6-Second Recovery with Datto Hybrid Virtualization

by | Jul 18, 2017

You’re woken up by your cell phone at 3 a.m. It’s Tim from the factory. All the Windows machines are locked up with ransomware. Manufacturing operations have grinded to a halt. Huge problem, because a big order is scheduled to go out the next morning. But thankfully, you’ve got it under control. You can restore the backups from your home computer and even virtualize the company’s manufacturing applications from the cloud, all while barely getting out of bed. Everything is up and running again in a matter of seconds. That’s the power of Datto Hybrid Virtualization.

BCDR has come a long way over the last several years, but many businesses have failed to keep up. If the scenario above seems almost too good to be true, then you’re probably relying on outdated technologies that leave your operations at risk of prolonged downtime after a disaster.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at how Datto Hybrid Virtualization is changing the game. By combining the benefits of virtualization with Datto’s advanced BDR appliances and cloud backup solutions, Datto is enabling businesses to turn a nightmarish 6-day recovery into a process that takes as little as six seconds.

Downtime Kills Business—Literally

40 percent of small businesses never reopen their doors after a disaster, according to FEMA. And that’s not always because the building is flooded or burnt down. Buildings are replaceable. But the lost time and expenses of idle workers and revenue disruptions are not.

Additionally, in today’s data-centric world, if you experience a total loss of your most valuable files in the disaster, then your company could be toast.

  • Consider a small medical practice in which all patient data was stored on-site (on servers that were scorched in a fire). Medical histories, prescription information, physician’s notes—if all that data is gone for good, the practice could be in big trouble.
  • What about a small manufacturing operation that loses all its CRM data, order histories, vendor information and other data? If all of it was stored in a single, vulnerable location, then the company may have a very difficult time reopening its doors.
  • In 2010, a report by Gartner revealed that 43 percent of companies were immediately put out of business by a major data loss. Of those that initially survived and tried to piece things back together, more than half ultimately shut down within two years.

But let’s say you’re already doing a good job of backing up your data. And hopefully you’ve made the smart move of not storing it all in one location. Perhaps you’re backing up to the cloud, using a datacenter, or replicating data to one of your other locations across town.

Smart move, but those measures alone don’t guarantee you won’t be bogged down with hours (or days) of costly downtime after a major data loss. That’s because the majority of traditional data backup and recovery solutions are outdated, painfully slow and often unreliable.

Slow & Corrupted Recoveries

Remember back in 2011 when Google inexplicably lost the accounts for thousands of its Gmail users? Restoring users’ emails took days, because it needed to recover the data from physical tape.

And look, we’ve got nothing against using tape for physical backups. Many companies still use it as a last-resort offline safeguard against total data loss. But if you ever actually need to restore from tape, or need to reconstruct backups from disks, just be aware that your recovery time is going to be looooong. And even if you can handle that kind of downtime, remember that tapes and other traditional recovery methods are notorious for high failure rates. So just because you have them doesn’t mean they will work.

To ensure faster, more dependable backups, and faster recovery, companies need to make the switch to newer BCDR solutions, like Datto Hybrid Virtualization.

Datto Hybrid Virtualization in a Nutshell

Datto Hybrid Virtualization enables you to virtualize your entire system infrastructure, locally or in the Datto Cloud. Datto says the virtualization takes as little as 6 seconds, but that seems to be more of a marketing placeholder. The process is essentially instant.

Here’s how it works:

  • Your local device takes a backup of your entire system at regular intervals.
  • The device stores the backups as image-based VMDK files, constantly updating and validating them to ensure they are readable and can be recovered.
  • The VMDK contains all software, operation systems and data from your computer(s).
  • You receive regularly emailed screenshot verification confirming that the backup is viable.
  • If your system fails, whether due to physical damage, malware or other threats, the backup device recognizes the error and retrieves the image-based backup
  • You can instantly access your entire backup on another machine via the web interface, and boot from a local device or the Datto Cloud.
  • During the recovery process, regular backups continue, so you don’t lose any further data if your system goes down again.

 

What it looks like

Let’s consider what the process above could look like for an organization that has just experienced a major system outage.

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Imagine a hospital whose computers have just been infected with nasty malware. It’s a sophisticated cyberattack that restricts access to patient data, as well as the critical applications used throughout the hospital, including the Intensive Care Unit. Nurses and doctors in the ICU suddenly don’t have information on the Rx doses that patients are receiving (including intravenously), the medication schedules or data from the life support systems that are keeping some patients alive.

Most hospitals have emergency business continuity procedures for situations like this, but not all have the ability to rapidly restore their systems.

With Datto’s hybrid virtualization, the hospital could not only rapidly restore data from backups, but also virtualize their critical applications on other machines, so that there would be next to no disruption in critical ICU care. Even if the hospital’s own servers were down, the applications could be run from the Datto Cloud with surprisingly little effect on performance.

The nitty gritty

Let’s take a closer look at what Datto’s instant virtualization offers, starting from the “local” standpoint.

Remember that the key to the “hybrid” approach is the flexibility to virtualize a protected system locally or in the cloud, depending on the scenario or your system infrastructure. As Datto says, you can “Instantly virtualize anything that can be protected (physical systems and virtual – either with agents, or with agentless backups), virtualize physical with virtual BDR, or even virtual with a physical BDR.”

LOCAL

If you’re comparing local virtualization options, here’s what separates Datto from other solutions:

  • Ultra-fast restarts: Recovery points are cloned in milliseconds using ZFS (Zettabyte File System); and they take only seconds to spin up.
  • Virtualization of all restore points: You can virtualize any recovery point on the appliance, even if it’s several years old.
  • Storage efficiency: Only one image-based VMDK copy is needed for backup and space for instant virtualization, thus reducing load on CPU & I/O resources.
  • Validation and testing: Screenshot verification provides automated backup validation with no additional load on production systems (saving IT managers’ time and reducing the chances of 3 a.m. phone calls).
  • Linux & Windows support: Datto supports more operating systems than anyone to be able to serve a wide range of industries all over the globe.

HYBRID

Now, let’s move onto the more comprehensive DRaaS solution, Hybrid Virtualization.

Datto’s hybrid process starts by booting a virtual machine within the Datto Cloud, then automatically connecting that VM to the local network through the Datto appliance via a secure VPN tunnel.

Benefits:

  • Instant virtualization on BDRs of any size, including Datto’s entry-level ALTO
  • Even the oldest, archived recovery points can be virtualized instantly
  • The Datto Cloud’s resources can be leveraged to maximize available resources for local workloads

What about that 6-second recovery?

We’ve already addressed how Datto’s “6-second recovery” is virtually just another way of saying “instant.” But what makes this possible? How can it be, when other recovery methods take hours or even days?

It boils down to several proprietary technologies that Datto’s systems are known for.

As Datto explains, the six-second recovery “is made possible with the use of ‘zero-copy clones’ provided by Datto’s advanced storage technology [i.e. ZFS for efficient data compression and deduplication], and the fully-constructed dependency-free recovery points made available with Datto’s Inverse Chain Technology [i.e. copy-on-write snapshots that create application-consistent recovery points of protected servers and eliminates the most commonly occurring problems in the backup chains].”

So, no loading tapes, making clones, processing backup chains or reconstructing incremental backups. With virtualization on (or using) a Datto device, or in the Cloud, companies always remain just a few clicks away from their backed up files, OSes and software. This enables the companies to remain operational after a disaster and virtually eliminate downtown.

If you’re curious how easy it is to start up a Hybrid Virtualization on a Datto device, check out this page on Datto’s website – the process is literally just a few clicks. Even better, click here for a free demo. Or, call our business continuity experts at (646) 395-1170 or email us [email protected].

Tracy Rock is the Director of Marketing at Invenio IT. Tracy is responsible for all media-related initiatives as well as external communications—including, branding, public relations, promotions, advertising and social media. She is one busy lady and we are lucky to have her!

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