VM backup solutions enable organizations to store important data long-term, and to continue operating in the aftermath of a cyber event that damages pre-existing virtual machine (VM) infrastructure. Virtual machines are digital environments that emulate a separate physical machine. They can run multiple operating systems, are much more flexible than traditional, physical infrastructure, and are more cost effective.
In order to run a virtual machine, physical machines must be configured in a hypervisor. Once configured, you run and manage multiple VMs and roll out changes across them very quickly. This allows for greater flexibility, and modernization of traditional or legacy services.
Virtual machines can take a good deal of the workload off your legacy machines. However, just like their legacy counterparts, virtual machines are vulnerable to cyberattacks. It is, therefore, important that these solutions are protected and backed up to ensure you can continue business operations should one of them be compromised.
VM backup solutions will ensure that your critical data is backed up, then provide quick and effective recovery. This reduces the amount of downtime that your organization must endure and ensures that any changes are logged and accounted for. Many VM backup solutions will also allow you to recover whole VMs if a network event causes them to fail.
In this article, we’ll evaluate the top 10 VM backup solutions. In each case, we’ll give you some background on the provider and highlight the key features of each solution. We will also recommend who will find the solution most valuable.
What Are Virtual Machines (VMs)?
Virtual machines are digital versions of physical or legacy machines. VMs will accurately replicate the functionality of physical machines – they can be programmed to complete all the same tasks – but are easier to manage and have reduced infrastructure costs.
VMs can be replicated and stored, then activated if a system or disaster event prevents you existing machines from running. This can be a quick and efficient way of minimizing network downtime.
What Are The Different Types Of Backup?
While backing up is not a complex idea, there is more to it that you might think. Companies operating in the data protection sector have developed three different types of backup, each with its own benefits.
- Full Backup – This is exactly what it sounds like. A full backup makes a copy of everything on your system and stores it securely. As your data is stored in its entirety, this type of backup is the most time and storage intensive. It is also the most comprehensive.
- Incremental Backup – An incremental backup is a partial backup. Only data that has been changed since the previous incremental backup will be recorded. When used in conjunction with a full backup, organizations will have a complete record of their data. This type of backup is much quicker to perform as the amount of data being recorded is much less. As this type of backup is only partial, it must be used in conjunction with a full backup, or multiple previous incremental backups.
- Differential Backup – These are very similar to incremental backups, except that they record all changed data since the original full backup. While this will be more time consuming and the backup will take up more space than a single incremental backup, it means you only have to deal with two backup copies. This is much easier to manage, whilst providing a comprehensive copy of your data.
How Often Should You Perform Backups?
There is no set rule on how often you should perform backups. You want to find the balance between efficiency and security. The frequency of backups will depend on what sector you work in, the level of risk that you are prepared to take, and even individual job roles. It might be worth asking yourself the value or cost of having to redo tasks if data was lost.
Ultimately, you want to perform backups as frequently as is practically possible. This might mean that you make a full back up each week or each month, then make incremental or differential backups at the end of each day.
You should ensure that backups are configured to run automatically and regularly. This means that you cannot forget to make a backup, thereby leaving yourself exposed to losing a large amount of data.
What Is The 3-2-1 Rule?
The 3-2-1 rule refers to the best practice for storing data securely. It suggests that you should make threeseparate copies of data, stored in two different ways, with one copy being stored offsite. This is by no means the end of the precautions you should take when it comes to protecting your data, but it is a good starting point.