vCloud Air Disaster Recovery Enterprise Ready?

vCloud Air DR subscription is pretty impressive and is a blessing for SMB environments but when it comes to Enterprises it might not be as flexible as expected. Below are some important points from the FAQ to be noted when trying to decided if vCloud Air DR is the right way to go.

Some key features first

• Self-service disaster recovery protection with failover and failback workflows per virtual machine

• Recovery point objectives (RPO) from 15 minutes to 24 hours

• Multiple point-in time snapshots to revert to previous known states

• Runbook creation for failover workflow plan possible using vRealize™ Orchestrator™ plug-in

• Elastic cloud compute and storage capacity

• Support for ofine data seeding

• Unlimited quantity of failover testing

Now some gotchas!

Q. Will VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager be supported as a part of the service?

A. No. Current releases of VMware vCenter™ Site Recovery Manager™ (5.x) are not interoperable with vCloud Air Disaster Recovery. This means no orchestrated failover capabilities however vCloud Air does offer vRO plugins to be used to create a DR recovery workflow.

Q. What types of service levels will be included in vCloud Air Disaster Recovery?

A. Recovery point objective (RPO) service levels will be configurable on a self-service basis per virtual machine and will range from 15 minutes to 24 hours (variable based on actual data change rates and available bandwidth). VMware will guarantee a recovery time objective (RTO) of four (4) hours or less, per the vCloud Air Level Agreement (SLA). This means there are no subminute RPO’s. This means critical data cannot really be replicated with an RPO of 5 minutes.

Q. Are there scalability limits with the core subscription?

A. Your vCloud Air Disaster Recovery core subscription can scale up to 500 VMs. For enterprises with >500 vms vCloud Air can be a limiting factor.

Q. When a customer has declared a disaster and has failed over to their vCloud Air Disaster Recovery environment in vCloud Air, how long can they operate before requiring failback or migration?

A. A customer has 7 days to run a test failover and for an actual failover, a customer has 30 days to run active in their Disaster Recovery instance. The customer may operate from their vCloud Air Disaster Recovery environment for up to 30 days without incurring any penalties. After 30 days a daily usage fee will be applied. Customers will have the option to failback their virtual machines to their primary data center at any time, or, optionally, migrate their virtual machines to another class of service offered by vCloud Air. This certainly is an issue for any customer who wants to get more out of their DR environment and also wants the flexibility to switch to their DR being promoted as a production environment.

Q. Can I use my credit card to get started with vCloud Air DR on demand?

A. No vCloud Air DR is a subscription model with contracted billing.

Q. What is the cost of per instance of vCloud Air?

A. A base configuration gives you 10GHz of CPU, 20 GB of RAM and 1TB of storage with 10Mbps of network throughput. You also get 2 public IPs. This base configuration costs around 800$ per month. Now you can add more CPU/RAM and storage as well. The CPU and RAM are proportionally added so adding one increases the other.

Maxing out an instances we can add about,

CPU = 120GHz, RAM = 240GB, 12 additional public IPs and upto 12 TB of storage.

The total cost of such a built out instance of vCloud air ends up being around 10,000$ per month. You could go beyond 12 IPs and 12 TB of storage by directly checking in with VMware sales teams but more storage and IPs equate to more VMs and more resources that are needed in a DR scenario.

It is important to understand the scale of your DR environment and the expected functionality such as failover orchestration etc to be able to properly validate if vCloud Air DR is infact a cost effective solution or not. There will be a point in the graph where vCloud Air DR will be more expensive and restrictive than building your own dedicated DR environment.

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