Continuity offers DR management as a service

By Kevin Komiega

—Continuity Software is set to become the latest storage company to offer its product as a service. The company is scheduled to announce tomorrow that it has released a new Disaster Recovery (DR) Assurance service based on its RecoverGuard disaster-recovery testing and monitoring software.

RecoverGuard detects replication infrastructure gaps and configuration vulnerabilities between a customer's primary production and DR sites in an effort to mitigate data protection risks.

RecoverGuard is agent-less software that scans all devices and data assets in an IT environment. The software reads configuration information for storage arrays and devices, databases, hosts—anything that accesses or stores data—and collects that information on a daily basis. The software then uses a gap detection engine that compares configuration information against a database of more than 1,600 known DR problems. A trouble ticket is created for each error detected and the software generates a topology map, outlines the potential business impact related to the error, and provides a short explanation about how to resolve the issue.

The DR Assurance service takes the capabilities of RecoverGuard and incorporates back-end support from Continuity's team of DR experts. A typical DR Assurance service deployment occurs in approximately one hour, after which the software immediately begins scanning the customer's infrastructure for risks such as unprotected databases or database partitions, noncompliant replication configurations, and data that cannot be recovered to a valid consistency point. Daily statistics, tickets, and event notifications are sent directly to Continuity's DR specialists' team for review and analysis, as opposed to being sent to the customer's internal IT staff.

When a problem is detected that will impact recoverability, a DR specialist alerts the appropriate individuals at the customer site and provides details on the issue, as well as resolution recommendations. In addition, monthly, quarterly, and year-end summary reports are provided with in-depth information on every issue that occurred and its associated resolution.

According to Continuity's research, more than 60% of IT professionals do not believe their IT environments are recoverable if faced with a real disaster. Continuity's marketing director, Avi Stone, says this represents a serious problem for IT. "People make changes to their production environments every day. When errors are made they are usually identified and fixed, but in a replication environment those corrections must also be applied to the DR environment as well," he says. "The only way to determine whether those changes have been applied properly is through a DR test, but it is an expensive and risky process. In the case of a real event, they often realize that they did not find everything."

Arun Taneja, senior analyst and founder of The Taneja Group consulting firm, says the IT industry is not blind to the problems inherent to DR strategies. "RecoverGuard's ability to detect all configuration gaps and vulnerabilities, long before a disaster strikes, gives customers a proactive way to ensure their deployed DR strategy works as designed," says Taneja. "Moreover, the ability for customers to fully leverage RecoverGuard's capabilities as a service allows them to reap all the benefits of the solution, without any additional effort or re-allocation of resources."

RecoverGuard has been available in the US for about seven months in a couple of different versions. Continuity offers a 48-hour "risk-free" assessment for $15,000 on up to 30 servers. The software is also available as a stand-alone product with an annual license fee of $2,000 per protected server. The DR Assurance service raises the price slightly to $3,200 per protected server per year.

This article was originally published on February 11, 2008