Storage Strategies NOW: “Geminare offers customers reliable, on-demand cloud application recovery”

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Geminare offers customers reliable, on-demand application recovery in the cloud.
Defines recovery as a service market

By Deni Connor, principal analyst
Storage Strategies NOW
September 2010

Geminare, an emerging strength in the Recovery as a Service (RaaS) market, is bolstering its capabilities with new cloud-based services called Cloud Recovery and Cloud Storage Assurance that are targeted at small and mid-sized enterprises.

Based in Toronto, the company is offering businesses that may lack the infrastructure and IT resources to maintain an offsite disaster recovery capability for their servers, the ability to outsource their recovery and business continuity needs through a cloud-based service offering. Often these businesses are prevented from deploying enterprise-level disaster recovery services because they are cost-prohibitive and difficult to manage. Yet, just like any small and medium enterprise-size company, they need to be able to provide continuous availability to applications and data in order to protect the viability of their business.

Geminare’s Cloud Recovery and Cloud Storage Assurance platforms let customers buy server replication services and automatic failover and failback from their existing trusted channel partners including market leading MSPs, VARS and Telco’s and protect their business-critical applications such as Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, SQL Server and Dynamics as well as Oracle, BlackBerry Servers and others.

Enter Cloud Recovery (Server Replication) and Cloud Storage Assurance 2.0
Cloud Recovery allows for the continuous availability of business-critical applications via real-time asynchronous replication of a customer’s Windows, Unix and Linux file and application servers to any cloud vendor. For now those cloud vendors include Amazon S3 and EC2, EMC’s Atmos Partners including AT&T and Pier1, Rackspace, Nirvanix and Iron Mountain’s Archive Service as well as several others. When a server failure occurs the user traffic is automatically redirected to a replica server in the cloud and business continues unabated.

Geminare_CldRec_Architecture_Sep_2010 (1)

Geminare’s Cloud Recovery and Server Replication

The replication capability provided by Cloud Recovery is block-based and allows for automatic failback when the file or application server is restored. After an initial synchronization between the local server and the replica server, the software detects block-level changes to files and data and copies the changes to the replica server in real-time. Data is compressed and encrypted in-flight to further protect customer data. Cloud Recovery protects not only physical servers, but also any virtual servers deployed in a customer’s environment.

Unique to Geminare’s Cloud Recovery offering is the ability to seamlessly and effortlessly failback a cloud recovery server to the production environment once the failure has been addressed.  This capability, typically only available in the Enterprise market, is a huge differentiating factor to the Cloud Recovery offering  – one that sets it apart from the look-a-like “imaging” DR vendors and puts the SME’s protection capability on par with that of their Enterprise counterparts.

A remote management application is also available for Cloud Recovery. Called iCloudRecovery, the iPhone application allows customers as well as an MSP, VAR or OEMs to initiate “one-button” failovers or failbacks and to manage the server replication environment through any iPhone-enabled handheld device. Customers have full visibility into their replica cloud environment at anytime and from anywhere.

Cloud Storage Assurance 2.0 adds an indexing and archiving engine to the replication service that lets users build a verifiable audit trail for their files and data. For every file or e-mail replicated into the cloud, a metadata reference or key is created. This metadata guarantees the authenticity of all archived data. Any files within the cloud that are altered can be easily identified through mismatched keys. This capability lets SME customers meet their compliance and eDiscovery requirements easily and affordably. Cloud Storage Assurance also provides data migration capability from one cloud to another so that customers can change their service or cloud provider at will.  On-the-fly encryption and compression capabilities ensure data stored in an offsite cloud remain completely protected and secure.

Sprott Asset Management adopts recovery as a service
Dan Elder, vice president of information technology and infrastructure for Sprott Asset Management, a financial services company in Toronto, came into his job three years ago to rebuild the company’s network and storage infrastructure. His application and file servers needed to be available at all times as they hosted business-critical applications such as Microsoft Exchange, Blackberry Enterprise Server and various databases. Elder looked for a co-location facility wherein he could replicate his servers, and failback his data after a disaster or server failure. In the process of looking for a facility, Elder ran into Geminare, a white label cloud services provider offering software to replicate data for business continuity and continuous data protection via OEM channel partners.

Elder has employed a three-pronged approach to data protection and disaster recovery. Locally, he backs up nightly to disk using Symantec’s Backup Exec and then at his leisure moves data to tapes, which he stores offsite. He relies on Geminare for off-site replication. As a best practice, Elder tested his replication plan as necessary — he turned off a file server, failed over to Geminare and failed back the next day. Few users noticed any interruption in service, as the failover took about a minute. Now, Elder continuously replicates changes to the Geminare service. As changes to files are made they are continuously replicated to Geminare’s offsite servers.

“There were nights at other places where I didn’t sleep that well, worrying about backup and data protection,” says Elder. “Now, I don’t think about it that much. With Geminare, it’s just set it and forget it. That I like. When we did the failover on the file server, it worked like it should have.”

SSG-NOW Assessment
Geminare is well positioned to dominate the Recovery as a Service market for SMEs. Its channel-only focus allows customers to utilize the technology through their trusted MSPs, VARs and OEMs which is key. It offers them disaster recovery capabilities without a large capital investment. With Geminare’s offering neither the customer nor the partner are required to invest in hardware, software or staffing. In addition, its subscription-based service and easy deployment – less than 24 hours – makes it a boon for customers that have strained IT resources.