IBM releases virtual backup and recovery service

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IBM releases virtual backup and recovery service
IBM's Andrew Fry

Big Blue bets on virtual machines for off-site disaster recovery.

IBM Australia has announced a service where customers can backup and recover data from virtual machines housed within IBM's shared hosting facilities.

IBM has custom developed the service, which is based on VMware's existing Data Protection technology.

"We are bringing virtualised disaster recovery, repackaging [VMware's] technology, and presenting it in a bespoke fashion," said IBM's business continuity and recovery services (BCRS) executive Andrew Fry.

The service allows organisations running VMware virtual machines in production to save their VMware images off-site on 'dedicated' virtual servers on a shared hardware platform.

By 'dedicated', IBM refers to the ability to control the amount of the hardware's processing and memory a given virtual machine can use when that hardware is shared with other virtual machines.

The service is being sold as a faster alternative to backing up or recovering from tape and cheaper alternative to disk-to-disk back-up.

IBM's 'data protection' shared backup service starts at $5 per gigabyte, while the virtual server recovery service starts at $3000 per virtual server per year.

"It's very cost-compelling, but still we can guarantee a dedicated recovery time," Fry said.

Small business ready

Fry said the service will be particularly suited to small and medium sized businesses.

He said small businesses typically use Intel hardware and backup to tape, he said. But most "don't have disaster recovery in place."

Those that do "either acquire [disaster recover] as a service or have a cold server [a physical server used for back-up that is left switched off until needed] in the back-office.

"The latter involves a long recovery time. They have to rebuild the server from scratch, then recover the data. That tends to take one to three days rather than hours."

Fry said there is a "desire to improve" on recovery times, leading many organisations to consider disk-to-disk solutions, which have to be managed in-house and involve some expense.

"Generally, as you shorten your recovery time, your costs go up," he said.

The new IBM service, by contrast, results in "a vastly improved RTO [Recovery Time Objective], without the high costs normally associated with this," he said.

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