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What is Instant Virtualization?

It may still be a somewhat esoteric or foreign concept to some of you out there looking for new ways to protect and backup data. But, instant virtualization is something you should familiarize yourself with. One of the primary methods of instant virtualization – VMDK – is described in this article, along with what our instant virtualization technology can do to keep your sensitive business data safely backed-up continuously.

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How Can It Put You Light Years Ahead in Data Backup?

It may still be a somewhat esoteric or foreign concept to some of you out there looking for new ways to protect and backup data. But, instant virtualization is something you should familiarize yourself with. One of the primary methods of instant virtualization – VMDK – is described in this article, along with what our instant virtualization technology can do to keep your sensitive business data safely backed-up continuously.

What is VMDK?

The VMDK file extension is associated with the Virtual Machine Disk (VMDK) format specification used with VMware virtual machine files.

Non-virtualized computers load and execute hundreds or thousands of individual files, including operating-system kernel files, device drivers, application components and data files. Virtualization abstracts the software from the underlying hardware and puts all the constituent data for a given virtual machine (VM) in a single disk file. The disk file is essentially a complete and independent virtual machine.

A disk file with the VMDK extension is a virtual machine using VMware virtualization products or other platforms that support VMDK files such as Sun XVM, QEMU, or VirtualBox.

The VMDK file format competes with the Microsoft Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) format used with Virtual Server and Hyper-V hypervisors.

VMDK was originally developed by VMware but is now an open file format, competes with the Microsoft Virtual Hard Drive (VHD) disk format and the two are not directly compatible. Third-party tools, such as the VMDK to VHD Converter, exist to aid in the conversion process.

VMDK is one of the disk formats used in the Open Virtualization Format for virtual appliances.

The maximum VMDK size is generally 2TB for most applications, but in September 2013, VMware vSphere 5.5 introduced 62TB VMDK capacity.

Products that use the VMDK format as the native file format include:

Third-party products with VMDK support include:

  • Parallels Desktop: Version 10 supports VMDK format
  • Sun xVM: natively supports VMDK format
  • QEMU: natively supports VMDK format and provides the qemu-img utility to convert VMDK images to a number of different formats
  • VirtualBox (part of the Oracle VM suite) also supports VMDK files
  • SUSE Studio: builds virtual appliances using the VMDK format, among others
  • Norton GHOST: Hard drive imaging software
  • ILookIX: Computer forensic examination suite
  • Paragon Software Group Hard Disk Manager: P2V migration, backup & restore

Why We Use Datto Instant Virtualization

Datto Instant Virtualization allows a protected system to be virtualized and hosted either locally on a Datto BDR appliance (SIRIS), or remotely in the secure Datto Cloud (SIRIS and ALTO) in seconds. Regardless if the recovery point is months or even years old, Datto’s DRaaS solutions end the long RTOs caused by reconstructing backups on disk or restoring from magnetic tape.

When virtualizing a recovery point, Datto’s advanced web interface allows for configuration of CPU and memory resources. Network resources can also be configured dynamically, allowing for changes to be made without restarting the virtual machine. While virtualized, backup clients can continue a normal backup schedule. Business continuity has never been as easy or as reliable.

Datto Instant Virtualization via TekTonic and our dedicated IT crew allows backups of on-prem servers to be virtualized and started either locally on the Datto appliance or remotely in Datto’s secure cloud, in mere seconds.

The advanced web interface allows for configuration of CPU and memory resources. Network resources can also be configured dynamically, allowing for changes to be made without restarting the virtual machine. Even while virtualized, systems can continue a normal backup schedule to both the Datto appliance and Datto’s secure cloud. Business continuity has never been as easy or as reliable.

Six-second recovery

The advantages of Instant Virtualization are many. Should a business experience server failure or the like, its systems may be virtualized instantly to the Datto device or the secure Datto cloud, to avoid data loss. With the systems now virtualized in the Cloud, the business may operate “business as usual” and have the time and resources to fix its server issue without compromising any data or incurring any downtime.

The key enablers to Datto’s six-second recovery are the “Copy-on-write” snapshots provided by Datto’s advanced storage technology, and the fully-constructed dependency-free recovery points made available with Datto’s Inverse Chain Technology. Together, a Datto BDR can instantly virtualize any protected server (physical or virtual) without destructively messing with a backup dependency chain.

One of the reasons TekTonic selected Datto was that the six-second recovery is unique to Datto, and a significant differentiator from competitive recovery products which consume minutes to hours to reconstruct a machine form a backup chain before running a virtualized server.

Datto’s Instant Virtualization provides our Toronto business clients with:

  • True local Virtualization: Run virtual machines directly on the Datto appliance, simplifying restore scenarios for businesses and MSPs.
  • Protect and virtualize anything, restore anywhere: Instantly virtualize anything that can be protected (physical systems and virtual – either with agents, or with agentless backups), virtualize physical with virtual BDR, or even virtual with a physical BDR.
  • Hybrid virtualization: Virtualize and spin up any recovery point in seconds – even from long-term retention (archive).
  • Physical server restores, before repair: Now backup data is immediately accessible for restore by physical servers, even before replacement disks arrive in the mail.

True Local Virtualization

Datto has more recovery and restarts options than any other DRaaS solution, including iSCSI restore, but IT service providers demand optimal scalability and simplicity. For DRaaS that provides “instant” recovery at the fleet level, nothing matches the simplicity and value of an on-premises BDR appliance to run applications in-place, on the BDR, using its native hypervisor.

Datto SIRIS BDR appliances offer the most powerful, simple, and efficient local virtualization available.

All Datto SIRIS appliances use the KVM hypervisor. But there is much more to supporting local virtualization successfully than simply adding an enterprise-class hypervisor to a backup appliance.

True local virtualization on Datto SIRIS BDR appliances offers:

  • Linux and Windows support – The largest selection of supported OSes available.
  • The fastest restarts – Using ZFS to clone any recovery point in milliseconds – and only seconds to spin up.
  • Storage efficiency – Reducing CPU and I/O load on backup servers and storage – only a single copy provides backup and space for instant virtualization.
  • Sandbox testing – With no additional load on production systems, the same automated validation of backups with Screenshot Backup Verification.
  • More restore points – Local virtualization of any recovery point on the BDR, not just the latest.

Learn More About What VMDK and Instant Virtualization Can Do for Your Data Backup Prospects

Speak with one of our Toronto IT support experts at (416) 256-9928 or email us at sales@tek-help.com for more information on TekTonic’s instant virtualization data backup capabilities.

Date: December 12th, 2017, Author: Jorge Rojas

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