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A Safety Net For VMware

Disaster recovery software provider Neverfail Group is adding a VMware module to its roster of tools, in a move to capitalize on enterprises' burgeoning interest in virtualization.

Neverfail's new module protects VMware's VirtualCenter Server, a component within VMware VirtualCenter that acts as the central control node in configuring, provisioning and managing virtualized IT environments.

The offering -- dubbed Neverfail for VMware VirtualCenter -- works similarly to the vendor's nine existing disaster recovery modules, which add failover features to Windows-environment enterprise software.

[cob:Related_Articles]"Since our software replicates the server, and clones everything from the software to the server identity and all data between the two machines, there's just maybe a 15-second [downtime] window in a failover situation," John Posovatz, Neverfail's vice president of product management, told InternetNews.com.

The company currently offers modules for a number of Microsoft offerings including Exchange, SharePoint, SQL Server, File Server and IIS . The company also markets products for Lotus Domino, RIM BlackBerry and others.

Neverfail, which operated as a U.K.-based software consulting firm for 10 years before spinning out its first software product six years ago, said its tools keep applications available regardless of what type of disaster hits an enterprise.

"Since our software replicates the server, and clones everything from the software to the server identity and all data between the two machines, there's just maybe a 15-second [downtime] window in a failover situation," John Posovatz, Neverfail's vice president of product management, told InternetNews.com.

The software provides centralized monitoring, remote management and fast provisioning capabilities, and serves as the control point for services such as VMware VMotion and VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS). VMotion enables live virtual machines to be migrated between physical servers, while DRS dynamically allocates capacity within a group of VMware ESX Server hosts.

The tool continuously monitors a VirtualCenter Server, checking the health of the hardware, network infrastructure, operating system and the management server software. If an issue arises, the system switches to a second, replicated server that houses all data and maintains connectivity to VMware VirtualCenter.

We have a unique solution because of the replication approach," Posovatz said. "Users don't have to reconnect to an application or reboot into systems, and that's pretty critical when you consider the productivity impact a failover can have when you have thousands of users."

According to Neverfail, the VMware module came directly as a request from the virtualization service provider.

"A VMware leader had seen one of our applications and said it was the perfect disaster recovery approach given that the only way to protect VMware is using a Microsoft server cluster strategy, which can be complex for many enterprises," Posovatz said.

VMware agreed that as enterprises increase their reliance on virtualization, a failover solution makes sense.

"Customers are standardizing on VMware infrastructure and creating more dynamic and scalable IT infrastructures by aggregating compute power into pools of resources," Parag Patel, vice president for alliances at VMware, said in a statement.

But a disaster, naturally, could impact those resources.

"Neverfail's offering can protect VMware VirtualCenter," he said.

The new tool's tiered pricing plan is based on the number of server CPUs, with plans maxing out at approximately $15,000.