How reliable is your DR plan?

Over the past few years or so there have been a lot of new solutions that have surfaced. There have been new ways of solving new problems and even ways to solve old problems more efficiently. I have been impressed by the simplicity that PHD Virtual brings to their backup solution, so when I first heard about “ReliableDR”, I had no reason not a take peek.

PHD Virtual acquired VirtualSharp Software earlier this year. VirtualSharp had made some great strides to address the complex problem of disaster recovery. I know we all want a disaster recovery solution and SRM is a great product. Stop laughing! Ok it’s a great product but perhaps not so great to use with all its complexities and nuances. At the end of the day a great DR solution should ask us what we want our RPO and RTO to be and orchestrate a solution based on that. It should not be the other way around. I believe ReliableDR is definitely a step in that direction. Don’t get me wrong, I am not hating on SRM here, I am simply stating the ReliableDR does that in a very simple manner. It’s a tool that doesn’t require an extensive amount of research or consulting hours.

Cloud has definitely been the buzz word for some time now. And automation is key with any decent cloud service. That’s really what makes the magic happen. When you think about it, we have automation all around us. Do we not let our VMs float around from host to host (DRS) and from datastore to datastore (SDRS)? Do we not let the packets flow around in our switches and let them figure out what’s works best for them? Do we not let load balancers determine what will be the best way to handle the load at any given time? Why not let automation come in to creating a DR plan as well? Now there would still be some manual work involved, but you will definitely not be starting from scratch and will be using a lot of information that already exists. I think that brings in a lot of value. That’s not only in cost savings for implementing a DR solution but also a tremendous amount of cost savings in a solution that will actually work.

Some of the key functionality that the product offers:

  • Automated, Continuous, Service-Oriented DR Testing – Maintains the integrity of you DR plan by being service / application centric, not data centric.  It takes a business-centric view of an application and its dependencies and then automates the verification of those applications as many as several times per day.  The typical DR plan is tested 1-2 times per year.  You can test several hundreds or thousands of times per year with ReliableDR!

  • Application-Aware Testing – Measuring of accurate Recovery Time Actuals (RTOs & RPOs)

  • Certified Recovery Points – automatically storing multiple certified recovery points

  • Compliance Reporting – demonstrates DR objective compliance to auditors

  • Test, Failover, and Failback – Automation of failover and failback processes

  • Flexible Replication Options – Integration with all major storage vendors, multiple software based replication solutions including PHD Virtual, and also includes its own zero-footprint software-based replication capabilities

So then comes the million dollar question. If it really does all that and its really simple to setup, then it must be really expensive. So how much does it cost?  I am happy to announce that you could even get it for free. Obviously that means with limited functionality.  So below are the options that one has for the product:

  1. ReliableDR Enterprise Edition
  2. ReliableDR Foundation Edition
  3. FREE

Take a look at this link here for more details in comparing the three options.

My impression of RealibleDR is that it’s great for SMB. However this does not mean that it’s not suitable for large environments. After all they have an Enterprise edition for a reason. The reason I want to focus on SMB as being the target market for this product is the simplicity of the tool without compromising functionality. Obviously this does not mean that SMB’s can’t handle complex tools they certainly can, however more often than not I find SMB shops full of the IT staff that are overworked and understaffed. This makes them a jack of all trades but leaves them with very little time to dedicate and focus in just one area. Such an environment may never be able to get past some of the complex DR solutions that are out there in the market today. For an environment like that ReliableDR will do wonders. Or like Steve Jobs once said it, it will be like a cold glass of water in hell :D.

I believe large environments will also benefit from the automation of DR this product offers, its application awareness, scalability and last but not the least, its business centric view. The ever changing datacenters require a DR solution that adapts with them and understands their dynamic nature. I think just all those things alone combined with simplicity and low cost should make any engineer click this link right now. In times of disaster one needs a tool that works every single time and RelaibleDR offers a very simple way to test the failover and failback without making them an expensive exercise. Moreover, most DR solutions tend to get out of date due to the difference in time between each exercise. With a tool like ReliableDR these exercises can be arranged more frequently and perhaps when there is a true disaster there will be calmness in the datacenters versus the headless chicken dance we often experience.

It makes sense for PHD virtual to invest their simplistic approach to the DR solutions. They have done a great job in the enhancements they have made to their backup solution over the years and ReliableDR seems to be the next logical step. I was scared that I would find complex settings and installation procedures before getting the product going. But I was pleasantly surprised. Here are some webinars that would help one understand the product in more detail.

Imagine if we had a slider that we adjusted to dictate the amount of money we want to spend on our power bill every month and our homes adjusted to that number and aligned the utilization accordingly. That’s the level of simplicity that’s needed in the DR solutions for today. And I believe ReliableDR is definitely on its way there.

 

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