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Apr 28 2020

Keep your data safe! Bring your data protection up to date in a hyper-converged infrastructure

Typically consisting of clustered building blocks with integrated network, storage and computing functions, hyper-converged infrastructures are the rising star in modern data centers. The hypervisor support for HCI often comes with data protection functionalities built in, however, the focus with that is on data replication rather than traditional backup and recovery, resulting in inadequate lifecycle management. These can carry risks of potential data loss by data corruption, deletion or if a disaster occurs. Below is the first blog of our series, which we hope will help you to protect your company’s crucial data.


Today’s digital growth is generating increasing storage requirements in terms of speed, and faster and greater scalability. One of the areas where this change is having a big and rapid impact is the hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), with enterprises adopting the platform to support an expanding range of workloads.

The broad spread of business-critical applications and services makes data protection for HCI more important than ever, and since no IT system exists in isolation, a question arises:  with the huge HCI’s evolution, how well has data protection (DP) kept up with this growth – is it sufficient to protect your business requirements? In the vast majority of cases it is not, and additional tools will most certainly be required.

Not only the volume of data and the velocity of change are stressing data protection systems. As hybrid IT becomes an everyday reality, it is also the wide range of physical locations where data is now routinely created and stored:


 HCI’s native DP capabilities

Most HCI DP solutions include functionalities such as automated data replication and snapshots – while useful, it is rarely sufficient to meet enterprise data protection needs in today’s world.

Replication can inadvertently propagate corrupt data and inadvertent deletions, and local replication does not provide a logical ‘air-gap’. With ransomware still a major threat, it is essential to have copies of data separated by an access cut-off, or air-gap.

While in-built data protection and management tools can be sophisticated, they typically replicate the data onto the same platform, carrying a significant risk of data loss if an entire rack, or possibly even a data center, should fail. Also, the data recovery solution is far from ideal when, for example, an entire VM must be recovered in order to recover just a small subset of its data.


Added data protection functionality

For most, if not all workloads, it will make sense to supplement the native facilities inherent in HCI systems with modern data protection, backup and archive functionality.

A modern approach also allows data protection of HCI systems to be integrated with existing management tools, avoiding the creation of another data protection silo. But what does such a system need to deliver?



Given that HCI is founded on the concept of simplicity, the challenge is to deliver data protection without adding complexity. One option that has the backing of several established HCI platform providers working with data protection software vendors is the dedicated backup appliance. An outline of this approach can be found in the paper ‘Data Protection and Management in a Box’.

Such solutions can provide the latest data protection capabilities, including state-of-the-art backup, recovery and archiving. They can also include other information management capabilities and be delivered as pre-integrated hardware/software platforms, frequently with dedicated installation and operational support services available.


In summary

HCI usage is not only increasing, but is also crucial for an expanding range of enterprise applications including mission-critical ERP systems, forcing data protection solutions to deliver a range of RPO (recovery point) and RTO (recovery time) objectives.

Having always been considered challenging to set up and complex to manage, the data protection and recovery solution reality is now changing, and a clear opportunity arises for data protection appliances offering sophisticated capabilities to play a big role in the future.

Stay tuned on TechCommunity and don’t miss the rest of our forthcoming blog articles series, Data Protection for PRIMEFLEX with our data protection software partners Veritas, Commvault and Veeam.

Discover more insights about the topic from the Freeform Dynamics analyst report 'Modern Data Protecting for Hyper-Converged Infrastructure'.

Helga Eppig


About the Author:

Helga Eppig

International Product Marketing Storage, Fujitsu


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