Storage Soup

Mar 29 2012   8:01AM GMT

Cloud can be game-changer for DR

Dave Raffo Dave Raffo Profile: Dave Raffo

Disaster recovery in the cloud is improving by the day.

At least three vendors upgraded services in the past week, concentrating on faster recovery for small enterprises and SMBs.

EVault added a four-hour option for its EVault Cloud Disaster Recovery Service (EVault CDR) to go with its previous 24- and 48-hour SLA options. EVault is promising to have applications on the four-hour SLA up and running within that window.

EVault president Terry Cunningham said four hours is the magic number to gain critical mass for his company’s cloud DR service because it opens the door for heavily regulated businesses that cannot stand long outages for critical systems.

“This opens up the whole market for us,” Cunningham said. “One customer said, ‘When you deliver four hours, you get all our business.’”

He said the technology is available for more granular snapshots and shorter backup windows, making the four-hour SLA possible. The EVault service includes a minimum of one DR test per year, and customers can choose different SLAs for different applications. They can use the four-hour recovery for critical apps, and the longer recovery options for others. He declined to give exact pricing because it is set by EVault’s distribution partners, but the four-year SLA costs twice as much as the 24-hour option.

EVault, owned by Seagate, changed its name back from i365 to Evault last December.

Not everyone is so impressed with four-hour recovery. QuorumLabs promises instant recovery with its new Hybrid Cloud Disaster Recovery service that lets customers install one of the vendor’s onQ appliances on site and replicate to another appliance at a QuorumLabs’ off-site data center.

QuorumLabs’ hybrid service keeps up-to-day virtual clones of critical systems that run on the appliance or in the cloud. The service builds new recovery nodes continuously and the vendor says the cloud appliance can take over for failed servers with one mouse click.

“Compared to our offering – ready in minutes, tested daily – [four-hour recovery] is like a pizza delivery guaranteed to arrive sometime in the next several days,” QuorumLabs CEO Larry Lang said.

QuorumLabs already has customers who set up DR by installing appliances at two locations, but not all of its customers have a second site. “If something were to happen, we bring up an exact copy of that server in your cloud,” Lang said. “Users just redirect their client to the cloud. Literally in an hour they can have something up and running.”

QuorumLabs’ service is priced by the number of servers and the amount of data protected. Lang said a customer with 10 servers and 3 TB would pay about $20,000 per year.

Zetta also upgrade its cloud backup and DR service. Zetta’s DataProtect 3.0 uses the ZettaMirror software agent on the customer site and synchronizes data to one of the vendor’s cloud data centers. The latest version adds support for Apple desktops and laptops as well as Microsoft SQL Server and Windows system state, improves performance with compression and a metadata cache and allows snapshots of synched data.

EVault’s Cunningham said the cloud’s role in data protection has made the business more competitive. He said customers are re-evaluating their backup and DR processes and find it easier to switch vendors.

“It used to be that when you made a backup deal, it was for life,” he said. “We used to sell you some software and say ‘Good luck with that, hope it works out.’ Today it’s a service. We have to earn the business every month.

“The customer has more options for switching now. There are some technical challenges, but you can do it. If vendors screw up, they lose the customers.”

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