Replication technology has been around for a long time in various forms, but it's become more important with the increasing use of server and storage virtualization as tools for disaster recovery and continuity of operations. The problem is that many replication systems are based on specific storage hardware or specific applications.
That's where EMC's RecoverPoint Continuous Data Protection and Continuous Remote Replication comes in. It overcomes the shortcomings of both types of disaster recovery technology by combining them into an appliance-based solution, independent of storage hardware, applications and software.
RecoverPoint solves the shortcomings of other COOP solutions by combining replication and the journaling provided by backups in a single system. This appliance-based replication system connects two storage area networks, replicating data from one to the other continuously, so a data center chief doesn't have to worry about the problem of daily backups not being completed. In the event of a disaster, the remote SAN can be used to bring systems back online, either with remote virtual servers or by mapping local servers to the remote SAN.
RecoverPoint performs local backups with journaling and remote replication simultaneously. As a result, the IT team can recover local systems from any point in time in the event of a data loss or database corruption. And if there's a disaster, the same option is available remotely.
Because RecoverPoint does SAN replication, it works for a mixed set of applications. There's no need for separate replication solutions for databases, e-mail and other apps. Organizations can tier their apps and data to prioritize what's most important to replicate and set independent replication control policies for each group.
Why It Works for IT
RecoverPoint is managed from a Java-based graphical user interface, which runs in any browser. It lets the user configure backup for both physical and virtual servers connected to a SAN, monitor and manage replication processes, and handle recovery of failed servers at the local data center or a remote site.
The RecoverPoint appliance management GUI also integrates with VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager and vCenter Server, so the data center team can directly manage replication and restores for vCenter systems from within it. Wizards automate and speed setup of server replication.
Because RecoverPoint is appliance-based, it works independently from SAN hardware and eliminates the need to run individual backup agents on all of the systems tied to your SAN environment.
RecoverPoint isn't optimal for small organizations that haven't invested in SAN technology to virtualize storage. Although it succeeds in eliminating many backup and recovery pain points, the initial cost of moving to virtual SAN-based storage may be too high for some organizations.
Journaled Hardware Replication Versus Software Replication
Application replication works fine for keeping multiple sites synchronized, but it isn't always the best option for disaster recovery – particularly from a software licensing standpoint. Why? Because an organization needs to have the applications running on both ends. It also requires a dedicated server and agents running on each supported server, increasing the processing overhead on those systems.
Another issue with software-based replication systems is that they often replicate the errors that create a disaster in the first place. Traditional offline backups can solve that problem, but restoring a system or provisioning a remote replacement from backup is time-consuming and slows recovery.
Journaled appliance-based replication saves disk space by eliminating multiple backup images, yet allows recovery back to a known good processing point, such as a backup.