For many IT professionals concerned about protecting critical data, cloud-based disaster recovery is the gold standard. In a In a 2017 report, Gartner said as much: "Cloud-based recovery is the preferred choice in recovery location for critical IT infrastructure services."
There are many reasons why experts prefer the cloud for disaster recovery. In addition to allowing for fast recovery, it is less expensive and more secure than many other types of disaster recovery technology.
JetStream Software, a cloud software development company that builds tools to complement VMware-based cloud infrastructures, aims to up the cloud-based disaster recovery game with its newest offering. The company has announced that its flagship product, the Cross-Cloud Data Management Platform, now features Continuous Data Intercept via I/O Filters. This technology provides a comprehensive solution for data protection, maintained by the cloud service provider.
One of the most important functions of the new technology is providing continuous updating in a failover environment that is as close to an exact copy of the on-premise production environment as possible. According to JetStream president Rich Peterson, Continuous Data Intercept is the technology that makes it possible for cloud-based disaster recovery solutions to deliver a zero or near-zero Recovery Point Objective (RPO).
I/O filters—objects that read from one stream and write to another—are what allow the system to capture data in transit within the hypervisor. With this technology in place, IT professionals can leave the disaster recovery protection to the cloud service provider and focus on performance, availability and cost-effectiveness of their primary storage, independent of their requirements for data protection.
“IT professionals have better things to do than maintain data protection hardware and software,” Peterson said. “Cloud services can increasingly support every facet of data protection, and they can do so at levels of performance, reliability and recoverability that meet enterprise-level requirements. IT professionals can focus their attention on more strategic objectives and get back to innovating instead of firefighting.”
The platform incorporates JetStream’s workload migration capability, which combines the ability to copy a virtual disk and deploy it to some destination with the continuous replication capability of an I/O filter. These two parallel replication processes allow the virtual machine to continue operating while its virtual disk is in transit to the destination, even if it’s being shipped on a physical device. The IO Filter continues to intercept newly written data and reconciles it with the virtual disk copy at the destination.
The combination of the Continuous Data Intercept capability with low latency and high throughput between the on-premises environment and the recovery environment is what enables high availability. JetStream accomplished this by developing a replication logging capability that takes advantage of high-capacity Non-Volatile Memory (NVM) resources, both on-premises and in the cloud. For high throughput, it uses a multi-channel, crash-consistent data pipe architecture between the two low-latency endpoints.
Effective disaster recovery and business continuity requires more than just continuous data replication to the recovery destination. It also requires continuous coherence between the primary and recovery environments, Peterson said.
“It doesn’t do any good to fail over to an environment with inconsistent data, and note that inconsistent is different than incomplete,” he said. “If the recovery point is ‘behind’ the state of the primary environment, that’s okay as long as its data is complete and consistent up to that recovery point. This is more challenging in a cloud service scenario, where storage, compute and network resources are not under the control of, or transparent to, the primary environment. Cross-cloud data management for disaster recovery and business continuity is an all-software problem, which has to be assured in a ‘platform-to-platform’ manner.”
For JetStream, the next step is expanding data management services beyond data protection.
“We’ll see data management services take advantage of Continuous Data Intercept to enable improved compliance, performance management and cost optimization, he said. “We’ve really just begun to scratch the surface.”