Virtualization is obviously great business for hosting and cloud service providers enabling new capabilities in measuring service levels, provisioning, and high availability. The big surprise has been that the more we use virtualization the more we have storage performance issues.
Virtualization is all about sharing and making the most of hardware resources. Let’s face it we would all like each application to have its own dedicated physical server, but when it comes down to it it’s just a matter of cost and manageability, and all we are trying to do is squeeze as much out of our hardware and floor space as possible.
This all sounds feasible with quad-cores becoming common place, memory perhaps getting exponentially less expensive, and 1 Terabyte SATA drives being found in the bargain bin. The big challenge is that the storage has not really gotten all that much faster in the last two decades.
The way to check-off backups from the list of virtualization storage problems is to use asynchronous-replication type backup software. What asynchronous replication does is drastically reduce the I/O requests involves in a backup operation. Drastically like taking 15 minutes instead of 15 hours. This works by using special device drivers to know ahead of time what parts of your file system or virtual disks have changed since your last scheduled backup operation. By doing this, only the data that actually changed is read form the disk, and the rest is ignored, since on average only a fraction of a virtual machine’s data changes on an hourly or even daily basis. This means very little disk I/O is done during the backup operation.
You can learn more about asynchronous replication products at http://www.r1soft.com