Many organizations are looking to disaster recovery as a service to help improve their ability to recover in the event of a data center outage as well as to reduce overall DR costs. DRaaS allows an organization to run its applications as virtual machines on a cloud service provider, such as Amazon or Google, or even with a managed service provider. The problem is that most hyper-converged platforms ship as bundled hardware and software; however, there are ways hyper-converged customers can take advantage of DRaaS-like services.
Most hyper-converged vendors provide the hardware and software bundle as a convenience to their customers. Many hyper-converged platforms include software designed to run with a hypervisor to aggregate capacity across the nodes in a cluster into a virtual volume that all of the host nodes can access. This means that the majority of vendors should be able to unbundle their hyper-converged software so it will work in a provider's cloud.
The bigger challenge facing vendors is how transportable their hyper-converged software is -- in other words, whether it can run on a variety of hypervisors. Most cloud providers base virtual infrastructures on Linux hypervisors rather than VMware or Hyper-V, which are commonly found in data centers. A vendor will need to modify its hyper-converged software, perhaps significantly, to get it to run in a cloud provider's infrastructure.
Analyst Jason Buffington describes how a midsize organization can best take advantage of DRaaS offerings.
There are providers running VMware vCloud Air that should enable DRaaS-like functionality for hyper-converged platforms locked into the VMware hypervisor. However, this still requires that a vendor support its product as hyper-converged software only, not as the software bundled with the hardware.
The other alternative is to use a replication application that supports replication to a cloud provider as well as the transformation of the virtual machine to run natively within the provider's cloud. Companies such as HotLink, Sureline Systems and Zerto support this functionality.
Data centers that have settled on a hyper-converged infrastructure strategy for all or part of their storage do not have to rule DRaaS out of their DR options. Some vendors provide native DRaaS support, even creating their own data center to be the DR target. Other vendors embrace Amazon, Azure or Google, or have partners leveraging vCloud Air. Standard replication is another option that provides native support for various providers. Standard replication provides flexibility and allows users to change their mind if they want to move their DRaaS service to another provider.
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