Storage Switzerland was briefed recently by VirtualSharp CEO Carlos Escapa, to learn about ReliableDR version 2.5 which was released this past week. ReliableDR is a software solution for virtual data centers that provides DR assurance, using fully automated DR runbooks to restart essential processes in sequence and restore critical applications in a DR scenario. It “orchestrates” the virtual resources involved in the delivery of IT services, collaborating with hypervisors, storage systems, applications, etc, to provide certified recovery points, not merely objectives. These services can be stand alone, like file and print servers or Sharepoint, or can encompass multiple servers and applications. For example, an e-commerce site might include web applications, middleware and backend database servers, all of which must be coordinated in order to restore services in the shortest amount of time.

Automated DR testing

In the reactive, ‘break-fix’ IT environment, DR testing is a task that’s often postponed, or skipped altogether. When DR tests are run, it’s typically a once a quarter exercise in frustration as runbooks, if they’re created at all, are often out of date. Part of the problem is that DR testing like other proactive tasks, can be the first thing abandoned when a fire breaks out. ReliableDR enables IT to conduct fully automated DR testing, hourly or more often, if desired. This eliminates the problem of finding time to conduct testing on a regular basis and provides confirmation that DR processes are current.

Recovery Readiness

For example, with a traditional DR process, when a backup job doesn't complete, it's not possible to know which services are potentially impacted and what the compliance exposure is. Or, if a VM gets moved around from one datastore to another, there’s no way to verify automatically whether the second datastore is being replicated correctly and meeting the required RPO. According to Escapa, VirtualSharp’s technology “aligns IT DR processes to corporate Business Continuity policy”, which can help IT managers immediately understand the business impact when a DR process fails. Automated and non-disruptive, ReliableDR enables IT to monitor the recovery process and measure the ‘recoverability’ of services. Dashboards report on each step in the process, for each component involved, providing a realtime view of recovery readiness to help companies ensure they’re meeting compliance requirements.

Storage Swiss Take

In data protection it’s generally acknowledged that restore is really the important function, even though the process is called “backup” and most of the attention is paid to  the backup window. Likewise, in DR, it’s all about the recovery - how quickly services can be restored. Traditional disaster recovery plans focus on getting data restored and hardware up and running, but often stop there. DR assurance, as espoused by VirtualSharp, seems to close the loop on the disaster recovery processes and gives IT managers a predictable, measurable return to service.

Eric Slack, Senior Analyst

Briefing Note

VirtualSharp is not a client of Storage Switzerland