DISTRIBUTED DATA REQUIRES A MODERN APPROACH TO DISASTER RECOVERY
Disaster Recovery (DR) planning is like insurance – you hope to never have to use it, but if you do, you hope you’ve done enough to cover yourself for whatever scenario requires it. As with insurance, there are costs associated with it, some of which are not always apparent. Some examples include:
- The ongoing costs – such as power, cooling, maintenance, and operational staff – of owning and operating an alternate facility
- The cost of maintaining like hardware at your alternate facility – hardware that may need to mirror your production environment to ensure capacity, smooth failover, and desired Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs)
- Any software licenses that might be required to maintain operational readiness at your alternate site
- The network connectivity required to transport data to meet your required Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs)
- The ongoing IT management required to ensure that that your backup is production-ready, patched, and maintained to match your production depreciation and/or lease cycle
Use of hypervisors can help reduce some of these costs, especially the management component. A hypervisor is basically a monitor for your Virtual Machines (VMs) that allows you to abstract or isolate operating systems and applications from the underlying computer hardware, for flexibility and ease of management. By abstracting both the operating instance and the data away from the hardware, you effectively reduce the number of unique layers that must be managed. Abstraction also enables you to run your VMs on unlike hardware, enabling further consolidation, and can even be run in shared alternate locations, helping to reduce your DR costs even more. As additional hypervisor choices become available, you may find that – for specific types of workloads – you’re able to further reduce costs or improve manageability.
Some hypervisors are available as part of public cloud vendor offerings, and by enabling the use of different platforms, provide greater flexibility and the potential for further cost containment. For example, it’s entirely possible to have a traditional primary data center running one virtualization platform, while simultaneously using a managed or public cloud platform for DR without needing to invest in additional facilities, operational staff, infrastructure, and the management thereof.
Commvault's easy-to-use, reliable and scalable disaster recovery solution meets the most challenging requirements for all types of data, across the full range of technologies your organization depends on.
Both the public cloud and managed facilities provide you with the option of having either dedicated or shared infrastructure. Both allow you to easily and instantly create, scale-up, scale-down, or shut down VMs, enabling an efficient pay-per-use model. This makes for a perfect DR use case, both for DR testing and for actual DR events. It’s like renting a car with a minimal commitment for choice of vendor, class of vehicle, or length of the rental term. You simply rent what you need at that time for as long as you need it, and at the best available price. However, the benefit of abstracting your hardware typically comes at the cost of having to limit yourself to a unique hypervisor type. To take advantage of those operational and consolidation benefits, many organizations will just pick a platform and stick with it. But, for your own DR needs, do you prefer to abstract the hypervisor or retain the ability to pick and choose from a variety of available hypervisors?
The challenge becomes one of formats. Every on-premises hypervisor and public cloud hypervisor platform offers a unique format that aligns to the method used to store and manage the VMs and their associated data. You may be most concerned with the operating system version used by the VM, the security patches, and the application, without regard for specific hypervisors and hardware. Under many circumstances, being locked into a hypervisor can prove to be a risky and costly long-term proposition. How can you take full advantage of the flexibility provided by the variety of hypervisors available across both private and public cloud platforms, to support your DR use cases and better manage your costs?
One solution is to utilize a data protection platform that supports a variety of hypervisors, including both legacy hypervisors and newer ones. This allows you to utilize each hypervisor’s native APIs to optimize your data protection and DR operations, but also enables you to extract the least amount of data by the most efficient method available. Putting agents inside each VM is easy, but that simply adds cost on the operational side. Once your VM data is extracted – say, for DR purposes – it needs to be efficiently transmitted and replayed at your target location, to meet your required RPOs and RTOs. And while it’s not unusual to find technologies that can do this for like-to-like platforms, the real cost savings come when hypervisors can be mixed-and-matched for optimum efficiency. For instance, you might do this for replicating data across multiple on-premise platforms; across on-premise and cloud platforms; and across multiple different pubic cloud platforms. This enables you to not only optimize for cost, but also to reduce the risks associated with limiting yourself to a single location or restrictions on platform choices.
The Commvault Complete™ Backup and Recovery provides this capability by automatically performing conversions from various sources and targets, allowing you to replicate, migrate, and recover across multiple platforms.
Understanding the construct of your VMs (plus their contained data) and automating their conversion is a first step toward efficiency and cost savings. There’s still considerable management involved in each of the use cases for multiple hypervisors. Being able to automate the daily operations for each use case helps to reduce the operational and management costs associated with a multi-hypervisor, multi-cloud environment. By having the ability to easily perform migrations, failovers, failbacks, and testing across a logical group of Virtual Machines helps reduce not only your recovery times, but also helps to eliminate human error. This allows you to utilize lower-cost alternatives to traditional – and costly – secondary sites, with confidence. And it’s not limited to just traditional DR operations, but can also be used for one-time migrations, and for on-going refresh of non-production environments that are hosted in public clouds on a variety of hypervisor platforms. Having the appropriate reporting tools that can automatically monitor your DR operations across multiple hypervisors allows you to easily capture metrics and report on your RPOs and RTOs, regardless of location or platform. So, in addition to enabling the use of lower-cost infrastructure, you also benefit from reduced management oversight enabled by automation.
Note: See latest Commvault interoperability matrix for all supported hypervisor source and target platforms.
Bottom line? With Commvault’s single, unified data protection platform, it’s remarkably easy to protect all your data types – regardless of where they reside – while balancing your costs and SLAs, and retaining the flexibility needed to accommodate changing business needs. Commvault® software delivers Disaster Recovery functionalities that match the dynamic, complex nature of today’s enterprise data environments. That means supporting multiple data recovery tiers, extending into applications, endpoints and more, while providing you with the freedom to choose whichever infrastructure mix best fits your needs and budget.
Commvault’s converged data management solution redefines what backup means for the progressive enterprise through solutions that protect, manage, and use their most critical asset: their data. With a range of innovative product offerings — including Commvault Complete™ Backup & Recovery; Commvault HyperScale™; Commvault Orchestrate™; and Commvault Activate™ — Commvault offers the most comprehensive backup and recovery, storage infrastructure, service delivery orchestration, and data governance available today.