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Protecting Your Business’s Data in the HCI Age

  • 6 February 2019
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Protecting Your Business’s Data in the HCI Age
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This post was authored by Devon Helms, Nutanix Senior Product Marketing Manager

Moving from legacy (or heritage) systems to hyper-converged brings with it an array of advantages, including speed, simplicity, and operational efficiencies. Perhaps the biggest benefit is that modern infrastructure provided by HCI enables organizations to deal with the new realities of business.

In the new business reality, performance needs change rapidly and require infrastructure to be dynamic enough to adapt to the changing needs. Administrators are expected to manage and protect an ever-growing amount of data and need simplicity and automation to handle the task. And the adoption of cloud requires the lines between on-prem and remote to be blurred. Legacy systems are simply not designed to cope with today’s high-performance requirements, with disparate compute and storage resources (often scattered over multiple sites and across clouds) creating layers that impact reliability - particularly in business-critical applications.

But if you run a business, none of this matters unless there is a provable, tangible business case to move over to HCI - after all, any migration of infrastructure is bound to involve a certain amount of disruption, inconvenience, and cost. So why put yourself through that?

In a recent blog post, Nutanix VP of Engineering Vishal Sinha discussed the importance of data protection strategies. While Vishal’s focus was on protection of file data, we think his comments were applicable across the datacenter particularly in light of the modern business challenges.

Vishal reminded us that there are three key types of events that can occur which result in data loss and require protection and recovery.

Three types of data
  • Application data- the use of this data type requires high performance. Block or volume level access provides the access needed to achieve the performance goals for the application. In addition, providing consistency groups or volume groups allows for data sets to be aligned to the application of a set of applications across volumes. Data protection of volume groupsis imperative when protecting the application data.
  • Unstructured file data- Unstructured data often found in distributed files systems provides an optimal way to provide rapid ways to provide access for data mining, used data, and statistical data analysis. A modernized protection of distributed files would provide a way to identify any change files then track the the changes appropriately. By doing so, this modernized approach provides optimal data protection of file systems.
  • Big Data - refer to data sets that are too large or complex for traditional data processing environments. What qualifies as being "big data" varies depending on the capabilities of the users and their tools, and expanding capabilities make big data a moving target. Big data offers several advantages over the traditional scale-out approach. One main advantage is density. Object stores use erasure coding to protect your data. By leveraging object storage as a data protection target, the cost for long term archival and retention significantly is reduce, but data is optimized for the life cycle of protection.

Three threats to any datacenter

When discussing data protection it’s important to acknowledge the kinds of threats under consideration. There are three key threats that we think about when protecting data.
  • System failure - Whether it's a natural disaster or a bad disk, system failure continues to be a threat to data centers. But the advent of share-nothing redundant systems to prevent hardware failure from causing downtime and multi-site replication to rapidly recover from geographic events such as natural disasters have made these threats manageable.
  • Human error - Accidental deletions and careless errors are one of the most common and most costly type of threat. And because the data in question is often production or actively used data, the recovery time objective is particularly high. In these cases, going to backup takes too long and data is often too old to be useful. Smart IT managers turn to snapshots or point in time recovery tools that restore a copy of data that is often only a few minutes old. And control can often be given to the end user, you know, the one who deleted the data in the first place.
  • Bad actors - These might be people with malicious intent or they might be applications with damaging payloads. In these cases, recovery alone isn’t sufficient. The destructive activity can often be disguised or hidden. The ability to analyse the data for potential threats that can then be remediated, repaired or recovered are critical.

Snapshot, Replicate, Backup Data Protection

Providing a modernized, or next-generation approach to HCI backup leverages the platform and integrates into how the overall infrastructure should be used. By leveraging the HCI platform, legacy issue essentially are removed. Historically, there was a tolerance to some of the limitations such as when virtual machines became unresponsive due to what’s known as VM stun. A next generation approach to this would be to leverage the HCI plaform’s integrated features such as the storage level snapshots. By doing so, this eliminated the VM stun issue from the AHV and ESX virtual machines.

A one stop shop for data protection and availability simplifies management so that anyone can do it. By leveraging purpose-built for Nutanix backup and recovery, HYCU protects the inherent simplicity of an HCI eliminating the need for legacy, bolt-on backup and recovery products and delivering intelligent “one touch” application data protection deployed in minutes.

For some of you, this post may have created more questions than it answered but the good news is that you can learn more in our upcoming webinar with Hycu where we will deep dive on the best ways to protect and recover all of your data from a single pane of glass.

Data Protection in your HCI Should be Simple. See Why!

👉 Reserve your webinar spot today!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and not those of Nutanix, Inc. or any of its other employees or affiliates. This blog may contain links to external websites that are not part of Nutanix.com. Nutanix does not control these sites and disclaims all responsibility for the content or accuracy of any external site. Our decision to link to an external site should not be considered an endorsement of any content on such site.

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