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Microsoft Exchange & SharePoint in the virtual world

Adoption rates of virtual environments are increasing on a daily basis with smaller data centers holding more and more information.  But now that you’ve leapt into the virtual world, are you protecting your data at the application layer along with the virtual machines?

Ensuring you have a process in place to protect your virtual machines and corresponding snapshots is just the first piece of the puzzle.  Having the capability to restore an Exchange or SharePoint database without restoring the entire virtual machine is the second piece.  While you certainly have many product options to choose from, finding the right solution for you can be a daunting prospect.  To add to the complexity, finding a solution that allows you to do this with a single backup is even more challenging.

One possibility not to be overlooked is volume-based snapshots.  Even better, if these snapshots de-duplicated only storing the incremental delta changes, you could ultimately minimize your footprint.  You’re probably thinking if you just took snapshots of the volume, how would you have the ability to restore just a single item or the database in the event of a database failure?  By using conventional methods, the snapshot LUN could be mounted to present data from a specific point in time.  Furthermore, that data could be mounted as a drive, allowing access into the virtual machines to which the databases could be copied for complete database failures.  In the event data is needed for granular recovery, you can use a tool such as Ontrack PowerControls, which provides item-level recovery while the snapshot is mounted and the data is available.

With many options, it is important to investigate a solution that fits within your disaster recovery plan to be sure you’re ready when granular recovery is needed.

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