VirtualSharp deals with the frightening part of disaster recovery

Ongoing testing is one of the biggest terrors in data center management. Who wants to purposely take something offline during production to learn if disaster recovery processes really work? VirtualSharp believes it has the answer for industry standard virtual workloads.
Written by Dan Kusnetzky, Contributor

Carlos Escapa, Co-Founder and CEO, of VirtualSharp, stopped by to introduce me to his company and his take on the problems most disaster recovery (DR) solutions have when facing the challenges of a virtual environment in an industry standard system world. VirtualSharp was founded by a team of ex-VMware executives and believes that it can take DR to the next level.

The company offers a number of Disaster Recovery solutions for virtual data centers and private cloud. It believes that it has an approach that makes it possible to quickly restore IT services and provide a highly resilient environment regardless of whether the organization faces minor disruptions to full-scale natural disasters.

What VirtualSharp has to say

VirtualSharp's ReliableDR delivers Recovery Assurance to virtualized and cloud environments through iterative, multi-datacenter orchestration with fully automated recovery runbooks. Business rules govern the recovery processes and ensure alignment with line-of-business Business Continuity policies. 

ReliableDR enables DR planners to replace outdated or less than effective legacy DR processes with fully automated DR exercising and the ability to failover applications and IT Services at the push of a button.

Unlike legacy DR tests, which are typically performed once per year, ReliableDR enables DR exercises to be performed on a daily, or even hourly basis. ReliableDR not only enforces RTO/RPO but actually delivers Recovery Point Actuals and Recovery Time Actuals. 

Designed from the ground up for virtual datacenters, ReliableDR has a modular, extensible plug-in architecture and currently supports all VMware ESX v3.5, vSphere 4.x & 5.x environments, as well as the majority of storage platforms from DataCore, Dell, EMC, HDS, HP, IBM, NetApp, Nimble, Oracle and others.

Snapshot analysis

There are a number of ways organizations address the scary potential for failure in an industry standard virtual environment. Some of them are:

  • Rely on the fact that today's systems are very reliable, do nothing and hope for the best. As my teenaged friends would say, this is "cruising for a bruising'." Systems and system components fail all of the time.
  • Rely on the fact that all major suppliers of virtual machine software now offer tools to migrate virtual machines from one system to another and tools that monitor the health of virtual machines that can trigger VM migration. While this approach, properly configured, offers the hope of a happy ending, configurations change and sometimes the new configuration is not represented in the DR tools' configuration.
  • Rely on backup and disaster recovery tools offered by a number of data management suppliers. This approach, like relying on VM migration, offers the promise of a happy ending, but may not keep up with real world configurations.
  • Build their processes using customer (home built) tools. This approach can fail if the custom tools fail, the processes that use them fail, or if a configuration error appears.

The challenge faced by most organizations is that they never really take the step of pulling the plug on something important to really test out their DR planning. It is just too scary. So, they wait for a real disaster to come along to learn whether all of their planning, the tools they've purchased or built, and the processes they've put in place will really work. VirtualSharp's approach makes it easily possible to safely test DR plans and can assure a happy ending.

One challenge VirtualSharp faces is that its technology is tightly focused on VMware's environment. If an organization has a mixture of virtual machine technology or uses VM technology from Citrix, Microsoft or Red Hat, VirtualSharp doesn't have a complete solution to the problem of business continuity.

Although the approach VirtualSharp offers faces stiff competition from suppliers of virtual machine technology, traditional DR suppliers and even from suppliers of continuous processing hardware and software, it appears that its solution is built upon a different take on the problems of business continuity.

If your organization's virtual workloads run in one of the supported environments and simply must be reliable and available, VirtualSharp is worth a look.

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