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Terremark inches disaster recovery towards the cloud

Hoster and VMware-only cloud provider Terremark has reshaped its disaster recovery services for virtualization and near-zero investment, inching the critical service towards the cloud.

Terremark has announced the launch of what it calls 'virtualized disaster recovery', in an effort to bring its current outsourced disaster recovery (DR) offering more in line with easy-on, low-investment cloud computing offerings in other areas. The new service copies virtualized servers over to Terremark's facilities and restores them when needed with minimum interruption.

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 Analysts say the service is Terremark's attempt to position itself as a DR and business continuity planner (BCP) by making these services more available to smaller customers moving into virtualization and cloud computing. DR and BCP, which go well beyond making data backups, are normally only seen in the largest and most security-conscious enterprises, such as financial institutions.

"The problem is, the stuff has always been around the very high end of the market," said Henry Baltazar, storage analyst for the 451 group. He said that the expense and expertise needed to replicate and run an enterprise's IT infrastructure in case of disaster has always left smaller businesses out in the cold. He called Terremark's virtualized disaster recovery service "low-hanging fruit" for the company.

Currently, Terremark's DR services entail a customer negotiating long-term contracts for hosting or co-location, bandwidth and services, followed by consultants who craft a disaster recovery plan over the better part of year. Terremark claims its virtualized DR service can be up and running in a less than a month, provided the customer has the appropriate virtualized infrastructure in place.

Baltazar said that the increasing trend towards virtualization in IT, including the use of public cloud environments, makes DR much simpler than the traditional model, which sometimes involves replicating entire data centers part for part.

"Virtualization kind of dumbs down all these requirements," he said. Once server resources are virtualized, he pointed out, they can move around with relative ease while not being locked down to specific hardware. Terremark can use its existing virtualized infrastructure to offer these services without heavy investment on its part.

We're very careful about what we call cloud.
Tom Mays, Terremark senior VP for advanced data solutions,

 This 'one-size-fits-all' service, however, has severe drawbacks. Terremark's service won't work with physical servers and cannot provide blanket coverage for companies that can't or won't virtualize their IT infrastructure, which is still the vast majority. Virtualization in the enterprise is still a small part of IT overall, with less than 20% of businesses using it despite cheerleading from large and small vendors alike.

Tom Mays, Terremark's senior vice president for advanced data solutions, said Terremark had "productized" its standard disaster-recovery framework to allow new customers running partly or wholly virtualized environments to get up and running without the usual heavy investments needed for a full-scale disaster-recovery operation.

Mays said that, with the new service, they could plug a customer's existing IT operations into its "disaster recovery framework" with a minimum of fuss. Mays declined to say whether the month-to-month charges for the virtualized disaster-recovery service were different than Terremark's traditional offering. He did say that, after taking into account the lack of investment, after 36 months amortization a customer might save 45% over the standard offering, with a 72% saving in consultancy fees.

Mays said that, despite the rush to brand everything cloud and Terremark's own high-priced, VMware-powered enterprise cloud offering, this wasn't 'cloud' but something that fit in the general lines of customer expectations around IT services these days. "We're very careful about what we call cloud," he said.

Carl Brooks is the Technology Writer for Write to him at

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