Continuity Software adds proactive monitoring for disaster recovery

Reporting and monitoring software didn't find much success in good times. How will Continuity Software's attempt fare in a down economy?

Continuity Software rolled out RecoverGuard 4.0, upgrading its disaster recovery (DR) monitoring and change management software by adding features to proactively identify devices added to a network and assess whether they're protected according to policy.

RecoverGuard, which has been available in the U.S. since July 2007, uses what Continuity calls a "gap detection engine" to validate that applications are being replicated and can be recovered in case of a failure. Continuity added a service option last year through a component that sends reports to an engineer back at the vendor's site.

The new features in RecoverGuard 4.0 are high availability (HA) cluster verification, an availability advisor, an infrastructure change log, root cause analysis and proactive assets identification.

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HA cluster verification monitors variables in cluster configurations for consistency, including patches and service packs, operating system, hardware, and storage routing, with alerts indicating whether an application is truly recoverable. The Availability Advisor performs a similar function for entire replicated environments rather than a cluster of servers. Continuity will add coverage of more variables in future dot releases, including domain and domain name system (DNS) settings and kernel parameters.

Meanwhile, 4.0 will keep a log of changes made to the infrastructure and coordinate recoverability "gaps" to the changes. Also, RecoverGuard will now automatically discover apps attached to or dependent on those it monitors.

"So, if an array is 95 percent replicated and five percent not, we can tell the user what volume group it is, what server it is connected to, and tell them what it means [for recoverability]," Continuity CEO Gil Hecht said.

Some industry experts think customers will respond to the value proposition of monitoring software in the down economy.

"We're moving from an environment that hasn't been closely monitored to heavy oversight" in terms of government regulation on business, said Marc Staimer, founder of Dragon Slayer Consulting. "In that kind of regulatory environment you're in deep trouble if you're not protecting data the way you should."

Still, administrators may have a hard time getting budget dollars for resource monitoring, which was a tough sell in good times. IDC analyst Jim Baker says it can be hard to show upper management the ongoing ROI of a product like RecoverGuard.

Continuity usually leads its sales pitch with an assessment to show an organization where its gaps are, and what costs that could be avoided with RecoverGuard. It also helps that there's not much deployment effort to get the software up and running, Baker said.

Still, the analysts say Continuity's work is never done in terms of keeping up with all devices and applications on the market that customers might want to protect. Baker also suggested that RecoverGuard should tackle NICs, HBAs and server and array firmware, as well as integrate with ITIL monitoring frameworks.

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