VMware Site Recovery Manager Is A Game Changer - InformationWeek

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5/14/2008
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Howard Marks
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VMware Site Recovery Manager Is A Game Changer

VMware announced this week that its Site Recovery Manager would be available to real users like you, dear reader, next month. Click here for our crack InformationWeek news department report on the announcement. From where I sit, Site Recovery Manager could be as big a game-changer for SME disaster recovery planning as server virtualization itself.

VMware announced this week that its Site Recovery Manager would be available to real users like you, dear reader, next month. Click here for our crack InformationWeek news department report on the announcement. From where I sit, Site Recovery Manager could be as big a game-changer for SME disaster recovery planning as server virtualization itself.While vendors like Neverfail, Marathon Technologies, and CA XOSoft have built application recovery tools for years, they've generally required lots of application-specific setup and have included replication and local high availability as well as DR specific functionality.

Since SRM doesn't try to transfer a server's identity and applications to another server, as these earlier application recovery solutions do, but instead recovers the same virtual server at your DR site, it can simplify the process of recovering more than a handful of application servers.

Site Recovery Manager, through a software adapter provided by your array vendor, automatically matches replicated logical unit numbers to application servers and automates the process of mounting the replicated LUNs with your virtual server's image, changing the virtual server's IP address to match the subnet at your DR site.

Even more important, it lets you set up your server and application dependencies, including dependencies on physical servers via scripts, so Exchange won't start until after your Domain controllers and DNS servers, or your LAMP Web server won't start until the MySQL server is responding to queries.

As good as it looks, SRM isn't for everyone as it relies on your SAN infrastructure to replicate the data to your DR site and your array or replication appliance vendor has to write the software adapter. Luckily, SAN replication isn't limited to high-end arrays anymore and vendors from 3Par at the high end to EqualLogic, FalconStor, and LeftHand Networks in the iSCSI camp have announced adapters and support for SRM. Of course, VMware parent EMC also will be supporting SRM across its line, including the RecoveryPoint appliance.

So now a small or medium-sized enterprise can virtualize its servers to a small number of hosts on an EqualLogic SAN and have application failover without breaking the bank.

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