Why should I even backup my VDI environments?

by SEP Blog Team | Backup Software, Citrix Backup, Citrix XenServer Backup, Citrix VDI, Citrix Hypervisor Backup

We are asked this question often and I think it’s time to address this topic. You may think that everything there is to be said about backups and disaster recovery has already been said; however, it is a process that people seem reluctant to change because of a myth that disaster recovery is a huge project with many facets that have to be addressed. Therefore, other projects related to security and compliance take immediate priority, but backup should not be overlooked. What happens when disaster strikes? Someone accidentally deletes a directory, a post office or a disk drive, the infrastructure may be compromised or a natural disaster wipes out a data center? What happens when the master image is corrupted, or multiple drives fail requiring a rebuild of the environment, including the desktop delivery database or your active directory? Loss happens, be it fire, flood, theft, employee sabotage, system crash or simply human error. With today's virtualization technologies, IT professionals have other options besides bare metal restores, or a complete rebuild and reconfigure. Not having a proper backup can cause systems and users to be down for days or weeks, when the technology exists to recover these systems in minutes or hours.

When you talk about your data and supply chain, you're talking about your business. Business continuity and disaster recovery planning is critical to making sure the process does not stop. The untimely loss of a critical server or file for even a few hours can be extremely costly.

Many companies do not even have a rudimentary backup and disaster recovery plan in place; even for their physical hardware, let alone for their virtual environment and in today’s world that is just not smart. With software tools available today, simple Backup and Disaster Recovery plans can be implemented in hours, not the days or weeks required in the past. Technologies are available now that are much faster and easier to put in place compared to older backup and DR technologies. SEP Software is the most optimized and complete solution available in the market today, offering seamless connectivity to both physical and virtual environments for almost every O/S and database in use today. A server setup is accomplished in minutes and backups can be performed from the servers and clients within the data network and written to SAN, attached disk, tape library or a NAS device or any combination. LAN free backups are possible by backing up and writing data directly to the SAN freeing up bandwidth for business critical tasks. It's easy to isolate traffic and configure backups to remote sites without flooding the WAN.

In a Citirix XenDestop environment, you have several critical components that you need to make sure you backup. Here are some best practices that you can start with. On the Citrix Desktop Delivery Controller you have an SQL database that contains critical information you do not want to lose – back this up. You should also backup the file system and system state of the server. The Citrix license server will have the critical information that can be backed up with the file system and system state backup. The provisioning server has another critical SQL database and the gold image. Then, of course, you have Active Directory groups, users and policies. The Xen & Now package by SEP will talk to the Xen environment and it can backup the hosts, guests, metadata, and templates.

SEP offers both “hot” and “warm” backups for Citrix XenServers. The warm backup also records the memory state, a function unique to SEP Software. The memory state will allow it to maintain ACTIVATION information, saving time when a restore is needed. Most restores change the MAC address and basic config information that overwrites your activation key requiring you to re-activate your license for that server. SEP fixes that! That's how a backup and restore should work, because when you're in a disaster situation and you're trying to restore your server you want it to come back exactly as it was before it went down. We don't use agents so all you have to do is enter your authentication into the master server and it will automatically find and populate all of the VM guests. Pretty cool feature!

SEP is an enterprise solution that can be used for more than just your Citrix environment. SEP Software offers outstanding backup options for heterogeneous environments, including VMware, Citrix, Microsoft Hyper-V, Windows, SQL, Novell, Oracle, SAP and much more. In order to stay at the leading edge of technology a company must consistently push the limits of performance, innovation and product features. SEP has a proven record of providing those features quickly, while providing an extremely robust and reliable solution.