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Technical White Papers are designed to introduce Symantec partners and end users to key technologies and technical concepts that are associated with the Symantec Backup and Recovery product family. The information within a Technical White Paper will assist partners and end users as they design and implement data protection solutions based on Symantec Backup and Recovery products.

This white paper is intended to assist technical personnel as they design and implement the Convert-to-Virtual (P2V) and Backup-to-Virtual (B2V) features of Backup Exec™ 2014 and make related decisions.

Modern Business is Driven by Servers

Modern businesses are based upon servers – powerful computing systems that host and manage business-critical applications and data. Servers are the lifeblood of business today, without which businesses could not function at a very basic level in our modern industry.  Some examples of critical applications found on these servers are Microsoft Exchange, SQL, and Active Directory.

Because servers host business-critical applications and priceless customer and corporate data assets, managing and protecting servers is the primary concern of IT professionals across the globe.

Virtualization Technology

Over the last decade, one of the most disruptive and widely adopted IT technologies affecting modern businesses is virtualization.  Virtualization breaks the legacy one-to-one relationship between server hardware and server operating systems, allowing businesses  to save costs, consolidate resources, and enjoy a great deal of flexibility in how hardware and software assets are applied within an organization. Virtualization technology offers IT professionals new and unique tools to help solve the continuing problems of data protection and disaster recovery.

Virtualization technology offers benefits to organizations of all sizes. Although not all organizations plan to become fully virtualized, and although the virtualization use cases do vary somewhat from organization to organization, most have adopted, are adopting, or plan to adopt virtualization technology in one way or another.

Barriers to Adopting Virtualization

One of the primary problems businesses still struggle with is how to effectively adopt virtualization technology within their organization. Early adopters of virtualization realized that, as with any significant IT project, moving legacy physical servers to a virtualized platform is something that must be implemented in a manner that does not impact the organization’s ability to continue with business as usual. A staged approach to adopting virtualization was quickly identified as a best practice.

However, although virtualization abstracts the operating system from the physical hardware layer of a server by inserting itself between the two, the virtualization layer is still seen as, and treated by, the operating system as hardware. Simply moving the operating environment from a physical server into a virtual machine using ‘brute force’ would simply result in an inoperable server, as the virtual hardware would not be recognized properly. The need for migration tools to help streamline this process of moving or converting physical servers into virtual machines was born.

Leveraging Virtualization Technology for Disaster Recovery

Many organizations realized that not all servers are good candidates for virtualization. High performance and high usage servers, such as mail servers, in some situations may still operate optimally on standalone hardware over the long term. Even in these situations however, virtualization technology still offers benefits, such as the ability to leverage virtual duplicates of physical servers as a way to quickly recover a server in the event of a disaster, allowing business operations to continue while the original server problem is repaired.

Convert-to-Virtual, Backup-to-Virtual, and Point-in-Time Conversions with Backup Exec 2014

Backup Exec™ 2014 continues to invest in virtualization technology. Features included in the Backup Exec™ 2014 product help administrators solve the problem of moving physical servers to a virtual environment and also give administrators unique tools for leveraging virtualization technology for disaster recovery. These features are the ability to perform automated conversions of physical servers to a virtual machine replica, perform automated conversions of physical servers – using existing backup sets – to a virtual machine replica, and perform “ad hoc” or on-demand conversions of physical server backups to a virtual machine replica.