RecoverPoint 3.5 and VPLEX 5.1 – The highlights.

Posted on May 21, 2012 by TheStorageChap in EMC World 2012, RecoverPoint, VPLEX

So I have barely managed to contain my excitement over the past few months about the release of our latest versions of VPLEX and RecoverPoint, specifically VPLEX 5.1 and RecoverPoint 3.5.  These are important releases for a number of reasons, but predominately they enable integration between the two solutions offering our customers even more choices in the way that they design and deploy distributed cloud orientated datacentres.

First let’s recap the high level positioning for both RecoverPoint and VPLEX.

RecoverPoint is a heterogeneous replication solution that enables traditional active passive replication. It provides several business benefits including granular corruption protection with DVR like roll back, bandwidth reduction and advanced DR testing capabilities.  RecoverPoint like the majority of replication products is an active/passive solution, applications normally (RP is bi-directional if required) run from a single datacentre and the data is replicated to an offline copy at the remote site. Invocation of DR is disruptive from an application point of view and automating failover of applications requires integration with additional products such as VMware SRM and Cluster Enabler.

Unlike an active/passive replication solution VPLEX enables the volume to be active across both sites with exactly the same storage and LUN identifiers and be concurrently r/w accessible. There is no requirement to fail over the storage between the sites in the event of a disaster because it is already connected and available. This has two advantages, firstly it enables customers to move virtualised applications non-disruptively between sites to reduce planned downtime or provide disaster avoidance, secondly it enables customers to take many of the local clustering technologies, such as MS Cluster, VMware HA or VERIAS Cluster Server and split the nodes between sites to vastly simplify and automate the failover of applications and in some cases even enable continuous application availability, for example with Oracle RAC.

So what are the new developments?

RecoverPoint Splitter for VMAX

RecoverPoint uses a splitter technology to capture the data changes so that they can be replicated to the remote site. We have host based splitters, intelligent fabric splitters and storage splitters. To date we have had storage splitters for CLARiiON, VNX and VMAXe, but customers with VMAX arrays have not been able to use RecoverPoint without having to invest in additional switch hardware to accommodate fabric splitting. RecoverPoint 3.5 and Enginuity 5876  enable RecoverPoint splitting for VMAX enabling RecoverPoint functionality across EMCs block storage platforms. This provides our customers with the ability to have a single  replication solution across their EMC storage environments, potentially reducing cost and operational complexity. For example customers will be able to replicate between VMAX, VMAXe and VNX platforms using a single solution, with advanced corruption protection to limit their data loss, and bandwidth reduction technologies to reduce the bandwidth needed between sites.

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RecoverPoint Splitter VPLEX

The second development which is a joint development between both RP and VPLEX engineering teams is a RecoverPoint splitter for VPLEX. Available with RP 3.5 and VPLEX 5.1 it enables full RecoverPoint functionality for both VPLEX Local and VPLEX Distributed Virtual volumes. The RP splitter for VPLEX removes two potential issues for customers using VPLEX. Firstly, corruption protection. The very nature of Active/active DCs means corruption is mirrored across both  sites or storage arrays. In this case RecoverPoint CDP in conjunction with VPLEX enables granular roll back for corruption protection.

Secondly, Active/Active datacentres are often close together due to the requirement for synchronous replication. This means that they may not meet regulatory requirements for DR. RecoverPoint CRR enables replication from either a Local or Distributed VPLEX volume to a third out of region location, with or without VPLEX at that third site, with all of the benefits that RecoverPoint enables.

For customers who only have a requirement for VPLEX Local functionality, perhaps for data mobility or to reduce operational overheads by having a common platform in a heterogeneous environment, RecoverPoint can again be integrated to enable replication to another site again without or without VPLEX. Our customers love RecoverPoint, and the combination of RecoverPoint and VPLEX Local now enables non EMC storage customers to cost effectively implement RecoverPoint in their heterogeneous storage environments.

In all cases  VMware SRM is supported in conjunction with RecoverPoint.

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VPLEX Performance and Scale

VPLEX 5.1 also increases the number of initiators supported by a cluster to 1600, increasing the number of hosts that can be connected. This latest version of the software can also increase the performance of a VPLEX engine by 30-40%, allowing our customers to do more with less, whilst still providing a clear path for scale up and scale out. To enable monitoring of this additional performance VPLEX 5.1 also introduces a new performance dashboard, giving customers a clearer picture of their VPLEX environment.

Increased VMware integration

Building up on our success in VMware environments.

VPLEX 5.1 improves our integration with VMware. It includes support for some of the relevant vStorage APIs for Array Integration including Compare and Write. VPLEX 5.1 also improves our VASA support; within vCenter customers can now set policies on their requirements for provisioning. For example if they set a policy of provisioning from only Distributed Sync (aka VPLEX Metro) capable storage, then this is enforced by vCenter so that provisioning is always done to meet this policy.

Additional RecoverPoint Benefits

Likewise for RecoverPoint, in addition to the new Splitter technologies, RecoverPoint 3.5 will further our integration with VMware by supporting additional VAAI commands. .

Summary

So in summary what do these developments mean for us and our customers.

The integration of RecoverPoint with VPLEX enables two things. It closes a gap that we had with some of the competition in regard to enabling snapshot functionality at the virtual volume level. Rather than simply enabling standard snapshot capabilities, integrating RecoverPoint enables VPLEX customers to benefit from being able to recover to literally 1000s of points in time during the working day compared with 10s or 100s from a competitive perspective. Secondly it enables customers architecting distributed datacentres to benefit from a third site replica to meet regulatory or disaster recovery requirements; and in a VMware environment that third leg can be completely integrated with VMware SRM.

The addition of the RecoverPoint splitter for VMAX enables our enterprise customers to benefit from the capabilities of RecoverPoint including granular corruption protection, again providing 1000′s of points in time during the working day, as well as enabling cost constrained customers to explore options such as having a Tier 1 VMAX array at the primary site and a VMAXe or VNX array at the DR site, all using simple, proven, integrated storage splitters and benefiting from the new competitive pricing enabled by RP/EX.