Today, most businesses and non-profit organizations use virtual servers to help reduce IT costs and make server deployment faster and easier. But once you move to a virtualized server architecture, you typically have multiple systems installed on a single physical server that uses a shared storage device which means planning system, application and data protection, recovery and availability is more critical than ever.

Almost every business will agree they have some critical file, application and database systems installed on virtual servers where any unexpected system downtime or data loss significantly affects their sales, services, operations, employee productivity, compliance and even reputation. But based on industry analyst research, many organizations only perform periodic backup for virtual server data protection and don’t deploy any system or application protection at all.

Some do utilize technologies like clustering and data replication provided by the virtualization vendors like VMware, but that typically means these IT organizations are faced with deploying, managing and maintaining two different sets of solutions—one for their virtual servers and one for physical servers. And some virtualization solutions only monitor at the system level and don’t monitor at the application level. Clustering only protects the system and does not address shared storage as a potential single-point-of-failure, so you need a data replication solution too.

Alternatively, some rely on replication and mirroring technologies provided by the application vendors, such as Microsoft in the case of Exchange and SQL server. But then you only get protection for those applications—and the solutions are different for each. And organizations using SAN technology have SAN replication available, but then data stored on DAS and NAS requires a separate solution and SAN replication doesn’t provide any system monitoring and protection. It’s easy to see that all these scenarios leave gaps and can cause additional complexity, effort, training and cost that affect IT budgets and resources.

A Better Solution

There are a number of host-based replication and high availability software solutions that can be used to protect both virtual and physical systems and data—whether they are file servers, or application and database servers—and wherever your data resides (DAS, NAS, SAN). Most support Windows, Linux and UNIX systems and offer centralized deployment, management and reporting across a mixed environment. Using a single solution simplifies the IT infrastructure and reduces training while helping increase IT productivity.

Replication software is typically used to copy systems, applications and data offsite or to the Cloud for disaster recovery purposes. It synchronizes your production virtual machines (VMs) and storage with replica VMs and storage in a continuous (real-time) manner and complements periodic backups. High Availability software delivers the same replication functions and adds system and application monitoring with automatic failover and push-button failback for continuous availability and fast system restoration. High Availability solutions are usually deployed right in the data center along with the production servers, but can be deployed at any remote site, or in the Cloud, to address both business continuity and disaster recovery needs.

And replication and high availability software solutions are also used to more quickly and easily migrate from physical to virtual servers. These solutions replicate the entire physical server system and application to an offline VM that can be brought online manually, or automatically with end-user redirection through push-button failover. This capability allows IT to schedule the migration during normal business hours while minimizing disruption to the work environment, making both IT staff and employees productive and happy.

What’s Holding You Back?

There’s no reason to leave your critical systems, applications and data unprotected—whether they reside on physical or virtual servers, or are located in the data center or remote offices. Why purchase, manage and maintain different solutions when you can have ONE that does it all? Whether you only have a few critical virtual servers, or hundreds of virtual servers distributed across the country or globe, you can centrally deploy, manage and maintain these replication and high availability software solutions to gain the virtual server protection, recovery and availability your organization demands. You will be a hero when you deliver service level agreements that meet and beat your business’s expectations.