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Disaster Recovery for vSphere: How DRaaS Outperforms Object Storage

Nov 20, 2019, 17:27 PM by Alex Simons

Disaster Recovery for vSphere

Server virtualization presents an efficient model to consolidate hardware, improve IT agility, and efficiently allocate IT resources on-demand. According to a November 2019 study by Reuters, the Global Server Virtualization Marketplace is expected to accrue $8 billion by 2023, registering a robust 7% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) [1].

These rapid adoption figures are heavily fueled by the industry-leading server virtualization platform, VMware vSphere. The vSphere hypervisor has solidified its position as the most popular solution to virtualize hybrid environments and manage virtual machines (VMs) across public cloud, private cloud, and on-premises ecosystems.

Protecting vSphere workloads is becoming increasingly more complicated as the volume of data explodes at an exponential pace. According to a recent study by IDC, the amount of data an enterprise generates will double every 18 months [2]. While the vSphere hypervisor can simplify data management through optimized storage procedures and reduced server maintenance – the growing dependence on virtualized infrastructure creates new challenges to secure critical applications within an evolving threat landscape.

Software-defined networking has also intensified these challenges as more applications become virtualized. VMware Cloud recently announced direct storage integration with AWS S3 as an alternative to reduce Software-Define Data Center (SDDC) costs and migrate storage procedures to a secondary environment. While this presents an efficient solution for many IT workflows – the general-purpose cold storage repositories struggle with warm standby and hot failover - key requirements for a disaster recovery policy.

Let’s take a look at how a managed Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) solution can maximize the ROI for vSphere data protection through quicker Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) and a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) when compared to hyperscaled object storage.

How vSphere Empowers Disaster Recovery

Backing up vSphere workloads will require separate methodology when compared to physical servers. But the hypervisor-layer of virtualized infrastructure will also generate new capabilities to quickly re-spin an on-prem environment. So a virtualization-aware disaster recovery solution will accelerate the recovery process by reducing resource overhead and automating Continuous Data Protection (CDP).

Legacy disaster recovery systems designed for physical hosts will also struggle to keep pace with the VM data sprawl. Highly virtualized environments require highly virtualized data protection solutions to simplify network configuration and manage vSphere storage arrays. A VM-centric disaster recovery application is able to support these requirements through the consistent replication of hypervisor-layer snapshots to an off-site host specializing in virtualized environments.

The cloud is the new normal to secure virtualized infrastructure. However, not all clouds support the same functionality, and an in-depth understanding of solution requirements will lead to superior results.

Any discussion surrounding a disaster recovery solution should start with the RTO. This is the length of time required to restore a compromised dataset from a backup. Systems and applications with a direct correlation to revenue will require RTOs near-zero and a robust policy to maintain uptime and availability during an outage.

It’s fairly common practice within the VMware community to create a single cluster of applications with near-zero RTO requirements. In the words of Real American Hero, G.I. Joe, “knowing is half the battle”. Once the mission-critical workloads have been identified within the vSphere hypervisor – the appropriate cloud infrastructure can be deployed to support the near-zero RTO requirements.

But cloud infrastructure, just like any other infrastructure, needs to be provisioned by the appropriate products and personnel to orchestrate the failover process. Not every cloud will specialize in virtualized disaster recovery capabilities - and under-provisioned hyperscaled object storage will struggle to maintain the business continuity requirements for mission-critical applications.  

Can Cold Storage Repositories Deliver Hot Failover?


I’m not a meteorologist – but those are very different temperatures.

Storing data in a hyperscaled public cloud environment is not a reliable disaster recovery strategy for high-priority workloads. The consistent replication of vSphere snapshots to an off-site cloud environment is a critical first step to preserve sensitive business information in the event of an outage. But cloud storage is not synonymous with cloud disaster recovery. It is the details like how long can the organization afford to be without the application (RTO) and how much data can the organization can afford to lose (RPO) that makes disaster recovery planning so complex.

The RTO and RPO requirements are where most hyperscaled public cloud disaster recovery "solutions" go south. Managing the backup and restoration of virtualized infrastructure is an intricate process. Many IT departments struggle to convert cold storage repositories into purpose-built environments for warm standby and hot failover - leading to an error-prone system with a significantly higher Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

VMware Cloud on AWS integrates compute, storage, and network virtualization products into a single platform. But the disaster recovery benefits are likely unavailable for mid-market IT departments without a disaster recovery engineer and not worth the OPEX for highly-virtualized large enterprises. Breaking down the AWS pricing model is also an impossible task due to a wide variety of hidden charges designed to achieve vendor lock-in.

Bandwidth is also a core component for a cloud disaster recovery solution. vSphere workloads will also require a VPN connection to maintain security protocols when the secondary infrastructure takes over processing. These features will max out the capacity from the hyperscaled public cloud environment and take a huge bite out your OPEX.

Modernize vSphere Data Protection with DRaaS

MarketsandMarkets estimates the global DRaaS market size as $2.19 billion in 2017 and expects it to grow to over $12.54 billion by 2020 [3]. The demand for DRaaS is heavily correlated with the virtualization adoption figures and the increased challenges to secure virtualized environments.

Exponential data growth, digital transformation, and an evolving cybersecurity landscape have also complicated information governance and disaster recovery planning. A managed DRaaS deployment model can alleviate these obstacles by embracing virtualization, optimizing cloud workloads, and modernizing VM data protection through the SDDC. Key benefits include:

  • High-Speed Recovery: Aggressive range of customizable failover / failback capabilities to minimize RTOs.
  • Data Loss Avoidance: Near-continuous data protection and verified recoverability of every file, application, or VM.
  • Reduced Network Complexity:Seamless integration with existing virtual environments running VMware (both vSphere and standalone ESXi).
  • Efficient Hypervisor-Level Backups: Backup VMs from the data center to the public cloud and recovery VMs or individual files as needed.
  • Accelerated Time-to-Production: Multi-hypervisor integration, auto-discovery, and scaling keeps deployments simple and requires no additional infrastructure.
  • Technical Support: Simplified deployment, proactive management, and solution testing to ensure solution readiness in the event of an outage.

The virtualized DRaaS deployment model is an efficient alternative to developing secondary infrastructure or provisioning hyperscaled object storage for high-uptime replication. This enables organizations of all sizes to extend VM data protection to cloud and bundle complex variables into a single solution.  

Keep vSphere Safe with Veeam

VMware infrastructure is full of hidden complexities that can increase management, reduce efficiency, and lead to unwanted downtime.

Veeam Cloud Connect is an industry-leading replication platform that mitigates these challenges by extending data protection to a cloud environment specializing in virtualized DRaaS. 

vSphere Veeam Backup Diagram

Managed DRaaS deployments of Veeam Cloud Connect enable your IT department to leverage hybrid-cloud environments while retaining the ability to customize service offerings and consume cloud resources on-demand. The Veeam Cloud Connect platform deployed through a Platinum Veeam Cloud Service Provider enables an aggressive range of failover capabilities to suit the unique recovery requirements of virtualized infrastructure within the most cost-effective design possible.

As your organization becomes increasingly more virtualized, your disaster recovery solution should reflect a similar strategy and seamlessly integrate with your vSphere hypervisor. We invite you to take a moment to assess our virtualized DRaaS solutions by downloading DRaaS for VMs in the Modern Data Center or scheduling a Virtualized DRaaS Consultation with a KeepItSafe recovery expert today.

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