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HotLink DR Express expands with DRaaS managed services

HotLink introduces Managed DRaaS for its DR Express that gives SMBs backup and disaster recovery expertise and resources. The product is fully integrated with VMware vCenter.

HotLink Corp. is adding managed services to its HotLink DR Express for hybrid clouds that integrate with VMware and use Amazon Web Services as a repository.

HotLink Managed DRaaS handles monitoring, testing and reporting of backups and DR processes. The goal is to provide the cloud knowledge and expertise that most small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) lack when they implement a cloud-based backup and disaster recovery service.

The services include continuous monitoring and testing; automated DR maintenance; generating reports and alerts; restoring workloads, file servers and databases; and notifying customers of any irregularities in backups and DR.

HotLink DR Express software is a VMware vCenter plug-in, and stores data on Amazon Web Services (AWS) for backups and DR. HotLink launched DR Express in 2013, and added automation and management features the following year.

"But it was a software-only solution and did not include management services," HotLink CEO Lynn LeBlanc said. "Now, we are bundling managed services. We will do the work and we will provide skilled resources."

HotLink DR Express lets customers select virtual machines to protect along with the frequency of restore points. Those VMs are uploaded to Amazon Simple Storage Service. In case of a disaster or for testing, the VMs can be restored in AWS or to a VMware vCloud provider.

LeBlanc said customers didn't always understand how the cloud works, or how hybrid cloud environments operate.

HotLink DR Express lets customers select virtual machines to protect along with the frequency of restore points.

"As a matter of methodology, most IT shops don't have that in their DNA unless they are large enterprises," LeBlanc said.  "Even with backups, a majority are not restored because customers don't test them."

The HotLink Managed DRaaS comes in platinum, gold and silver service levels. HotLink DR Express will configure recovery point objectives, and schedule and synchronize changes to the AWS cloud. It will validate the DR site, including the status of all the protected workloads by the restore point to ensure recovery.

"This is fully integrated into the VMware vCenter management environment," LeBlanc said. "So, if there is a failure and it does not fail over to AWS, customers can manage the environment by using on-premises management capabilities."

Edward Haletky, CEO of The Virtualization Practice analyst firm, said the HotLink DR Express managed services would benefit remote offices of large enterprises, as well as SMBs that rarely have a dedicated backup administrator.

"What they are doing is taking the day-to-day operations and handling them [for the customer]," Haletky said. "They help set up the right protection. That is the first thing they do, and that is a godsend for SMB enterprises. They ensure that backups are tested, and that is crucial. They do restore testing to make sure backups are nice and clean."

Haletky said the cloud's dynamic nature means companies can no longer have the "set it and forget" method toward their backup policies.

"That is not possible anymore," he said.

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