Configuration problems can be masked by virtualization which, in turn, can affect high availability (HA) and disaster recovery (DR) efforts. Continuity Software says the newest version of its disaster recovery test application -- RecoverGuard 5.2 -- is designed to target the HA and DR configuration problems that arise in virtualized environments.
RecoverGuard 5.2, available as an upgrade to current users, is agentless disaster recovery testing software that now includes the Private Cloud Advisor. With Private Cloud Advisor, IT managers can automatically scan and diagnose holes in configurations that can go undetected and ultimately affect high-availability performance and disaster recovery capabilities.
RecoverGuard 5.2's Private Cloud Advisor specifically targets in-house virtualized environments, said Gil Hecht, founder and CEO of Continuity Software.
"The virtual layer makes it harder to find the physical problems. In the physical world, you could see the mistakes, now in the virtual world you can't see through those mistakes," said Hecht. "It's not a reason not to use virtualization but you must use it wisely. Private cloud infrastructure configuration problems can create disruptions to the entire cloud.
While virtualization provides cost-efficiencies, there are tradeoffs to the technology. It can be a hindrance to high availability and disaster recovery because virtualization ultimately hides the physical hardware, making configuration problems more difficult to catch.
"Changes applied on one end may not have occurred on the other side," said Deni Conner, senior analyst with Storage Strategies Now. "And there is no way to check the system in real-time without with what Continuity Software provides."
For example, database vendors often publish best practices for replication or point-in-time storage-based copies such as snapshot configurations, noted Continuity Software CTO Doron Pinhas. One issue that can be overlooked is the requirement to store the database's data file and archive log files on separated storage area network (SAN) storage volumes.
"It's usually impossible to ensure data consistency without such a separation," Pinhas said.
This becomes a challenge in a private cloud because neither the DBA nor the server administrator has a clear way of knowing where the files and file systems are stored on the SAN. The cloud storage model completely abstracts those dependencies and the few vendor-supplied solutions that can help make the correlation in the old, physical world don't work any longer.
"This easily invites configuration mistakes which are extremely hard to audit or trace," said Pinhas.
Hecht said RecoverGuard 5.2, which uses more than 4,000 risk signatures, lets you "see infrastructure interdependencies so you can find the problem when changes happen rather than once a year when you conduct a test." The software automatically scans and detects high-availability and disaster recovery configurations by providing a map of an organization's systems and identifies configuration problems and vulnerabilities before failures occur.
According to Lauren Whitehouse, senior analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group, more and more companies are depending on virtualization to reduce costs, but those in the business continuity world would say "there are still issues with data movement and maintaining those systems. Virtualization is exposing how complicated it is."
The new version of RecoverGuard has also added support for Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co. StorageWorks XP disk arrays, which are OEMed by HP from Hitachi Data Systems.