VMware just jumped into a very busy market for disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) by launching VMware vCloud® Hybrid Service™ - Disaster Recovery. The goal is getting everyone who uses VMware vSphere Hybrid Service as part of their cloud computing infrastructure to also deploy a VMware-centric backup and recovery service as part of their disaster planning. The primary distinction of VMware's DRaaS offering, it appears, is using VMware's vSphere Replication as the data replication and movement technology.
VMware vCloud Hybrid Service - Disaster Recovery
VMware describes this new service offering in the following way:
VMware vCloud Hybrid Service's Disaster Recovery increases business resiliency with minimal investment. Built on VMware vSphere® Replication, supported by vCloud Hybrid Service, Disaster Recovery provides a failover environment for dependable recovery when faced with an operational disruption. Asynchronous replication at the hypervisor layer allows for virtual machines (VMs) in vSphere to be easily configured for disaster recovery. Available in all vCloud Hybrid Service data centers.
- Simple — easy to set up, deploy, and manage
- Economical — high level of self-service capabilities, minimal configuration, and user training
- Responsive — quickly scale-up protection of onsite applications, by tier, on-demand
- Consistent — integration with your vSphere environment, same production support by VMware with no need to reconfigure hardware or tools
Disaster Recovery has always been somewhat of a touchy subject for many enterprises. It requires careful planning, engaging or building an offsite datacenter as a target for backup and recovery of data, development of backup and recovery procedures, and the ongoing testing of the whole package. It is scary to actually shut down some critical workload to force a recovery cycle and be absolutely certain that the planning and execution resulted in business continuity.
VMware is one of a number of suppliers that considered the challenges of successfully using a cloud-based disaster recovery service and now has an offering. The list of other players in this market is already quite long and is growing. Here is a partial list of other suppliers in no particular order: Amazon, Google, IBM Softlayer, RackSpace, Teneros, Zerto, Blue Central Netmagic, Latisys, Microsoft, Twinstrata, eGenera, BlueLock, Windstream, Symantic, and Databarracks.
With all of these options, enterprise decision-makers must do quite a bit of homework before making a selection. Finding all of the DR service offerings is the first challenge. Gathering data about each of the service offerings is the next step. Finally, evaluating the strengths, weaknesses, and total cost associated with each offering must be done before a decision can be made.
Each of the suppliers is hoping that their service offering and related tools will appear simple, easy to use, comprehensive, and cost effective. For the most part, however, each of the offerings has its own limitations.
A decision-maker must carefully consider the business requirements, the budget, the company's level of expertise and only then evaluate various DR offerings. VMware, IBM Softlayer and all of the others are hoping that those using their technology as the foundation of their cloud computing infrastructure will take the short-cut of just selecting their DR service.
Each of these new offerings has its own merits and challenges. I would advise decision makers to take their time, learn about the DRaaS offerings available, and only then make a decision.