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Taneja Blog / Data Protection/Management / Software Defined/Virtualized Infrastructure

Unitrends Boomerang: Easy and Effective DIY DR and More

Cloud-based DR is a hot topic and Unitrends Boomerang promises to open it up to even more organizations. Boomerang (http://vmboomerang.com/) runs as a virtual appliance, is deployed on-site in any VMware vSphere environment and provides three broad capabilities: backup and DR, VM migration to and from the cloud and Cloudbursting, all using Amazon AWS as the cloud infrastructure. When moving VMs to AWS in any of these use cases, Boomerang remodels the VMs into Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) for running in AWS EC2; it utilizes AWS S3 for general storage. This not only provides low-cost provisioning, it also allows seamless back and forth movement of VMs between the data center and the cloud and rapid, single-click VM deployment in the cloud in a DR scenario. 

Boomerang is an early adopter of Amazon’s Pilot Light technology for DR/DRaaS. Using Pilot Light, only the core system components of the restore environment are kept running and up-to-date, with the rest of the system components stored as AMIs, ready to be started up at a moment’s notice.  In the event of a disaster, these AMIs are spun up around the already-running core, providing a significantly quicker recovery than in the scenario where you have to restore and start up everything from saved backups. Since Pilot Light allows the less important system components to remain in low cost S3 storage, minimizing the use of compute resources while in standby mode, it also allows much lower ongoing DR/DRaaS costs.

All of this is tied together via an easy-to-use dashboard that also provides scheduling capabilities for backups and allows the creation and configuration of VM Protection Groups for easier management. All in all, it’s a nice package that provides a simple, integrated solution for backup/DR, VM migration and Cloudbursting.

At Taneja Group, we find Unitrends Boomerang interesting because of the “bang for the buck” it delivers. It not only provides a very useful set of capabilities that any size organization would be interested in, it’s also a very cost conscious design. Being implemented as a VM allows it to avoid the expense of a physical appliance, while utilizing the AWS cloud infrastructure and Pilot Light architecture  minimizes overall cloud storage and compute costs. On top of all that, it’s simple to install and set up and it provides very attractive RTOs of 15 to 20 minutes. It’s definitely worth a look.

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