RackWare adds DR to cloud management solution

RackWare's new disaster recovery capability in its cloud workload portability offering should enhance its growing appeal to VARs


Eric Sherman, Rackware’s vice president of worldwide sales

Cloud management provider RackWare has announced the general availability of RackWare Management Module (RMM) 3.0, with the big upgrade being the addition of disaster recovery capability the company developed itself.

RackWare is a startup, founded in 2009, whose software integrates cloud and data resources to add intelligence and automation to the cloud, facilitating workload portability.

“We make application stacks portable between physical, public, private and hybrid clouds in any situation,” said Eric Sherman, Rackware’s vice president of worldwide sales. This enables horizontal scaling of applications and tiers in either the same environment or to another one, migrating to another environment, and automatically stopping and starting a workload based on a schedule or trigger.

“What we are able to do now, with 3.0, is couple that portability with a cost effective and flexible disaster recovery that we have built,” Sherman said. He said it was not part of the original solution, because they wanted to get the core product to market, but that it was a natural evolutionary extension of what they were doing, in terms of what customers were looking for from them.

The disaster recovery capability provides a very high level of redundancy, with its flexible cloud infrastructure able to protect workloads in as little as one hour, while testing can be as frequent as needed.

“We are not trying to build a DR solution for every single application, which has real-time mirroring measured in seconds,” Sherman said. “That’s not what this does. It’s for shrinking long backup windows into hours or minutes, while being cost-effective.” Because of that, Sherman said they see their DR as complementary to some of the other DR solutions available, an essential capability given that almost every customer in their install base uses something else for DR now.

Another strength is the ability of policy to set up the DR as a true end-to-end failover model.

“In DR, you have to balance cost and cost effectiveness, and flexibility and level of automation, and those tend to be big tradeoffs,” Sherman said. “Our failover flexibility is extremely high because our DR model lets you fail over to any target.”

Other new functionality of RMM 3.0 includes cloning of production servers, enabling full replication of the operating system, applications and data from production servers into cloud recovery instances, and incremental synchronization, in which now only changes in the operating system, applications and data are synchronized to the recovery instances as the production instances change, to save bandwidth and resources.

Two buckets comprise RackWare’s channel, cloud service providers, who typically sell Rackware as a service for on-prem workloads, and VARs. Some of course do both, with Long View and Calgary’s Mainland Information Systems being two important Canadian partner examples. While many cloud service providers were on board early, most of the VAR partners are a relatively new addition.

“VARs are relatively new for us, even though this is ideal for them, as we remove even the requirement for a second data center for replication,” Sherman said. “Most VARs with few exceptions want to jump on a moving train. They don’t want to get back of the train and push it. We are a young company, Series A funding, so they want to make sure if they make an investment, the technology will be around. Most VARs also have a lot of products in their portfolio, and bringing a new one on board is a lot of effort, so many are hesitant.”

Sherman said VAR interest in them began to pick up this year.

“Even in January, I was seeing a ‘wait and see’ response by many VARs about the cloud, but the last couple months, we have been reaching out to them again, and have been starting to see a real uptick in interest from them,” he said. “We have a fully-baked offering for the entire lifecycle across a hybrid model from their data center, which is flexible enough to work with any cloud provider. With VARs, what comes up a lot is customers wanting to move workloads they spun up in Amazon to another provider or repatriate them back on-prem, and we do a lot for them there. ”

Sherman believes VAR interest has also been stimulated because they have spent a lot of time with the VAR community around VMware and virtualization.

“That has helped because doing some successful business with them differentiates us from just having a product that may be interesting at some point,” he said.

RMM 3.0 is generally available now.