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HotLink improves VMware DR tool using AWS

HotLink DR Express protects virtual machines in VMware by using Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a target in the cloud.

HotLink Corp. strengthened its cloud disaster recovery capacities with its latest version of DR Express VMware Data Protection that allows customers to use Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a DR target. The new version adds automated hybrid networking for more rapid recovery in AWS for disaster recovery and business continuity.

HotLink’s main transformation platform technology is an add-on to VMware so users can move and manage virtual machines (VMs) across heterogeneous hypervisors and public clouds, including VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrtix XenServer, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (KVM) and CloudStack.

The latest HotLink DR Express for VMware Data Protection is a plug-in for vCenter that extends backup, replication, disaster recovery and business continuity to Amazon Web Services. If a disaster strikes, VMs can be powered up within minutes via a local instance of vCenter or a laptop that runs vCenter.  

"This lets you take your VMware environment and back it up to AWS, so if you lose your data center, you have a VMware environment all ready to run on an AWS hypervisor," said James Bagley, senior analyst at Storage Strategies Now.

"It took HotLink a lot of work to get to this point. It's the only way I know of to do this without managing a recovery environment with Amazon tools. Without this, you have to do a lot of manual work to rebuild a VMware environment in AWS."

HotLink CEO Lynn LeBlanc and Chief Technology Officer Oded Haner said DR Express now supports VMware vCenter and vSphere 5.5. DR Express has been enhanced with Software Defined Networking (SDN), a subset of the Common Information Model standard. SDN is built into vCenter. 

"We now have added SDN to our transformation technology," said Haner. "We used to do restoration in Amazon but we didn’t have much synchronization in the networking layer. Before we captured changes from the VMs but you had to do manual networking during a natural disaster."

The restore point, which is synchronized continuously, in AWS is dormant while the on-premise VMware configuration is active. When a disaster strikes, DR Express takes any restore points and transforms the workloads to run on Amazon EC2. DR Express added an automated virtual networking layer that allows the networking to be mirrored between on-premise and Amazon so when there is a failure the networking will be automated.

The DR Express product has been enhanced with a configuration restore point retaining policy that helps administrators choose how many restore points they want to retain. DR Express also has an improved scheduler of restore points, so you can schedule a restore point to take place on a certain day and time. Previously, the product had the ability to do reoccurring replication for restore points but now you can pre-schedule ad hoc replication for them.

"We have up to 500 restore points," said Haner. "We had that before but now we put a policy on top that allows you to automatically keep one day, one week or one month of changes. Customers can choose how to configure the solution."

A DR Express subscription has a list price of $300 per VM per year.

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