What is the best DR Site replication & backup software these days?

I have just inherited a new role & managing a new network. I've been asked to look at DR first off. It's been a few years since I last implemented a full blown Disaster Recovery Site Replication & Backup solution. I would like to know if things have changed much in that time.

For the purpose of this project, please consider that we already have a Production Data centre, a DR Data Centre at another physical location, we have all of the appropriate ESXi Hosts, SAN's, networking gear etc at both Sites. We also manage our Branch networking links internally (so we can deploy on the fly quite easily).

What we don't have is a decent DR solution in place. Currently only certain data & Databases are being replicated to the DR site. To bring up the DR site, it's basically deploying a bunch of blank VM's and restoring the appropriate backups onto them. Needless to say it would take weeks to bring up the DR site.  

To me a decent DR solution should only take a few minutes to bring to a hot state. It should also give you the ability to restore from the file level > to powering up 1 VM at the DR site > to 1 ESXi Host > to the entire Prod environment.

In my last role I achieved this through VMware Site Recovery Manager. We had a dedicated replication link between the storage VLAN at the Prod site, to the Storage VLAN at the DR site to replicate the SAN Volumes. & SRM to manage the hot/cold states.

As mentioned we do have all of the physical requirements, but I don't think we have the software requirements.
We do currently pay for some type of Commvault licence, but I don't know much about Commvault. Perhaps we can achieve the a better solution with CommVault, or we need to look at another solution provider. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

HowzattAuthor Commented:
Also, we have recently purchased a NetApp SAN. Not sure if this has any out of the box tools for SRM
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
We are taking the approach of a second data center instead of a dedicated DR site. So, since the second datacenter is always up and on-line there's no need to test failover of the circuits per se. We use Veeam as our backup program and will be able to restore the critical servers in the second site within a reasonable time frame.  We're still in the early implementation stages, but we feel this will give us a good DR solution.
Ultimate Tool Kit for Technology Solution Provider

Broken down into practical pointers and step-by-step instructions, the IT Service Excellence Tool Kit delivers expert advice for technology solution providers. Get your free copy now.

Mr TorturSystem EngineerCommented:

So you have only VMware VM, no physical server or other VM products to replicate?
You are looking for a replication solution only (DR) or you need a new backup product too?

I would see 2 options for DR :
- a software option
Typical example would be Veeam, as it is a proven working tool. Also its price is no more really cheap. It can do backup/restore (all VM and granular restore) and VM replication.
There was vRanger before but it's been a while since it is loosing ground to Veeam (vranger now have really ess options, don't support backup to tape, the only thing I find to it now is that instead of Veeam its VM appliance to replicate is linux packaged ones so you don't need a windows license as for Veeam proxies...). You could check at Andrew Hancock articles on the backup and replication software.
I would recommend Veeam. And depending on your RTO/RPO requirements you could have it only as a backup, and if you have external backup then it can provide a way to restore well not so quickly, but not so slowly too : in case your main datacenter burns you will take the Veeam backup with you at the DR site and restore the entire VM backup on your DR infrastructure. Also I am not sure this solution is relevant depending on Veeam license : maybe you have backup/restore AND replication included in base license.

- a more hardware or storage based option
also it could be more expensive, you can have a replication option/license on your San, and then use this native option in conjunction with VMware SRM.
I don't know SRM but I have colleague who are doing so.

And we use EMC, so I don't know about NetApp (nor CommVault) possibilities in term of DR..
Do NetApp have a replication feature from one array to another? I don't know but seeing what the concurrence propose I would say "of course they must have one, maybe licensed".
Do Commvault has a vmware agent to backup/restore an entire VM and also make granulary restore? Don't know at all.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Do NetApp have a replication feature from one array to another?

Certainly do, NetApp have had Snapmirror, the ability to replicate between SANs for over 10+ years, we been using it, and so have all our clients!

This is what we do for DR, and most of our clients, we replicate between SANs, and then those are replicated to other SANs, across Datacenters.

We do ALL DR in SAN based replication, that is not to say that Veeam et all are rubbish, but we've been doing SAN based DR and Rep, before Veeam etc all dreamed up these things....

biggest issues for us, is the VMware VM Snaspshot, WHICH all Backup Tech uses!!!! It's always been an issue, and still is!
Mr TorturSystem EngineerCommented:
Sure, the San replication solution is far better than the software one (Veeam).
But more expensive. But better.. etc..  ;-)

Also with Veeam you can now restore entire VM or VM file using san snapshots, only for HP San (StoreServ and StoreVirtual only as far I know) ....and NetApp!

See there :

And on top of that Veeam can now base its backup on storage snapshot, but it seems they do a (faster, so impactless snapshot) vmware snaphot too in the process.
And you will have to pay the big license (Enterprise plus only)...
I don't know that well because when I have Veeam for my customers it is with standard or enterprise license only.

See there : http://www.veeam.com/backup-from-storage-snapshots.html
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Disaster Recovery

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.

Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.