The way vendors sold (and customers adopted) virtualization over the years evolved in an interesting way.
At the early beginning of VMware era, few years ago, vendors use to push the technology as an efficient way to support legacy operating systems and applications, or how we say today to achieve maximum application availability.
Unfortunately this approach gets traction only around operating systems replacement cycles (and this is why Windows Vista and imminent Windows Server 2008 are going to represent a rare opportunity to sell more virtualization).
So over time was clear that server consolidation could be a much better selling point, producing a faster and more concrete return on investment, using the unique excuse of saving the environment (under the green computing flag).
But there is an application for virtualization which is even more easier to sell, more interesting for customers because it addresses a fundamental challenge in every infrastructure and provides the highest ROI: disaster recovery.
Some vendors before others realized that virtualization can revolution the security world providing a more effective way to achieve business continuity.
PlateSpin is one of the first to see the opportunity and starts to sell its popular P2V migration solution as a convenient way to do live backup of expensive physical server into cheap virtual machines. But while its a good solution, any P2V migration tool still requires a virtualization infrastructure and a solid understanding of the technology. Something which is not appealing for companies just looking for a disaster recovery solution.
So today PlateSpin announces an out-of-the-box solution to achieve disaster recovery through virtualization, Forge, which is still based on its P2V migration technology but doesn’t require additional products or skills to be used.
Forge is a hardware appliance, based on Dell PowerEdge with a robust configuration (2-way Intel Quad Core at 2.6GHz, 16GB RAM, 6 x 1Gbit Ethernet cards and 2.5TB SATA drives in RAID5), with VMware ESX Server 3.0 and PlateSpin PowerConvert pre-installed aboard, and a brand new management interface.
Once plugged and configured the system performs live backup of up to 25 physical or virtual servers on continuous basis (incremental backup).
If something bad happens the administrator is informed through the web console or Blackberry email and the latest image of the protected machine gets recovered.
The recovery can happen on any chosen system, thanks to a PlateSpin technology, Workload Portability, which allows a virtual or physical machine to be restored on physical or virtual hardware.
Since testing DR plans is an expensive and time consuming task which few companies really do in the proper way, PlateSpin also introduced the capability to test the disaster recovery: Forge can restore all protected systems into an isolated environment so the entire plan can be verified without impacting on the normal business operations.
But the most interesting feature probably is the so called Failover Preparation: if, for any reasons, the IT manager feels that his infrastructure could suffer a fault, he can ask Forge to boot and prepare stand-by servers to have the shortest downtime possible.
PlateSpin will start distributing Forge in US starting from Jan 15, while rest of the world will have it no earlier than April 2008, at an unknown price.