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RecoverPoint Comes Clean with VPLEX

  
  
  

RecoverPoint is EMC’s flagship replication product.  It is a purpose-built combination of appliances and software that replicate block data between arrays.  It boasts WAN-optimization and the ability to roll back and forward in time (think DVR) to present the replicated LUN as of almost the exact time that you wanted (invaluable in the case of corrupted data).  It is a popular replication mechanism for users of VMware Site Recovery Manager.  Fully integrated as a Storage Replication Adapter, RecoverPoint replicas can be controlled and mounted via SRM.

EMC VPLEX is a one of a kind solution that provides site resiliency and high availability for those that can’t afford any downtime.  VPLEX itself installs in the network, in between hosts and storage, and can extend data over distance, within and between data centers.  EMC refers to this technology as Federated Access Anywhere.

In the ‘Metro’ version, VPLEX front-ends an existing array (EMC/non-EMC) at two locations and provides the ability for both to have an active copy of a single set of data.  This active-active model is facilitated by a something called cache coherency and provides a distributed virtual volume to which servers at both sites can connect.  Stretched clusters anyone?

While both RecoverPoint and VPLEX are great technologies with specific advantages, storage admins have had to choose which one they wanted on a per LUN basis: For this dataset, do I want the high resiliency of VPLEX that allows me to vMotion over distance in the event of a site issue? Or, is the ability to roll that data back to a point in time more important?  Up until now, it has been one or the other because these two technologies didn’t easy fit together.  Thankfully that is now changing with the latest software versions of both VPLEX and RecoverPoint.

The combination of RecoverPoint 3.5 and GeoSynchrony 5.1 (VPLEX’s OS) now allows you to replicate a VPLEX volume the same way that we have been using RecoverPoint to replicate a LUN from a standalone array.  The difference is the inclusion of a RecoverPoint write-splitter inside VPLEX - something that had been missing up until now.


In general, RecoverPoint’s write-splitter takes writes destined for the local device (lun or volume) and shoots a copy out to the RecoverPoint Appliance for replication to another destination – whether it be local or remote.  These writes are also stored in a journal with a time marker.  This journal is what facilitates the DVR-like roll back of RecoverPoint replicas.
As you can see in the graphic below, a copy of the distributed volume exists on one side of the VPLEX cluster to allow you to mount point in time copies.  RecoverPoint will work in conjunction with both VPLEX Local and Metro configurations.


RecoverPoint support for VPLEX will add to an already impressive feature set and removes one of the few technical barriers to VPLEX adoption - allowing for availability, mobility and disaster recovery in a single, comprehensive solution.

VPLEX Recover Point

Comments

Hi Ted, 
 
This is a nice overview of how RecoverPoint and VPLEX now integrate together using the VPLEX splitter. 
 
A couple of important items that I think should be mentioned: 
 
As I'm sure you're aware you can use VPLEX and RecoverPoint together prior to 3.5 and 5.1, but it's a manual process of presenting and encapsulating that point in time volume back to VPLEX, which increases your RTO for a corrupt VPLEX volume. 
 
Using the new VPLEX splitter with RP 3.5 is a great option to decrease that RTO, but it comes at a cost. Not only are you licensing, per TB the space you are using with RecoverPoint, you now have to license that same space for VPLEX local licensing, which is also per TB, at least this is my understanding. 
 
The integration is great, but the extra cost not as great. Organizations will need to determine whether that extra cost is worth the simplicity and decreased RTO when considering the VPLEX splitter with RecoverPoint 3.5
Posted @ Wednesday, June 06, 2012 11:16 AM by Josh Coen
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