EMC – RecoverPoint for Virtual Machines

EMC announced RecoverPoint for VMs last week, and I thought I’d do a quick summary post / highlights for those who missed it.

Firstly, an overview from EMC can be found here. You can get the datasheet here. And you can watch an overview video of the features here.

Audience

Secondly, it’s important to understand where EMC is pitching this product. Both the traditional RecoverPoint appliance and the RecoverPoint Virtual Edition have been aimed at storage admins. RecoverPoint

  • protects LUNs;
  • is managed through Unisphere;
  • is deployed on physical hardware appliances, using embedded storage array splitters in VMAX, VNX, and VPLEX; and
  • supports over 50 storage systems, including EMC and 3rd party arrays using the VPLEX splitter.

RecoverPoint Virtual Edition removes the need for dedicated EMC hardware appliances.  RP VE

  • protects storage LUNs;
  • is managed through Unisphere;
  • is deployed as virtual appliances on existing ESXi servers, and uses the embedded array splitter in VNX; and
  • it currently only supports EMC VNX.

RPVM1

So what about RP for VMs? RP for VMs

  • protects at the VM level;
  • is fully managed through vCenter;
  • is deployed as a virtual appliance on existing ESXi servers;
  • has an embedded I/O splitter within the vSphere kernel; and
  • is storage agnostic and supports any SAN, vSAN, NAS or DAS storage arrays on VMware’s HCL.

RPVM2

It’s critical to note that this is a completely separate product from RecoverPoint – there is no upgrade, no downgrade and no interoperability with the existing RP products.

It does support both VMDKs and RDMs (this is a good thing).

Architecture

It’s comprised of:

  • a VMware vCenter plug-in;
  • a RecoverPoint write-splitter embedded in vSphere; and
  • virtual appliances

Here’s a picture that shows the different elements.

RPVM3

Deployment

The splitters are deployed as VIBs, while the appliances come in OVF format. Management is performed using a plug-in via the vCenter Web UI.

Licensing

The RecoverPoint for Virtual Machines product uses a VM-based licensing model and is priced per VM (starting at a minimum of 15 VMs). Note that there is no transfer of licenses between the RecoverPoint and the RecoverPoint for Virtual Machines products.

Summary

This is going to be a handy product for people looking for a contained appliance, with flexible deployment options, that will provide synchronous replication performance (if required and subject to certain constraints). I’m looking forward to taking it for a spin.

EMC – RecoverPoint 4.0

EMC recently made some announcements about RecoverPoint 4.0 amongst other things, and I thought it might be worthwhile briefly looking at what’s on offer. I don’t work for EMC, so if you have questions about how RP might work in your environment, or what you need to consider regarding upgrades, please contact your local EMC team.

Firstly, there’s a bunch of improvements with regards to configuration limits. Here’s a few of them:

  • The number of consistency groups in group set has been increased to 8.
  • The maximum number of replication sets per CG has been increased to 2048.
  • The maximum number of replication sets has been increased to 8192.
  • The maximum number of user volumes has increased to 16000.
  • The maximum replicated capacity per cluster has been increased to 2PB.

Secondly, multi-site allows both 4:1 fan in and 1:4 fan out.

Thirdly, and my favourite, is the Virtual RecoverPoint Appliance (vRPA). Here’s some interesting things to note about the vRPA:

  • Uses iSCSI. So you’ll need iSCSI SLICs in your VNX. Which leads to the next point.
  • Only available for use in RP/SE configurations – so you’ll need VNX storage.
  • Can be used for remote synchronous replication, as RP 4.0 supports sync over IP (assuming links are good).
  • Can replicate any block data, regardless of host connectivity.

There are 4 different RP/SE configs that can be used:

  • vRPA -> vRPA
  • Physical RPA -> vRPA
  • vRPA -> Physical RPA
  • Physical RPA -> Physical RPA

Note that you cannot have vRPAs and Physical RPAs in the same cluster. The vRPAs are deployed using ovf, and come in 3 different flavours.

One finally thing to note with RP 4.0 is that host and fabric splitters are not supported; only VMAX(e), VNX, CLARiiON and VPLEX splitters are supported with RP 4.0.