By Dave Simpson
—Double-Take Software has enhanced its flagship Double-Take for Windows software with a Virtual Recovery Assistant (VRA) module that the company claims can reduce physical-to-virtual (P2V) migrations in VMware ESX environments from hours or days to a matter of minutes.
VRA automates the tasks associated with data migration and reduces the complex, often-manual, steps required to set up virtual machines for migration. According to Bob Roudebush, Double-Take's director of solutions engineering, VRA offers an alternative to more traditional data migration methods, such as
- "Offline" P2V migration (available from vendors of virtual server software) entails taking the physical server offline, which leads to significant downtime as users are booted off the server for the duration of the migration project.
- Another approach is to leave the physical server up and running, load agent software on it, and take a point-in-time snapshot of the data on the physical server and copy the snapshot to the virtual machine. Although this approach significantly reduces the downtime associated with offline migration, you still may have to kick users off the physical server to ensure the data on the virtual machine is up-to-date.
In contrast, Double-Take software coupled with the Virtual Recovery Assistant provides real-time replication of changed data, enabling users to continue using the physical server during migration projects. The software automatically provisions the target virtual machine, eliminating manual tasks typically involved with installing an operating system, patches or applications. The software also allows users to increase parameters such as disk capacity, allocated memory, and the number of processors available to applications once they're running in the virtual machine.
In addition to P2V migrations, Double-Take replication software with the VRA module can be used in virtual-to-virtual (V2V) migrations; for example, from a VMware environment to a Virtual Iron environment, or vice versa.
Double-Take's software loads on the physical server, replicates changes to files as they're opened and modified by users, and sends the changes in real time from the physical server to the virtual machine.
"You can also compress the data and/or throttle how much bandwidth gets used, which can be beneficial for migrations across data centers," says Roudebush.
Virtual Recovery Assistant is bundled with the Double-Take for Windows software at no extra charge.