The Cloud Makes Comprehensive Protection Possible for Every VM

By leveraging resources in an elastic cloud in conjunction with the latest platform and workload transformation technologies, data centers get rapid operational recovery, near-infinite capacity, seamless management and easy migration back on-premise - at a price that everyone can afford.

By Lynn LeBlanc, CEO, founder of HotLink
Fri, December 20, 2013

Network World — Server virtualization complicates disaster recovery (DR) because the complexity and cost makes it impossible to extend rapid recovery to every virtual machine (VM), and yet, when even supposedly non-critical VMs go down, businesses lose money. But today, the cloud is making those hard DR choices history. In their place, enterprises are finding options that are dramatically better than traditional backup, but with comparable price tags.

By leveraging resources in an elastic cloud in conjunction with the latest platform and workload transformation technologies, data centers get rapid operational recovery, near-infinite capacity, seamless management and easy migration back on-premise - at a price that everyone can afford.

Until recently, there were four choices for data protection in VMware vSphere environments, with four widely divergent price tags and recovery capabilities:

* The first is basic backup, the most affordable and ubiquitous approach to data protection. A traditional backup tool will back up VMs to a target store on-premise or in the cloud, but the data store needs to be carefully managed, since storage infrastructure is often expensive and therefore capacity is usually limited, especially on-premise. Most of these tools offer deduplication in order to make the most of available storage, but they don't generally self-test, and VMs might not be restorable if manual testing isn't done well. Two other significant drawbacks to these tools are that administrators need to learn another management console to use them, and fully restoring operations from backup can take a long time many hours or even days depending on the environment.

* Beyond basic backup, replication tools have offered data centers the means to replicate data from one virtualization cluster to another and house copies at an offsite location, at a hot site, on a rack of computers or in the cloud. For this to work, the secondary site has to be more or less identical to the primary one, down to the storage hardware, as well as the compute, memory, network and VMware vCenter server. The network configuration settings also need to be automated. A All of these requirements add up to significant cost, as well as preparation and ongoing testing and management. The operational restoration time is faster than backup, though. It can be as fast as 15 minutes or as long as several hours depending on the execution and availability of capacity to replace the out-of-commission hardware.

* Near-continuous data protection, sometimes called replication on steroids, offers greater speed of restoration (for greater cost, of course). However, the major obstacle here is the need for redundant infrastructure and computing capacity at a remote location, which requires an even more significant investment in hardware, software and networking at the mirror site. Companies also need to acquire specialized skills to manage the mirror site and failover in the event of on-premise downtime.

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Originally published on www.networkworld.com. Click here to read the original story.
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