As virtual storage options have matured, they have begun to encounter many of the same problems as those faced by their physical storage predecessors. One of the most important of these problems is the one presented by the need to backup data on a regular basis. A company that does not have access to a reliable backup solution in its virtual server may find itself in need of expensive recovery services.
Traditional VPS backups can result in a number of problems, most notably the fact that virtual backup can impact server performance. Multiple machines backed up on the same server have caused many companies to experience a slowdown in processes and hypervisors are often unable to properly communicate that a backup was going on, leading to unsaved data.
A number of new methods have emerged for dealing with the backup problem, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Offline backup, while it may seem like a step backward, can be a viable way for a company that has just moved to a virtual server system to protect their data. Traditional storage methods are familiar, but may impact performance of virtual servers on a recurring basis.
Snapshots – both console and array-based -allow for quick images of data to be captured and sent to a disk or tape for long-term storage and backup. Array-based snapshots are extremely efficient, especially for those companies that may not have the latest hypervisor technology, but can be expensive.
Replication is an option many companies consider, but what it allows for in ease it loses in the fact that system faults will be replicated along with good data, corrupting the backup.
While backup options have no clear winner, a solution that maximizes server performance and stability is essential.