Due to limited resources, these businesses often rely on virtual as well as physical servers to gain greater efficiency, speed of server provisioning, and increased uptime. In fact, a recent Acronis/IDC survey found that 61 percent of SMB respondents use virtualization as part of their IT strategy, while almost half—48 percent—use a combination of physical and virtual servers, creating a hybrid server environment.

The challenge is that backing up, managing, and recovering data from virtual servers presents a different challenge than doing so with physical servers. Different environments require different backup technologies, which is one reason many organizations that operate virtual/physical hybrid environments have incomplete backup solutions in place that leave crucial data unprotected.

Some businesses back up only absolutely critical data, assuming that data that isn’t backed up can be rebuilt. Others rely on piecemeal solutions, using different tools for different types of servers. Neither expediency typically offers complete protection and predictability of recovery, leading to increased downtime and potential for lost customers and revenue.

Complete backup protection in a hybrid, virtual or physical environment is best provided by a unified solution, one that can bring a suite of tools and technologies together for seamless management and reporting in one interface, instead of forcing an organization to rely on an ad hoc collection of tools that must be separately administered. As a bonus, a backup solution with unified management is typically more affordable than a collection of separate solutions that may require additional hardware and maintenance.

Acronis Backup solutions, powered by the Acronis AnyData Engine, deliver an all-in-one, complete backup and recovery solution that can be tailored to a specific business component, including servers, virtual machines, business applications, or individual PCs.. You can reliably protect your entire physical, virtual or hybrid infrastructure and applications, managing the protection of data across any environment, in any location through a single, unified management console.

Unfortunately, the Washington nonprofit lacked such a comprehensive solution since the company never imagined a scenario in which everything in its server room would be lost. Restoring functionality was a weeks-long process, with IT professionals working around the clock. Among the lessons learned by the team, which had incomplete protection partly as a result of cost constraints: back up more data.

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