EMC gives VMware admins the reins to replication and recovery

RecoveryPoint for VMs is all software and will work with any type of storage, EMC says

EMC is putting replication and recovery into the hands of VMware administrators with a software version of its RecoverPoint appliance that's designed for cloud computing.

The new tool, RecoverPoint for Virtual Machines, works within the VMware vCenter management platform and can use storage from any vendor, EMC announced Tuesday at VMworld in San Francisco. The system can span direct-attached storage, network-attached storage and storage area networks. RecoverPoint for VMs is due to be available in October. Support for other hypervisors will come later, the company said.

As virtualization and cloud computing gradually dominate IT architectures, EMC is seeking to put the point of storage control closer to the application. RecoverPoint for VMs lets virtualization administrators create replica VMs without help from specialists overseeing the backup infrastructure or the network that connects it, said Elizabeth Phalen, vice president of EMC's Data Mobility business, in an online video presentation.

That's part of a broader trend made possible by virtualization and cloud technologies, said Dave Simpson, a storage analyst at 451 Group. Traditional disaster-recovery systems required a separate, identical data center, but now storage is growing simpler and more flexible. Meanwhile, the management of storage has moved closer to the applications themselves, and that's how it should be, he said.

"The application rules, more than storage rules," Simpson said. "Disaster recovery has been too complicated."

Startups, including Switzerland's Veeam, have helped push EMC along by giving virtualization administrators a bigger role in data protection, Simpson said.

VMware administrators can use RecoverPoint for VMs to set up replication and automatic disaster recovery for anything from a single VM to an entire site, according to EMC. It can also make ongoing data protection easier to manage by automatically configuring and changing the backup and recovery settings for VMs as they are created, modified, and moved, EMC says.

The automated workflows it can carry out include recovery of corrupted data to a certain point in time and non-disruptive disaster-recovery testing. Compression, deduplication and network optimization to reduce bandwidth needs for long-distance replication and recovery are included.

RecoverPoint for VMs will also form the basis of a new version of EMC's VSPEX all-in-one private cloud architecture, coming in the fourth quarter. It was one of three new VSPEX releases announced on Tuesday.

VSPEX, introduced in 2012, is a set of architectures combining storage from EMC with computing and networking components from select other vendors. It's similar to the VBlock systems from EMC's VCE partnership with Cisco and VMware but can be configured with gear from a wider range of vendors. EMC channel partners can build special VSPEX systems for vertical markets.

On Tuesday, EMC announced versions of VSPEX built around its XtremIO all-flash storage array and its ScaleIO software-defined storage system. The XtremIO version includes VMware's vSphere and new Horizon View 6 virtual desktop software, and it's designed to provide access to virtual desktops from anywhere for as many as 2,500 users.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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