January 6th, 2014 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

ReliableDR from PHD Virtual, now Unitrends is an application that “helps assure business continuity by automating the disaster recovery process to dramatically reduce the cost and complexity of fail over, fail back and testing.  Now you can certify your VMs will recover as planned, and within corresponding SLAs.”  That’s the marketing version, what does it mean for an engineer/administrator?  Its a tool that allows you to test your DR plan, pretty straight and simple, then when you actually need to perform your DR plan it provides the tools needed to automate that process as well as the process to fail back, which is generally the harder process of the two!

Installing ReliableDR was amazingly simple and complete, you will need a Windows 2008 OS or greater; you can’t install on Win7 for example, and from there the installer handles all of the dependencies such as .NET 4.0 and IIS 7.  I haven’t come across many applications recently where even the installation process was so well done and documented.

  • Download and start the installer from PHD Virtual
  • Next, Accept/Next, Next
  • Here if you do not have IIS 7 installed, the ReliableDR installer configures that for you, Next
  • You will then be prompted on whether to use a local SQL instance or an existing ReliableDR instance, selecting to use a new local instance will configure the ReliableDR database (when is it appropriate to use a separate SQL server – N number of Hosts? VMs? Data?)
  • Option to change components, which appears to be no options to change, but just click Next
  • Select your path for the web services, Next
  • Select the IP(s) and ports you wish ReliableDRs web services to run on, Next (the installer will also stop the Default Web Site)
  • Next to start all the bits moving around for the installer to configure the service.
  • The installer went though and completed the installation, now click Finish.

Once the installation is complete there will be a ReliableDR shortcut on the desktop which will connect you to the web UI, the default username is Admin / password.

reliableDR

Once you are logged in, you do need to hop around a bit as no wizard was presented, but its a very straight forward process to configure.

  • Click on Servers and then click the Add button
  • Add your vCenter servers, and credentials for each and click save.  If you only have one for testing or POC just enter that vCenter.
  • For testing you may want to create an isolated network/vSwitch.
  • Click on Mappings and click the Add button
  • Select the primary and secondary server based on your use case and click Next
  • Under each vCenter, click the link that says “Mapping not set, click to change”
  • Here you can see I selected my VM Network and IsolatedDR next I created for testing.

reliabledrmapping

  • Click OK, click Next
  • Select the failbox network, this is likely the opposite of what you selected above.  Click OK and Next.
  • Name your mapping and click Save.
  • Click on Jobs, here there was no Add button like there was for Mappings (maybe a bug?) but if you right click on Jobs you will get the Add job button; click that.
  • You will have 3 options here, the first however will be to setup ReliableDR replication.
  • Select your source and replication server, click Next.
  • Select your mapping that we just created and click Next.
  • Select the VM you wish to protect, and drag the VM to the datastore on the right you wish to replicate to, repeat for each VM and click Next.
  • Name and review your job options such as RTO and RPO and click Save.

Now you are all set to run your first test!  Just click on the job, click the Actions button and select Run Test.  You will see the status of your replication and….

reliableDRreplication

 

Summary

In less than an hour I installed the product, configured for my environment and was able to successfully test a DR scenario.  I can’t think of many tasks that only occupy and hour of your time at work that are more worthwhile than building a DR solution, ReliableDR makes it that easy!

reliabledrtestsucess

You can find all the current documentation at https://phdreliabledr.zendesk.com/entries/24880616-ReliableDR-Installation-and-Configuration-Guide

Getting started with PHD Virtual ReliableDR

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December 17th, 2013 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

As I caught up on my morning email, I received the announcement from Unitrends that they have agreed to acquire PHD Virtual, makers of ReliableDR.  Having been exposed recently to both Unitrends Enterprise Backup and PHD Virtual’s ReliableDR I am very excited about the possibilities and future for both products.

Unitrends Enterprise Backup is very easy to use and configure, even with some bugs in their software dedup (any PostgreSQL experts at PHD Virtual?) and adding a robust DR product is very exciting.

Congratulations to the folks at PHD Virtual and at Unitrends for adding a great product to their portfolio.  You can read the official announcement here.

Unitrends Acquires PHD Virtual

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August 27th, 2013 by NerdBlurt

Today PHD Virtual announced the release of  PHD Virtual Backup v6.5 and  ReliableDR v3.2. I had the luxury of playing with both releases prior to their launch this past week. I have to say that PHD Virtual is delivering a solid product. In addition to checking out the products, I was also checking out how well I was treated if I had a support problem. As much as we would love to have everything go smoothly, it¹s just not the case in life. I found PHD’s support  staff to be responsive and very professional while interacting with me. My initial request for help was met with-in a few hours and problem solved in matter of minutes.

What my problem was

For those that beta test products you know things don’t always work and I wasn’t aware of that PHD management consoles aren’t compatible with different versions of their products.

I wasn’t able to configure my host settings in the console. Reason being I was on a newer version VBA and an older version of management console. Simple problem and resolved quickly. But the response and treatment from PHD Virtual support in my problem was a great experience and for that alone I would recommend them.

What’s been added or changed

New in PHD Virtual Backup v6.5:

  • Backup Archiving: Automated backup replication capability that is WAN optimized and storage friendly. Backups can be archived to another location or to the cloud.
  • Exchange and SharePoint Recovery: Enables quick and easy recovery of granular Exchange and SharePoint items from any PHD backup in just a few clicks. This functionality is powered by Kroll OnTrack and is available with every Enterprise Edition license of PHD Virtual Backup.
  • Enhanced Scheduling for Granular RPOs: Schedule backup and replication jobs to occur as frequently as every 15 minutes.  When coupled with PHD ReliableDR, you now have cost-effective replication that can handle granular RPO requirements for critical applications, as well as guaranteed, automated DR failover and recovery testing.
  • Broader Support for 3rd Party S3 Compliant Providers: CloudHook is enhanced to support additional S3 compatible cloud storage platforms.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWQTvuTY2LQ[/youtube]

New in ReliableDR v3.2 includes:

  • CertifiedReplica: Leverages cost-effective, storage agnostic replication that can scale to large environments, save bandwidth with WAN-friendly data transfer, secure with government grade encryption, and conduct granular backup and recovery.

Now let’s also note that there is plans for Hyper-V support on the road map.

You can also check out their recorded session from the #vBrownbag Tech Talks

Nerd’s Blurt

Since I started working with PHD Virtual I have enjoyed watching the products grow and see how the company takes customer service serious. They engage with it’s customers on all levels and listen to their needs and try to incorporate that back into the functionality of their products. If you are thinking of backup solution for your company you definitely should give PHD Virtual a look.

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June 22nd, 2013 by NerdBlurt

I got word of a contest and wanted to share it with you all. Having done some reviews of PHD Virtual‘s products for them figured I would share this as well.

Give Away

PHD Virtual Summer Give Away

 

PHD Virtual is giving away a 1 – Year License and Support for that product.

How to Enter

Entering is simple just download one of the products! There isn’t even a stipulation you have to use it.

Visit this Link and download.

The Give away is running from June 18th 2013 until Midnight August 31st 2013

They are doing a drawing each month

Nerd’s Blurt

I love sharing contests with everyone as I love winning stuff. If you know a legitamte contest let me know and i will do a post for it.

 

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May 13th, 2013 by NerdBlurt

A few weeks back PHD Virtual acquired VirtualSharp, mainly for their ReliableDR product. The other day I attended a webinar on the product which is quite impressive,  I can see why PHD Virtual made the choice to acquire them. Disaster Recovery testing is expensive. Gartner cites it aprx. $30-$40K with some costing about $100k in estimates*. *Source

How often would your company do DR testing if that is the cost of it? Would you run tests every hour? Could you run it as often as you want? I’m guessing no. My wife would kill me if I was to say I need to spend $100k once let alone multiple times a day. ( My wife is the CFO for Blurt Media Group)

Reliable DR 
Taken from documentation I received

ReliableDR for VMware from PHD Virtual automates the Disaster Recovery process to dramatically reduce the cost and complexity of testing. It also enables you to certify your VMs will recover as planned, and within corresponding SLAs.

Here is the comparison chart of the different editions currently available at time of this writing. *editions are subject to change so please check with PHD Virtual for current offerings. Clicking image brings you to their website.

VMware, PHD Virtual ReliableDR

As you can see there are currently three versions, Enterprise, Foundation and Free.

ReliabeDR Standout Features

  • Automated, Continuous, Service-Oriented DR Testing – Maintains the integrity of you DR plan by being service / application centric, not data centric.  It takes a business-centric view of an application and its dependencies and then automates the verification of those applications as many as several times per day.  The typical DR plan is tested 1-2 times per year.  You can test several hundreds or thousands of times per year with ReliableDR!
  • Application-Aware Testing – Measuring of accurate Recovery Time Actuals (RTOs & RPOs)
  • Certified Recovery Points – automatically storing multiple certified recovery points
  • Compliance Reporting – demonstrates DR objective compliance to auditors
  • Test, Failover, and Failback – Automation of failover and failback processes
  • Flexible Replication Options – Integration with all major storage vendors, multiple software based replication solutions including PHD Virtual, and also includes its own zero-footprint software-based replication capabilities

ReliableDR Architechture

ReliableDR Architecture VMware PHD Virtual

As you can see from the above image you have both your primary and secondary sites. ReliableDR gets installed on your secondary site and hooks back into primary site.

From there, it creates a sandbox where you run the DR test without affecting your primary site and allows for you to run as many tests as you like. In addition to the ability to test your DR process you also receive reports to provide greater visability on recovery times and expectations.  Below is a video going over this architecture.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jMJSQMz-I4[/youtube]

Nerd’s Blurt

I was impressed with the functionality and testing capabilities of the product. One of the things I was hoping for is multi hypervisor capabilities. I would think that this is on the road map for the PHD team seeing how more and more IT shops are a mixed shop. The major benefit that I see is the ability to test as often as you like. From this with the CRP (Certified Recover Point) you have good insights on your environment.

This product is definitely worth a look at. It was well worth the hour on a webinar to learn about.  You can download ReliableDR for free at www.phdvirtual.com

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