We just concluded a great experience at VMworld 2016, where CenturyLink was a Silver Sponsor and Network Provider. It was an amazing show. We met many interesting people and learned a lot about where the VMware community is headed.

At the event, CenturyLink delivered a presentation titled, A New Era of Data Center Protection: Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service to the MultiCloud. The session featured a case study of how we helped a client in the financial services industry where our customer discussed the benefits of a  more effective and efficient disaster recovery solution. To realize this goal, we leveraged our VMware-based cloud platform along with our SafeHaven Disaster Recovery as-a-Service (DRaas) offering.

Figure 1 - As the CenturyLink Cloud Platformis based on VMware, it’s highly compatible with customers’ own VMware-based VMs, smoothing multi-cloud application management workloads

Figure 1 – As the CenturyLink Cloud Platformis based on VMware, it’s highly compatible with customers’ own VMware-based VMs, smoothing multi-cloud application management workloads

Our client had a number of concerns about its existing disaster recovery capabilities when we commenced working with them. Their recovery time was too long, in their estimation. It took 96 hours to restore all of their systems– an eternity in the financial world. Being a completely on-premises IT organization, disaster recovery meant managing another physical site apart from their data center. So, they used a colocation facility for this purpose, but it caused headaches. Overall their solution was relatively inflexible and somewhat expensive. Their needs tended to expand and contract over time, from 20 to 25 servers totaling about 6TB of data.

We introduced the client to the idea of cloud-based disaster recovery, (DRaaS). Using DRaaS, CenturyLink established a backup site in the cloud that was available on demand. We offered an alternative to their remote colo site without the capital investment, time and hands-on maintenance required to self-manage colocation gear.

The DRaaS solution, CenturyLink SafeHaven, is built on our cloud platform, which is based on the VMware stack. As a quick sidenote – because our IaaS offering is based on VMware, we are well suited to help manage the VMware-based workloads many large enterprises run today, as shown in Figure 1.

Using SafeHaven Replication Nodes (SRNs), CenturyLink connected the client’s data center to our cloud recovery site, hosted by CenturyLink in another city. Obviously, the remote site contained two matching groups of virtual servers. Perhaps not so obviously, SafeHaven provides point-in-time block-level consistency across across a group of servers – a key differentiator that provides peace of mind for our customers.

Figure 2 – Reference architecture for DRaaS solution based on the CenturyLink’s SafeHaven solution.

Figure 2 – Reference architecture for DRaaS solution based on the CenturyLink’s SafeHaven solution.

The solution enabled our client to realize a number of distinct advantages in disaster recovery. The client no longer has to maintain two physical sites (this alone saved a lot of driving time). There is a single point of contact for support. And, importantly, the client can easily test for failover AND failback in an intuitive self-service manner. The overall cost of the solution is about the same as the client’s previous DR setup, but the benefits of cloud DRaaS make it a better return on investment scenario. An added bonus is the ability to utilize the cloud environment for other purposes. And, perhaps most importantly, their recovery point objective (RPO) was reduced from 96 to approximately 2 hours – a nearly 50x improvement.

It was a pleasure and an honor to be able to share this client success story at VMworld 2016. Audience feedback to the presentation was positive. People were excited to see an innovative use of the VMware stack for DR and the cloud.

If you are interested in seeing how CenturyLink Cloud and VMware can help your organization with disaster recovery, you can sign up for our SafeHaven Beta.

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