Virtualization technologies become very popular these days. Almost every office with an IT-infrastructure uses virtual machines. On the one hand, it facilitates the company’s work, but in some cases it is the result of a successful marketing campaign.
What is a virtual machine?
A virtual machine runs with a special software known as hypervisor. It’s a virtual machine manager which controls all processes, allocates resources to virtual operating systems and hardware and ensures that virtual machines don’t disrupt one another.
Every virtual computer necessarily has one or more virtual disks imitating a physical hard drive.
In other words, a virtual disk is a container with data. Such container is an element of the virtual machine which utilizes a part of a physical computer storage.
Utilizing a virtual system
Users need more and more applications for effective task solving. While the amount of information increases by leaps and bounds, new methods of its storing and releasing appear. The variety of these methods impresses and confuses.
All this increases the load on a hardware component. As a consequence, expenditures related to equipment and its maintenance also increase. Most of time these systems are not utilized effectively and stand idle. Creation of several virtual machines on one computer allows enhancing the resource exploitation and operation efficiency. A company can save costs not only on new computers and on their maintenance, but also even on electricity, cooling and place for servers.
The virtualization is used for the purposes of server consolidation. This means that several virtual systems run on one machine and simulate different services, e.g. a mail server, web-server, etc. Every virtual machine is configured separately and can have different IP, MAC-addresses and even BIOS, i.e. is being detected as a completely separate unit.
Virtual machines can be used for data securing. If one virtual machine fails during DDOS and virus attacks, the hypervisor and other operating systems will continue working.
In addition, virtual devices are essential for software testing. In case of a virus attack or software malfunction only one operating system will crash. A rollback to the previous state of the virtual machine is also possible.
Data recovery from virtual disk
Despite the “virtuality”, these systems have the same problems with data storing as physical computers – operator’s mistakes, software errors etc.
Besides, leaving out the list of advantages, the virtualization has its specific problems. A virtual system failure can be caused by the following errors:
- Hypervisor error. A virtual system manager failure can lead to a crash of all virtual machines and data loss.
- Hardware malfunction and hypervisor data loss. In this case, all virtual and physical machines fail.
- Additional human factor: hypervisor administration errors can cause configuration loss or virtual machine data loss because of backup failures, removals or storage optimizations.
Each of these errors hit the company’s budget, because data recovery from virtual systems is an intricate task.
Data recovery from a virtual machine is carried out in a much more complex way and takes more resources.
Due to specific design of a file system of the hypervisor and hard drive, data recovery can be quite challenging. Firstly, it’s necessary to recover physical equipment, then retrieve the container with the information (the virtual disk) and only after that unpack it and finally get your data back.
Usually backups make life easier. However, most administrators forget or do not consider it necessary to make backups. In some cases, the backup system can fail at the most important moment.
That is why, taking a decision about the virtual system integration, we strongly recommend:
- to analyze your business deeply. Maybe you do not need the virtualization. If the utilization of a virtual machine is not crucial, it would be better to refuse its implementation.
- do scheduled disk backups. Despite confidence in virtual system reliability, please, do backup. They can save your data one day.