Today, EMC announced version 4.0 of RecoverPoint. The new version brings many exciting new features, my personal favorite being the availability of a virtual version of the RecoverPoint Appliance (RPA).
RecoverPoint is a SAN-based data protection/replication solution. It works through the use of a specialized RecoverPoint Appliance (RPA) installed on the SAN. The solution uses “splitters” to take a copy of all data writes and send them to the RPA. The splitters can be one of three types: array-based (on supported arrays), network-based (on supported switches), or host-based (as device drivers for HBAs in environments not using RecoverPoint-supported arrays or switches).
Depending on the configuration, the RPA can use this duplicate data stream to provide one of three modes of protection:
- CDP – Continuous Data Protection (single site)
- CRR – Continuous Remote Replication (two sites)
- CLR – Concurrent Local and Remote — running CDP and CRR simultaneously
In any of these modes, RecoverPoint gives a DVR-like ability to rollback to any point in time within the user-defined protection window (larger protection windows require more resources, mostly storage space).
Let’s break down the new features in RecoverPoint 4.0:
In previous versions, RecoverPoint in CRR (or CLR) worked point-to point from one site to another. There was a way to set up a cascading solution, but that wasn’t true multi-site — it was chaining two point-to-point solutions together.
In 4.0, RecoverPoint adds true multi-site support, at both synchronous and asynchronous replication distances. This allows for protection options not previously available.
Up to four remote sites can be configured to replicate data to a single RPA at a central site. Or, for improved protection of mission-critical production data, a single RPA can be configured to replicate data to up to four separate remote sites — all while maintaining the point-in-time “DVR” capability.
RecoverPoint 4.0 adds RESTful APIs. This, in turn, offers extensibility and an easy way to create fully-customizable reporting.
Additionally, 4.0 adds EMC Unisphere support for easy management. EMC is working to standardize their management GUI across all their platforms, and today RecoverPoint (and VPLEX) join the Unisphere family.
Enhanced VMware Site Recovery Manager Support
RecoverPoint could previously be used with VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) to provide the underlying replication for the datastores.
RecoverPoint 4.0 adds advanced integration with SRM. When SRM manages a site failover with RecoverPoint 4.0, adminstrators have the ability to select the specific point-in-time state of the datastore(s) that will be used at the failover site. Think of it as enabling the addition of full CRR capability to SRM protection for thousands of VMs.
Virtual RecoverPoint Appliance (vRPA)
(Yes, I did save my favorite new feature for last.)
RecoverPoint 4.0, in certain use cases (specifically with EMC VNX) no longer requires the installation of the purpose-built RPA hardware. Instead, the RPA is available as a fully-functional virtual appliance that can run as a virtual machine. In addition to this giving the RPA all the additional flexibility and availability benefits that server virtualization can provide, this obviously reduces the solutions footprint in the datacenter, and can dramatically reduce the cost of a RecoverPoint solution.
The vRPA gets implemented differently than the hardware RPA. RecoverPoint is a solution for FC SAN storage and, as such, requires the RPA to be connected to the FC SAN. The vRPA, on the other hand, uses an IP connection (specifically iSCSI) to the VNX, as shown in the diagram below.
I’ve said before that I believe that virtual appliances will become the enterprise software delivery system of the future, but solutions like this offer specific examples for people having trouble understanding the whole idea behind the software-defined datacenter. That idea may be too much to take in at once, but it’s easy to see how, with the vRPA, RecoverPoint becomes a software-defined data protection solution.
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