VirtualSharp to enable disaster recovery to public clouds

It expects that public cloud providers will start offering the service in the first quarter

VirtualSharp hopes to soon let its customers set up disaster recovery plans that fail over from their private clouds to public clouds, the company announced this week at the CloudBeat conference in Redwood City, California.

VirtualSharp's software lets customers do disaster recovery on their private clouds and also easily simulate failovers -- as often as daily or even every few hours -- in order to make sure the disaster recovery process will work properly in a real outage. Currently, customers use a different internal data center or additional virtual machines for the failover.

[ In the data center today, the action is in the private cloud. InfoWorld's experts take you through what you need to know to do it right in our "Private Cloud Deep Dive" PDF special report. | Also check out our "Cloud Security Deep Dive," our "Cloud Storage Deep Dive," and our "Cloud Services Deep Dive." ]

On Wednesday, VirtualSharp announced features in its ReliableDR software that will let public cloud providers provide the disaster recovery services. Companies will be able to sign up for the service online and set a so-called service level agreement for the disaster recovery process. For instance, the customer can say that it wants to be able to recover an application in 30 minutes and run a disaster recovery test every six hours. If those parameters aren't met, the cloud service provider can send an email to the customer indicating what is causing the holdup.

"This means that when you have a threat to recovery it will be found long before it impedes or becomes an obstacle to recovery" in a real outage, Carlos Escapa, CEO for VirtualSharp, said.

For now, the product is compatible with clouds -- public and private -- using VMware hypervisors.

VirtualSharp expects to be able to announce a public cloud partner in the coming weeks and anticipates service availability in the first quarter.

Pricing will be dependent on the public cloud provider. Escapa hopes to eventually achieve a cost of $100 per virtual machine in the public cloud per month. Current customers license the software and pay a maintenance fee based on the number of virtual machines they use.

VirtualSharp represents a new kind of disaster recovery process, and not just because it automates the process, Escapa said. A company may be doing data replication for disaster recovery, but that's not enough anymore because companies are increasingly running complex applications that may span data centers.

"I feel strongly that the focus is not so much on data protection. There's a shift to service protection, which is data plus apps plus configuration plus storage plus the virtual machine," he said. "All of these things have to click together to make sure a service can be restarted if the cloud gets blown away."

While VirtualSharp has large customers, it has been surprised to find that half of its users are small companies. That's because smaller companies tend to be the ones going "whole hog" to the cloud, Escapa said. "Therefore, they actually have mission critical apps being virtualized. We have seen the cost of an outage can be very high for small to medium size businesses, so for them this is a form of insurance," he said.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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