Hotlink DR Express business continuity for VMware and AWS

HotLink believes that its DR Express will address business continuity concerns for VMware vSphere customers who wish to be able to move workloads to Amazon's AWS and back again.

Lynn LeBlanc, CEO and founder of HotLink, called to introduce me to her company's newest additions to its product portfolio, HotLink DR Express and Hotlink CIMple.

HotLink CIMple adds software defined networking (SDN) capabilities to the company's DR Express. The goal, LeBlanc pointed out, was helping midmarket companies to set up and test business continuity processes that make it possible for workloads executing in a VMware vSphere 5.5 environment that is being managed by VMware's vCenter to easily migrate those workloads to an Amazon AWS environment and back as needed.

LeBlanc explained that HotLink CIMple adds a hybrid SDN capability to vCenter so that IT administrators who are already experienced with the use of vCenter can create a more reliable computing environment.

Here's how HotLink describes the features of this new release:

Features of the new HotLink DR Express include:

  • HotLink CIMple SDN: Hybrid networks spanning VMware and AWS are intuitively administered and managed in VMware vCenter. Auto-discovery, AWS transformation, granular per-VM configurations and pre-configuration of test and production DR networks enable easy setup and testing — with recovery in minutes in Amazon EC2.

  • Enhanced retention policies: HotLink DR Express offers configurable consolidation options for restore points, which enables faster recovery in a failure scenario, reduced storage requirements in AWS and assistance with compliance efforts regarding discovery policies.

  • Improved backup scheduling: Enhanced VM protection scheduling allows for off-cycle or non-recurring VM backups to accommodate events such as planned upgrades, security breaches or other periodic activity.

  • Support of VMware vCenter and vSphere 5.5: As companies evaluate and migrate from prior VMware versions, HotLink DR Express now readily supports the new VMware environments.

Snapshot analysis

I often hear from suppliers of backup, archival storage and disaster recovery products. Typically, their products extract data from a working system, compress it, deduplicate redundant data, and transport it across a network to a storage site. Some of the companies brag about their ability to extract the data from a number of different types of applications or database software. Others focus on the speed and reliability of their synchronization software and others focus on the ease of use and power of their Web or cloud-based management console.

HotLink is a bit different in that its focus appears to be helping migrate running virtual machines to other hosts, either in the customer's own data center or to a host residing in a cloud service provider's data center. In this announcement, the focus is moving a VMware virtual machine to a virtual machine running in Amazon's AWS. This is a different sort of backup than merely copying data. The entire working environment is moved to a backup facility where it could execute and keep business processes running rather than just moving the data. Later when problems at home are resolved, that working virtual machine could be migrated back to the customer's own data center.

What's interesting is that HotLink has integrated its management environment into VMware's vCenter so that a customer's IT administrators can use a familiar tool to set up and manage these off-site, into the cloud VM migrations.

I have to point out that if a customer has chosen to store database files on a separate storage server, other database synchronization software would be needed to create a continuing business environment. Hotlink DR Express isn't designed to address that need. That said, if your company uses VMware's vShere and vCenter and is concerned about an always-on business continuity strategy, HotLink should be on your list.