Disaster recovery in the cloud: Q&A with DataGardens

Geoff Hayward-DataGardens.jpgHow do you approach disaster recovery in the cloud


Businesses that have witnessed the cost savings of the cloud now want to apply those same gains to enterprise disaster recovery. And on first glance, that works because, by definition, cloud allows enterprises to keep a small footprint in their back-up data center and scale it out when a disaster occurs.

But questions often linger over how to effectively handle data replication between the production and disaster-recovery sites.


DataGardens, a member of Savvis' new Enterprise Cloud Ecosystem Program, has developed a way for businesses to protect IT systems from disaster, regardless of whether those systems are physical, virtualized or both. I had a chance to speak with DataGardens CEO Geoff Hayward about how businesses can build cloud advantages into their disaster recovery plans.


Jeff Katzen: Who is DataGardens?

Geoff Hayward: DataGardens got its start in 2007, developing some remarkable software that performs live transfer of virtual machines between sites--moving both server and datastore--while consuming only minimal network bandwidth. While the software enables geographic redistribution of virtual infrastructure in response to any business need, DataGardens began by focusing primarily on the disaster recovery market. The company has since further refined its focus to address the special challenges of cloud-based disaster recovery.


Katzen: Given your expertise in disaster recovery, what capabilities should enterprises look for when picking a disaster recovery solution?

Hayward: Of course, different companies have different priorities. Generally, companies want a disaster-recovery solution that is not limited to a specific application or to infrastructure from a particular vendor. Often the goal is to find a comprehensive solution that can protect a broad cross section of physical and virtual IT infrastructure while being easy to administer through an intuitive interface.


A good disaster-recovery solution should also allow users to develop and test custom recovery plans, ensure group consistency, support ordering and allow easy failback to the production site after the disruption events are resolved. Perhaps the most important element, though, is that the user must be able to benefit from the inherent cost advantages of the cloud paradigm.


Katzen: What gaps are you seeing in today's market for existing solutions?

Hayward: We see two broad classes of cloud-based disaster-recovery solutions out on the market today.


On the one hand, there are the application-oriented solutions. These provide good RPOs and RTOs but are specific to a given software application. They also require active instances of the application in the protection site at all times and, hence, tend to be quite expensive to provision and operate.


On the other hand, there are the infrastructure-oriented solutions. These focus on failing over groups of servers and storage systems between sites and offer the potential for application-agnostic, enterprise-wide disaster recovery. Unfortunately, these solutions tend to be incompatible with multi-tenant clouds because each subscriber needs direct control over the cloud provider's IT infrastructure in order to sustain replication and achieve failover.

SafeHaven VPDC.jpg 

DataGardens' SafeHaven console seamlessly integrates with Savvis Symphony VPDC to handle data replication between production and disaster recovery sites.


At DataGardens, we believe we have developed a third alternative that offers the best of both worlds, with protection across physical and virtual infrastructure.


Katzen: I understand that Savvis is the first cloud provider you have established a go-to-market strategy with. Why?

Hayward: We have had a relationship with Savvis for more than two years now. Among cloud providers, I believe most industry observers would agree that Savvis has distinguished itself as a leader in cloud security and threat management. Disaster recovery is simply part of that larger picture. Savvis Symphony VPDC offers all the perimeter control pre-requisites that we rely on in order to provide secure replication from a private customer domain into a multi-tenant environment. Also, from our earliest discussions, we and Savvis have shared a common vision to provide cloud subscribers with a new class of premier data center protection service at a very attractive price point. Despite what they say, few other cloud providers really share that vision.


Jeff Katzen is senior manager, cloud business solutions, at Savvis, a CenturyLink company.

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