Five Disaster Recovery Products You Should Know

With Hurricane Irene bearing down on the Eastern Seaboard, IT solution providers are on high alert, ready to get their customers back up and running when disaster strikes.

Some of the products they'll be using as part of their disaster recovery efforts are ones profiled by CRN in the past six months. Here are five products every IT solution provider should know about to help prepare their customers for the inevitable next disaster.

Pancetera's Disaster Recovery Software -- SmartMotion
SmartMotion is a virtual appliance that replicates virtual machines directly to any physical or cloud-based NAS target in one step, saving time for IT solution providers. Customers can save money, too, because Pancetera's solution works with their existing data protection software to keep acquisition costs low. Backup data from physical and virtual machines can be sent to any target NAS device, whether an onsite physical appliance or a virtual appliance in the cloud. As part of a disaster recovery solution, SmartMotion can create hot stand-by virtual servers either on local servers or in the cloud.

Wave2Wave's Data Center-In-A-Box
Packing a small data center into a storage container is a great strategy for IT solution providers to increase customers' capacity quickly -- and it's also an ideal way to get up and running fast after a natural disaster strikes. These portable containerized data centers comprise servers, storage, networking, power, and cooling equipment pre-configured in standard 20-foot or 40-foot shipping containers that can be transported to locations where computing power is needed but local data centers are offline. Well known vendors, including Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, SGI, IBM, Dell, Liebert, Oracle-Sun, and Bull offer this type of solution. A lesser-known vendor, Wave2Wave, has introduced three data center-in-a-box solutions that can be used for disaster recovery. One of the Wave2Wave models can withstand a crush force of up to 70,000 pounds, or a .30-cal bullet.

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Symantec's BackupExec
Face it: Many IT solution providers' small (and maybe midsize) customers don't backup their data because it's too difficult, time consuming, etc. Backup Exec is now integrated with Symantec's storage cloud, so small businesses or remote offices can lose the excuses and more easily back up Windows-based desktops and servers over a secure SSL connection to the cloud. Critical files can be restored to any service-enabled machine after a disaster. After years of being one of the go-to solutions for data protection, Backup Exec is now available in off-premises and appliance versions, to cater to the different preferences of customers. In the end, the IT solution provider's job is to recommend products that make their customers' lives easier. If data backup is perceived as too cumbersome, it just won't get done.

Disaster recovery in the cloud offers IT solution providers more options to restore data fast and effectively compared with a traditional disaster recovery model. Aside from the technological benefits, there are cost savings too: Because cloud solutions can have predictable monthly costs, resources can be reserved in the event of an emergency. That rainy day fund can then be used during the crisis in ways that help the business function and continue to generate revenue.

Next: VMware's vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5

ioSafe's Shock Proof Drives
For customers short on cash but long on the desire to protect data, these drives are worth their weight in gold. Given gold's prices these days, that's saying quite a bit. ioSafe guarantees the drives will survive three-day submersion in salt water, have crush resistance of up to 5,000 pounds and withstand continuous pounding of blowing sand and dust, icing and exposure to UV rays. Our Test Center loved them, too.

The drives start at $150 for a 250 GB drive and $230 for 1 TB, and the company will repair or replace a failed drive -- regardless of reason -- and recover the data free of charge. A perfect, cost effective solution for the small customer that can't invest much in disaster recovery, but can't afford not to.

VMware's vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5
In SRM 5, VMware brings the cost of storage, replication and site recovery management down to the $500 per virtual machine (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. Typically, a comparable solution costs roughly $1,500 per VM. The product handles storage replication at the VM level using VMware vCenter Server. In addition, SRM 5 does not use synchronous replication, but will instead update every 15 minutes.

Aimed at small business, VMware is conscious of making the product budget friendly. According to the vendor, SRM 5 costs three times less than what it would cost to provide disaster recovery on a per VM basis.