SteelEye Technology has launched a product that increases the availability and data protection of virtual machines in a VMware Virtual Infrastructure 3 (VI3) environment. It's aimed at those who want to enhance the reliability of their VI3 systems.

SteelEye Protection Suite for VMware Infrastructure 3 clusters physical and virtual servers for high availability, continuous data protection and disaster recovery, said the company.

According to SteelEye, the product complements the high availability technologies built into VI3 by delivering data replication and high availability clustering.

The suite monitors and can recover any piece of the VI3 environment automatically, and integrates several data and application management functions.

While VMware HA protects virtual machines from hardware failure, SteelEye LifeKeeper provides protection against OS and application failures within the virtual machine. LifeKeeper monitors applications and all of their dependencies including file systems, device drivers, IP addresses and data connections within either Linux or Windows guest OSes to ensure that any failure is automatically detected and recovered, said the company. Recovery can include restarting the application within the same virtual machine, migrating the application to a virtual machine on the same server, migrating it to a virtual machine on a different server or performing failover to a physical server.

LifeKeeper can directly manage the availability of ESX Server virtual machines from within the VMware console OS layer, reckoned SteelEye. It monitors the virtual machine environment and can perform both administrator-initiated stop/resume of ESX Server virtual machines and fully automated LifeKeeper-initiated recovery, based on user-defined policies, to a paired physical server, according to the developer. The company claimed that other products can only migrate entire virtual machines or monitor of a small set of potential failure conditions.

SteelEye Data Replication performs real-time continuous data protection across either a LAN (synchronous) or WAN (asynchronous) from within the guest OS, claimed SteelEye. Benefits include the removal of the need for shared storage in ESX Server clusters and enabling the building of remote disaster recovery configurations.

The suite also delivers what SteelEye called the industry's first solution for clustering VirtualCentre Management Server. Monitoring VirtualCentre and the underlying database to ensure availability, LifeKeeper detects problems that would disrupt management capabilities and performs an automatic recovery, claimed the company.

"As companies migrate business-critical applications from physical environments into virtual environments (P to V) to take advantage of server consolidation, ensuring the availability of applications residing within those virtual servers is critical," said IDC's Jean Bozman. "With its support for VMware Virtual Infrastructure virtualised environments, SteelEye's extension of these clustering capabilities into virtual environment protection is a logical next step that preserves a common model for protecting applications in both the P and V environments."