SMB Backup in a Virtualized Environment

By Dan Nadir (Profile)
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Friday, February 15th 2013
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Imagine that you have worked hard and saved your money for years to buy your first car. You carefully research the model you want, wait to find the right deal, and then go out to the dealer to make the purchase. You bring home the car, but the next morning you can’t find the keys. You put all that work into getting a car, and now you can’t even drive it.

We are producing more information than at any time in history, and this information is defining the business world. This makes a significant difference for SMBs, who are taking advantage of this data to compete with larger organizations in a global market. From analyzing customer behavior to detailed threat assessment information, SMBs have more tools than ever to make an impact on the market. They are now able to effectively scale their businesses to serve customers all around the world, and without needing a presence in a large number of locations.

One of the most important tools making this possible is virtualization. As businesses outgrow one or two servers, virtualization gives them the power to do more with less by consolidating resources into a central pool that can easily be expanded to meet the company’s needs moment to moment. Virtual machines are also changing IT, allowing businesses to centralize control over endpoints, manage images and keep software up to date with minimal effort. Virtualization reduces maintenance costs and increases agility.

Missing the Key

The key to making all of this work, however, is availability. If your information or critical applications disappear, your business is like that new car sitting in your driveway. For smaller businesses in particular, one serious outage can be the end. Knowing this, many SMBs consider important needs like endpoint and network protection and they take care to deploy security solutions like antivirus software and firewalls. But there’s one important question they often fail to address: What if? What if a virus does get through, or an employee accidentally deletes crucial information? What if your office is burglarized, or equipment is damaged in a natural disaster like a flood or earthquake? That’s where one more area of critical protection comes in, one that is far too often neglected: backup.

Backup has always been a challenge for the small business owner, and it’s often an unpleasant subject to consider. For one thing, it has traditionally been considered a fairly complex process and not all SMBs employ dedicated IT staff. And when the owner does have the technical know-how, it still always seems to be relegated to the bottom of the to-do list below the administrative, HR and financial tasks necessary to keep the business running from day to day.