In a disaster, hypervisor replication reduces data loss and resource utilisation when compared to snapshot technology.
You hope that it will never happen, but the chances are that it will. If you ever need to invoke your disaster recovery provisions, it will probably be at the worst possible time. Whether that’s over a weekend, before a complex infrastructure upgrade, or during your busiest operating hours, you’ll need a disaster recovery solution in place that enables you to get back to ‘business as usual’ as quickly and easily as possible. We believe that the most effective way to achieve this is through hypervisor replication. In this blog post we will explain what hypervisor replication is, how it differs from more traditional snapshot technologies, and why it delivers superior protection in the event of a disaster.
What is Hypervisor Replication?
Hypervisor replication has been developed to meet the technical and business challenges that come with virtualised infrastructures. Cloud-based offerings from the likes of Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, and Google rely on virtualised data centres to deliver services to businesses and end users, and the majority of local infrastructure deployments have moved from traditional ‘one server, one function’ setups to virtualised systems utilising technology from VMware, Citrix, and others.
A key component of a virtualised infrastructure is the hypervisor. The hypervisor is the layer of the infrastructure stack that allows physical servers to run multiple virtual machines. Hypervisor replication utilises the hypervisor layer to provide superior recovery times, minimal data loss, and low impact on system resources.
It achieves this by capturing changes to data as they are made, before they are written to the storage layer. These changes are then replicated to the disaster recovery platform. By eliminating the need to replicate via hardware and storage, hypervisor replication is able to deliver extremely high service levels.
How Does it Differ from Snapshots?
Many current disaster recovery solutions rely on hardware and storage-based snapshots. Snapshots are point-in-time, read-only copies of data that are replicated from infrastructure storage to offsite backup systems. Once an initial full snapshot has been taken, most modern snapshot technologies allow you to copy only changed data. This reduces the data storage requirements, improving efficiencies.
The fundamental difference between hypervisor replication and snapshots is where the data is replicated. Hypervisor replication replicates data at the hypervisor level, whereas snapshots replicate data at the storage level.
But what does this mean for your disaster recovery protection?
Why Does it Deliver Superior Protection?
Through its design, hypervisor replication delivers superior protection to that which snapshots can offer. The benefits fall into three key areas: –
- Continuous Data Protection. Hypervisor replication replicates data as changes are made at the hypervisor layer. This enables you to restore from almost any point in time – even as little as 10 seconds in the past. Snapshots are taken at points in time, usually no less than an hour apart, which means that an hour (or more) of data can be lost, even when the snapshot-based disaster recovery solution is working effectively.
- Resource Utilisation. Hypervisor replication places only a nominal overhead on systems, and it has almost no effect on system performance, even when restoring. Snapshots, meanwhile, place a large burden on systems. The process of waiting for the scheduled replication time, replicating the queue of data changes, and writing to storage can often cause significant system slowdown issues for users.
- Storage Investment. Hypervisor replication delivered through cloud-based services such as AssureStor’s dr2cloud platform is a software-only disaster recovery solution, requiring no investment in storage hardware. As snapshots write to storage, they often require a significant investment in complex and expensive hardware.
Superior Disaster Recovery
Hypervisor replication lowers costs, eases management, and – most importantly – shrinks the disaster recovery window when compared to snapshot technology. AssureStor partners with leading hypervisor replication vendor Zerto to deliver superior disaster recovery to organisations throughout the UK. If you would like to learn more about AssureStor and our dr2cloud platform, please contact us.