Dell EMC Integrate DRaaS to Data Protection Portfolio

Organizations that count on EMC’s data protection software that also want DRaaS don’t have to consider switching to another solution. At Dell EMC World 2017, the company announced Data Domain Cloud DR. Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) leverages the cloud not only to store a DR copy of data, it also leverages cloud compute to resume an organization’s operations in the event of a disaster.

Until now the problem for an EMC Avamar or NetWorker customer is for them to take advantage of the cloud for disaster recovery, the customer either had to manually position data into the cloud or more likely switch to another application. Data Domain Cloud DR solves this dilemma, at least for Avamar customers. But Dell EMC is promising support of NetWorker and RecoverPoint in the near future.

How Cloud DR Works

Cloud DR integrates directly into Avamar, essentially making Cloud DR a checkbox as part of backup policy definition. Once that check box is selected Cloud DR will extract the virtual machine from the Avamar environment and perform a full backup to the cloud. Subsequently the solution will incrementally update that cloud copy. Unlike DD VE DD Cloud copies the data and is sent directly to an S3 object store. The only software running in the Amazon cloud is a receiver instance. There is no other compute cost until there is a disaster.

If a disaster does strike or the administrator wants to perform a test they trigger a cloud recovery from the Avamar admin console or if the Avamar server has been destroyed with the site, then the receiver agent has an interface to trigger the recovery.

Once IT requests the recovery, the solution will reassemble the data and transform it into an Amazon Machine Image (AMI). It then will copy the data to Amazon Elastic Blog Storage (EBS) for a production performance experience. At that point the networking has to be worked out either through setting the right subnet or leveraging DNS.

Positioning Cloud DR

Dell EMC, at least in this release, is positioning Cloud DR as a second tier recovery solution for applications that are business critical but not mission critical. Dell EMC maintains that mission critical systems should continue to a second site, continuously updated with the replication built into most of EMC’s hardware solutions or RecoverPoint. Cloud DR will only provide a recovery point objective (RPO) as recent as your last backup and the recovery time objective (RTO) will be impacted by the time to transform the cloud based data and move it from S3 to EBS.

StorageSwiss Take

Cloud DR is a good first step, but Dell EMC has some work to do. First, it needs to support the rest of its application suite ASAP. Second, it needs to support more than one cloud. The solution also seems to expect a lot of Amazon knowledge on the part customer, EMC needs to do more to automate the setup and configuration of the cloud service so the customer doesn’t have to become a cloud expert to use the solution. For an Avamar customer, the solution is certainly worth investigating. A NetWorker or RecoverPoint customer should investigate it and understand the when their applications will be supported. It may be soon enough to wait instead of switch.

Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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