Continuity Software tackles DR testing

By Kevin Komiega

—Israeli start-up Continuity Software has set up shop in the United States and, for the first time, is making its disaster-recovery management product available to North American customers.

The product, dubbed RecoverGuard, offers end users visibility into remote recovery operations by detecting infrastructure gaps and configuration vulnerabilities between primary data centers and disaster-recovery sites. The main aim of RecoverGuard is to validate disaster-recovery implementations which, according to industry experts, fail at an alarming rate.

"Disaster recovery doesn't work," says Gil Hecht, Continuity Software's founder and CEO. "Every time a change is made in the production environment it must be implemented in a similar way in the disaster-recovery environment. There are hundreds and thousands of changes being made without users having the ability to test them. The chances of it working are slim."

That, says Hecht, is where Continuity Software can help customers. "RecoverGuard can identify more than 1,000 different problems or gaps between production and disaster-recovery environments. When something gets out of sync, our product immediately notifies the user," he says.

The RecoverGuard software monitors and detects configuration errors, infrastructure changes, and vulnerabilities in real time in order to eliminate the risk of data loss or corruption in the event of a disaster. RecoverGuard ensures all production configuration changes are successfully applied to the remote hot site.

Continuity offers RecoverGuard in a number of different ways, including a No-Risk Assessment, which offers customers the opportunity to deploy RecoverGuard on up to 30 servers, for 48 hours. At the end of the 48 hours, the customer receives a report that details the complete topology of the data center and disaster-recovery environment, a thorough description of the risks and threats to the production and disaster-recovery environments, a list of ways to optimize certain aspects of the environments, and an SLA analysis.

The 48-hour assessment costs $15,000 for up to 30 servers, while the software is also available as an annual license of $2,000 per server.

RecoverGuard is agent-less and supports EMC Symmetrix, Clariion, SRDF, and TimeFinder, and NetApp Data OnTap storage environments. The software also supports all major database and cluster environments, as well as Windows, HP-UX, Solaris, Linux, and AIX operating systems.

Bob Laliberte, an analyst with the Enterprise Strategy Group, says a very high percentage of disaster-recovery implementations have some kind of problem during every test. "Take a disaster-recovery environment that is put in place today and tested. Typically it will work. Now fast forward three months: How many moves, additions, and changes have been made in that production environment over three months?" he says. "Clearly companies don't have time to do a disaster-recovery regression test after each change; it's just not feasible."

Laliberte says most companies will test their disaster-recovery systems every 6 to 12 months, while other companies will test more frequently. "In most cases they fail, again; at least some part of them fails. The company corrects those failures only to have different ones affect them six months later," he says.

Laliberte believes there is a definite need for DR testing systems. "Why wouldn't you invest in a system to monitor your multi-million dollar disaster-recovery environment that your business depends on? At least that way when you come in to work and see the light on, you can fix the problem immediately, instead of waiting for the next disaster-recovery test," he says.

The Enterprise Strategy Group estimates that remote recovery operations currently fail at a rate of 40% to 60%.

This article was originally published on June 08, 2007