VMblog Expert Interview: Cloud Disaster Recovery Service – A Chat with Executives from JetStream Software, Cloudian and ENS-Inc



This week, JetStream Software, an innovator in cloud-native disaster recovery, announced that Enterprise Networking Solutions, Inc. (ENS-Inc), a premier managed services provider (MSP), is the first to deploy JetStream DR on Cloudian, a cloud-native disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) solution built on JetStream DR and Cloudian object storage technologies.

VMblog was able to catch up today with Rich Petersen, president and co-founder of JetStream Software; Michael Tso, CEO of Cloudian; and Paul Smitham, president of ENS-Inc, to discuss the advantages of cloud-native DRaaS, object storage, and the reduction of infrastructure costs by 60% for MSPs.


VMblog:  What do you mean by cloud-native DR and how does it work with DRaaS?

Rich Petersen, President and Co-founder, JetStream Software: 

Our concept of cloud-native DR is to enable service providers to deliver disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) to enterprise customers in a manner that works more like other “as-a-service” offerings. For too many customers, DRaaS has been just as cumbersome, if not more, than traditional on-prem backup and redundancy. Our approach to DR is to empower the service providers to give their customers a level of flexibility and ease of consumption that we haven’t previously seen in continuous data protection (CDP) services.

Rather than trying to adapt a software foundation that was originally designed for on-premises use, JetStream DR is designed from the ground up to be the foundation for a cloud service. This includes having a higher level of fault tolerance to support data center-to-data center replication, and abstracting the DR capability from the datastore, so the service provider’s data center infrastructure is compatible with all their customers’ storage platforms.


VMblog:  What industries does cloud-native DR hold the greatest opportunity?

Michael Tso, CEO, Cloudian:

We see tremendous opportunities in finance, government and healthcare because those industries have a significant degree of VMware adoption and continuous data protection and disaster recovery are critical. In addition, there is a mature ecosystem of service providers for these industries that have increasingly moved to a hybrid cloud support model.

At the same time, I wouldn’t limit the scope of the opportunity for cloud-native DRaaS to any specific industries or organizational size. As a data center platform, VMware is fairly ubiquitous, and expectations are growing across the board for DR services to continue adding capabilities and delivering additional cost savings.


VMblog:  What do CIOs need to know about cloud-native DR?  And what are the benefits?

Rich Petersen, President and Co-founder, JetStream Software:

For many CIOs, the most common questions they’re asked are, “Is this IT requirement best served from the cloud or on-premises?” and “Should my team own this exclusively, should it be outsourced entirely, or does a combination of internal IT management and service provider delivery make the most sense?” Over the past few years, the answer to that question has been shifting as managed and assisted DR services have grown more popular.

Cloud-native DR is the next step in that evolution. It enables companies to achieve business continuity without compromising performance. Businesses can realize savings by working with a service provider to deliver cost-efficient DR based on object storage with VM recovery on demand. So today’s CIO can meet expectations for business continuity, with improved cost, productivity and scalability.


VMblog:  What are some of the business problems cloud-native DR will solve?

Michael Tso, CEO, Cloudian:

When you’re talking about business continuity, if protection is too expensive or complex, organizations will be forced to make choices about the extent of protection for different kinds of data. That’s clearly not a good situation, particularly given the strategic role of data. A DR service based on object storage and maintained by a service provider gives IT organizations a cost structure that makes those kinds of choices unnecessary.

Additionally, by protecting business infrastructure at a VM level with object storage, you’re able to protect and recover individual business applications within a single shared platform that’s limitlessly scalable and highly cost-effective.


VMblog:  How has object storage impacted cloud-native DR?

Michael Tso, CEO, Cloudian:

Object storage solves the capacity problem with a limitlessly scalable architecture. In addition, object storage is compatible with the S3 API – the de facto standard for public and private cloud – and it enables customers to leverage the cloud at up to 70% less cost than traditional disk- or tape-based enterprise storage.


VMblog:  And for VMware customers, how do they benefit from cloud-native DR?

Rich Petersen, President and Co-founder, JetStream Software:

VMware customers benefit from the fact that their environments are largely “software defined.” That applies to their DR as well. Our organization contributed to VMware’s development of the vSphere APIs for I/O filtering (VAIO), which enables data replication in real time directly from vSphere. This is the key to our ability to provide CDP into an object store. VMs’ data are replicated to the object store at the moment that the data is written in the primary site. No snapshots, no backup files killing application performance.

The IO filter-based method for data intercept is just as important for the MSP or CSP introducing the service to their customers, who will naturally want the assurance that the DR technology they adopt will be supported by VMware. That’s why solutions based on VAIO are certified by VMware.


VMblog:  What challenges does cloud-native DR solve for on-premises IT customers?

Paul Smitham, President, ENS-Inc:

Cloud native DR means that the customer’s data center and its systems can be protected dynamically rather than maintaining a parallel system footprint on similar infrastructure in our facilities, which is costly and inefficient. Instead, we maintain the customer’s data more efficiently and cost-effectively during normal operations, and the necessary disaster recovery systems are activated in the event of a declared disaster. JetStream DR and Cloudian give the on-prem IT customer a choice of platform, a choice of provider, and a much lower cost.


VMblog:  What opportunities does cloud-native DR provide for service providers?

Paul Smitham, President, ENS-Inc:

Cloud native DR gives the service provider the opportunity to rise up the IT services stack, to move above hosting, archiving, and so-called “second-tier” services to be the first responder in the event of an on-premises incident. In addition to the value-add of providing the DR service infrastructure, these offerings typically include a significant professional services revenue opportunity, through activities such as business impact analysis, business continuity planning, and regular testing of the DR plan, in addition to services provided when a disaster actually strikes.

Fundamental to the scalability and cost efficiency of the cloud-native DR service is the use of object storage. When replicating data to the cloud for recovery services, it is not going to a live runtime environment, but to an object store. If recovery is needed, a vSphere environment is available on demand. For the vast majority of the time, as systems are operating as expected, the MSP is not consuming resources unnecessarily.


VMblog:  How will we see cloud-native DR evolve?

Rich Petersen, President and Co-founder, JetStream Software:

In just the past few years, the challenge of data protection has changed remarkably. The scope of threats has increased to include malware and ransomware, not to mention the occasional disgruntled employee.

In response to these threats, our product roadmap includes capabilities for point-in-time recovery, version-based recovery, and delta recovery:

  • Point-in-time delivers the ability to navigate forward and backward in time to find the optimal point for recovery, such as moments before an intrusion occurred.
  • Version-based recovery delivers the ability to spin up the state of the environment at some point in the past, for example, to recover files that were corrupted or accidentally deleted.
  • Delta recovery delivers the ability to recover only the data that was newly created in the recovery environment. For example, after a power outage, if the original environment was restored with no data lost and no data corruption, delta recovery returns only the data created during the outage in the recovery environment.


VMblog:  How does cloud-native DR ensure data security?

Paul Smitham, President, ENS-Inc:

All data, at rest and in transit, is encrypted as is the wire that transmits the data. Additionally, we take full advantage of the security features of Cloudian HyperStore, including secure multi-tenancy, data spill protection, identity access management, and at-rest and in-flight data encryption.


VMblog:  And finally, how does JetStream DR on Cloudian deliver value to clients? (i.e., velocity, scale, money)

Paul Smitham, President, ENS-Inc:

We were already a Cloudian customer, so when we learned that we could use JetStream DR to deliver a DRaaS offering based on Cloudian HyperStore, it made perfect sense to us. JetStream DR on Cloudian enables us to use our data center resources with greater efficiency and agility than any DR technology we’ve used in the past. Just as importantly, it gives us a significant new business opportunity to develop with technologies that we know and trust.

Compared to other DR/CDP solutions that we’ve deployed previously, the infrastructure costs of JetStream DR on Cloudian will be 60 percent less, which means we can deliver an enterprise-grade DR service to our customers that’s more economical for them to consume and more profitable for us.


As first published in VMblog