VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery

What’s New at VMworld with DR-as-a-Service (DRaaS)

Reasons Why Customers are Adopting VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery

It’s Day 1 of VMworld 2021 and we are expecting tens of thousands of attendees. Personally, this VMworld will be my 14th one — the energy and excitement never gets old. (Hopefully we can all get together in person next year and feel the buzz from the packed Expo floor, the great sessions and speakers, and see old friends while making new ones.)

When we launched VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery (DR) at VMworld 2020, we embarked to deliver an on-demand, easy-to-use DRaaS solution, leveraging cloud economics. 12 months and many cloud releases later, we’re seeing that goal come true as customers confidently modernize their disaster recovery (DR) plans, accelerate their ransomware recovery capabilities, expand their DR capacity while optimizing for cost, and pass business resiliency audits. For over 70% of VMware Cloud DR customers[1], it is their first time to run production workloads on VMware Cloud on AWS, and that’s because of DR’s importance for their business and they see how much easier and more cost-effective DRaaS is compared to traditional approaches.

One such customer is Merrick and Company, an employee-owned engineering, architecture, surveying, and geospatial firm, headquartered in the western United States with offices in 4 countries. Merrick needed a simple-to-operate, comprehensive, and cost-effective disaster recovery solution to protect their digital assets, such as architectural and building designs, from ransomware and other disasters. Their prior approach with a rented datacenter was too manual, costly, and unreliable. Ultimately, they chose VMware Cloud DR because it enables recovery in hours or minutes, not days and weeks. In addition, they no longer need to maintain a secondary DR site, as they can keep virtual machines in a VMware native environment from production to cloud and have a consistent VMware management experience.

“VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery just works. I don’t get messages about it or lose sleep over our ransomware recovery capability. My inbox lights up about other issues, but not about this. It’s nice to not be too concerned about workload protection anymore.”
– Greg Morrissey, IT Manager, Merrick and Company

30-minute RPOs, Accelerated Ransomware Recovery, and Integrated Data Protection

So, what new customer value are we announcing at VMworld 2021 with VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery?

The first thing to highlight, which we delivered last month, is VMware Cloud DR now supports recovery point objectives (RPOs) as low as 30 minutes. This enhancement enables higher frequency snapshots for critical applications with higher change rates. Check out the September blog for details.

Two things we are announcing are centered on core business resiliency use cases: 1) accelerating ransomware recovery, and 2) providing integrated, simpler data protection. Let’s unpack these.

File-level Recovery to Accelerate Ransomware Recovery

With estimates that ransomware attacks businesses every 11 seconds, resulting in $20 billion (USD) in global damages in 2021[2], the need for organizations to better protect their data is an urgent business imperative. A robust ransomware protection plan must include both preventative and recovery measures. Preventative measures keep ransomware from getting into the IT environment in the first place, and if it does get in, to contain and eradicate it before it causes widespread damage. However, recovery measures are always required because ransomware is constantly evolving, and no preventative measures can be 100% successful in perpetuity.

VMware Cloud DR already provides a rich set of capabilities that enable rapid ransomware recovery. Its Scale-out Cloud File System (SCFS) is a foundational component. Read about SCFS in this recent blog “Ransomware Recovery Requires a New Type of File System” by Sazzala Reddy, Chief Technologist at VMware.

To make the recovery process even better, VMware Cloud DR will provide file- and folder-level recovery for customers to extract specific files or folders from VMs without powering up those VMs. Customers will be able to quickly extract recent, uncorrupted files and data, which can be injected into a clean “golden build” / restore point as part the of ransomware recovery process (Figure 1). Since the extraction step may need to be done dozens of times before one finds the right files and best versions to restore, VMware Cloud DR’s planned file-level recovery becomes crucial to minimizing overall recovery time. Compared to other DR solutions where it can take 3-10 minutes to power-on and setup each VM just to access the files, this planned enhancement could save hours, during a very stressful situation when minutes matter.

To see how the various aspects can work together, we published a detailed ransomware recovery guide with practical steps for setting up and utilizing VMware Cloud DR before and during a ransomware attack.

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Figure 1 – Combine a “golden build” / clean recovery point with more recent data to create the final recovery image
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Figure 2 – Extracting different files from two different recovery points, which will then be injected into a clean “golden build” / restore point

Integrated, Simpler Data Protection for VMware Cloud on AWS VMs

While critical business applications should always have disaster recovery protection, there are other applications, files, and data for which a foundational level of data protection is sufficient. But it can be a headache to install and manage yet another piece of software.

VMware Cloud DR will provide an integrated, simpler way to backup and restore VMware Cloud on AWS VMs that do not require full DR capabilities. VMware Cloud on AWS customers will get a unified solution for DR, ransomware, and foundational backup-restore use cases. Customers will select VMs from the same console, set up unified protection groups and replication schedules, and VMware Cloud DR will create immutable, encrypted backup copies stored on the operationally air-gapped Scale-out Cloud File System. There will be no need for two backup storage systems, and no need to install, configure, or manage additional backup software. The restore operation back to the original production region/AZ can be at the file-, folder-, or VM-level.

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Figure 3 – VMware Cloud DR will provide a unified solution for DR, ransomware, and basic backup-restore use cases.

Take the Next Step

During this last year, digital transformation has only accelerated. Grocery stores that once had online food delivery services as a sideline came to depend upon having a digital presence. The same dynamic has held for every industry. IT applications, services, and data that once were deemed not business critical, and therefore not worthy of robust DR and data protection, are now business critical.

VMware has helped customers with unplanned downtime with innovations like vSphere HA and VMware Site Recovery Manager for over 20 years. Let us help you take the next step in your DR journey with VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery.

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[1] VMware internal data

[2] Morgan, S. (2020, November 13). Cybercrime To Cost the World $10.5 Trillion Annually By 2025. Cybersecurity Ventures. https://cybersecurityventures.com/cybercrime-damage-costs-10-trillion-by-2025/