Perhaps the most discussed aspect of backup storage today is virtualization. This is not really surprising as a number of new virtualization technologies have come into the market bringing in its wake an awareness of cost benefits of virtualizing storage and reducing IT infrastructure investments.

Backup storage virtualization can be defined as a process of pooling of physical storage from multiple network storage devices into a single logical storage device that is managed form a central console. Backup, archiving and recovery are easily handled while the complexity of the SAN is hidden from the administrator behind a management interface. The virtualized storage can be achieved using hardware and software hybrid appliances and the technology can be placed on different levels of the storage area network.

The benefits of virtualized backup storage are many.

Backup Storage virtualization creates location independence for backup and storage of data. A logical space for data storage is presented to the user and the system has the capability of mapping data to an actual physical location. The granularity of implementation is only limited by the capabilities of the device used. Typically the granularity may range from a single physical disk to a subset of the physical disk at the storage location. If the storage is block based, a logical unit identifier will map the address space and present a logical unit on one of the storage controllers.

A consistent view of all the mapping information on the virtualized backup storage will be available in a mapping table in form of Meta data. This Meta data is used to redirect the I/O requests and receive the incoming I/O request containing the information about the location of the data on the logical disk. This is then translated into a new I/O request and sent to the physical disk location for servicing.

Virtualization also allows for multi vendor backup storage devices to be used for data backup and storage. Of course, this needs to be in sync with the implementation support matrix.

Virtualized backup storage also supports appliances for replication services. The service is often implemented above the software or device that is performing the virtualization to create a true and consistent image of the logical disk or vdisk. While this limits the scope of some implementations, remote data replication for disaster recovery and point in time snapshots to copy or clone data for diverse uses becomes possible.

The logical backup storage can be created from storage pools of physical storage resources and more storage resources of a heterogeneous nature can be added as and when needed to scale up the virtual space. This creates a transparency that can be advantageous to the application process.

A common disk manager for the virtualized backup storage environment can provide a central console for managing volumes on logical disks. The enhanced features include thin provisioning for maximizing storage utilization and disk expansion and shrinking. Virtualized backup environments also allow a back-out procedure with data migration services that may be time consuming but wholly possible.

In short, the perceived benefits of virtualized backup storage are non disruptive data migration, improved utilization increased by virtue of pooling, migration and thin provisioning, fewer points of management and mitigation of risks associated with data storage.

SecurStore provides a bespoke offsite backup solutioncatered for customers who have both mission-critical data and non-critical data i.e. it provides customers with a secure & efficient backup and recovery solution which is sustainable over time. This coupled with agentless technology and advanced support for all environments and applications makes it suitable for any type of business, data centre provider or reseller.