At last month's VMworld 2009 conference in San Francisco, VMware CEO Paul Maritz told a large audience of developers, customers, partners, analysts and journalists that VMware planned to put muscle on the bones of its basic vSphere 4.0 Cloud OS virtualization manager, and that is indeed starting to take place.
The data recovery function turned out to be first up. VMware said Oct. 5 that its new and improved VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager 4, which enables automated disaster recovery for applications running in virtual environments, is now shipping.
Site Recovery Manager also provides new support for NFS-based (network file system) storage replication and features failover from as many sites as necessary to one storage array using shared recovery sites, Jon Bock, a VMware senior product manager, told eWEEK.
"This is a data recovery product that builds upon our vSphere  environment," Bock said. "It really focuses on taking what users typically have had as a manual logbook, with all the documents about processing that DR, and turning that into something that's automated and repeatable."
Traditionally, Bock said, an application server admin would sit down with the storage admin, and they'd talk through what they wanted to do [regarding what data to recover], and then hopefully they'd all come to the same page about what they planned to protect and how they planned to protect it.
"But as applications are deployed and changes come into the applications, the storage team still has to keep track of everything that happens, to make sure that replication and backup of the data is running correctly," Bock said. "What Site Recovery Manager does is provide a much tighter connection with what's going on on the storage side, with what's going on on the VMware side."
The coordination of all this -- especially in large data centers -- can save a great deal of time and effort for the IT staff, which translates into operating expense savings for the company, Bock said.
Recovery and redeployment of key business data and processes in any-size IT systems is not a trivial pursuit. It has to be done right. IT researchers have revealed in several reports that about one-quarter of businesses whose IT systems are hit with serious downtime (meaning seven or more days) and cannot reconnect with their data due to a hurricane, earthquake, power outage or other unexpected event, lose their businesses altogether.
Companies with a heavy amount of financial transaction data, such as brokerages, banks, investment firms and others, especially need to be constantly mindful of the state of their DR facilities.
Key new features in VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager 4 are as follows:
- Fault tolerance, for better performance and protection of applications in vSphere 4.
- Support for iSCSI, Fiber Channel, and NFS storage and replication connectivity.
- Many-to-one failover, which protects multiple production sites with automated failover into a single, shared recovery site.
For pricing and more information, go here.