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IBM Launches Disaster Recovery Via SoftLayer

Virtual Server Recovery is now available through IBM's SoftLayer unit; resiliency services to come.

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IBM on Monday launched disaster recovery as a service on its SoftLayer cloud. The service can recover workloads that were running under Linux, Windows, or IBM's AIX "in a matter of minutes," according to a video linked to the announcement.

IBM's announcement came a day before a major move by VMware into disaster recovery. VMware seeks to exploit its strong position in datacenter virtualization by taking over more of the disaster recovery function at the vCenter management console.

Though VMware announced disaster recovery for its ESX hypervisor virtual machines, IBM made no reference to specific types of virtual machines, such as VMware's ESX, Microsoft's Hyper-V, or Red Hat's KVM. IBM's video says its service could be used with Windows, Linux, or IBM's Unix AIX applications. AIX uses IBM's specific form of virtualization, so VMware could not recover its workloads.

In effect, IBM is making one of its existing managed services, Virtual Server Recovery (VSR), available through its SoftLayer datacenters. At a later date, it will expand VSR to include a wider set of services called Business Continuity and Resilience Services.

[For more on disaster recovery, see Inside A Bank's Cloud-Based Disaster Recovery Plan.]

VSR automates the recovery of specific applications, servers, and cloud-based data in the event of an outage. It replicates whole systems in real-time. The replication includes database dependencies, system files, the application itself, and user data. The replication is independent of the specific hardware running the original application.

(Image: IBM video)
(Image: IBM video)

IBM is known to have extensive expertise in disaster recovery, and the announcement contained few specific statements from IBM executives about what was new to the service. Instead, it mainly illustrated how an existing managed service is now available through the SoftLayer cloud, as well as through previous IBM consulting sources.

At a future date, IBM will add Resiliency Consulting Services from the SoftLayer cloud. The consulting service can integrate legacy IT environments with either a private cloud or the SoftLayer public cloud infrastructure-as-a-service. The service will help companies assess what applications need greater resiliency and determine how to implement and test it.

IBM is opening two new cloud-based resiliency centers in Raleigh, N.C., and Mumbai, India. These will join the 15 new SoftLayer datacenters that IBM plans to add this year. The announcement said IBM already operates 150 resiliency centers. Combined with the new additions, the resiliency service will be available in many locations around the globe, cutting network latencies and allowing data to remain close to its point of national origin.

IBM also made managed security services available through its SoftLayer cloud unit. The services will bring IBM security operations and intelligence analysts to customers needing help in identifying threats, tracking incidents, and pinpointing potential vulnerabilities. The services can be integrated with existing on-premises security systems, according to the announcement.

Find out how a government program is putting cloud computing on the fast track to better security. Also in the Cloud Security issue of InformationWeek Government: Defense CIO Teri Takai on why FedRAMP helps everyone.

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive ... View Full Bio

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User Rank: Ninja
4/18/2014 | 11:36:21 AM
Makes sense
It makes sense that IBM would put a strong play for disaster recovery considering that this will undoubtedly be one of the more in-demand services when it comes to first stage cloud adoption.  The trick will be to see how this type of solution meets the lower end of the market (SMBs) or if it will merely be adopted by the larger enterprises where IBM normally focuses.
Lorna Garey
Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
4/16/2014 | 4:59:39 PM
No VMware?
So, IBM is offering DRaaS without supporting the No. 1 (by a mile) hypervisor in use by enterprises? Am I missing something?
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