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How to Backup All You Want Without Consequences

There is usually a compromise involved in backups. Taking backups more frequently usually means more impact to production applications. But you cannot restore a change that you have not backed up. It would be nice to be able to restore any document or database to any point in time, but the reality is that most organizations only do daily backups—usually full backups at the weekend and differential backups each day during the week. These backups contain only the finished state of each day's work, and restoring means losing up to a day's work. Would these businesses benefit from a backup that occurs several times every day? Maybe even several times every hour? The potential for data loss is so much lower if you can backup at will. But backups are a high impact activity, causing heavy disk loads and consuming lots of disk space. Or at least they are if you don't use SimpliVity's hyperconverged infrastructure.

On the SimpliVity platform VM backups are near instantaneous—updating the recent task list in vCenter takes longer than the backup. There is no need for a VMware snapshot on the VM while the backup is taken, so there is no performance impact when the backup completes. There is also no change to the VM's write path through the SimpliVity platform when the backup is taken, so there is no change to the VM's storage performance during the backup or at any time later.

One of the key elements of SimpliVity's backup is the data efficiency of its deduplicated storage for running VMs. Using a purpose built PCIe card, SimpliVity deduplicates data as the VM writes to its disk. This deduplication happens to all VM data, and the data remains deduplicated as long as it is on the SimpliVity platform. Each VM is represented by a pointer into the SimpliVity deduplicated store. The instantaneous backups are made by copying the pointer. Neither the VM data nor the metadata needs to be copied, only the one top level pointer. With instant backups that do not impact performance, you can backup at any time.

The deduplicated store is also very efficient for storing lots of backups—typically, SimpliVity customers see 40:1 capacity savings. Only the new unique data created between each backup needs to be stored, rather than needing to keep every change. Each backup is a full logical copy with no precarious chaining of changes, as happens in incremental backup schemes. Naturally, storing more backups for more VMs will use more space, but with deduplication this increase is minimized. Deduplicated storage allows you to keep far more backups online and instantly available. SimpliVity's HyperGuarantee says that you will be able to restore a 1TB VM from backup in under a minute and that the backups will have at least 10:1 space efficiency.

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Managing lots of backup schedules and backup data can be time-consuming and error-prone. SimpliVity removes these problems by using policies for backup, rather than schedules. Simply define the frequency of the backup, which data center should store the backup, and the number of backups to retain, and the SimpliVity platform takes care of the details. A backup policy can have multiple collections of interval, destination and retention. A VM can have local backups every quarter-hour, retained for two days, in case users accidentally delete files. The same VM can be backed up to a remote data center for DR every two hours, retained for two weeks. The same VM can also be backed up to the public cloud every night and retained for two years to fulfill compliance requirements.

The VM is always running on deduplicated storage—there is no change to storage performance when a backup is taken, or when 200 backups are retained. With your VMs on a SimpliVity platform, you can back up your VMs as often as you want with no performance impact.