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DR to the Cloud with SRM

Posted on Tuesday, August 30, 2011 | No Comments

I went to two sessions this morning on DR to the Cloud.

I think the first thing you could say about these sessions is that they were named a little wrong. They should have been about DR to "managed service provider" or "hosting company". There might have been a bit of Cloud washing going on here. There were certainly elements of clouds and this is a developing space of which we are at the start if the journey, but I think the topics may be a little "over sold" in their wording.

So what were my notes?

  • SRM will evolve to be application or vApp aware rather than it's VM centric nature of today.
  • Today SRM is all about protecting a machine in site A in another site B. In the future there will be more sites involved, protecting works in one site to multiple sites. For example you might protect a machine to your internal second site plus an external Cloud provider.
  • VMware are working on creating layer two connectivity between multiple sites. This combined with VMotion across sites will allow some interesting DR scenarios. In my opinion this will be helpful for disaster avoidance.
  • The goad is to be able to intermix vSphere and vCloud Director as either sources or destinations of DR.
  • There is the use case of DR to the cloud as well as DR off the cloud.
  • The plan is their would be a plugin for your vSphere Client that would do all the work of setting up DR to a Cloud provider. I imagine this would be like the vCloud Connector plugin.
  • The attributes that are proposed for this future state of software are; VM level protection granularity, multi-tenancy, self serviceability, storage agnostic, vm portability, role based management, scalability, extensibility, simplified deployment and management, security and RAS (reliability, serviceability and availability).
  • Hosting.com described their use of SRM 5 to provide Cloud DR. From what I could see this looked like an implementation of SRM on top of a vSphere implementation that had a Cloud front end. They have their portal for consuming virtual machines in a Cloud manner. By adding SRM underneath and then using the SRM APIs to control it from their portal they are able to give DR functions to users. This shows what can be done when you build your own world and don't use vCloud Director. The service is in Beta.
  • A question was asked from the audience about when SRM and vCloud Director would be integrated or compatible. The answer was that thus was in the roadmap but no detail. I suspect this person was like a lot in the audience was wondering about this given the title of the session.
  • In the service provider session a number of organizations got up and spoke about their DR solutions and how they were integrating in SRM. There was a lot of managed services wrapped around these. Lots of array based replication, customer specific ESX clusters and other such non-Cloud scenarios. There is certainly some great solutions out there and the providers are working hard with what they have.

What was my take away from two hours of presentation of SRM and Cloud. Essentially we are not there yet. Yes there are some DR solutions and some providers will even let you use SRM. The true cloud experience DR from your own infrastructure into a VMware based Cloud is there in parts but there is still portions of string and sticky tape holding all together. Actually that is probably not fair, it makes them sound unstable. What we don't have is the simplicity that we have with SRM today.

The question is, how long will it take for VMware and the providers to get there. I suspect 12 months, problem is we are greedy and want it all TODAY!


P.S. Slowly getting used to Blogsy on the iPad to write this stuff up. Doing straight content is a lot easier than pulling things in from multiple places.

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