Briefing Note: Quorum’s onQ Flex adds on Demand DR Protection for Tier-two Servers

Quorum offers local high availability (HA) and cloud-based disaster recovery (DR) solutions that are built around their disaster recovery appliances. These systems maintain updated virtual machine clones, ready to run in a few minutes when a primary server goes down. But many of their customers have wanted a way to provide DR protection for their less-critical applications as well. For these tier-2 servers that don’t necessarily need HA, but do need a recovery that’s faster than restoring backups, Quorum now has the onQ Flex solution.

Instant DR

Each critical application server covered by Instant DR is backed up to an onQ On-Site appliance, providing a full HA solution, locally. The onQ appliance can also support Quorum’s DRaaS solution by replicating its data, on the back end, to another appliance in Quorum’s cloud. Since onQ is a full-fledged server architecture, running VMs from these devices doesn’t create the performance problems that recovery-in-place process can when a backup device is asked to run live applications.

Quorum’s onQ appliance performs regular incremental backups of each critical VM image and then uses this image to create a recovery node, the cloned server instance that’s dedicated to each primary server and takes over when a failure occurs. As the primary server data set changes these VM images are updated and then used to maintain their respective clones as well. Quorum uses this two-step process to create the less immediate and less expensive on Demand DR option, onQ Flex.

On Demand DR (onQ Flex)

Instead of generating a clone immediately upon capturing a server image and updating with each backup, onQ Flex waits until it’s needed before spinning up the recovery node. This ‘recovery on-demand’ process provides a DR solution with a recovery time of a few to several hours, depending on the size of the node. For companies it means a second tier of DR protection that’s much faster and more reliable than simply restoring a backup.

By creating a deduplicated repository of all server images in the cloud, companies have all the data needed to drive a full system recovery. But since they’re not creating the recovery node, they’re not allocating (and paying for) these server resources until needed. The result is an on Demand DR cost that’s less than the Instant DR that they have historically offered.

According to Quorum, this two-tiered solution provides a viable DR option for protecting more of a company’s servers. They can also promote a server from on Demand to Instant DR when its ‘mission’ becomes more critical, or when the company’s DR policies become more comprehensive.

StorageSwiss Take

Quorum has built a business providing disaster recovery protection, locally and in the cloud. DR is all about recovery and the onQ server architecture differentiates this technology from other DRaaS solutions that are essentially backup devices at the core. But this server-class infrastructure can be too expensive for many tier-two servers, something the company learned from interactions with their customer base. These findings are similar to what Storage Switzerland discovered as it developed its service level objective strategy. Each application will often have a different recovery point objective, so offering multiple products to meet that reality is good business.

To this end Quorum developed a lower-cost alternative, one that better fits the servers running a company’s less critical applications, but still leverages their primary technology. For organizations looking for a strong DR solution with more than a single recovery option, Quorum’s onQ Flex may be the answer.

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Eric is an Analyst with Storage Switzerland and has over 25 years experience in high-technology industries. He’s held technical, management and marketing positions in the computer storage, instrumentation, digital imaging and test equipment fields. He has spent the past 15 years in the data storage field, with storage hardware manufacturers and as a national storage integrator, designing and implementing open systems storage solutions for companies in the Western United States.  Eric earned degrees in electrical/computer engineering from the University of Colorado and marketing from California State University, Humboldt.  He and his wife live in Colorado and have twins in college.

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