HotLink Corp. this week announced its newest product, HotLink DR Express, which it says is the first disaster recovery and business continuity product to use the Amazon Web Services platform to protect all VMware vSphere virtual machines (VMs).
HotLink DR Express offers a plug-in disaster recovery solution for VMware vCenter users to integrate data protection with day-to-day operational management of VMware Windows and Linux workloads. Within minutes of a failure, HotLink claims that HotLink DR Express allows IT administrators to automatically recover to a DR/BC site within Amazon Web Services for the cost of a basic backup.
HotLink DR Express extends VMware vCenter capabilities to include automated DR/BC site setup, maintenance, recovery and management for Amazon Web Services, which the company claims will ensure that downtime is kept to only minutes, rather than hours or days. HotLink also says that HotLink DR Express management is seamless with VMware vCenter.
Built on a patent-approved HotLink Transformation Engine, HotLink DR Express enables VMware users to benefit from what the company says is intuitive disaster recovery/business continuity in Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).
HotLink claims that HotLink DR Express eliminates the need to purchase dedicated recovery hardware, since resources are available, on demand, at scale through AWS. VMware vCenter users select which VMs to protect and the frequency of the restore points -- up to 500, configurable by VM. HotLink DR Express then automatically uploads the initial VM to Amazon S3, along with the ongoing differentials, without any manual steps, other consoles, appliances or conversion tools.
Upon a VM failure or during a testing cycle, HotLink transforms the virtual machine and restores operations in AWS in minutes. Instances only incur Amazon EC2 charges during the period of the restoration; dormant VMs and differentials are subject to Amazon S3 pricing. Alternatively, restoration back on-premises or to a VMware vCloud provider can be selected, if preferred. With HotLink DR Express, Amazon-restored VMs are fully manageable by VMware vCenter, alongside on-premises VMs, and can be migrated back from AWS whenever necessary.
According to HotLink, HotLink DR Express includes the ability to extend VMware vCenter management to DR/BC operations in Amazon, automate cloud DR/BC site creation and maintenance, perform integrated monitoring and continuous testing, restore business operations within minutes, and migrate back on-premises.
"A big advantage of HotLink DR Express is that VMware users can, for the price of backup, have DR/BC without any standby hardware -- Amazon is the mirror site," said Lynn LeBlanc, CEO and founder of HotLink. "Unlike cloud backup solutions, HotLink DR Express is the only solution that enables VMware virtual machines to be recovered and operational in Amazon EC2 in minutes, fully managed by VMware vCenter while running in EC2, and then cloned back on premise when resources are available."
Yet at least one analyst wasn't overly impressed with the announcement of HotLink DR Express as a disaster recovery solution.
"Most [small and medium-sized businesses are] not using VMware. Most are using Windows or Hyper-V based," said Marc Staimer of Dragon Slayer Consulting.
"Competing services work just as well with Windows and Hyper-V as they do VMware. They will actually back up Windows machines and mount them as a VM in their data center during a disaster."
Staimer said that many software products offer similar functionality, listing Veeam, Symantec NetBackup and Backup Exec, Commvault Simpana, and EMC Avamar and NetWorker.
HotLink DR Express is available in both 30-day trial and subscription editions. Subscription pricing is $25 per month per VM on an annual subscription.