I’m sure that most people reading this already know at least a little bit of how RecoverPoint works—and probably even know about some of the new features in 4.0. I’ll do a short review on how it works, and then dive into a review the new features.
RecoverPoint Replication: A Refresher
For those that are familiar with different replication technologies, but not RecoverPoint: let me just say that it is, in my humble opinion, the best replication product on the market right now for block data. This doesn’t just go for EMC arrays; RecoverPoint can be used with any supported array (HDS, NetApp, IBM, 3PAR, etc) behind an EMC VPLEX.
Prior to RecoverPoint, you would need to use either MirrorView or SANCopy for an EMC CLARiiON to replicate data between arrays, and SRDF for a Symmetrix/VMAX. These technologies are comparable to other vendors current replication technologies. Typically, most replication technologies have the ability to be synchronous or asynchronous, and the same goes for RecoverPoint. The big difference is in the rollback capability. Other technologies require the use of clones and/or snapshots to be able to recover from more than one point in time.
The image below shows an example of the difference between RecoverPoint, backups, and snapshots: almost any point in time to choose to recover from with RecoverPoint, versus very few recovery points for snapshots or backups. This is very commonly referred to by EMC as a “DVR like functionality.”
The other feature to talk about when talking about replication products is how to test your DR copies so you can be sure your failover will work in case you need to use it. With RecoverPoint it is a super easy point and click GUI (you can use the CLI if you really want to) to test a copy.
RecoverPoint 4.0: Review of the New Features
A Completely New GUI
RecoverPoint has changed from an application to a web-based client. From my experience, it isn’t quite as intuitive as the old version. A screenshot of the new GUI is below.
Deeper Integration with VMware Site Recovery Manager
There is now the ability to test or failover to any point in time. This is a huge change, previously with SRM you would only be able to use the latest copy, so the main advantage of RecoverPoint (almost any point in time) wasn’t there when integrated with SRM.
Virtual machines running RecoverPoint software. Sounds like a really good and neat idea, but very limited on functionality. The two biggest limitations – only available when used with iSCSI (hosts can be connected via FC though, but be careful as EMC doesn’t support the same LUN accessed by both FC and iSCSI at the same time) and only available with RP/SE (RP/SE is the VNX only license variant of RecoverPoint). Also the performance of these vRPAs depends on the amount of resources you give them.
Synchronous Replication Over IP
If you have a fast enough IP WAN connection you can now use synchronous mode via IP. The benefit to this is obvious, the exact same data on your production array is on the DR array too. All of the considerations with synchronous replication still exist, the round trip latency added may cause a noticeable performance impact to clients.
You can now have up to four sites replicating to a single site. This is a huge change as it allows you to minimize the cost and hardware requirements of having multiple sites. Prior to RecoverPoint 4.0 you would’ve needed four different RecoverPoint clusters each with their own set of RPAs to accomplish the same thing now possible.
And you can also replicate a single source to up to four targets if you want. I don’t see this quite as impactful as the being able to replicate to a centralized target, but it depends on how many copies of your data you want and how many sites you want to have protected against failure.
Not really a new feature, more of a kick in the pants to anyone that used switched-based splitting (and those that had to learn how to install and support it). Using a switch-based splitter isn’t supported in RecoverPoint 4.0. Your options now are VMAX, VNX/CX, and VPLEX splitters.
Not really a new feature either, but very important to know the differences between the versions. If you plan on using the multiple-site replication, you will need to use RecoverPoint/EX or RecoverPoint/CL licensing.
There are some more new features, as well as performance and limitation enhancements, but the above list includes most of the big changes.