Virtualization makes replication easier

Virtualization at the server, network and storage layers is making replication of data within a disaster recovery system easier, and will make it easier to do in the cloud, said Dale Wickizer, chief technology officer of U.S. Public Sector with NetApp, a provider of storage systems.

Replication technology duplicates stored or archived data in real time over a storage-area network. Virtualization is a means of sharing a physical resource across multiple users with each of the users believing they have all of the resource. The resource could be servers, networks including the Internet, or storage.

Before virtualization, organizations needed to have the same hardware at their primary and disaster recovery sites. With virtualization, agencies can abstract the systems and have different types of hardware; they don’t have to maintain the tight, hardware-compatible control at multiple sites, Wickizer said.

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Disaster recovery goes virtual

With virtualization, VMware has made replications easier at the server layer, as has Cisco with its Nexus switches at the network level and NetApp at the storage level. Now, organizations can have heterogeneous storage arrays at the primary and disaster recovery sites.

A cloud provider such as Terremark, a Verizon company, uses NetApp’s FlexPod data center solution, which combines Cisco networking, VMware server virtualization and NetApp storage in a shared infrastructure.

The NetApp FlexPod can help ensure replication in a secure multi-tenant environment, Wickizer said. With the infrastructure, data center administrators can create storage arrays, each with its own administrator, data stores and directory services. That level of separation can also be enforced at the network and server layers. These virtual silos maintain tenant integrity and can be moved to another set of systems or to another site, Wickizer said.

Cloud providers will have to offer multi-tenant capabilities. The question is how well they can maintain multi-tenant integrity and how easy it is to move a tenant from one place to another without service interruption, Wickizer said.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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