I don't need to do an executive summary or even point you to that report which I got from Symantec about how crucial the backup is. Without a robust backup, you could have the best systems in place and the coolest software running under the hood, but your data is as good alive as long as it is running.
With the advent of virtualization, backup is suddenly getting a lot of attention. And rightly so, many of us have seen it happen before our eyes: A backup that could not be recovered! We all have gone through this and looking to your SAN or System Admin in despair is not going to help. Business driven organizations have this very carefully planned and even have drills to check that the backups are really working!
Anyways, if you don't have the power or the capacity to have someone be held accountable for that backup, you could have it done by someone else. That is where the CRC folks come in. So I went ahead and inteviewed the CEO, Robert Gerace, who leads a firm that does it all for you online!
Tarry: Robert, tell me a little bit about CRC.
Robert: We began writing software in 1989 and incorporated in 1993. All of our end users needed computers; so we sold, supported, networked, and upgraded them – which led us to our IT Managed Services division. All of our IT service clients needed some way to back up their systems (and when we converted our desktop software solution to a ‘Software as a Service’ model, we needed bullet-proof backup as well. We decided to do our own backups rather than use a service, and that paved the way for CRC DataProtection. We struggled with backup software providers until we finally decided that Asigra software is worth the investment, and Asigra has been a truly great partner. Our SaaS division is one our Data Protection clients (fully leveraging the Enterprise Class features that Asigra offers); so we understand both sides (client and provider) very well. Today we have over 108,000 end users, and we have 38 employees. In order to maintain that ratio it’s important that we keep problems and defects down to a minimum. So, we deliver our solutions as clustered, N+1, solutions with redundant EMC NS40 back-end storage in two different data centers. We use CISCO IPCC to make our call center as efficient as possible, and to be able to keep our call center to end user ratio low. By driving defects down, we drive costs down, and we are proud to be driving down the cost of data protection.
Tarry: And you support VMware?
Robert: Yes. For Windows and Linux, our client software (DS-Client) backs up virtual machines from the “guest” side, treating them like any other Windows or Linux computer. However, what I’m also very excited about is the ability to backup a virtual machine from the “host” side. A fairly unique solution in the industry, it offers the advantage of an “image” backup, combined with the advantages of the CRC DataProtection Services solution – meaning – incremental backup, common file elimination, off-site backup, AES-256 encryption, local restore, etc.
By host-level backup and restore, I mean the ability to backup the files that make up the virtual machine (i.e. the guest OS is not involved in the backup and restore operation.)
CRC Data Protection Services supports host-level backup and restore of:
- VMWare VI3 (ESX Server 3.x) virtual machines running any operating system.
- VMWare GSX Server 3.1.x virtual machines running any operating system
Of course, there are requirements and limitations; so we always supply consulting to ensure that everything is done correctly.
Tarry: I see. What specific advantages does you solution bring to the table?
- Incremental backup: The initial backup operation saves all the files that make up the virtual machine. Subsequent backups are incremental backups on both the file level (only new or changed files are backed up) and on the block level (only changed or new blocks of data are backed up).
- Agentless architecture: There is no need to install software agents on the ESX/GSX server, or the virtual machines
- The virtual machines can run any operating system supported by VMWare. Their operating systems are not involved in the backup or restore operations.
- Virtual machines can be running, or they can be turned off during the backup operation.
- Multiple generations of virtual machines: Asigra software can be configured to backup multiple generations of a virtual machine.
- Common files elimination: Only one instance of identical files is stored at the remote backup location.
- Compression and encryption of backed up data.
Tarry: What do you offer the skeptic?
Robert: We offer a 30 day trial at no cost. If anyone would like to see the solution in action, please contact us at http://www.crcDataProtection.com. We will install the solution, and run some tests, and require no obligation from the tester.