The Next Big Thing in Virtualization: Data

The first VMworld gathering in 2004 drew 1600 participants. Not a particularly big deal. Didn’t even have a rock band. It was a gathering of curious IT geeks wanting to understand this budding notion of server virtualization better. Not a lot of notice either — until EMC’s acquisition of VMware that same year. Still, there were plenty of “show me” virtualization skeptics, and it took some time for the change magnitude to register. But register it did. Conference attendance doubled in each of the next few years and this year is expected to exceed 23,000. A big deal.

By the time we established Actifio in 2009, VMware had proven the value and viability of virtualization. It became our mission to add data virtualization into the mix; to become additive; to assimilate. To that end, we have continuously advanced the close relationship and integration between compute virtualization and data virtualization. We’ve developed robust capabilities to deliver data virtualization solutions that dramatically advance accelerated application development, enterprise cloud, and business resiliency. To give a sense of just how broad adoption has become beyond our many individual customers, there are now over 50 Service Providers taking advantage Actifio in support of their ESXi cloud offerings.

VMware, Actifio & DevOps

One point of pride for us is the growing number of clients who have combined their VMware and Actifio implementations to help build higher quality applications faster. They’ve recognized how data virtualization integrates, simplifies and accelerates DevOps functions. And they get another significant benefit by reducing expenses. By some estimates, the costs of application development and support eat up a third or more of typical IT budgets – inefficiently creating, rolling out, sustaining and retiring applications. Actifio, combined with VMware, helps to cut costs dramatically costs while developing apps faster. One insurance company saved $100k on storage, but their more important savings is in data provisioning that’s 73% faster. Progress is measured in minutes, not days, and the big payback for development teams is time.

Julian Wood, a respected VMware consultant, and blogger reinforces the Actifio DevOps value point. Julian attended a recent Actifio Tech Field Day and, unsolicited, posted a blog on his views of Actifio and DevOps.

Actifio and VMware Integration

Just as VMware regularly adds new capabilities, Actifio continues to broaden our data virtualization functionality, including deeper VMware integration. Here are just a few examples:

virtualization_imgActifio extends the value of VMware vSphere through Copy Data Virtualization. It applies for
Application Development & Testing, Data Protection, Disaster Recovery, Business Continuity, Enterprise Hybrid Cloud

By introducing virtualization into data management, Actifio delivers an application-centric, SLA-driven solution that decouples the management of data from storage, network and server infrastructure. It’s a solution that applies to many different applications and environments. (Figure 1)

To achieve ultimate efficiency, the Actifio Virtual Data Pipeline platforms Actifio CDS, and its virtual counterpart Actifio Sky, both integrate deeply with VMware vSphere. These integrations include vCenter APIs, VMware APIs for Data Protection, Change Block Tracking, and VMware vSAN. Actifio also provides the flexibility to choose any vendor’s storage for virtualized data which maximizes flexibility to repurpose storage and lower costs.

vSphere Web Client Plugin—is a tool for those VMware Administrators that prefer to manage their infrastructure through VMware vCenter or the vSphere Web Client. Actifio provides a plugin that gives the ability now to manage virtualized copy data from VMware’s management platforms.

vSAN—VMware Virtual SAN is the software-defined storage solution for the VMware datacenter that enables storage and compute to run on the same physical host. Actifio Sky can integrate directly with vSAN eliminating the need for external copy data storage. That makes it easy to move virtual machines or VM data between locations with heterogeneous storage environment or even move, store or retire applications between clouds.

Resiliency Director—Actifio Resiliency Director (ARD) orchestrates compute, network, and data at an enterprise disaster recovery site or a cloud service provider to provide a complete solution for non-disruptive, automated recovery and test. Multi-tenant functionality delivers complete resiliency in the cloud and enables enterprises to restore critical business functionality faster and with less expense than previously possible.

Here’s a great video from our recent Tech Field Day where you can see Brylan Achilles and Chandra Reddy of Actifio get into the details.

VmwareTM vStorage APIs—Actifio fully integrates with VMware vSphereTM and the vSphere Web using VMware snapshots and a feature of VMware’s vStorage APIs for Data Protection (VADP) called Changed Block TrackingTM (CBT). VMware-specific environments are discovered by querying VMware vCenter for a list of ESX servers and the VM’s running on those servers. Combined with CBT, Actifio VDP transports only blocks that have changed since the last data refresh. Changes are captured from the production environment non-disruptively, with speed and efficiency.

Fingerprinting for Data Integrity Validation Actifio has developed patent-pending “Fingerprint” technology to ensure confidence in backup integrity and provide the certainty that any data backed up can be restored without errors, particularly in VMware environments.

At first touch, a data fingerprint is computed. When a backup completes, the fingerprint is verified. Fingerprinting will detect corruptions that affect 0.1% of contiguous data anywhere within the backed up object – or a megabyte of garbage in a gigabyte of data. It immediately flags common situations where a bug in the software, a bad configuration or disk corruption results in the loss of backup integrity.

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These are only a sampling of integration points between VMware and Actifio. And they will continue to grow. In the meantime, let us know if you have questions. And if you are going to VMworld 2016, stop by to say hello.

Watch the in-depth Tech Field Day videos here:

https://www.actifio.com/company/blog/post/tech-field-day-11/

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