Disaster Recovery to VMware Cloud™ on AWS using Cloud DR

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Disaster recovery is one of the most important aspects an organization needs to handle, not only for business continuity, but also for regulatory reasons. Not every business can or wants to handle the additional cost of a physical site for disaster recovery. The cloud seems to be the optimal solution for that.

Dell EMC’s Data Domain Cloud Disaster Recovery is a solution that allows users to extend their on-premises data protection to the cloud, and orchestrate the disaster recovery of a protected machine on the cloud. The solution has been available since early 2017 and many customers are already using it for their disaster recovery. Cloud Disaster Recovery is also included in the Integrated Data Protection Appliance (IDPA), which means that customers who are working with IDPA have by default, the ability to leverage the Cloud DR abilities.

The Cloud DR process starts by copying data created on the on-premises by Avamar. Data is stored on Data Domain systems, including our integrated appliances (IDPA DP4400), or snap-based replication data created by RecoverPoint for VMs to an S3 bucket on your AWS account. This process is called protection and data is sent compressed over HTTPS/TLS 1.2, where it is stored securely and deleted by the cloud retention policy, which is configurable through the protection or replication solution (Avamar or RecoverPoint for VMs).

After the data of a backup or a replication is available on the S3 bucket, the next backups can be incremental, meaning only new changes made to the machine will be sent to the cloud, so cloud storage usage and the billing are significantly reduced. When a machine needs to be recovered from the backup stored on the cloud, users have the ability to select a backup copy using the Cloud DR Server modern HTML 5 user interface and can recover in just a few button clicks.

Leveraging VMware Cloud™ on AWS as a DR Site

It’s been over a year since VMware™ Cloud on AWS was announced and it has gained popularity among organizations who seek the familiar VMware products and technology, without the hardware costs and complexity of building the entire infrastructure. It allows businesses to take advantage of the scalability the cloud can offer.

The Cloud DR’s vision is to provide customers the opportunity and flexibility to work with different protection technologies and cloud platforms. Starting with the 18.2 release, which was available beginning in May 2018, Data Domain Cloud Disaster Recovery provides the ability to recover from an existing backup on the cloud directly to VMware Cloud™ on AWS.

Cloud DR allows you to recover to VMware™ Cloud easily and intuitively. After configuring your software defined data center (SDDC) on VMware Cloud, you’ll be able to deploy a Cloud DR Add-on (CDRA) on the vCenter running on your SDDC. The SDDC doesn’t have to run all the time. You can configure it to run just for disaster recovery and continue with the CDRA deployment and configuration. This includes connecting the CDRA to your AWS account, and the vCenter on the SDDC. This process takes just a few minutes.

During the configuration, make sure to enable the CDRA for direct failovers. Once this option is enabled from the CDRA, you’ll be able to use the Cloud DR Server (CDRS) to recover from a backup copy directly to the vCenter on the SDDC. Simply select a protected VM, any of its available cloud copies, and the target vCenter and CDRA (multiple CDRAs could be deployed on the same vCenter).

After the recovery is initiated, the CDRA will create a new VM on the vCenter running on your SDDC on VMware Cloud, and that VM will retrieve the data that is stored on the S3 bucket.

It wouldn’t take long to fully recover a VM to VMware Cloud, and the process is usually much quicker than a recovery to AWS because there is no data conversion process and because the internal connectivity between the SDDC and the resources on AWS. In internal lab qualifications, it took several minutes to recover a 150 GB Linux VM to VMware Cloud.

You’ll can find several demos on Dell EMC’s YouTube channel, including the following:

Additional resources:

@DellEMCProtect will also be discussing this in more detail at Dell Tech World in several different sessions including:

  • Everything You Need to Know About Modern Data Protection for VMware
  • Dell EMC Data Protection Portfolio Overview: Cloud-Enabled, Software-Defined, VMware Integrated
  • Moving DR to the Cloud – When does it make sense?
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