Symantec, for example, recently announced that enhancements to its backup products combine more granular backup and
recovery of VMs with the ability to account for dependencies
among VMs. The enhancements, found in products for businesses of all sizes, also make it easier to use multiple public or
private cloud backup services, and to convert a physical server at
a production site to a virtual server at a recovery site, says Dan
Lamorena, director of product marketing for Symantec’s storage
and availability management group.
Continuity Software’s RecoverGuard software is designed to
automatically check all critical infrastructure components, such
as the file system and virtualization components, and identify vulnerabilities that could cause downtime and data loss. It looks for
vulnerabilities using a database of “signatures” similar to the ones
antivirus tools use to identify malware. The database is updated
by the vendor’s researchers and its users, says CEO Gil Hecht.
Other products with those capabilities include VMware
vCenter Site Recovery Manager, which also supports custom
scripting and automation to ensure that VMs are brought up
and reconnected in the proper order across multiple sites, says
Gaetan Castelein, VMware’s director of product marketing.
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making it pay
Often, the only way to get funding for disaster recovery systems
is to demonstrate that they deliver more than just “insurance,” or
that they can even pay for themselves. For example, Strand uses
FalconStor Software’s Continuous Data Protector appliance to replicate about 50TB of data and 25 virtual servers between its remote
offices and headquarters. This is not only easier and less expensive
than using a colocation facility, but the higher bandwidth required
for the replication also makes it easier for employees to videocon-ference and share complex engineering documents.
That bandwidth also allows Strand to “take snapshots every
hour on the hour, so we can facilitate a file restore in about three
to five minutes,” says Bell. Given the expense the company would
incur if an engineer had to repeat
several hours of work, the ability to take
snapshots helps justify the cost of disaster
recovery even without a disaster, he says.
Thorntons Inc., a Louisville, Ky.-based
convenience store operator, recoups
much, if not all, of the cost of disaster
recovery by using DataCore Software’s
SANsymphony storage virtualization software on XIOtech SANs it purchased to
support its newest servers, while moving
its older Dell Compellent SANs and older
servers to nearby space it already leased
as a disaster recovery site. Senior network
engineer Kevin Schmidt says that gives
the company disaster recovery for its
full application environment, not just its data, and it has improved
performance and cut the time required to produce a profit and loss
statement from 10 or 12 hours to less than five hours.
Another benefit is that virtualization allows the company to
use the Dell Compellent storage, for which it paid $350,000 in
2007, as a recovery platform for its newer XIOtech storage.
schmidt: thorntons has
full disaster recovery now.
Snapshots in Time
improving the performanCe of replication systems and related technologies, such as snapshot ools, and tailoring them to shorten virtualized isaster recovery times is a key focus for vendors. here are some examples. n actifio’s protection and availability storage (PAS) appliance allows users to execute a one-time transfer of data to a remote site, and then send only changes to the
data, with the changes themselves deduplicated, says Actifio CEO
Ash Ashutosh. This not only reduces bandwidth requirements; it
can eliminate the need for backup software, he says.
The distributed object file system within PAS contains information about each block of stored data that makes it easier to find
and reuse the data for purposes other than disaster recovery,
such as test and development, regulatory compliance or legal
searches, he says.
n falconstor’s Cdp aims to speed recovery by ensuring
the most recent snapshot is always the most complete. This
eliminates the need to factor in the incremental changes since
the initial backup before recovering the data. And it can save
hours when recovering tens of terabytes of data, says Fadi
Albatal, vice president of marketing and product management.
n asigra’s Cloud Backup eliminates the need for dedicated
physical recovery hardware by automatically backing up VMs
to virtualized environments and scaling up the VMs in the
recovery environment so they can meet production needs. By
automatically creating new servers and provisioning storage,
it can reduce restore times from hours to minutes, says Eran
Farajun, an executive vice president at Asigra.
n egenera’s pan (processing area network) manager
software virtualizes connections between physical or virtual
hosts to a customer’s network or storage resources, thereby
speeding restoration by making it easier to create not just VMs,
but also the network and storage connections needed to make
them work, says John Humphreys, vice president of marketing.
PAN can also automatically detect failures in production
servers and move them to the recovery environment, with the
new server looking “just like it did before, with the same MAC
address and same resources,” says Scott Geng, senior vice
president of engineering.
n dell’s Compellent live volume enables a physical server
or VMs to share a virtual storage volume among Dell’s Compellent
Storage Center SANs in a semi-synchronous configuration that
enables always-available failover volumes or LUNs, and makes it
possible to move data closer to users for performance reasons,
says Brett Roscoe, general manager and executive director of
data management at Dell.
Jason Buffington, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, says
applications like Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server and
some network-attached storage platforms offer capabilities such
as replication and failover at little or no extra cost.