What Is a Modern Backup & Recovery Solution Anyway?

MAY 29TH, 2019
As a StorageCraft evangelist, I find it worthwhile to download and read competitors’ white papers. This tactic usually gives me a good angle on the strengths and weaknesses of different vendors’ product offerings. Well, very recently I downloaded a “buyer’s guide” type document from another vendor. The buyer’s guide was tailored to the vendor’s own “hyperconverged solution.” Often, when I start reading a document like this, I quickly realize it’s all FUD … sometimes extreme, over-the-top FUD, and I forget all about it shortly after reading. This time, this document, the more I read it … well, the more I wanted to bring it along with me when I speak to partners and customers and evangelize StorageCraft’s ShadowXafe™ and OneXafe™ Converged! The key idea the guide pointed out is that it’s a cumulative set of features that make a backup and recovery solution “modern,” and I totally agree. It’s not just the fact that StorageCraft has never offered “siloed” solutions for physical environments or different hypervisors. Heck, for over a decade I’ve been preaching, “StorageCraft is agnostic to hardware and hypervisor!” … preaching it like it was recorded on an endless 8-track tape loop!
It’s not just that we can replicate to our own Cloud Services solution, which is a DR cloud that offers full orchestration for full site failover, regardless of source hardware or hypervisor. Or that inexpensive public cloud storage is also an option, with replication to, and recovery out of, Azure, AWS, and Dropbox to name a few. Remember discussions around VMware host-based vs. agent-based backups? Not with StorageCraft! Just pick and choose host- or agent-based backup on a per VM basis. Other features of StorageCraft’s ShadowXafe and OneXafe Converged include: Encryption-at-rest, In-flight backup encryption, Scale-out object storage with fixed or variable-length inline deduplication, Access to backup storage via SMB, NFS, or direct-to-object-store, Bare metal restore capability, and more! Yes … one can deem this a feature-rich, check-the-checkboxes dream! But, even with all the above, what really stands out for me as a key differentiator in StorageCraft’s ShadowXafe and OneXafe Converged backup and recovery solutions is how it works within a VMware environment. To explain, here's an example. Let’s say you have a VMware vSphere® infrastructure, and let’s make the following assumptions about that environment:
  • Shared high-availability (HA) storage for the VMware infrastructure
  • Multiple VMware ESXi hosts leveraging Distributed Resource Scheduler™ (DRS) and HA
One feature of this infrastructure is that, with an HA storage configuration, you’re protecting against different types of failures across the storage area network in order not to lose access to the data. Also, more than one storage solution is often in place in this type of environment, thus providing an additional level of storage resiliency further enhanced by VMware’s Storage vMotion® functionality. A second feature is that VMware’s vSphere DRS and HA have provided protection against unplanned catastrophic ESXi host failures and planned ESXi host downtime ever since VMware’s release of VI3 years ago. Now add in StorageCraft’s ShadowXafe or OneXafe Converged, which has a key function called VirtualBoot for VMware vSphere. VirtualBoot allows a new VM to be created in the existing production VMware environment and then immediately booted while the virtual disk of that VM is concurrently filled from the backup repository leveraging the VMware APIs for I/O filtering. So, you have the above VMware vSphere infrastructure with the above-listed three features—the argument can be made that you don’t need “compute resources” or “Tier 1 storage” as found in hyperconverged backup and recovery solutions. With StorageCraft’s ShadowXafe and OneXafe Converged, local recovery from any recovery point (local or remote/cloud) for any machine (physical or virtual) can be booted and used immediately in the production VMware vSphere and HA shared storage environment. There’s no need to purchase additional local compute resources for recovery. There’s no need to purchase additional local Tier 1 storage for recovery. VirtualBoot for VMware vSphere makes StorageCraft’s ShadowXafe and OneXafe Converged a modern and efficient backup and recovery solution. Coming soon for ShadowXafe and OneXafe Converged … VirtualBoot for Hyper-V. Yes, the same boot-and-use functionality as our VMware vSphere version. Game on.

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