As Microsoft's Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V makes its way into the market, quite a number of virtualization technology suppliers have announced support. Recently SteelEye, a company with deep expertise in high availability/clustering solutions, joined the party by announcing SteelEye DataKeeper support for the Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V
Here's how SteelEye describes their new product
DataKeeper is a highly optimized data replication solution for Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008. The product is sold in two versions: DataKeeper delivers data replication services as an extension to Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 while DataKeeper Cluster Edition further extends the capabilities of Windows Server Failover Clustering. Both editions support real-time replication of Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V virtual machines between physical servers across either LAN or WAN connections.
By keeping a running Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V virtual machine in sync with a standby VM in an alternate location, DataKeeper enables disaster recovery without the data loss typically associated with traditional backup and restore technology. Real-time continuous replication of active Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V VMs helps ensure that in the event of a disaster, the standby server can be activated with minimal to no data loss.
DataKeeper Cluster Edition allows administrators to build "shared-nothing" and geographically dispersed Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V clusters. By eliminating the requirement for shared storage, the administrator can protect against both planned and unplanned downtime of servers and storage. The use of DataKeeper in tandem with Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V VMs allows for non-disruptive disaster recovery testing. By simply accessing the replicated VMs in the disaster recovery site, the administrator can segment a virtual network separate from the production network and start the replicated VMs for disaster recovery testing. Complete disaster recovery testing can be performed without impacting the production site at all.
Here is a bit more detail about the product
Here's some more detail supplied by SteelEye:
- Does not put limitations on hardware configurations or replication distance.
- No requirement for dedicated replication channel.
- Also provides asynchronous/synchronous replication, non-disruptive disaster recovery testing, network throttling and data compression.
- Compatible with the following versions of Windows Server: 32-bit/64-bit Windows Server 2003 Standard/Enterprise/Datacenter, 32-bit/64-bit Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard/Enterprise/Datacenter, 32-bit/64-bit Windows Server 2008 Standard/Enterprise/Datacenter.
- Provides host-based, volume-level replication.
- Allows for testing of patches and upgrades on replicated VMs before applying to production servers.
- Licensed to a physical machine running Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V; in general, pricing is per server and unlimited use.
- SteelEye sells its products through a global network of distributor, VAR and OEM partners.
A number of suppliers of technology that offers virtual machine migration, virtual machine monitoring and virtual machine management have seen that Hyper-V is still somewhat of a raw technology. Each of them have enhanced their products to support this relatively late entry into the virtual machine software market. SteelEye brings a different approach to the party, one that is based upon the company's long track record of success in high availability and clustering solutions.
Although I have no doubt that the technology is good, I'm more concerned about marketing. It is not clear to me what steps the company is going to take to make IT decision-makers aware of the company and its products. Since there are many approaches to providing high availability/disaster recovery solutions, SteelEye faces competition from many different suppliers that compete directly and indirectly with the company.
Some of these are much larger than SteelEye and have a great deal more resources to invest in marketing their solution to business continuity. It is going to be interesting to see how SteelEye can introduce themselves and their products to the overall market for virtualization technology and convince decision-makers that their solution is better than those offered by other, much larger suppliers.