HotLink DR Express Ties VMware, AWS Together For Disaster Recovery

HotLink, a developer of technology for interfacing VMware customers to other technologies including the Amazon cloud, on Tuesday updated its HotLink DR Express offering to make it easier for VMware customers to use Amazon as a disaster recovery target.

The new version of HotLink DR Express features a new software defined networking (SDN) capability for replicating networking environments in the Amazon Web Services EC2 cloud, along with improved retention and restore capabilities for backed-up data.

HotLink DR Express is unique in its ability to provide a comprehensive data-protection solution for VMware users to use Amazon Web Services, said Lynn LeBlanc, founder and CEO of Santa Clara, Calif.-based HotLink.

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"It's not just backup and recovery, but also business continuity," LeBlanc said. "If there's a server failure, customers can have a virtual machine up and running quickly in AWS, but managed via VMware's vCenter. It's a cost-effective way to leverage the Amazon Elastic Cloud to protect VMware environments."

The HotLink DR Express solution is deployed as a virtual machine, with no additional hardware required, LeBlanc said. Virtual machines that replicate the customers' servers are set up and stored using the Amazon Web Services S3 cloud, with changes automatically sent to S3.

In the event of a failure, or to test disaster recovery, HotLink DR Express automatically converts those virtual machines into the AMI format, which allows them to be run in the AWS EC2 cloud environment, LeBlanc said.

New to HotLink DR Express is the HotLink CIMple SDN, or software defined networking, which allows a customer to set up its networking environment on the Amazon cloud so it will operate in AWS EC2 during a failover, said HotLink CTO Oded Haner.

"All the networking configurations are saved off-site in advance to be used in a failover," Haner said. "At a more mundane level, the networking configuration can be used to test disaster recovery using the dormant virtual machines in Amazon S3. There's no need for extra computing resources to test disaster recovery. Amazon has the planet's biggest compute cloud."

HotLink DR Express keeps the configuration information for each virtual machine in order to mirror the total configuration to the Amazon cloud, Haner said.

"Customers can launch in Amazon using their existing IP addresses and virtual switches, letting them go live in the Amazon cloud and work as if nothing happened," he said.

NEXT: MSP Uses HotLink DR Express To Link VMware On NetApp To AWS

Also new to HotLink DR Express is the ability to set restore point retention policies, which state how often changes to data are sent to the cloud and how long they are kept, Haner said.

Customers also now can schedule restore points on an ad hoc or recurring basis, he said. "If you know changes will be made at 6 p.m. on Saturday, you want to make sure the entire environment is backed up before the changes are made," he said. "These restore points can be used for restores using AWS in minutes."

Day1 Solutions uses HotLink DR Express as a way to help its NetApp customers have a seamless disaster recovery solution via Amazon Web Services, said Luis Benavides, CEO and founder of the Falls Church, Va.-based solution provider, systems integrator and MSP.

Day1's solution is based on NetApp storage and AWS, and having the right disaster recovery technology to tie the two together is essential, Benavides said.

"HotLink lets us bring a lot of flexibility to our solution," he said. "And there's no vendor lock-in."

Because of its NetApp storage relationship, Day1's customers have a large number of virtual machines and, until HotLink, had no easy way to move them to Amazon, Benavides said.

"HotLink provides the tools to help customers of NetApp and VMware to extend to the Amazon cloud," he said. "This includes FlexPod customers. If such customers want to leverage Amazon, this is our tool to help them do it."

HotLink also provides single-pane-of-glass management to disaster recovery, making it easy to work with the Amazon cloud, Benavides said.

"It enables us to bring in value-added services, and move the conversation to around how to adopt cloud services," he said. "The alternative has been native Amazon tool sets for virtual machine input into Amazon. Those tools are OK, but they're not fast."

HotLink DR Express is available with a list price of $300 per virtual machine per year.