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Disaster recovery in the cloud

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Hybrid cloud recovery

The recovery process typically takes only a few minutes and is controlled by the client or managed service provider through a Web portal, similar to the way restores are handled with a hybrid backup product. Users can then run their applications in the cloud until the primary data center is back online, or leave them running in the cloud as hosted applications. When it’s time to “fail back” to normal operations, they can synchronize their primary servers with the cloud over the Internet, or have a storage device sent from the cloud provider and do a sync locally.

There are a number of hybrid cloud DR products available today with many more in the works. Adding a DR capability is a natural evolution for

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hybrid cloud backup providers as is adding a cloud capability for vendors that build dedicated DR solutions for virtual server environments. This is also a service that can be added to a more traditional storage or backup system offering, one that has the ability to run VM images. We’ll now describe four examples of hybrid cloud DR offerings.

Axcient Appliance

Axcient Inc.’s Axcient Appliance is installed on-site and provides agentless local backup and restore for computers and servers running in physical or virtual environments. These can be traditional file-based backups, or full server images that are stored locally and then transferred to the Axcient data center (the cloud). The server images are automatically converted locally into virtual machine images that users can run on the Axcient Appliance to ensure business continuity if their production servers fail. Upon replacement of the original server, the image can be failed back, including any changes accrued while running on the appliance.

In 2011 Axcient added the ability to start VMs within the Axcient cloud, completing its hybrid cloud DR solution. Each VM image is incrementally updated with a snapshot technology to create a “reverse incremental” chain of server versions that can be recovered. When a recovery event occurs or as a readiness test, the user logs into the Web portal and selects “virtualize office.” This process automatically allocates resources (CPU, memory, connectivity and so on) to support the VM images stored for the user. It also creates a control panel that can be used to configure networking, select servers and versions to recover, and to start the desired virtual machines. According to Axcient, its target customers are smaller and midmarket companies with up to 25 servers. Axcient Appliances are sold exclusively through VARs and MSPs.

This was first published in August 2012

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