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Enabling Effective Disaster Recovery for Linked Clone-based Virtual Desktops

In my previous blog post, I discussed how Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform delivers unique DR benefits:

  1. VM-level replication which provides much more granular control than traditional SAN/NAS technologies that perform replication only at a LUN level
  2. Converged DR in the truest sense – providing application-level DR for both storage and compute, and designed to provide service level continuity.

Today, I would like to touch on another feature that goes beyond VM-level replication – the ability to replicate data at a file level.

Because SANs can only replicate at a LUN level, they are usually not a viable solution for customers needing to just replicate just a few key files, and not the complete datastore. Nutanix’s file-level replication, on the other hand, provides much greater flexibility for cases where the data to be replicated is a set of files. One such common example is linked clone based VDI.

VMware best practices actually state that linked clone VMs should not be part of a DR plan. If they are included, there is the likely consequence of causing a hiccup in a linked clone deployments since an out-of-band backup needs to be set up to replicate the various base images used in a VMware View deployment.

With Nutanix’s replication architecture, DR is as simple as adding the base images to a protection domain and setting up a replication policy. From that point onward, any change to the base image (e.g., patch and update) is then backed up per a periodic schedule to the secondary site. Additionally, on-demand replication can be triggered in cases where the administrator wants to immediately replicate any changes to the backup site.

This process is as simple as following a few simple steps.

1. Initial base image creation

  • Create base image.
  • Create Nutanix protection domain, and add base image into protection domain.
  • Replicate protection domain to remote site. Depending on the requirements, replication can be periodically scheduled or done on-demand.
  • Remove base image from protection domain since the base image is up-to-date on the remote site.
  • Activate protection domain (this creates a writable copy of the base image ready for use).

2. Base Image Updates

  • Update base image as appropriate.
  • Create protection domain and add base image into protection domain.
  • Replicate protection domain to remote site.
  • Remove base image from protection domain since the base image is up-to-date on the remote site.
  • Activate protection domain (this creates a writable copy of the base image ready for use).

Different workloads have different DR requirements, as demonstrated by the Linked Clone virtual desktops example above. The Nutanix DR solution provides greater flexibility and more granularity to manage diverse needs of use cases like EUC, enterprise branch office, private cloud, and big data. Nutanix DR is specifically designed for the needs of the virtualized datacenter.