Physical Windows Servers Protection

By Joe Putti • July 28, 2016

Many workloads in the data center are virtualized, but there are many critical workloads that still leverage physical infrastructure. Enterprise Data Protection solutions must protect both virtual and physical workloads to provide complete protection for the enterprise. With Cohesity DataProtect 3.0 we’ve expanded our coverage to include Physical Windows and Linux workloads.

VMware eliminated the need for backup vendors to build snapshot providers, change trackers and building, deploying and managing agents. VMware has effectively made the backup solutions a level playing field. However, for physical workloads, one needs to leverage capabilities available with the OS / application, or offer snapshotting, change tracking capabilities along with an agent.

Cohesity DataProtect for Physical Windows Servers leverages its own agent, which when deployed will attach a driver to provide Change Block Tracking (CBT) between backups. When a backup is initiated, it leverages the Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Services (VSS) on the Windows Server to snapshot the volume for backup in an application consistent way. Once the snapshot is created, all changes to the volume from that point onwards are tracked by the CBT driver. For the very first backup, all used blocks of the volume are copied onto Cohesity. For incremental backups, the block list from the CBT driver is used to copy the required blocks.

The benefits of using a CBT approach for Windows Servers is significant. Imagine an Exchange Server with 5TB EDB file with 10GB changes daily. Every time you backup in a traditional approach, you’ll be copying the entire 5TB EDB file. Even with source side Dedupe based solutions, you’ll process the entire 5TB file, identify the 10GB changes. Compare this to a CBT model where the CBT driver provides you the list of blocks that constitute the 10GB of changes and only the 10GB of data is copied.

The backups are captured and stored as VHD/VHDx images on Cohesity SnapFS. We snapshot each backup locally. The Cohesity SnapFS allows us to provide an instant view of the full volume irrespective of how many incremental backups were done, so when you need to access data that’s three days old or 3 years old, it instantly makes the data available for you. The use of VHD/VHDx allows us to provide Physical to Virtual (P2V) mobility.

Unlike many CBT based physical Windows server solutions, Cohesity DataProtect comes with global search and granular recovery capabilities. We index Physical Windows servers similar to the way we index VMs, and provide a consistent, enhanced user experience to recover files or volumes. No more trade-offs between performance and granular recovery. Our integration with Kroll Ontrack PowerControls allows users to effectively restore mails or mailboxes from Microsoft Exchange, Tables from Microsoft SQL and documents, folders from Microsoft SharePoint.

As an enterprise customer you look for fast, reliable and consistent backups and recoveries. This is what we do from the get go – and now you have it for Physical Windows servers as well.