I originally posted this on the Dell Tech Center, but decided it to re-blog it here, freshen up the content a little, and use it as the base for some other technical backup and recovery blog posts I’d like to write this month.
I get asked this question a lot. What is AppAssure? Since I won’t be at the Dell User Forum this year, I thought I’d write out what I usually tell people when I’m asked to explain about what AppAssure does. This is going to be the first in a series of posts, this one will give you the high-level overview, then we’ll deep dive into some of the features.
AppAssure is more than just a simple backup application. It is a backup, replication and disaster recovery solution. Here’s how it works.
The AppAssure Core is loaded onto a Windows server. You can either buy the software and install it on a server yourself, or you can buy AppAssure on a purpose-built appliance, either the DL4000 or the smaller DL1000 (I’ll write another post on those soon). You can think of our Core as a media server – all of the blocks we back up are stored here – plus it does a lot of other stuff to protect your environment.
Each protected server has a lightweight agent installed on it. Yes, an agent. We call it what it is. We don’t “inject APIs” on your servers. We don’t “execute code at run time”. We require you to have an agent on each machine you need to protect. Why? We back up the blocks on those servers. You schedule how often you want an image to be taken, you can go as granular as every five minutes. After we capture the initial image – which captures all the blocks and sends it to the Core – then the agent works quietly in the background counting the changed blocks until it’s time to take another snapshot. It collects all the blocks that have changed and sends them over to the Core. It dedupes them, it compresses them.
So you only send over the data that has changed, we make sure you don’t send stuff you already have over there, and we compress what you do send. The agent bundles these and connects to the Core server on a schedule you set. The agent is super lightweight, it does not interfere with the real work that you built that server to do.
AppAssure can support Windows and Linux (RHEL, CentOS, Ubuntu, SUSE. Check the versions here).
We do especially well with applications when your business requires that you have an extremely low RTO (recovery time objective). One of the cool features AppAssure has is Live Recovery. This gives you the ability to recover a server from the backup images on the Core server – we’ve seen this happen in a couple of minutes. So imagine Exchange going down, everyone freaking out because they aren’t getting emails. And you can give them access to the application until you rebuild whatever server it normally lives on.
We also make sure the blocks being backed up are recoverable with something we call Verified Recovery. This feature mounts up file systems, Exchange DBs, as well as SQL Server, and lets you know if anything is wrong with the blocks you are backing up – it ensures that nothing will prevent you from mounting any backups you may need to restore in the future.
As part of your disaster recovery plan, if you are protecting a server with AppAssure, once the bits get to the core you can replicate them to a virtual machine. We call this Virtual Standby – and if your primary server goes down you can power up that virtual standby machine and keep your business rolling.
And since we capture the blocks, you can recover those blocks anyplace. A physical machine to a virtual machine. Or another physical machine – but different hardware. Or maybe a VMware VM to a Hyper-V VM. Or to a VM in the cloud. We call this Universal Recovery.
Like I said, this is a very high level overview. We’ll be expanding on all those topics over the next couple of days, plus talk about about how AppAssure covers cloud and archiving. What have yáll always wondered about AppAssure?