VMware on Tuesday unveiled vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5, an update to a product that many VMware partners are using to deliver disaster recovery and business continuity solutions to customers.
One of the most compelling aspects of Site Recovery Manager 5 (SRM) is that its handles storage replication at the virtual machine (VM) level using VMware vCenter Server. Gaetan Castelein, director of product marketing at VMware, says hypervisor-based replication -- which VMware had dubbed vSphere Replication -- yields significant performance and cost advantages.
"Typically, if you look at cost of storage plus replication plus SRM , it's usually around $1500 per VM. That's because you need high end storage on both sides, you need replication license and you need an SRM license," Castelein said in an interview.
In SRM 5, VMware is bringing that cost down to the $500 per VM range by enabling the use of low end storage on the failover side and enabling the use of different storage arrays on both sides, Castelein said. vSphere Replication is now included in the SRM 5, and existing SRM customers will get it at no additional cost, according to Castelein.
"We think people will use high end storage on the main site and buy low end storage for the failover side," Castelein said.
VMware is driving cost down further by not using synchronous replication in SRM 5. Instead, SRM 5 will update every 15 minutes. "We're going after the small business market. SRM 5 costs three times less than what it would cost you to provide disaster recovery on a per VM basis," he said.
Management in SRM 5 has also been improved through the baking in of automation features. "Today the most difficult thing in setting up SRM is the storage replication piece, which requires the vSphere guy has to interface with the storage guy," Castelein said. "In SRM 5, storage replication is handled through VCenter on a per VM basis.
SRM 5 also features Automated Failback for disaster recovery. Through tighter integration with storage arrays in SRM 5, VMware is making it possible to flip the replication and do it backwards. "If you're using SRM for disaster recovery and doing a failover every one or two years, it's not a big deal, but if you're doing this every week it really becomes a hassle to do that all manually," said Castelein.
SRM also includes bi-directional recovery planes, a useful feature for organizations that do a lot of back and forth migrations. "There's only one button to push and you don't need to involve the storage guys," he said.
Planned migrations will be easier in SRM 5 than they've been in previous versions. Organizations typically plan these to handle maintenance in the data center or for disaster avoidance scenarios. In these cases, when the VMs are still up and running on site A, SRM 5 can do a much cleaner migration from site A to site B, according to Castelein.
"We do a graceful shutdown of the VMs on site A, synchronizing all data between the two sites, and then we're putting up the VMs on site B. What you get is no data loss and application consistent recovery," Castelein said.
VMware expects to launch vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5 in the third quarter and offer two versions, one for enterprises and the other for SMBs. SRM 5 Enterprise is priced at $495 per VM, while Standard is $195 per VM for up to 75 VMs.
"We're adding a major chunk of functionality with a small price hike. If you combine this low price point with vSphere Replication, we have a very powerful solution for SMBs," Castelein said.