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1 SERVERCENTRAL DISASTER RECOVERY AS A SERVICE THE TECHNOLOGY BEHIND SERVERCENTRAL DRaaS a white paper by

2 SERVERCENTRAL PROVIDES TURN-KEY DRaaS FOR VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS Virtualization provides organizations with increased flexibility and control in managing mission-critical data assets, as well as essential cost savings. Whether large or small, organizations continue to aggressively pursue these initiatives in both completely virtual and hybrid physical/virtual environments. While virtualization has been a game-changing technology, most organizations have yet to realize the benefits of this transition. The optimization of IT processes for these environments, including security, compliance, and Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery (BC/DR), continue to lag behind. To date, BC/DR has been the most difficult, as there haven t been virtual-ready, easily adoptable remote replication solutions. Until now.

3 TABLE OF CONTENTS Introducing ServerCentral Disaster Recovery as a Service....3 The Problem with Replication Technologies...3 Array-Based Replication: Insufficient Granularity....4 Guest/OS-Based Replication: Impossible to Scale...5 Appliance-Based Replication: More Moving Parts Hypervisor-Based Replication...6 Application-Centric Protection: Another Important Differentiator...8 The Advantages of Hypervisor-Based Replication....8 Granularity: Replication Autonomy...8 Scalability: Peaceful Pacing...9 Ease of Management: One Console for Everything...9 Server and Storage Motion: Mobile-Friendly...10 Hardware-Agnostic Conclusion...10 Moving Forward...10

4 INTRODUCING SERVERCENTRAL DISASTER RECOVERY AS A SERVICE Powered by Zerto, ServerCentral s Managed Disaster Recovery as a Service provides virtual-ready, remote replication that s easy to implement. Common replication technologies and methods essential to mission-critical BC/DR initiatives have traditionally been tied to physical environments. While these solutions may work in fully virtualized environments, that doesn t mean they re optimized for them. Replication solutions that are not virtual-ready introduce new challenges: If a replication solution isn t virtual-ready, management overhead can double. Many of the cost benefits achieved through virtualization are therefore lost. Data growth can outpace replication. A company may find its data expanding exponentially without a replication solution to keep pace. In heterogeneous IT environments, replication methods are often firmly tied to a single vendor or a single hardware platform. This limits an organization s ability to get the best solutions and services at the best price. There is a critical need for BC/DR to align with the reality of virtualization in the data center. Competitive and compliance-related pressures are at an all-time high, and organizations need every advantage that a proven partner can offer. Powered by Zerto, ServerCentral s DRaaS solutions deliver proven, expert-managed, hypervisor-based replication backed by over 16 years of global DR experience. THE PROBLEM WITH REPLICATION TECHNOLOGIES Array-based, guest/os-based, and appliance-based replication technologies were developed to be used with physical IT assets. As such, all three have issues that inhibit the efficiency and effectiveness that organizations require from BC/DR operations. 3

5 A brief review of the structures and limitations of these methods helps amplify the advantages and benefits of ServerCentral s virtual-ready, hypervisor-based DRaaS solutions: APP APP APP APP OS OS OS Virtualization OS/Host Based Footprint on every Suitable for small scale/smb OS OS OS Virtualization Appliance Based Atomic unit is LUN not Additional hardware requirements Array Based Atomic unit is LUN not Complex to manage ARRAY-BASED REPLICATION: INSUFFICIENT GRANULARITY Array-based replication solutions are deployed as modules inside the storage array. These single-vendor solutions are specific to the storage vendor, and in many cases, do not have enough granularity. Let s look at an example: Mapping between virtual disks and array volumes is complex and constantly changing. If multiple virtual machines reside on a single array volume, an array-based solution constantly replicates the entire volume even if it s just a single virtual machine. The result is poor hardware resource utilization. Array-based replication lacks the visibility and granularity to identify specific virtual machines in different locations. Consequently, organizations tend to put all disks from an enterprise application into a single storage logical unit when there are clear, operational advantages to splitting them up. All they have is a means to manage their storage, not a complete picture of the assets they have or how they re configured. 4

6 Array-based replication has other important disadvantages: It is designed to replicate physical entities. As a result, it s oblivious to configuration changes. It requires a separate management interface. Different consoles are required for both s (such as ware vsphere and Hyper-V Manager) and physical storage arrays (such as EMC). Vendor lock-in. Array-based replication is inflexible, negating the advantages of virtualization. GUEST/OS-BASED REPLICATION: IMPOSSIBLE TO SCALE Guest/OS-based replication solutions are more portable than array- based solutions, and typically simpler to manage because of their small scale. Still, guest/os-based replication solutions have to be installed on every physical and virtual server, making it impossible to manage in a high-scale environment. Guest/OS-based replication is ill-advised for the enterprise for a number of reasons: The requirement to install a module on every single server limits scalability. It is designed to replicate only single servers and therefore incapable of protecting multi-server, enterprise applications. An organization that wants to protect multiple virtual machines could install a module on each virtual machine, but each virtual machine would still be protected independently. Users cannot get a consistent point-in-time view across multiple virtual machines. An application that spans multiple virtual machines is not protected correctly or consistently. APPLIANCE-BASED REPLICATION: MORE MOVING PARTS Like array-based solutions, appliance-based replication is hardware-based and specific to a single platform. The advantage of appliance replication is that replication code runs on an external, physical appliance instead of the storage arrays themselves. This means that it s more flexible and does not consume array resources. 5

7 Appliance-based solutions suffer the same disadvantages as array-based products when it comes to protecting virtual environments: They replicate physical entities rather than virtual entities. Their focus, therefore, is the logical unit rather than the virtual machine. This lack of granularity conflicts with the requirements and promise of virtualization. They require dual points of management: the physical management console and the virtualization management console. Ultimately, the key disadvantage of appliance-based replication is that in introducing more moving parts, we introduce more management complexity. The additional hardware footprint creates additional hardware bottlenecks. As with array-based and guest/os-based replication, appliance-based replication can work in virtual or hybrid environments, but is far from ideal. HYPERVISOR-BASED REPLICATION It s clear that replication technologies designed for physical environments present critical limitations in a virtualized setting. Still, it s important to note that there is nothing inherently wrong with these technologies; they re simply optimized for the storage layer. BC/ DR in virtualized environments, however, can be delivered without compromise. PROTECTED SITE REPLICATION SITE vcenter Server Zerto Virtual Manager vcenter Server Zerto Virtual Manager ESX/ESXi APP APP APP APP OS OS OS OS Virtual Replication Appliance FS WAN Bi-Directional One-to-many ESX/ESXi Virtual Replication Appliance FS 6

8 ServerCentral delivers Zerto s innovative hypervisor-based replication solution as a fully managed service. It s a virtual-aware, software-only, tier one replication solution purpose-built for virtual environments. We provide enterprise-class replication and BC/DR capabilities for all of your virtualized applications, be they in your data center or in your cloud, with the expertise to manage and maintain these configurations over their lifetime. At the heart of this unique managed service is Zerto Virtual Replication: Zerto Virtual Manager (Z) The Z plugs into the management console (such as ware VCenter or Hyper-V Manager) directly to provide visibility into the entire infrastructure. As the solution s nerve center it keeps track of applications and information in motion in real time. Virtual Replication Appliance (VRA) The VRA is a software module that is automatically deployed on physical hosts. The VRA continuously replicates data from user-selected virtual machines, compressing and sending that data to the remote site over WAN links. The VRA has the ability to tap into a s IO stream because it is installed directly inside the virtual infrastructure (instead of individual machines). Virtual Protection Groups (VPGs) - Virtual Protection Groups are user-assigned groups of virtual machines and their related virtual disks with interdependencies that require recovery from a consistent image. VPGs ensure that enterprise applications are replicated and recovered with consistency, regardless of the underlying infrastructure. This enables organizations to deploy the application across different physical devices, reducing the complexity of the infrastructure. The Z recognizes VPGs and component relationships within each one, ensuring complete, accurate, and timely replication. While the core idea is readily achievable at the physical storage level, only Zerto has figured out how to do this at the virtual level for both server and storage locations. The presence of the VRA in the s IO stream is a critical distinction. Each time the writes to its virtual disks, the write command is captured, cloned, and sent to the designated recovery site(s). It delivers near real-time replication across small and large application footprints, whether the applications reside on ServerCentral s network, on the customer s network, or both. By partnering with Zerto, gone are the days of snapshots and traditional backup processes. ServerCentral is able to offer its DRaaS solutions with continuous replication and zero impact on application performance. 7

9 APPLICATION-CENTRIC PROTECTION: ANOTHER IMPORTANT DIFFERENTIATOR Enterprise applications require multiple servers. In a disaster event, they must be recovered from a single point-in-time image. PROTECTED SITE vcenter Server Zerto Virtual Manager ESX/ESXi ESX/ESXi VRA REPLICATION SITE VRA LDAP Web App DB Web App THE ADVANTAGES OF HYPERVISOR-BASED REPLICATION As a replication technology in and of itself, hypervisor-based replication offers many important benefits: granularity, scalability, ease of management, server and storage motion, and hardware agnosticism. GRANULARITY: REPLICATION AUTONOMY The ability to replicate at the correct level of any virtual entity be it a single virtual machine, a group of virtual machines, or a virtual application (such as ware VApp) is critical. Zerto s solution can replicate all virtual machines and VApp metadata consistently. This ensures that the entire application infrastructure can be recovered in the event of a disaster via automatic failover or manual event declaration. 8

10 A typical enterprise application includes multiple servers, each with their own respective disks. It is common for administrators to put all of those disks in a single logical storage unit in order to replicate the entire application without having to search for its individual components. The problem is that the entire logical unit must be replicated, even though it may contain other applications that are not in need of replication. This lack of granularity, where administrators cannot identify specific applications and application components to replicate, is enormously inefficient. SCALABILITY: PEACEFUL PACING There are two aspects of scalability: deployment and management. As a virtual infrastructure grows, DR capabilities must grow with it. There shouldn t be a requirement to purchase, install, and configure additional hardware. ServerCentral selected Zerto s hypervisor-based replication solution as the foundation for our DRaaS solutions because it is software-based. We can easily deploy and manage the BC/DR environment, no matter how fast an infrastructure expands. It also enables both your administrators and ours to perform operations and configure policies at the level, which optimizes ongoing performance. EASE OF MANAGEMENT: ONE CONSOLE FOR EVERYTHING With no guest-host requirements or additional hardware footprint, DRaaS from ServerCentral is easy to manage. The solution resides in the hypervisor, enabling centralized management. You can now manage everything from a single console (such as ware VCenter and Hyper-V Manager). Additionally, because Zerto the foundation of ServerCentral s DRaaS solution is software-based, it is user-installable (the VRA install process itself is automated), user-configurable, and scalable. Add experts in infrastructure and system administration who are available 24/7 to the mix, and DRaaS from ServerCentral couldn t be easier. 9

11 SERVER AND STORAGE MOTION: MOBILE-FRIENDLY One of the great advantages of virtualization is the ability to quickly move virtual machines from one physical server or array logical unit (data store) to another. (This maybe done for load balancing.) With ware, this is accomplished either manually through otion, or automatically using Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS). Only hypervisorbased replication can locate and replicate data no matter where it is moved. HARDWARE-AGNOSTIC Hypervisor-based replication is hardware-agnostic, allowing you to replicate from anything to anything. This allows users to mix and match storage technologies, such as Storage Area Network (SAN) and Network-Attached Storage (NAS), or virtual disk types, such as Raw Device Mapping (RDM) and ware File System (FS). CONCLUSION Two key metrics in BC/DR are Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO). RPO indicates the amount of data at risk of being lost. RTO is how long it takes to recover data and restore service. ServerCentral s Zerto-powered DRaaS solutions achieve RPO in seconds and RTO in minutes. No other DRaaS solutions comes close. With ServerCentral DRaaS powered by Zerto, you know that as your infrastructure expands and your replication demands grow over time, you have the best possible technology in the best possible data centers all managed by experienced infrastructure experts and system administrators. MOVING FORWARD If you operate a virtual or hybrid environment and are interested in virtual-aware and virtual-ready DRaaS, us at or call us at We re happy to show you how to realize the full promise of virtualization with a virtualaware and virtual-ready DRaaS solution. We re also happy to take you on a tour of the data center(s) in which your DR environment will reside. 10

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