backup policy for virtual servers

what would be some broad topics that would typically need to be included in a companies backup/restore policy. This should drive the actual technical implementation of a backup process, but am keen to ensure when our business team updates there document that it is sufficient to cover all elements of backup restore, and actually gives the technical team the requirements necessary to ensure their technical implementation covers the needs of the business and policy. 95% of our infrastructure and machines are virtual on ESXi hosts.
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
what to backup and when to backup prioritized by severity of loss of information.
If you lose 1 hour is it important, how about 1 day? or one week's worth of information,  how about 5 minutes?  This is known as your restore point objective (RPO)

Priority of restore from most critical to least critical. This known as your restore time objective (RTO)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Backup Policy for virtual machines is no difference to physical machines.

We now backup machines and have policies set for Services.....

e.g. Authentication, Email, Intranet, Group Working etc

As we use SAN based Snapshots, and now most our clients, real-time replication, and 15 minute or 1 hour replication
pma111Author Commented:
Thats more the technical solution though not what the business has documented in the policy on which youve developed a solution that adheres to their requirements
pma111Author Commented:
>prioritized by severity of loss of information.

By prioritised are you referring to a server by server basis?
Martyn SpencerConsultantCommented:
Not wanting to put words into David's comments, I read his priority statement as being irrespective of what server is processing what data.

Consider your data, all of it. Do this across your whole infrastructure. Then make decisions as to how much you can afford to lose. If one data set is purely low priority logs, for example, you may back it up infrequently or not at all. If you have a real-time ordering and stock control system, any loss is potentially significant so you would (a) be looking to protect availability (raid, redundant servers etc) and (b) recoverability (frequent backups etc).

One thing for you to consider, which I eluded to above, is that you consider both availability and backups. The two are independent, but do go hand-in-hand.

Only your business can determine the value of lost data and it is something very difficult for anyone else to do without a more detailed knowledge of your business.
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