Traditionally, physical servers have incorporated a backup system known as ‘agent based’. In this model, a backup agent or program is installed on each server, even on virtual ones. This approach does have some advantages, as it facilitates backups that are both constructed quickly and consistent. However, as virtualization has increased the number of virtual machines hosted on each physical server, agent based backup tends to become less and less cost-efficient.
This challenge is only compounded when mobile virtual machines are added into the mix. Since these VMs are able to travel through a distributed environment, it becomes less than practical to adhere to an agent-based approach to backup.
Many organizations are therefore switching to a system known as ‘agentless backup’. This name is a little bit of a misnomer; backup agents still exist in an agentless system, but rather than requiring an agent on every machine, the entire network can be backed up based on the presence of a single backup agent installed on a designated machine.
This centrally positioned backup agent provides intelligence for the whole system and it able to perform backups across the company infrastructure with a simplified ease of administration. This creates lower costs, an important consideration that is leading many businesses to switch to an agentless model. One powerful way to implement such a model is to incorporate it as part of an overall suite of IT support provided through a managed services model.