“Losing my religion” is an expression from the southern region of the United States that means being perplexed to the point of being unable to think what to do.[1]  Despite the tremendous advantages that virtualization brings to IT professionals, many find themselves at their wits’ end with respect to protecting ever more prevalent virtualized environments.  The cacophony of competing vendor claims as well as the claims of their paid consultants only increases the confusion and attendant frustration in those simply seeking to an optimal solution for protecting their unique IT infrastructure.

There is a war of words going on right now between data protection vendors who offer data protection within the virtual machine versus those who offer data protection at the hypervisor level.  These vendors illustrate specific use cases that offer advantages to their methods while ignoring those uses cases in which they have a disadvantage.  The best example is a vendor who had a well-respected consultant write a paper that he entitled

VMware and Hyper-V Backups: How VM-Level Can Be Better than Host-Level Backup.” (italics ours.)

This carefully written white paper thoughtfully explores specific use cases in which VM-level backups could potentially be better than host-level backups.  The vendor on their web site then retitled this paper

“VMware and Hyper-V Backups: How VM-Level Is Better than Host-Level.”  (again, italics ours.)

Given that this same consultant writes for a leading host-level vendor and writes similar papers that explore advantageous use-cases for host-level protection, it is difficult to believe that the difference here is accidental or coincidental.

In this series of blog posts we are going to cut through the self-serving and competing claims and examine each of the arguments in favor and against the various techniques used for virtual data protection. On Thursday, we will discuss virtualizaiton hypervisor protection architectures, so be sure to check back in for that update.

[1] It’s also the title of a song by a band called REM that I particularly like – but that’s not germane to this blogpost.


  1. Hi Mark,
    I read this blog with great interest as I am compelled to argue the same points with customers and re-sellers every day. Whats better is a moot argument and I think the question that begs to be asked is “better for whom?” I have had the opportunity to enjoy responsibilities on all sides of the value coin, vendor, SI and end customer and in all markets enterprise, medium and small. ( I will send you a linked in invite separately as our team are engaged already with Mike, Eric and crew). Ultimately whats best for the business is not necessarily best for other stakeholders in the value chain as their drivers are not always aligned with the greater good of the purpose intended, which is to provide a simple effective recovery of data in context in time that business can absorb the impact of the disruption caused.
    I am somewhat of a purist having sat thru concalls thru the night while vendors lied and senior management execs cried and all i could do is pass information and manage up. I believe the desired outcome should be determined at a management level where those people have been informed to make a choice to suit the needs of the business as an outcome given a sequence of possible events. Unless they truly understand through proper business impact analysis what the considerations are to deliver outcomes based on legitimised RTO and RPO requirements, they cannot make an informed decision. And that’s where it is messy.

  2. Paul: Thanks tremendously for the note. Couldn’t agree with you more. You really nailed it with the “better for whom?” – that’s EXACTLY the issue.

    P.S. Hey – just as a heads-up. My LinkedIn account is completely screwed up; LinkedIn has a defect in my account that they say they are trying to fix that can cause me to not be able to confirm – so if you don’t hear from me, send me an e-mail (I’m my last name and then @ and then unitrends.com.)

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