Continuity Software has upgraded its RecoverGuard software, used to root out and fix disaster recovery (DR) problems at data centre sites.

Continuity came up with RecoverGuard because it felt that today's DRM (disaster recovery management) methodologies do not work. According to Avi Stone, director of marketing at Continuity, this is because in his experience DR testing is usually only done every three to four months. "DR testing is risky to customer environments," said Stone. "It also requires a lot of effort (two to three weeks preparation) and one week to do the testing."

"Because it is so risky, customers tend to only test segments, which means these tests are inconclusive," he added. "Many don't do a full and real test, and therefore it is not a realistic simulation of a typical outage."

RecoverGuard is used to identify DR vulnerabilities before any data is lost in case of a real disaster at a data centre. It detects differences (gaps) between a business' primary and disaster recovery (DR) site. Over 2,000 gap signatures are detected to help organisations "gain visibility" into their DR capabilities.

With RecoverGuard version 3.0, Continuity has recognised the new complexity and threats surrounding the use of virtualisation, and has introduced virtualisation cluster and high availability (HA) capabilities. This is because of the increasing use of VMware utilisation for Tier 2 and Tier 3 applications, as well as VMware utilisation for DR management.

"People sometimes use VMware because they believe it will handle disaster recovery better," said Stone. "But these customers tend to have problems with failover. Their systems don't start properly when a failure occurs."

"This is because they are not aware of the best practise guidelines put out by VMware," he added. "No-one is reading the manual."

Version 3 can map an entire VMware environment, including all interdependencies between the virtual and physical layers. New gaps have been added to knowledgebase, specific to VMware environments, allowing customers to align to VMware best practice standards.

The new version also enables customers to properly prepare for DR tests and to maintain a recoverable environment by providing a tool that reports on one of the most common challenges during DT testing, namely host configuration gaps (i.e. hardware, operating systems and network resources), in order to ensure recovery time objective (RTO), recovery point objective (RPO) and business continuity objectives are met.

RTO dictates how long a customer can go without a specific application (allows customers to set maximum allowable or maximum tolerable outages), while RPO dictates the allowable data loss (how much data a customer can afford to lose).

Version 3 has also been integrated with leading configuration management databases (CMDBs) and ticket management systems such as BMC Remedy and HP OpenView, as well as supporting the Oracle Data Guard and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) platforms.

"Most of features in version 3 are a result of customer feedback," said Stone.

"Version 3 now supports all operating systems (excepting mainframe) and most databases," he told Techworld. "The new version supports VMware, and the software can now look at tampering, data corruption gaps, and optimisation recommendations."

RecoverGuard v3.0 will be generally available at the end of the month. Continuity offers an assessment service, where they will setup and evaluate a data centre for a customer. Stone said that EMC and IBM typically charge between $150,000 to $250,000 per test, which takes several engineers a couple of weeks to complete.

A similar service from Continuity costs something of in the region of $25,000 and can be done in 24 hours. The company is currently negotiating with partners (distributors and resellers) in Europe and United Kingdom. "It is going slow but it is progressing says Stone, and there are a few assessments in Europe in coming months."