VMware Data Management Using Actifio – Backup, Recovery, Business Continuity & More

Actifio provides the most efficient solution for comprehensive data management of your VMware virtual machines. Whether you need a better way to backup VMs, are seeking a means to restore VMware servers instantly, or simply need  more efficient VMware data management, Actifio can help.

Actifio copy data storage is the most effective platform for VMware data management. Actifio eliminates excess copies, shrinks the storage footprint, reduces the amount of data moving around your network, and reduces the burden on your VMware ESX servers. We do this through our virtual data pipeline that virtualizes the core primitives of data management: copy, store, move and restore.

Actifio integrates deeply with VMware’s vSphere and the vCenter management server, with direct access through the VMware vStorage APIs. In order to ease setup, Actifio performs an automatic discovery of  guests, applications, volumes and file systems. VMware specific environments are discovered by querying vCenter for a list of ESX servers and the VM’s running on those servers. Once discovered, Actifio will communicate directly with the vCenter management server to initiate data collection by taking a VMware snapshot of a virtual machine. Actifio uses snapshots with change-block-tracking (CBT) technology to instantly capture application-consistent copies of data. This enables Actifio to capture changes from the production environment, in the most space-efficient manner, while delivering a true incremental-forever architecture. VMware VM snapshots provide Actifio with an application consistent view of the blocks on the virtual disk(s) inside of a VM.

Newly imported data is de-duplicated across all physical and virtual servers managed by Actifio’s copy data storage and are compressed prior to being written to disk. A critical differentiator and driver of savings, Actifio storage replication does not require storage array vendor licenses as data is sent from one Actifio system to another. Replication is heterogeneous, from any supported array to any supported array (Tier 1 to Tier 2 and/or Vendor A to Vendor B).  Actifio supports Sync and Async replication, fully integrated with VMware vCenter Site Recovery ManagerTM, as well as patented DeDup Async and DeDup Backup replication.

For data recovery and access, Actifio is an intelligent storage subsystem that can instantly create a consistent “view” of the application data from a past point in time, and allow applications to access it instantly via Fibre Channel or iSCSI connectivity, just as if accessing a traditional storage system. Virtual copies of any data set can be used for file/folder level data recovery, for test and development, or for full VM instant recovery. Actifio can mount one or more of the virtual disks within a point-in-time copy of a VM to a physical host, an existing VM, or a new VM it creates on-the-fly.  Virtual server or physical server data sets can also be copied from any application-consistent point in the system to restore a copy in a separate storage location anywhere in the customer environment.

To learn more about how Actifio works with VMware virtual machines, please download our whitepaper: Redefining VMware Data Management with Actifio.

Benefits of Actifio Copy Data Storage for VMware Data Protection and Management:

  • Offloads from production ESX servers not only the storage of copy data but also the related processing such as deduplication, compression, and replication, using dedicated resources.
  • A turnkey solution that does not require any additional VMs, ESX server resources, or other hardware resources from the customer’s production environment.
  • Utilizes efficient block level protocols such as Fibre Channel and iSCSI, on dedicated, highly available enterprise class hardware for fast and performant data access.
  • No agents deployed within your virtual machines, unless log truncation is required.
  • Minimal backup window – data is captured in native format, using snapshots and not backups.
  • Incremental forever – after the initial copy, all backups are incremental (no more “fulls”).
  • Store snapshots on any storage and reclaim expensive tier-1 production storage from copy data overhead.
  • Avoid pitfalls of VMware snapshots – changes are removed from expensive tier 1 storage and snapshots are removed after copy so as not to affect performance of production ESX servers.
  • Incremental backups are deduped and compressed to optimize long-term storage, while not sacrificing access or recovery time.
  • Offsite backups are replicated via an SSL encrypted protocol, which can be replicated to a secondary site, or Actifio enabled Service Provider.