Clearpath’s Blog on IT Infrastructure, Hybrid Clouds and IT Security

DR in the SDDC, Part 3: vCHS Disaster Recovery as a Service

Posted by Sean Senior on Thu, Jul 31, 2014 @ 01:30 PM

To this point, our list has covered Veeam and Hotlink DR Express as options for disaster recovery solutions in the software defined datacenter (SDDC). Our next candidate is the up and coming power player VMware vCloud® Hybrid Service™ (vCHS) - Disaster Recovery released just earlier this year. This DR to Cloud offering is completely self-service providing organizations with asynchronous replication and failover for their vSphere virtual environments.

Disaster Recovery has long been the black sheep for many organizations mainly because of the cost and uncertainty it will actually work when needed. So, we believe education is the first step in becoming comfortable with any DR solution that might fit your business needs. So, let’s dig into vCHS – Disaster Recovery a little more to understand this offering better.

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The offering has been candidly labeled “recovery-as-a-service” providing some key benefits for organizations protecting 500 VMs or less. Some of those benefits include the following:

Business Continuity / Disaster Recovery from a familiar vCenter environment
Hardware agnostic replication and recovery
Configurable Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) from 15 minutes – 24 hours
Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) of 4 hours or less
Failover testing for VMs
Scalable compute and storage capacity beyond the base service package

Those are solid features for any DR environment. So, what do I get when I sign up for vCHS-DR? The core DR subscription is available in 1, 12, 24 and 36 month terms and gets you:

10GHz vCPU, 20GB RAM of compute in a Multi-Tenant environment
1TB of storage
10Mbps of network bandwidth
2 public IP addresses
2 failover tests every 12 months

Additional capacity for each of the above is available in an add-on fashion.

Ok, but what does the architecture look like? Since a picture is worth a thousand words, let’s take a glance at a high level depiction of what a common implementation would look like.

vCHS Disaster Recovery as a Service resized 600

At first glance, you can see replication traffic for the offering is over the internet via vCloud Networking and Security (vCNS) VPN or direct connect, so by default internet connectivity is required to get up and running. You can see the vCloud Connector in the diagram which is there to ensure you can failback from a DR event properly. Then there is the vSphere Replication Appliance (VRA). vCHS - DR uses vSphere Replication to copy your virtual machines (VMs) to storage and compute in one of the VMware vCHS locations. However, this isn’t the VRA you may be familiar with using in the past for replication between vSphere. This is an appliance specific for allowing replication to the vCHS DR cloud. Because vSphere replication technology is leverage, the vCHS-DR solution becomes storage agnostic allowing anyone with vSphere on premise to leverage the offering as a potential fit for their DR needs. Once the appliance and replication is configured, replication data streams to vCHS from your environment over the secure connection. Which VMs are protected/replicated is chosen by you on an individual VM basis.

While a lot of applicable features stand out. One of the cool features that I like to highlight is the ease with which you can test VM failover. Since testing is vitally important for any sound DR solution. vCHS – DR makes that task easy with a few steps. Just select what VM resource you would like to test failing over, walkthrough a wizard that asks for your credentials, choose whether you want to use the most recent sync or that absolute latest data from your VM and away you go. Once the test recovery has completed, just dive into your vCHS suite, verify the VM configuration, power on the VM and validate it is working properly. When you are done with your test, simply click a “test cleanup” button to remove the standard VM in the DR cloud and revert it back to a replication template. All this occurs while your ongoing production replication continues to perform as normal. A nice feature for spot checking failover on an individual VM basis.

We all know that disaster recovery requires careful planning, an offsite datacenter as a target for backup and recovery of data, development of backup and recovery procedures, and ongoing testing to ensure it all works. While vCHS – DR is in its initial versions, those organizations looking for a solid solution that integrates with their existing VMware environments, vCHS – DR is a truly valid option to help achieve a piece of mind for your DR needs.

The Disaster Recovery in the Software Defined Datacenter 4 part blog series:

Give us a call at 1-866-892-3154 to learn even more.

Topics: VMware, Disaster Recovery, Software Defined Datacenter

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