Tech Talk 2 by Bill Tobey
There's Strength in Numbers
PlateSpin is preparing the second generation of fully integrated hardware appliances for consolidated workload protection and recovery.
When your Blackberry and your bedside land line both go off at 2:00 a.m., you know it can't be good. And it isn't: one of your key business systems is down—again. It may be an act of God, a bug in the code or a garden-variety human error, but the inevitability of ill-timed system failure is something for which every IT department must plan.
You do have a recovery plan...don't you? And the system that just crashed is covered...isn't it? And you've tested the specified recovery process recently...haven't you?
Or have you? If your organization is like most, you've had to balance management's expectation of quick, complete recovery against the reality of high costs and finite resources. You priced the fastest solutions—server clustering or high-end replication—but one-to-one redundancy, continuous synchronization and high administrative overhead made them too expensive for any but the most critical applications.
So like most of us, you spent 80 percent of your DR budget on 20 percent of your systems. Then you stretched the remainder with image capture, tape backup and manual recovery. You knew perfectly well you should test your plan routinely, but couldn't risk taking down the production environment. The fact is, many of your applications and much of your data won't be available any time soon, will they?
Virtualization—and PlateSpin—to the Rescue
Fortunately, the gap between DR solutions that are fast, reliable and expensive and those that are error prone, labor intensive and affordable is stimulating innovation. In particular, more versatile and affordable solutions are emerging from new applications of virtualization technology, and the most innovative of those are coming from the labs at PlateSpin, Novell's newest strategic acquisition.
Virtualization-based workload mobility is a core element of PlateSpin's business and an important reason the company figures so prominently in Novell's long-range vision for enterprise IT agility and manageability. PlateSpin workload portability technology liberates server workloads—such as data, applications and their OS environments—from their hardware platforms for flexible migration, provisioning, optimization and particularly protection. It protects both physical and virtual workloads, providing critical support for mixed environments in the data center. PlateSpin products include an affordable integrated disaster recovery solution designed for exactly the types of systems most often underprotected, including core systems in the small—medium size enterprise and branch office or second-tier systems in large enterprise environments.
PlateSpin Forge: Affordable Recovery for Every Workload
PlateSpin Forge is a consolidated hardware recovery appliance that dramatically reduces the time, cost and specialized resources required to plan, provision, deploy and test a recovery environment. The tightly integrated package ships with everything you need to protect up to 25 workloads right out of the box, including a dual Quad-core x86 server, workload replication software, dedicated storage, an embedded VMware hypervisor, and a Web-based remote management interface.
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Simply unpack the Forge appliance and plug it into the data center, and it's ready to protect up to 25 physical or virtual servers, either locally or remotely over a WAN. Forge moves virtual copies of targeted production workloads into its onboard storage. In contrast to recovery methods that protect only data, Forge appliance captures the entire workload—application, data and operating environment—providing all necessary context for fast recovery in a single bootable recovery environment. Everything you need in the event of an outage is protected and ready for rapid deployment.
If a production server goes down, PlateSpin Forge immediately notifies IT administrators through the Web-based dashboard, or by sending an alert to a mobile device. Administrators simply deploy a recovery workload, which runs on the Forge appliance as a virtual machine until the production environment can be restored. Users can then be switched back to the original server with minimal downtime or service interruption. If necessary, the recovery workload can also be restored to a new physical server—even to a different hardware platform.
Replication is scheduled to ensure that an up-to-date recovery workload is always ready on standby. Replication intervals can be scheduled to match the criticality of each workload and the desired recovery point objective (RPO). A file server, for instance, might be backed up every 15 minutes; an internal Web server perhaps every 12 hours.