IT teams spend a good deal of time thinking about disaster recovery – and rightly so.  Unexpected downtime is hugely expensive, from a loss of productivity, to an immediate loss of revenue, to long-term damage to the corporate brand.

For disaster recovery of virtual machines already in the public cloud, CenturyLink Cloud’s premium storage option offers a simple, elegant option for enterprises.  Just click a button, and you have an RTO of 8 hours, and RPO of 24 hours in the event of a declared disaster.

What about protecting on-premise VMs?  This is a perfect workload for public clouds like CenturyLink Cloud.  Traditional DR systems are simply too hard to get up and running.  Too often, these products:

  1. Take too long to deploy.  Many take months to plan, and then even more time to deploy.
  2. Add cost and complexity.  Enterprises often need to bring in consultants or additional resources to manage the effort.
  3. Increase CapEx. New hardware usually needs to be purchased and managed accordingly.
  4. Require burdensome testing procedures.  Once a DR solution is deployed, users are often forced to navigate long, labor intensive lead times to conduct DR tests throughout the year.

To help customers protect on-premise VMs, we’re excited to launch Safehaven for CenturyLink Cloud.  This solution offers much of the simplicity as CenturyLink’s cloud-to-cloud DR – including self-service and a point-and-click interface – with powerful customization options.  In addition, customers receive a “white-glove” on-boarding experience to ensure your configuration aligns with your DR strategy.  Here’s a high level overview of how Safehaven for CenturyLink Cloud works:

  1. Build the CenturyLink Cloud servers using our self-service interface.
  2. Install the Safehaven replication software in your Cloud and Production environments
  3. Configure Safehaven including settings for RPO requirements and server bring up sequencing
  4. Test your environment against your with failover and failback operations runbook

Upon disaster declaration initiate the failover sequence in the Safehaven Console and let the pre-configured API calls boot your Cloud VMs, and start your OS so you can resume application processing.

Once your production environment is restored, initiate a failback command that automatically pauses your CenturyLink Cloud VMs and starts data transfer back to your production site. SafeHaven provides full recovery orchestration and planning at the server group and data center levels. Users can be sure that multi-tiered applications involving multiple servers and data volumes will come up in the exact sequence you configured. In the case of controlled shut down events, SafeHaven can bring up a replica of your data center in the cloud without any data loss. 

The service shines through where traditional DR systems fall short, specifically when it comes to:

Let’s dive into a technical overview of the product to see exactly how it works.

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Core SafeHaven for CenturyLink Cloud replication software services include:

  1. Inter-site migration, failover, and failback
  2. Continuous data protection with up to 64 checkpoints for rollback in cases of server infection or data corruption
  3. Non-disruptive testing of recovery and migration plans

These features can be executed at the level of individual Servers, groups of servers or entire sites. How? A virtual appliance called a SafeHaven Replication Node or SRN is uploaded into the site that is to be protected.  SafeHaven then leverages local mirroring software already embedded within standard operating systems to replicate new writes from protected servers to the SRN.  The SRN buffers these changes and transmits them asynchronously to a protection VM in the CenturyLink Cloud that then writes the changes to disk.  When disasters occur, SafeHaven will boot the recovery VMs using the replica data images it has been maintaining in the cloud. Meanwhile, another SafeHaven virtual appliance called a Central management server transmits control traffic between the SRNs and the SafeHaven Management Console.

Disaster Recovery is a complex topic area and that there are many protection strategies to achieve the desired results. We created this service offering in response to customer feedback as yet another option for our customers to protect their production IT environments. We also recognize this solution is not a panacea for DR; rather it’s a solution oriented tool that may help you service certain production workloads in a cost effective, low investment model. And for those workloads that require a different protection technique we’ve got the depth of resources to help you realize your goals.