Cloud Computing Availability Assurance Buying Guide: Page 2 -

Cloud Computing Availability Assurance Buying Guide - Page 2

VMware Site Recovery Manager

According to Gartner, eighty seven percent of enterprises have RTOs of 4 hours or less for their mission-critical applications, up from 73% only one year prior.

VMware believes that traditional DR has become too expensive, complex and unreliable, especially for SMBs and tier 2 applications, which sometimes go unprotected.

“DR ends up being a huge investment with questionable returns, and most IT organizations are reluctant to apply these solutions beyond their mission-critical applications,” said Gil Haberman, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Infrastructure, VMware.

VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5.1 aims to provide simple and reliable disaster protection for virtualized applications. It leverages vSphere Replication and supports various storage replication products used to replicate VMs to a secondary site. SRM sets up centralized recovery plans across all infrastructure layers, which can be tested non-disruptively.

At the time of a site failover or migration, vCenter SRM automates failover and failback processes. It is available in two editions – Standard and Enterprise – with pricing starting at $195 per VM.

“Some solutions focus on providing replication at the host or hypervisor layer, and traditional storage-based replication solutions are also positioned as disaster recovery solutions,” said Haberman. “However, vCenter Site Recovery Manager is not focused on replication and offers reliable automation and centralized management of disaster recovery processes.”

Note that vCenter SRM relies on an underlying replication product to move virtual machine files between sites. As such, it supports high-performance storage replication products from the likes of EMC, NetApp and HP as well as vSphere Replication.

Virtual Instruments VirtualWisdom

VirtualWisdom combines hardware and software instrumentation to provide an agentless infrastructure performance management platform. It can capture more than 300 metrics in real-time without affecting the devices being monitored to provide visibility across physical, virtual and cloud computing environments.

“VirtualWisdom operates on the wire at the protocol level, and thus supports all protocol compliant devices, regardless of the supplier,” said John Gentry, Vice President of Marketing, Virtual Instruments.

“It reduces the time required for performance problem resolution, and eliminates server and SAN over-/under-provisioning by monitoring all transactions from the virtual machine on the host server through the switching network out to the storage arrays. It sees performance bottlenecks, transmission errors and server-to-SAN utilization.”

It is a modular solution with several components: VirtualWisdom Server Enterprise Software License; VirtualWisdom SAN Availability Probe Software (licensed by active FC switch port), VirtualWisdom SAN Performance Probe Hardware Appliance (licensed in standard 8-port or 16-port configurations; and VirtualWisdom Virtual Server Probe (licensed by ESX Server). All can be acquired for less than $150,000.

This product suite was re-vamped in 2011 to expand monitoring capabilities across the virtualized data center, including the private cloud servers, networks and storage. These enhancements included ProbeVM, the Virtual Server probe for VMWare environments, and a 8Gb SAN Performance Probe.

Gentry said that other approaches rely on software-based polling and/or agents that provide aggregate device level views in 5-minute to 60-minute intervals. They compile averages that miss traffic spikes and transmission anomalies. VirtualWisdom, in contrast, collects 300 metrics measured to the microsecond, at 8GBps line rate, at the protocol level, and can report or act on those metrics in 1-second intervals.

In addition, he said that software-based solutions can negatively affect the performance of the devices they are monitoring. They can tell IT managers that performance is slow, but they can’t tell them exactly when the slow-down started or determine the root cause.

“Other currently available software-only solutions cannot provide real-time visibility across physical, virtual and cloud computing environments,” said Gentry. “Without the combination of software and hardware instrumentation, virtualization and cloud computing put mission-critical applications at high risk of performance and availability impacts.”

NetApp OnCommand Insight

OnCommand Insight (formerly known as Onaro SANscreen) is part of the NetApp OnCommand product portfolio of management software, which deals with controlling, automating and analyzing a multi-vendor storage infrastructure. This includes capacity planning, assuring availability, reporting on costs for chargeback and planning.

“Policy setting and compliance is a big part of enabling access, availability, and performance in the private cloud,” said Lisa Crewe, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, NetApp. “OnCommand Insight enables you to gain end-to-end visibility into heterogeneous storage infrastructure availability, performance, and utilization service levels in the context of applications and business units.”

In addition, through VMware vCenter, OnCommand can identify orphaned volumes that are often attached to unused VMs as a result of VM sprawl, which leads to lower utilization. These volumes can be reclaimed and added into the pool of available storage. This NetApp tool continuously discovers the physical and logical configuration of devices and helps establish a policy-based service model of how the interaction of these devices delivers a service to an application.

“Competitors generally provide device management and file system utilization information, whereas OnCommand Insight captures and stores deep level details on storage and service analytics in a data warehouse,” said Crewe. “Other vendors generally do not serve the NAS space effectively, while OnCommand Insight works in both SAN and NAS environments.”

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